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Beit Midrash Torah Portion and Tanach Vayikra

Parashat Vayikra

Sacrifice of Oneself

3067
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"Adam ki yarkriv mikem korban la-Shem." This is the foundation of avodah, service of God. While according to its plain sense, the verse is dealing with the law governing an individual from among the Jewish people who brings a sacrifice, the literal sense of the verse imparts a very different message. "A person, when he sacrifices, of yourself bring a sacrifice for God." True service of God involves sacrificing "of yourself," forgoing things that are most important to you for the service of God.

During the previous century, the Orthodox community fought many battles in order to preserve authentic Judaism. Battles were fought for Shabbat, kashrut, Torah study and Jewish education with tremendous sacrifice and devotion, and the success of these battles enables us today to take these matters for granted. They may now be observed with relative ease because of the willingness of Jews to sacrifice things that were important to them at the time - material and financial well-being, and social acceptance - in the service of God and to ensure the integrity of the Jewish nation.

Sacrifice is fundamental to our service of God, and each generation must identify its unique challenges, and be willing to sacrifice to stand up to those challenges. It appears that one of the few difficult things left for Jews living in comfort and freedom is enhancing and actualizing their connection with Eretz Israel. There have always been extenuating circumstances exempting Jews from fulfillment of the mitzvah of Yishuv Eretz Israel. But with so few areas of Jewish observance that require true sacrifice today, increased focus on finding ways to fulfill this mitzvah is an authentic way to sacrifice something of ourselves in the service of God.

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