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Bechukotai: We must appreciate our community Rabbis and Rebbetzens

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We must appreciate our community Rabbis and Rebbetzens.

This important message is presented to us close to the conclusion of the book of Vayikra in a passage in Parshat Bechukotai – a passage in which the theme is valuation.

The Torah tells us that in temple times, if one was to bring an offering and one wanted to place a value on the animal, one brought the animal before the Kohen, the Priest. And then the Torah says (Vayikra 27:12),

“K’erkecha hakohen, ken yihyeh.” – “According to the value that the Kohen will give you, so shall it be.”

The Sefer Menachem Zion puts the comma in a different place in this verse and it transforms the whole meaning of the verse. This is how he reads it: “Ke’erkecha, haKohen ken yihyeh.” – “According to your valuation, so shall the Kohen be.”

He explains that in post-temple times the Kohen is effectively the Rabbi, because our Rabbis and our Rebbetzens are our spiritual leaders and therefore ‘k’erkecha’ means, according to the value that the community places on their Rabbis and Rebbetzens – according to their level of appreciation of them, ‘haKohen ken yiheh’ – within that context our spiritual leaders can perform well.

There’s a message here for Rabbis and Rebbetzens: it’s all about kiddush Hashem. We need to strive always to achieve the sanctification of God’s name within our communities because so much depends upon the impression the Rabbi gives and upon reputation.

And at the same time, such an important message is given to all members of Jewish communities right across the globe: ‘k’erkecha’ – according to the valuation you give, according to the level of appreciation you have for the Rabbis and Rebbetzens who work tirelessly, full of devotion and commitment to their communities, ‘haKohen ken yihyeh’ within that environment of warmth and appreciation they’ll be able to deliver their best for the community, knowing that they have the confidence of the community all the way.

It’s of great significance that this message is given to us at the conclusion of Sefer Vayikra, a book which is the Torah’s manual all about the worship of God and those who lead us in that worship. So let’s never forget that we should always appreciate our Rabbis and our Rebbetzens.

Shabbat shalom.


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