Draw Close to God by GivingMarch 7, 2022 - 12:00 am
“Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When anyone among you brings an offering to the LORD, bring as your offering an animal from either the herd or the flock.’” — Leviticus 1:2
Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. This week’s Torah portion is Vayikra, which means “and He called,” from Leviticus 1:1–5:26.
What makes you feel close to God? For many people, feeling close to God happens at major moments in life, such as the birth of a child or the death of a loved one. In a survey I recently read many people said that they feel close to God when they experience the wonders of nature. Personally, I feel close to God when I speak to him every day in prayer. The truth is, the more we are aware of God, the closer to Him we feel in so many experiences throughout the day.
But what can we do to be closer to God? To answer that we need to ask a different question. What does it mean to be close to God? Is it just a feeling I have? The Bible tells us to “cleave” or “hold fast” to God (Deuteronomy 10:20, 11:22).
The Jewish sages in the Talmud taught that the way to attach ourselves to God, or hold fast to Him, is to do as He does. Specifically, they taught that just as He clothes the naked, so must we. Just as He heals the sick, so must we care for them. Just as God cares for the widow and the orphan, so must we. In other words, we draw close to God by giving to others.
Draw Close to God by Giving
In this week’s Torah portion, the Bible introduces the concept of sacrificial offerings. The Hebrew word for a sacrificial offering is korban. The word korban is from the root krv, which means close or near. In the Hebrew language, the word korban actually means “that which draws near.” In fact, when the Bible refers to someone who “brings an offering to the LORD,” the word for “brings” is yakriv or “draws near,” from the same root, krv.
The Hebrew meaning of these words teaches us a powerful lesson about our relationship with God. We draw near to Him through our offerings, through our sacrifice. By giving of ourselves, we draw closer to Him.
Your turn: How can you draw closer to God today by giving to others? One way is by giving to our sacred work!