Does modern man and woman have any way to relate to the holy? Or is holiness, being close to G‑d, something which eludes us because the pace of life is too fast, or because we are too materialistic, or because we are living in a secular society, or because times have changed...

According to Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi (1745-1812; founder of Chabad Chassidism), we can learn something about this from a phrase at the beginning of our Parshah. Ostensibly, it is speaking about "a person who wishes to offer an offering to G‑d," in the sense of an animal offering — something which would appear to concern only the times of the Temple. However, it is well known that each word of the Torah has several levels of meaning. The Hebrew word for "offer" and "offering" (yakriv/korban) also means "draw near".

So Rabbi Shneur Zalman explains the text as saying "if a person wishes to draw near to G‑d..."

Well, what does it tell us about the person who wants to draw near to G‑d? How does he or she do it? As explained by Rabbi Shneur Zalman, the Hebrew text continues: you draw near by offering yourself to G‑d.

Offering yourself? What does that mean, something mystical?

As explained by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, offering yourself means that the person does not think solely about his or her own benefit, but gives of his or her time, energy, money, comfort in order to help someone else.

This is something which is comprehensible, even in our high-speed, materialistic age. A person needs you. You give of yourself, generously. You are helping someone, and you are also coming close to G‑d.

Or take another scenario. There is a problem in a relationship. You and another person at work; or you and someone else in the family. What do you do? You surrender something of yourself. Through this you gain in the goal of peace and unity. In addition, you personally are coming close to G‑d.

Through brief instances of self-surrender, we are able to partake of sacred moments — despite our modern age. It might even be suggested that our complex world gives us more opportunities for this than people had before, when life was simpler and less involved. There is much good to be done. The teaching of our parshah gives us a path to advance forward.