Be a reliable person.
By Rabbi Ari Enkin, Rabbinic Director, United with Israel
This week’s Torah portion is “Vayikra” (Leviticus 1:1-5:26) and with it we begin the book of Leviticus and its many chapters on sacrifices and Temple service.
One of the interesting features of almost every sacrifice is that it must be accompanied by salt. As the verse says, “You shall salt your every meal-offering with salt. You may not discontinue the salt of your God’s covenant from your meal offering. With every offering shall you offer salt.” [2:13].
Because our tables are compared to the altar in the Temple and the bread is compared to the sacrifices offered upon it, we begin every meal by dipping bread into salt.
It is explained that salt is an important component of every sacrifice as a reminder of a lesser-known episode in the early days of Creation.
When God sperate the “upper waters” (the sky and heavens) from the “lower waters” (the seas), the lower waters complained that they would now be more distant from God and that’s not fair! As the Midrash teaches, “The lower waters complained: People will fish in us, they will swim in us, and they will dump garbage in us. We do not want to be inferior to the upper waters!”
In order to pacify the lower waters, God told them that they will still be close to Him by means of the salt they contain. With every sacrifice brought in the Temple, salt would have to be brought along with it, as well. The lower waters were appeased, and that put an end to the bickering.
But why were the lower waters appeased so easily and so quickly? It was going to be many generations until the promise would be fulfilled and salt would be offered in a Temple in Jerusalem! Would you accept a promise from someone to be fulfilled after a zillion years?
The answer is that a promise from God is all the lower waters needed.
You see, when someone makes a promise to us whose “delivery date” is far in the future, we are usually skeptical, at best. We are concerned that the person might forget, things might come up, he will change his mind. But with God, that is, of course, not a concern. The lower waters were happy because they knew that their “grandchildren” would benefit from God’s promise.
There is a message here for us. Are we people whose word is worth something? Do people know that if you make a commitment you are going to keep it? More often than not, the “delivery” doesn’t have to be immediate as long as it is definite.
We must be as reliable as possible!
For more insights by Rabbi Enkin on this week’s Torah portion, click on the links below.
Why is Adam Mentioned in the Laws About Sacrifices?
To Grow Spiritually, Tune into the Right Frequency
Learning to Be Yourself is the Key to Spiritual Growth
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