The taste of Shabbat – Parshat Vayikra 5776
Rav Mordechai Elon
This week we open a new chumash and will begin to learn the laws of sacrifices
Said Rabbi Assi – Why do children start their Torah studies from the book of Vayikra and not from bereshit? Because children are pure, and sacrifices are pure – let the pure ones study pure things
Our chumash has many different names: Torat Kohanim, the Book of Holiness, Leviticus and others – but for us the name is Vayikra ("And he called"). The name of a chumash is usually the first, or one of the first, words – but it also says something about the content too. Bereshit, in the beginning, isn’t just the opening word, but it describes the content of the whole book – the creation. Shemot – names, are not just the names of those who went down to Egypt, but also the idea of redeeming the nation of slaves and giving them back their personal identities and names. We see that everyone is an individual with a name and purpose in life, and is able to make a place for G'd inside him.