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Weekly D'rash and Parsha Vayikra

This week our Torah portion is the beginning of the Book of Leviticus. The Tabernacle is completed, and the Glory of the Lord has filled the Tabernacle. Now Moses received instructions on how to use the Tabernacle. The Torah portion for this week and next week are instructions on how to bring offerings. Overall, the description of the offerings demonstrates that God desires for people to approach Him. Remember that the purpose of the Tabernacle was so that the presence of God could dwell with Israel. The offerings served as the vehicle for the people to enter the sacred presence. In fact, the Hebrew word for 'offering’ is ‘qorban’ which is derived from the word meaning to ‘draw near’. All the sacrifices are referred to as offerings for that reason. Again, they serve as the vehicle for Israel to draw near to God. It is amazing to me that within the Torah, God provided a way for individual Israelites as well as the nation to be able to approach God and experience His presence. The offerings described in this portion gave Israel an assurance of fellowship with God. In fact, sometimes the peace offering is referred to as a fellowship offering in which the animal being offered was shared between the priest and the offeror. God has always desired to be in the presence of His people. In the book of Hebrews, we read that Yeshua is our High Priest. He draws us into fellowship with God. He began His role as High Priest during His life. His sufferings and death were part of his role as High Priest. “Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted” (Hebrews 2:17–18). He was an offering for sin. Now at the right hand of the Father he continues forever as our High Priest. “Therefore, He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. For it was fitting for us to have such a High Priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for his own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself” (Hebrews 7:25–27). In both His sufferings and His exaltation, Yeshua is our High Priest. We function as a Messianic Priesthood when we suffer for the sake of Messiah, make intercession for others, and live a godly life (see Phil 3:8–11 and 1 Peter 2:1–10). What a privilege it is to serve as a royal priesthood under the headship of our High Priest Yeshua. May we always have confidence to enter into His presence with our prayers and all of our cares! Shabbat Shalom, Rabbi Howard

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