Community Rabbi Corner, March 19, 2021

Rabbi Robert L. Wolkoff
Congregation B’nai Tikvah
North Brunswick, NJ
Parashat Vayikra

Once they asked Rabbi Mendel of Kosov why Mashiach had not yet come. He answered, “There is a verse (1 Samuel 20:27) that says, ‘Why did [David] the son of Jesse not come, neither yesterday nor today?’ What do we learn from this verse? That the reason the Mashiach, the son of David does not come is because today, we are no different from the way we were yesterday.”

Our parsha, Vayikra, is all about sacrifices, and in particular, the sacrifices we use to signify that we have changed. And change we must. The world is on a collision course with destiny, and unless we take some serious steps, the world and our Jewish people with it, will be in serious trouble.

Keeping it simple: If nothing changes, nothing changes. If we are the same tomorrow as we are today, Mashiach will not come. And when I say “we,” I mean “we”—we Jews. Our great burden, and our great privilege, is to devote ourselves to being witnesses to the Divine, to live in such a way that we can bring redemption to the world. That, my friends, is a big deal. It will require sacrifice, “korban.” But korban implies closeness and with every positive change we make, it brings us closer and closer to the day when the world will be transformed into the world Hashem meant it to be.

Be the change you want to see in the world.