The Sacred Barbecue
Millions of Americans celebrated Independence Day last Saturday by enjoying a festive and delicious barbecue on July 4th. In our parashah, we read about the Divine command to bring forth a daily offering before the Almighty. The Torah describes this offering an “exquisite aroma” (Re’ach Nichoa’ch) to the Almighty. What’s going on here? Is the Torah telling us here that the Almighty relishes a good steak? Clearly, there is something deeper going on here than mere anthropomorphism (the allegorical attribution of human traits to the Infinite).
The idea is that each time we dedicate a portion of our day and busy schedules to stand before God in reverence and devotion, than this allegorically gives the Almighty “nahat” (Hebrew for spiritual pleasure), it is a spiritually delicious feast. The Infinite and the Eternal “rejoices” when man, a finite, fallible and ephemeral being, recognizes G-d’s pervasive presence and majesty.
The offering that the Torah discusses here is called “Tamid”, meaning “perpetual”. This daily and perpetual offering was brought forth every day in Temple times. Today it is symbolized by the “Ner Tamid”, the eternal light we have in our synagogues, usually right above the arc. The message is eternal and relevant for us today as well. In Ancient times, in an agrarian society we gave of our crops and animals. In the 21st century, in the age of Information Technology, we give of our time, a precious commodity in today’s world.
The economic infrastructure may have changed, but the spiritual superstructure and telos remain the same: to step out of our comfort zone, and to give something precious and distinct of ourselves, in order to concretize and express our impassioned commitment to serve God and bring redemption to our souls and world.
Rabbi Tal Sessler