The New Shul

Parshat Vayikra/Shabbat Zakhor

This week’s parashah, Vayikra, begins: “YHWH called to Moshe and spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting.” Usually, according to the Torah, God simply spoke to Moshe. Why, in this case, did God call to him first?

According to Midrash Tanhuma, God had to call to Moshe because Moshe was standing too far from the Tent to hear what God wanted to say. Because “YHWH’s presence filled the Tent,” Moshe felt that there was no room for him inside, and was standing at a distance. God had to call to Moshe to let him know that he was needed.

When we feel lost and unsure of our place in the world, our greatest need is to know that we are needed, to hear the call that is addressed specifically to us. In hearing and responding to the call of those around us (and within that call the whispered call of God), we find our deepest dignity as human beings. We learn that we belong in God’s world.

May we be blessed to know that our deeds and our words matter. And may we bless others by letting them know how much they matter to us.