Southern Jewish Life, Deep South, April 2022

Page 46

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rear pew mirror • doug brook

The Art of Sacrifice We have the wines to toast your Simchas! Israeli Wines and Kosher for Passover Wines

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In the weeks concluding March and starting April, Jews everywhere brace themselves for a major religious occurrence that happens around this time every year. Yes, it’s when the weekly Torah readings reach the book of Leviticus. As its English/Greekish name implies, Leviticus is largely about the Levites — a litany of laws, lots of which lay out the labors of these loyal lugs. Many people remember little about this book because what Leviticus brings in laws, it lacks in story. This third book of the Torah is about as related to Passover as the third book of Harry Potter. So, nearly several people have expressed that it would be more relevant for the Torah readings around Passover to instead be from the book of Exodus, for two reasons. First, the story of Passover is the story of the Exodus which is, by coincidence, recounted (not counted again) in the book of Exodus. Second, and more significantly, it’s also the time of year when ABC rebroadcasts “The Ten Commandments.” Ignore that this topical tie-in has prompted the Torah readings on most actual days of Passover to be from Exodus. (Especially because a small number aren’t.) Ignore that having the near-Passover Torah readings be from Exodus would save a lot of time and forearm aches from rerolling the Torah scrolls back and forth between Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, and Ringo. Ignore these things because, despite Exodus’s relevance to Passover, Leviticus has even more relevance to an even more significant religious event that comes every April: The start of baseball season. Why is this book more related to baseball than all other books? Because Leviticus and baseball both involve sacrifices. Leviticus delves into several kinds of sacrifices: Burnt offerings, meal offerings, sin offerings, guilt offerings, peace offerings and guilt offerings. (Jews have always been big on guilt.) As for baseball, while recent labor negotiaGenerally, tions could imply that nobody involved understands making sacrifices, the sacrifice is a sacrifices time-honored play in baseball — which will hopefully survive Major League Baseball smitin baseball ing the National League with the plague of the aren’t nearly Designated Hitter. While Leviticus and baseball both involve as messy… sacrifices, baseball involves sacrifices that are literally more deeply giving of oneself than any sacrifice mentioned in Leviticus. In Leviticus, people are told to bring sacrifices as offerings for when they feel guilt, when they want peace, when they’ve sinned, and when they think they might have sinned and aren’t really sure but they probably did something so bring an offering just in case. For example, according to Leviticus, one should bring a sin offering and a guilt offering for the transgression of being the league official who scheduled the opening games of the new USFL to coincide with the first days of Passover. (Go Stallions.) Of course, the sacrifices mentioned in the bible are symbolic gestures. They’re a symbolic chance for people to act on the intention behind the offering, such as making up for a sin or to do something about their own guilt. It’s not about the literal act — it’s not like the Big G has a constant craving for biblical barbecue. So, all the sacrifices in Leviticus involve a person giving an object as a continued on previous page


April 2022 • Southern Jewish Life

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