Thought for Shabbat
The end of this week’s Torah portion, Pinchas, outlines the offerings to brought to the Tabernacle and later to the Temple. It begins with the daily offerings, the weekly Shabbat offerings, and is then followed by the various festivals.
It is noteworthy that there was an offering presented by the priests every morning and every afternoon. Sacrifices were seen by the ancients as a way to connect with God; during a sacrifice, the boundary between life and death was crossed and that mysterious and powerful act was thought to bring God’s presence nearer. The Torah legislates that this does not happen only at special occasions or even just weekly, but rather every single day.
As a personal trainer, I can relate to this. In ancient times, the goal of sacrifice was to draw near to God. This could not be done in a haphazard way; it had to be done on a regular basis if there was any hope of achieving this aim. The same is true for almost any goal we set for ourselves. Whether in business, education or physical fitness, we need a regular program to help us get where we want to be.
I tell my clients that it is good that they see me on a (mostly) regular basis, but once or twice weekly may not be enough to lose the weight, tone up, build strength and endurance, etc. The effort needs to be daily, lest we miss a day…and another…and another.
Parashat Pinchas reminds us that this approach is valid not just in our earthly pursuits, but in our quest for the Divine as well.