Larry leads the Beth Ahm Yisrael minyan on Thursdays. Last week, he was not there, because he is a CPA, and tax season is upon us. Tax season for the CPAs in the United States is stressful, because there are hundreds, or thousands, of rules and regulations that govern people’s tax returns. And that brings to Vayikra.
Vayikra is entirely devoted to sacrifice. Burnt offerings. Meal offerings. Well-being offerings. Sin offerings. There was a whole panoply of offerings: bulls, sheep, goats, turtledoves or pigeons, choice flour, meal baked in an oven, meal on a griddle, or meal in a pan.
There was a bewildering system of rules that governs the sacrifices. There were directions of the compass, there were directions to arrange the parts of the animal, there were directions about what ingredients you could have included in a meal offering. (Not honey or leaven but salt was included in all offerings.)
There was smichah (laying on hands), and the sprinkling of the blood. And the priests had to be familiar with anatomy, so they could identify the kidneys and the liver. There were rules about the removal and the destruction of the carcass.
And Vayikra ends with monetary restitution, in various cases. I wonder that the people could keep the offerings straight and I wonder that the priests could keep rules straight.
The priests must have had a stressful job. They needed to keep all the rules straight, and besides that, they had to live knowing that a mistake could incur God’s wrath.
Larry was there today (Thursday), because the government extended the tax deadline to May 17. Larry’s job got a lot less stressful. The priests didn’t have the benefit of a deadline extension. They needed to their job every day, day after day, and they needed to do it right.