Among our most sacred values is shalom, the Hebrew word for peace. But what does peace mean? Does it demand pacifism? Is it opposition to war at all costs? This issue arose in the 1930s in a dialogue between Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Buber. In an exchange of letters, Gandhi urged Jews in Germany to […]
In Judaism we have a ceremony called a Bar Mitzvah. For girls it is called Bat Mitzah.
It takes place around the time the child turns 13 years old. Their responsibility is to read a section from the Torah scroll.
The particular section they read depends on the time of year.
The most difficult sections to read come from the Book of Leviticus. What teenager wants to read read about animal entrails and fertile bulls?
But Leviticus has much to teach us. We may not sacrifice animals anymore, but we do make sacrifices. We sacrifice time, money, loyalty in the service of ideas, beliefs and commitments larger than ourselves.
Think of parents—they sacrifice time and resources for the sake of their children. Or coaches and teachers and pastors—they sacrifice for the sake of others every day.
The ancient Israelites made sacrifices because of their love of and commitment to the one God. Similarly, we love what we are willing to make sacrifices for.
In fact, one of the Hebrew words for sacrifice is korban. It also means closeness.
When we make sacrifices for one another, we grow closer. And when we make sacrifices for our faith and highest commitments, we grow closer to our best selves.
Some people have a negative reaction to the word sacrifice. It makes some feel a sense of loss.
Perhaps a better word is “investment.” We invest our time and resources in one another, in our communities, in our faith, and in ourselves.
Thank you for investing some of your time with me. And you can invest some of your time this weekend in learning ways to find more balance and clarity with your family.
The final four live online events with Ann and Mark Timm (the first two filled up within hours) happen this weekend and you can sign up here. Joining me one one of them is most certainly a worthwhile investment.