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Friday, Tammuz 23, 5782 / July 22, 2022


This week’s Parsha, in the diaspora, is Pinchas. The second half of the Parsha is about the various sacrifices which G-d commanded to be brought in the Holy Temple each day, Shabbat and on each of the holidays. Excerpts from this Parsha are read during the year, more than from any Parsha in the Torah. 


Parts of this Parsha are read on the three festive holidays, on Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and every Rosh Chodesh, concerning the sacrifices of that particular holiday.


Q.  The Shabbat sacrifice is also mentioned in the Parsha. Why don’t we read that portion on each Shabbat?


A.  The minimum we must read in order to qualify for someone to be called to the Torah needs to be at least three verses.  Because the passage in the Parsha which speaks about the Shabbat Sacrifice is mentioned in only two verses, no special reading was set.


Q.   What was special about the sacrifices in the Temple?


A.  The Torah commands that a fire burn on the altar at all times.  When a sacrifice was brought upon the altar to be burnt, in addition to the fire which the Kohanim (priests) lit on the altar, a G-dly fire would descend from heaven and consume the sacrifice. One could visibly see this great miracle.  The sacrifices connected the physical and the spiritual and brought spirituality down here in the physical. They were a visible sign that when a Jew performs a mitzvah he or she becomes connected with G-d. This connection was only visible in the Temple with the offering of the sacrifices


The Hebrew word for sacrifice is Korban, which comes from the word Karov – to become close.  This was accomplished only in the Temple, where miracles were open and visible. When the sacrifice was brought on the altar everyone was able to see the connection between the physical fire and the spiritual fire from above. After the destruction of the Temple this connection cannot be accomplished, thus sacrifices are prohibited. 


Q.    Is there anything today that replaces sacrifices?


A.    Prayer.  The Talmudic sages say, “Prayers were established in place of sacrifices.” The three daily prayers were established, after the destruction of the Temple, instead of the sacrifices.  The Hebrew word for prayer, Tefilah, can be translated as “connection.”  Just like the sacrifices in the Holy Temple, so too, through our prayers we connect with G-d.


This Shabbat we bless the new Hebrew month, AV. Rosh Chodesh will be Thurs. night & Fri.




Montreal candle lighting time: 8:15 / Shabbat ends: 9:27