A cursory reading of Leviticus could lead you to think that it’s all about the biblical priesthood and tedious details about sacrifices.
In other words, it’s easy to believe that much of the book is irrelevant to us today. There is no priesthood, no Temple, no sacrifices. Ergo, no need to pay attention to the boring parts.
But Leviticus is tricky; it often has something up its sleeve, slyly slipping us hints to the universal truths buried amid the minutia. If we listen closely, we can find important gems amidst the seemingly endless details.
This week’s Torah portion is no exception. It starts with instructions on how to perform several kinds of sacrifices (see Leviticus, chapters 6 and 7) and then moves to Aaron’s ordination as High Priest.
And this is where things get interesting. Because the very first thing that happens isn’t the pomp and circumstance that you’d expect. After all, God told Moses to make sure the entire community was in attendance. You’d expect a big dramatic moment.
But before the drama begin, Moses washes and dresses Aaron. The Torah takes us through the process, step by step: First the washing, then donning the tunic, then sash, then robe… item by item, Moses dresses Aaron in the priestly garb. Only then does the impressive ceremony continue with consecrating the Tabernacle and the requisite sacrifices.
Aha. Here is the subtle truth the Torah wants to teach us today. My friend Rabbi Evan Krame saw it immediately. He wrote, “What if I could imagine that my daily shower and clothing selection is precursor to a sacred enterprise? I don’t have to be a priestly slaughterer to imagine that the work I perform in this world is productive if not redemptive.”
How we begin our day matters. The tiniest, apparently least important things matter, because how we perform them sets the tone for the entire day. We can jump in the shower, grab the day’s outfit and run out the door. Or we can look at our morning routines as moments when we are preparing to be our highest self for the day to come.
Rabbi Krame called this “from naked to sacred” and wrote that we can “begin by seeing preparatory acts of bathing and dressing as in league with the Divine… [as] groundwork for a holy endeavor.”
I love the idea of starting each day with the knowledge that it is a holy endeavor. Regardless of what each of us will do today – work in the kitchen at McDonalds, in a hospital operating room, at a desk in a crowded office, caring for children, or not work at all – we can imbue every action, every task however small, with meaning. May we be so blessed.
I love this, as always. And you!
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SRQ Jew said:
Love you too!