This week’s Torah portion covers Leviticus 6:1 to 8:36. Like last week, the text expounds on how priests are to present the sacrifices in the Tabernacle. Details include how they are to dispose of the ashes, eat the meal offerings, and maintain the eternal fire. The latter half of the portion describes the consecration ceremony for Aaron and his sons as they begin their Tabernacle service. First, Moses had them bath and issued them their ritual vestments. As part of the ceremony, a bull was sacrificed as a sin offering, a ram was slaughtered as a burnt offering, and another ram was sacrificed as part of their ordination. Each time, Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the animal before it was slaughtered and each time the blood was sprinkled on the base of the altar. Upon the last ram, Moses took some of the blood and placed it on the ear, thumb, and toes of the priests, all on their right-hand side. After their initiation, Moses instructs the priests to stay outside the Tabernacle entrance for the next seven days. And that is where the portion ends.

Reading Leviticus in a vacuum, there is no hint or foreshadowing that there will come a day when Jews no longer can follow the divine instructions for sacrificial worship or when the priesthood no longer has a sanctuary to service. And yet the Jewish people have now lived longer without a sanctuary than they lived with one. What is the secret?