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A Message from Rabbi Eligberg

A Tidbit of Torah Parshat Vayikra 5783

If any person from among the populace unwittingly incurs guilt…
                                                                                                      Vayikra/Leviticus 4:27

Rabbi Shmuel Tzvi of Aleksander in his commentary to the Torah, Tiferet Shmuel al HaTorah, takes note of the fact that the verse is phrased in the singular; that the individual is acting apart from the community. In reflecting further, he notes that in matters of ritual impurity (a popular topic in the Book of Leviticus) that which remains attached to its source cannot become ritually impure. Thus, fruit that is still attached to the tree cannot become ritually impure. Similarly, water cannot become ritually impure until after it is drawn from its natural source.

Applying this idea back to the individual, our teacher Rabbi Shmuel Tzvi suggests that the underlying message of the verse is the ultimate importance of the individual remaining rooted in and attached to the Jewish community as a source of strength and inspiration. While Rabbi Shmuel Tzvi could never have envisioned the transformation of society we are experiencing today. Geographic mobility, by young people pursuing education or career opportunities, is now increasingly matched by retirees relocating to warmer climates or closer to one of their children and their family.

Rabbi Shmuel Tzvi’s teaching speaks to the great challenge we are facing.  Preserving our relationships within the concentric circles of important people in our lives requires increased diligence and availing ourselves of technological advances. This is especially true as we approach the festival of Pesach, a time when our circle of family gathers to celebrate, a time when our circle of friends joins us at the Seder. Today, setting the Seder table will often include a laptop computer that brings those who cannot be physically present to be with us.

B’vracha –

Rabbi David M. Eligberg

A Message From Cantor Marx




Parashat Vayikra is the first Torah portion in the book of Leviticus, and it contains laws and instructions relating to the sacrificial system at the time when the Temple in Jerusalem stood. As important as the sacrifices were in those days, most of us are glad they do not take place anymore within our Jewish practices. 

These are some of the lessons we can extrapolate from them that are still relevant today: 

 The importance of repentance: The sin offering and guilt offering were required when someone had committed a sin or unintentionally violated a commandment. The act of bringing the offering was an important part of the repentance process, demonstrating a willingness to make amends and seek forgiveness. 

 The value of gratitude: The peace offering was a voluntary offering of an animal, and it was a way of expressing gratitude to God. By offering a portion of one's own possessions to God, one acknowledges that all that one have comes from God and shows gratitude for God's blessings. 

 The importance of mitzvot: The sacrificial system was commanded and needed to be followed exactly as instructed. This emphasizes the importance of following God’s mitzvot, or commands, in all aspects of life, not just in the context of offering sacrifices. 

 The concept of atonement: The sacrifices were a way for the Israelites to seek atonement for their sins and to restore their relationship with God. This concept of atonement is still a central tenet of Judaism nowadays. 

 Overall, the sacrificial system can teach us about the importance of repentance, gratitude, mitzvot, and atonement, and how these concepts can be applied in our own lives today. 

Wed, March 29 2023 7 Nisan 5783