Dear Readers,

Some days are great. Life seems to be smiling at us. The more we accomplish the more energized we become. Outside, the sun is shining, just as brilliantly as our inner sun. The world feels stable and at peace.

But many days are not like that. We feel ill at ease with our life and there seems to be a perpetual cloud over our home. We can’t find our equilibrium, nor can we find solutions to our inner confusion. The world feels like a place of chaos and strife.

For the last many days, as Ukraine descended into a humanitarian nightmare our eyes have been glued to the news. As the war rages, we watch people being displaced from their homes, and refugees, including young children, students and orphans fleeing to safety. We listen to the sounds of gunfire and missiles, and how terrified Jewish residents shelter below ground. As the fighting intensifies, we pray for the safety of our brothers and sisters and all those affected.

This week’s Torah portion, Vayikra begins with G‑d calling Moses:

And G‑d called to Moses; and G‑d spoke to him out of the Tent of Meeting, saying: Speak to the children of Israel and say to them: A man who shall bring of you an offering to G‑d …

The book of Leviticus teaches the laws of sacrifices. Interestingly, the last letter of the first word in this book—Vayikra, G‑d’s call to Moses—is written with an unusually small aleph. What does it hint to us?

There are all kinds of “offerings” we can give to G‑d: our energy and talents, our dispositions and thoughts, our words and deeds. These all create a kinder home for G‑d in this world.

When the world is smiling at us, when we are feeling “big” and productive, it can be easier to feel connected to G‑d. But what about those times when the world is in chaos and we don’t feel G‑d’s comforting hug? How do we maintain our connection—finding our “offering”—even during the turmoil? How do we tap into our innate faith that G‑d is watching over us?

Perhaps that’s when we most need to remember: Vayikra, G‑d is calling to us, even in these moments of smallness and loneliness, inviting us to bring our offering and to come close.

The holiday of Purim is right around the corner. At that time, a terrible decree was held over our heads, to kill every Jewish man, woman and child. Yet, despite the paralyzing fear, the Jewish people invigorated themselves with faith and prayers. G‑d reciprocated by miraculously turning events upside down, and bringing about their salvation.

As the world trembles with disorder, let’s remember, Vayikra, G‑d is calling to each one of us. Let’s respond with words of Torah and prayer, and acts of charity. Let’s light Shabbat candles this Friday before sunset, to bring more light to our world, and finally usher in peace, salvation, and Redemption for all mankind.

Chana Weisberg,

Editor, TJW