By following the Jewish calendar reading cycle for one year, we have already made it to the third book of the Torah. Our first section, called Vayikra for “he called,” goes from Leviticus 1:1 to 5:26. No longer are we blazing through creation and early human history like in Genesis. We aren’t following the earth shaking signs and wonders of Exodus. We haven’t yet arrived to Numbers where the chosen people commence their march. Leviticus is the Torah’s pause, and I don’t mean a dramatic pause; it’s more like a prescriptive pause. The once continuous narrative has morphed into an instruction manual. However, unlike the manual that came with my Instapot, these instructions should not be thrown aside.

The theme of Leviticus, its beating heart, is the reach for holiness and purity by means of sacrifice.