Candle Lighting time 6:57 PM
We begin the third book of the Torah Vayikra, Leviticus, this Shabbat. Now that Mishkan, the portable tabernacle, has been erected our parashha deals with the aspects of the sacrificial cult that is offered up in it. Our ancestors sought to draw close to God through the animal sacrifices offered up first in the portable Tabernacle and then in the Temple in Jerusalem. In fact the Hebrew word for sacrifice is korbon and its root meaning is “to draw close”. We no longer offer up sacrifices as our mode of worship. Today we worship God through prayer.
Sometimes even before we pray the formal prayer we pray a short prayer. This prayer is called a kavanah. “Kavanah, kavvanah or kavana (also pronounced /kaˈvonə/ by some Ashkenazi Jews) plural kavanot or kavanos, literally means "intention" or "sincere feeling, direction of the heart". It is the mindset often described as necessary for Jewish rituals (mitzvot) and prayers. Kavanah is a theological concept in Judaism about a worshiper's state of mind and heart, his or her sincerity, devotion and emotional absorption during prayers.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kavanah)
Because of the coronavirus I’m sure you like me have washed your hands countless times. I would like to share a beautiful kavanah to be recited before we wash our hands written by the Hebrew College in Boston.
“For the sake of bringing together the Holy One and the Shechinah who dwells amongst us, in fear and in love, know this now: I am here and fully present to fulfill these mitzvot-to take great care of yourselves, to not stand by while your neighbor is in danger. All in the name of the one who is Hidden and Concealed, for the sake of all Israel and upon all who dwell upon our earth. Be upon us, O kindness of God. May the works of our hands be secure. May the works of our hands live on!”
All services, meetings, and programs have been canceled because of the coronavirus and our effort to keep you safe and flatten the pandemic. I am inviting you to study Torah with me because I'm still posting my daily reflections on the Talmud at rabbigarygreene.blogspot.com.