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Chaim Nachman Bialik


In recalling his childhood days in cheder, pioneer of modern Hebrew poetry Chaim Nachman Bialik remembered how Vayikra’s description of the sacrifices resonated with him:

And when I come to those places [in Vayikra] in which it speaks of the head and the diaphragm, stomach and feet rinsed in water, …the draining of the blood, the deep pot meal offering, pan, and etc. and etc. – right away come to mind my mother's kitchen on holiday eves. My mother and servant – girded with aprons and sleeves rolled to the elbow, equipped with rollers and rolling the dough on the board, stirring eggs in a bowl, pouring glistening oil into depressions in mounds of flour . . .

There is the sound of the pestle and mortar: "pound well, well pound."[1] A sweet, rejuvenating aroma of oven-baked goods and of meal offerings blended with oil and egg yolks enters my nose, and my ears hear the bubbling of the pancakes floating in their oil in pan and deep pot, the frying sound of the "fried" meal-offering and all sorts of cakes, broken into little pieces like noodles and made into small round pies and dumplings with raisins, saffron, and cinnamon. . .  

(From Bialik’s autobiographical account ספיח, Aftergrowth)

 [Trans. A. Weschler] 

Can you relate to the comparison that Bialik draws?

In what other way can korbanot/sacrifices resonate with us today?

In our course Vayikra (Leviticus): A Call to Holiness, we explore the etymology of the word Korban and the insights it provides on the purpose and intrinsic meaning of Biblical offerings. 


[1] Keritot 6b, describing the preparation of the spices in the Mishkan and Temple.

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