Special to Valley News
The week’s Torah reading, Parshat tzav from Leviticus 6:1-8:37, covers the many details required in the service of the tabernacle. From details of sacrificial procedures to mandates about priests wearing pants, it can all be found in this section of scripture.
Interestingly enough, the climax of this reading is the actual ordination of Aaron, who was Moses’ brother, and his sons. While Aaron and his sons had already been chosen to be priests, it is not until their official ordinations that they formally hold their roles.
“You shall not go outside the entrance of the tent of meeting for seven days, until the day that your period of ordination is completed. For your ordination will require seven days,” according to Leviticus 8:34.
The word “ordination” as it is understood today can be described as a process by which individuals are set apart and elevated to a role with the credibility and authorization to perform various religious rites and ceremonies.
Take another look at that word “ordination” in the original language of the Torah. The Hebrew text is “milu” which can mean two things. One is an installation for a special purpose or ordination, and second is the installation of a gemstone into a setting specially prepared for it. This word “milu” is actually used elsewhere in the Bible to describe the stones to be installed into the priest’s ephod and breastplate in Exodus 25:7.
Here are two different definitions from the Hebrew word “milu” that still fit Aaron and his sons’ situation in both a literal and a metaphorical way. Firstly, Aaron and his sons were being installed into the priesthood, literally. Secondly, Aaron and his sons needed to be metaphorically shaped, polished and installed into their settings to fulfill their role and purpose.
I enjoy watching videos online of dull, rough stones, which are seemingly nothing special, as they are polished and cut to reveal amazing and brilliant gems. I can’t help but relate this image to ourselves with our own experiences of being trained or prepared and installed into our own roles in life, utilizing our talents and strengths – fulfilling our purpose in life.
Each person already contains who they need to be, like a gemstone, with all the potential of being their most brilliant selves, but sometimes a person just needs that extra shaping, polishing and final “milu” or installation into their intended setting or life’s purpose to really shine.
Congregation B’nai Chaim is located at 29500 Via Princesa in Murrieta. For more information, visit www.bnaichaim.com or find them on Facebook.
Hefsiba Cohen is a student rabbi and co-principal of the Lamad Academy Religious School.