Vayikra: The Call Plaut p. 660

Source Sheet by Yair Robinson



Leviticus 1:1-4

(1) יהוה called to Moses and spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting, saying: (2) Speak to the Israelite people, and say to them: When any of you presents an offering of cattle to יהוה: You shall choose your offering from the herd or from the flock. (3) If your offering is a burnt offering from the herd, you shall make your offering a male without blemish. You shall bring it to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, for acceptance in your behalf before יהוה. (4) You shall lay a hand upon the head of the burnt offering, that it may be acceptable in your behalf, in expiation for you.


ויקרא א׳:א׳-ד׳

(א) וַיִּקְרָ֖א אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֑ה וַיְדַבֵּ֤ר יְהֹוָה֙ אֵלָ֔יו מֵאֹ֥הֶל מוֹעֵ֖ד לֵאמֹֽר׃ (ב) דַּבֵּ֞ר אֶל־בְּנֵ֤י יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ וְאָמַרְתָּ֣ אֲלֵהֶ֔ם אָדָ֗ם כִּֽי־יַקְרִ֥יב מִכֶּ֛ם קׇרְבָּ֖ן לַֽיהֹוָ֑ה מִן־הַבְּהֵמָ֗ה מִן־הַבָּקָר֙ וּמִן־הַצֹּ֔אן תַּקְרִ֖יבוּ אֶת־קׇרְבַּנְכֶֽם׃ (ג) אִם־עֹלָ֤ה קׇרְבָּנוֹ֙ מִן־הַבָּקָ֔ר זָכָ֥ר תָּמִ֖ים יַקְרִיבֶ֑נּוּ אֶל־פֶּ֜תַח אֹ֤הֶל מוֹעֵד֙ יַקְרִ֣יב אֹת֔וֹ לִרְצֹנ֖וֹ לִפְנֵ֥י יְהֹוָֽה׃ (ד) וְסָמַ֣ךְ יָד֔וֹ עַ֖ל רֹ֣אשׁ הָעֹלָ֑ה וְנִרְצָ֥ה ל֖וֹ לְכַפֵּ֥ר עָלָֽיו׃


  • Why is the aleph smaller?
  • Sfat Emet: three sorts of letters in Torah–enlarged, reduced and regular. Reduced letters seem connected to matters that depend on action, the light of Torah flowing in a reduced and concentrated way into the actual fulfillment of a mitzvah. “For deed has to be joined to the word, and word to thought”. That is, it’s all connected, none of it is academic
  • Which jives with Rashi, who reminds us that all revelation, all communication with God is preceded by a call, a greeting and invitation into connection and devotion.
  • What are you being called to do? Is it large, like those protesting in Israel in support of democracy, or seemingly small, focusing entirely on fulfilment of one specific task, one act of care?
  • That Vayikra is not just to Moses but to us: listen for the call and answer the call.