Leviticus, first portion

O holy Shabbes Inspiration Vayikra
Maqam Rast

C D E half-flat F

When You call me
speak louder than you did with Moses
I can’t hear the diminished alef

the sound of affection
that You used with him.

When you begin Vayikra [Lev.1:1]
And God called
you are calling with a silent and diminished
alef —

I am listening with everything I have
I am listening for the right word
the true story.

Let the pure come and occupy themselves
with the pure

so said the wondrous Rav Assi [Lev.R.7:3]
in the 3rd – 4th century
student of Rav Shmuel in Nehardea (Babylonia)
companion of Rav Ammi
what they talked about

Children are pure
and our offerings are pure
we want proximity
we want to be close
so we offer ourselves up.

There have been disagreements about our offerings
We are weaning ourselves away from the animals and the idols
and the high places
(Rambam, twelfth century)
We are coming close
our secret language of applied spirituality
( Ramban, thirteenth century)

Let the future forgive us
for knowing
when we brought our offerings
on these altars
with smoke and incense
burning flesh
oil mixed with meal

when we invited God to sit at our table
meet us in our holy place
before we became abstract,

let the future forgive us
for knowing
what we were doing.

jsg, usa