Parashat Shmini – Erev Shabbat 14 April 2023 (5783)
Week of 9-15 April 2023
Torah portion : Lev.9 :1-11 :47. Haftarah: 2 Sam. 6 :1-7 :17
Theme: God alone sufficeth
The command to “Take a calf of the herd for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering, without blemish, and bring them before God” Rashi has commented that it is to signify that: “the Lord granted him atonement by means of this calf for the incident of the golden calf which he had made.” Thus, hesitantly commenting with the text on its relation to the Gospel, but the semblance is inconceivable. Holy week has already ended, and Easter Sunday has been celebrated with great joy.
|We identify the phrase: ‘without blemish’. It alone signifies absoluteness, lacking in nothing, whole and complete, yet it is a humble ram, ox, and goat. The point being: does such an animal make it sufficient, complete; and can offering them, be sufficient enough to announce how merciful God is? Take for example the questions: who will procure the offerings, who has raised the animals, how can one be sure that the animals are without blemish? In identifying these questions one can make sure of the purity and perfection of the animals to be offered. For indeed it is written: “for you must distinguish between the sacred and the profane, and between the impure and the pure” as well as – it does leave another question – is it enough to announce how good God is? The generosity of a man to offer the best portion of his belongings to the LORD, like the offering of the just Abel sufficed here. There is no question that his offering was worth it, but it cannot equate with the mercy and generosity of God. One must also remember the injustice of man’s heart while offering his portion against his will, adding insurmountable injustice to the mercy and generosity of the Lord. To undo or to satisfy the injustice that humanity had done, the Lord procured for us an answer himself. He decided that he himself would be the sacrifice, for he lacks in nothing and as for the announcement he will do it himself, for his status is enough to be heard by all. It equates with the mercy and generosity that they have done themselves. Who among human beings can surpass that offering and purity, surely no one except the LORD alone. For they are one and they alone suffice.
Another leaf of offering is it invokes blessings and thus the midrash speaks about it as: “It is not honorable for Me, that I should be obliged to bless My creatures. Rather take note! I am handing over the blessings to Abraham and to his seed, so that for all to whom they issue a blessing, I am placing my seal upon [those blessings].” This significantly portrays the trust of God in humanity from time immemorial So it does in our times: for Christ leaves a treasure that surpasses nothing out of his divine trust in and hope for us. Out of his love, trust and hope in us, he did not hesitate to become like us
For Reflection and Discussion: 1. Do I trust my brethren as my Lord trusts me? Do I offer a portion of myself or a portion of my possessions as a form of gratitude to the Lord who bestowed upon me innumerable blessings?
Bibliography: The Catholic Study Bible 3rd ed. New American Bible Rev. Ed. (2016) oxford University Press
This week’s Parasha Commentary was prepared by
Jefferson Philip Jacob Reyes, France, Bat Kol Alumnus: 2018