Be Yourself!March 6, 2014 - 5:00 am
Every grain offering you bring to the LORD must be made without yeast, for you are not to burn any yeast or honey in a food offering presented to the LORD. You may bring them to the LORD as an offering of the first fruits, but they are not to be offered on the altar as a pleasing aroma. Season all your grain offerings with salt. Do not leave the salt of the covenant of your God out of your grain offerings; add salt to all your offerings. — Leviticus 2:11–13
The Torah portion for this week is Vayikra, which means “and He called,” from Leviticus 1:1–5:26, and the Haftorah is from Isaiah 43:21–44:23.
A renowned rabbi once said, “If I am I because I am I, and you are you because you are you, then I am I and you are you. But if I am I because you are you and you are you because I am I, then I am not I and you are not you.”
Or put more simply, be yourself!
But why? Why is it so important that we are ourselves and not an imitation of someone else?
The reason is because if God chose to create us in the first place, it’s because He thinks that we are a good idea. God wants us to exist, so if we try to be someone else, we are not fulfilling the purpose of our creation. God wants us to be us.
In this week’s Torah reading, we find many different laws relating to offering sacrifices in the Tabernacle and then in the Holy Temple. Now, while we no longer bring animal sacrifices to God, we can understand the sacrificial system as a form of worship and relate to the laws on that level. The Hebrew word for sacrifice is korbon, which is related to the word karov, meaning “close.” The act of bringing a sacrifice was a way to become close to God — something that we can strive toward even today.
In these verses we read about the following law regarding sacrifices: “you are not to burn any . . . honey in a food offering presented to the LORD . . . Season all your grain offerings with salt.” We are not allowed to add honey to our offerings, and we are required to add salt. Why?
The Sages explain the symbolism of honey and salt in this particular context. Honey is something that is added to food in order to change its flavour – to make it sweeter. Salt, on the other hand, is not meant to change the flavour of a dish; rather it is a seasoning that enhances the flavour already existing in the food. While honey changes the taste, salt makes the taste stronger. Therefore, honey symbolizes trying to change who we are while salt represents making who we are even better.
Today, we offer ourselves to God through service. We dedicate our lives to serving and working for God’s purposes. However, God doesn’t want us to deny who we are at our core (hold the honey); He wants us to magnify the unique talents and abilities that He gave to us (add the salt) and use them in service to Him.
What makes you unique? What talents and treasures has God instilled within you? Identify those things and develop them as best as you can. Then designate them for God’s purposes and offer yourself to Him.