These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem


Posted on March 30, 2012 by Barer

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This week’s parsha continues to detail the different sacrifices, this time focusing on who can and cannot eat them.  The second half of the parsha (ch. 8) moves from commandment to narrative (or sorts) as the text describes the actual anointing of Aharon and his sons as active priests.  While the text is repetitive and not immediately meaningful for our times, I am struck by just how much space is devoted to this ceremony.  To imagine it as being more instructive, I think it is helpful to consider an analogous ceremony ‘anointing’ the first ever chazan (chanter of prayer) after the destruction of the Temple.  An even more modern analogy is that of the bar-mitzvah, which in some ways is meant to initiate a young man in leading services (though he is allowed to lead some of the services before his bar-mitzvah).  Given that prayer as we know it today is meant to replace sacrifice, the elaborateness of the text brings to mind how extended such a ceremony might have been (if it ever happened), especially if it had not followed a tragic event, but had rather been the fulfillment of a commandment from Hashem.

Beginning service

Of God, with ceremony

Like a bar-mitzvah