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[Dvar Torah] Vayikra & Purim

This week’s parsha is Parshat Vayikra. In Parshat Vayikra, G-d tells Moses about the laws of the korbanot, the animal and meal offerings that are brought into the Sanctuary. This weekend is also the holiday of Purim. Purim is the celebration of the Jewish people being saved in Persia from Haman. During this celebration we dress up in fun costumes, eat a feast, donate to charity, and give gift baskets to others.

In addition to both bringing donations/offerings, there is a deeper commonality regarding the central characters in the Parsha and Purim. Just as Aharon served as the inaugural Kohen Gadol to bring the korbanot, Esther selflessly took on the dangerous role of advocate and saviour of her people. Both showed tremendous courage and commitment in being the ones to initiate these crucial acts of spiritual leadership during times of danger and uncertainty for the Israelites.

The sages teach that when Hashem first told Moshe about appointing Aharon as Kohen Gadol, Aharon tried to defer, saying "I am not worthy for this honored position." He recognized the immense spiritual weight which would rest on his shoulders as initiator and leader of the korbanot service. Similarly, when Mordechai first came to inform Esther of Haman's dastardly decree, our Megillah recounts how Esther requested to fast for three days before agreeing to intervene with Achashverosh: she grasped the life-threatening risks involved in confronting the evil minister.

And yet, despite their initial reluctance, both Aharon and Esther ultimately accepted the missions Hashem entrusted them with - Aharon beginning the Mishkan service and Esther courageously petitioning the king on behalf of her people. Through pure divine inspiration and assistance, they undertook roles of tremendous historical consequence and self-sacrifice.

On Purim, we celebrate how Esther and Mordechai's inspiring leadership saved us from annihilation. And in this week's parsha, we find Aharon starting the work that would guide the Israelites for generations. Both teach that when Hashem calls upon us, we must rise above any doubts or fears to fulfill our sacred tasks.

Taking this to heart, we must not back down from work or tasks given to us. We must face the challenges with a level head and determination to succeed in every aspect of our lives. 

Shabbat Shalom,

Jack, Grade 11