|Prayer Skills-Targum shel Yonoson-Vayikro-Blood, Flowers and Diamonds|
|Written by Rabbi Jonathan Ziskind|
There are many ways we express ourselves; the most obvious is through speech. If we want to express our love, disappointment or our anger to someone we simply tell them, “I’m angry with you”, or “I love you” etc. But there are other ways. Some people are more physical than verbal. If they want to convey friendship it might be through a friendly hug, a slap on the back or a punch in the arm. The one receiving the punch might interpret the physical contact as physical abuse rather than the intended act of friendship. This is because they don’t share the same primary self-expression.
Body language is another form of self-expression. We are continuously sending out messages to those around us through our facial expressions and our posture. We can convey happiness, displeasure, surprise and a whole host of emotions with a mere twitch of a few facial muscles.
When it comes to sholom bayis (marital harmony) it is essential that a couple learn to understand each other and the way each of them communicates. It takes time for a young couple to decipher the self-expression of their spouse. Each one needs to learn the primary language of the other. She might like to hear words of affection and appreciation while he expresses himself with acts of service. If, for instance, a husband gets to know how his wife communicates and expresses herself, the benefit is twofold. Firstly, he will understand her better, he will know how to read and interpret her expressions as she intended them. How many conflicts have erupted in vain just because of a misunderstanding? Secondly, he will be able to communicate in her language, thus making himself understood better.
Another way we express ourselves is in the form of giving gifts. To express gratitude, love or affection we give gifts. There are two aspects in gift giving; one is the content of the gift and the other is the intention with which the gift is given, the message implied by the gift. The second is of much more importance.
Diamonds and jewellery are important to women. A husband who can afford it will buy them for his wife to express his love and appreciation. But even a very wealthy individual will buy flowers for his wife. Why is that? How much does a flower cost? If he can afford a diamond worth half a million dollars why would he buy his wife flowers? And why would she appreciate them?
As we said before, when giving a present, it’s not merely the item that is given, it’s what lies behind it. Diamonds, however expensive they are, are dead. Flowers, apart from their natural colors and beauty, are alive and grow. With flowers, a husband expresses to his wife that their relationship is alive and growing. Flowers need to be cared for and they blossom symbolizing that they too care for each other and blossom.
In Parshas Vayikro we are introduced to the concept of korbonos (sacrifices). A Jew brings an animal to the Mishkan (Tabernacle) where it is offered up on the mizbeiach (altar). This animal is a gift to Hashem, it is a way to express our love and our gratitude to Him. Really it is ourselves we should be giving to Hashem but we bring an animal in our place. Now, the most important part of the sacrificial procedure is the throwing of the blood of the animal onto the mizbeiach. The blood contains the life force as the posuk says “ki nefesh habosor bedom hi”, for the soul is in the blood. Instead of our own blood we take the blood of an animal and we place it on the altar of Hashem. The message behind this gift of blood is, “Hashem, I’m ready to give You my blood, I’m ready to give You my soul.”
The past few Parshiyos have been discussing the donations to and the construction of the Mishkan. Over and over again the pesukim (verses) relate that those who wanted to donate gave with their heart (nediv lev). It was important to give with the right intention; with feeling, with devotion, with the heart.
Up until now we were concerned with the donating of inanimate objects. Gold, silver, copper and materials, expensive as they are, they are not alive. Now, we take it a stage further- the service within the Mishkan. Not just giving with the heart but giving the heart itself. When we sprinkle the blood on the mizbeiach we are expressing our readiness to give our own blood, our soul.
Learning about the korbonos arouses us to commit our lifestyle to Torah values and fulfilling the will of Hashem.
As we know, prayer is in place of the korbonos. Instead of entering the Beis Hamikdosh and bringing a sacrifice, we enter a synagogue and we pray. Just like the korbonos, prayer must be an exercise of commitment and giving to Hashem. When we stand in prayer we realize to whom we are praying, and we express our commitment to Him. All the good things we want in life that we ask from Hashem is only so that we may give them back to him in the service of Hashem.
iPray-iThank-Morning Blessings-Korbanot: I suggest that we focus on this aspect of our prayers as Offerings, active giving of life, passion and commitment, when we recite the Korbanot each morning.