Passionate Prayer

Judaism provides the framework for serving God; it is up to us to provide the heart and soul

Reprinted by permission from the website of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.

Demonstrating uncompromising devotion to God is the theme of this week's

parashah

[Torah portion], Re'eh. Such devotion is expressed through belief, but more importantly, through

avodah

, meaningful service to God. For the biblical Israelite, service to God meant loyalty to God's commandments and participation in the sacrificial cult.



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For Deuteronomy, avodah referred specifically to offering sacrifices to God at a central place of worship: "Look only to the site that the Lord your God will choose amidst all your tribes as His habitation, to establish His name there. There you are to go, and there you are to bring your burnt offerings and other sacrifices. " (Deuteronomy 12:5-6).

The theme of avodah, sacred service or worship, infuses the following chapter, where we are repeatedly told not to serve other gods but rather to remain steadfast in our service to God.

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