with commentary by Shira Schechter


Following the inspirational narrative of Sefer Bereishit (Genesis) and the exciting stories of Sefer Shemot (Exodus), it may appear at first glance that Sefer Vayikra (Leviticus) fails to live up to the standard set by its two dramatic predecessors. The name “Leviticus” comes from Levi, the father of the priestly tribe, and much of its 27 chapters are devoted to describing the priestly rituals in great detail. Since most of these practices are not observed today, some modern readers have difficulty in finding practical significance in Sefer Vayikra, and thus miss out on its eternal values.


To be sure, it is possible to get lost in all the nuances of the various rituals and offerings described in Sefer Vayikra, but it is imperative that the reader not lose sight of the big picture. As we study the intricate details of the offerings, we discover that their overarching purpose is to bring the people closer to Hashem through His earthly dwelling place, as it says, “Make for Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them” (Exodus 25:8). Sefer Vayikra’s intricate details are necessary for us to bring God’s presence into our lives in a very physical way, by serving Him in a very specific manner.


The Mishkan was a temporary edifice that paved the way for the Beit Hamikdash in Yerushalayim, which served as the permanent structure for worshipping the God of Israel. Today, even though we don’t have the Mishkan to uplift us or the Temple to pray in, Yerushalayim remains mankind’s special gateway between heaven and earth. Nowadays, our connection to Eretz Yisrael is still able to uplift our service to Hashem.


By delving deeper into the meaning behind the Torah’s ancient rituals and discovering their many fundamental truths, and by highlighting the role of Zion throughout the Book of Vayikra, it is our hope that The Israel Bible helps us fulfill the purpose of the Mishkan: to bring God’s presence into our lives.


May our study of The Israel Bible infuse us with sanctity as if we were bringing the offerings described in Sefer Vayikra, and prepare us for the day when the Beit Hamikdash is rebuilt in Yerushalayim and we are able to fully feel God’s presence in this world.

Shira Schechter

About Shira Schechter

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Shira graduated from Stern College with a BA in Judaic studies and received masters’ degrees in education and Bible from the Azrieli and the Bernard Revel graduate schools of Yeshiva University. Shira also studied at the Yeshiva University Graduate Program for women in Advanced Talmudic Studies, and was a teaching fellow at the Rabbi Soloveitchik Institute in Boston. Prior to making aliyah in 2013, Shira taught Bible to high school students at the Frisch School in Paramus, NJ. She now lives with her family in Ramat Beit Shemesh, Israel.

Email: shira@theisraelbible.com

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Comments ( 3 )

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  • Angela B

    Thank you for the commentary, Rabbi. Just to add; prayer, study, midrash, praise, charity (giving), and steadfastness (even in adversity), are some of the intricate details necessary today, to bring Yahweh’s presence into our lives.

  • SueJean Heinz

    Learning about the various sacrifices is definitely challenging. There are so many details that go into each sacrifice and that define what makes it an appropriate sacrifice. It’s easy to get bogged down in the details and lose sight of the goal.
    The desires of our heart when we study the Torah is to find Elohim in all of these words. As much as we long to know HIM and draw closer to HIM, the more the words seem to push us away. Each Torah cycle, I begin again with the hope that the veil will be removed from my eyes and I, too, will be able to see HIS glory for myself.

    • Herman Arentsen

      "to find Elohim in all of these words" these are your words. I think tje other way around might be more sucessful: to let yourself be found by Elohim. This will mean trust HIM, wait for HIM, and expect HIM to enter your heart, so that HaShem can lead you all the way.

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