Speaking at Williams
Six years of Williams College feminist haggadot

This week's portion: Priestly ordination

This week's Torah portion, Tsav, contains a fascinating report about the ordination of Aaron and his sons, done by Moses in the presence of the entire community. It involves the sacrifice of three animals, some fascinating usage of the root סמכ (meaning to lean or rest upon; today it also means to ordain), and a solemnly macabre moment when Moses paints the new priests with blood in three places on their bodies. That's what I chose to focus on in this week's d'var at Radical Torah:

I imagine it was still warm when Moses painted it on. According to God’s instructions he anointed each man with blood in three places: the ridge of his right ear, his right thumb, and his right big toe. Why these three places? What can we learn from this esoteric ritual that speaks to our lives?

The ear was marked because it is a place where the outside world enters human consciousness. Once they were “earmarked” in this way, each new priest would hear things differently; perhaps only holy sounds now would enter, or the sounds that entered would become consecrated in a new way...

Read the whole thing here: Priestly ordination: hearing, doing, walking. Enjoy!

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