Sunday, July 6, 2014

Leviticus: Chapter 4

Between the inner and the outer

The All, and the individual

How do you atone

for a mis-take?

[For full chapter, click here
Again, a change of ambiance. For the first time since the "call", we speak of sin, atonement, blame, rather than simply "coming close". Yet there is a consistent comparison to the zevakh shelamim, the "peace offering" that created a join "eating" for the human and divine. The space of atonement is also a shared space of "God's commands" and humanity's "doing--asa." This space is animated by a tension between the collective and the individual It begins with the high priest, humanity's representative within the Dwelling; then then moves to the collectiveklal/all/ congregation. Only then do we speak of individuals--the king (who is not seen as standing in for the people in the same way that the priest does) and any "nefesh / soul from the people of the land." 
Paradoxically, the offerings of the collectives (the kohen, the people) are brought into the intimate space of the sanctuary, while the private offerings remain outside, in the courtyard. Yet it is only the individual offerings that create "the pleasing scent" of the earlier, voluntary offerings]

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