When the cantor repeats the Amidah, there is one prayer the congregation must say for itself — the Modim, the prayer of thanksgiving. One statement in the Talmud teaches that in the time of the Messiah, all the sacrifices will be abolished save one — the sacrifice of thanksgiving. Even in the perfect age, there will be a need to offer thanks.
David Wolpe |
Special To The Jewish Week |
The first mention of love in the Torah occurs in Genesis 22 when God tells Abraham to offer up Isaac, “whom you love.”
Why should The Torah choose this improbable moment to mention love for the first time? For a moment let us set aside all the other questions involved in the very difficult story to ponder why love is introduced here.
“All kinds of wood from all kinds of trees may be used to build the fire on the altar, except for the wood of the olive tree and the vine, because olive oil and wine are used in the sacrificial service. Hence, the fruit have saved the trees.” (Pesikta Zutra, Lev. 4b).
Although the Talmud gives additional reasons for not using these two woods, Rabbi Norman Lamm uses this midrashic text to teach a beautiful lesson. First, there is the tenderness of reckoning the wine and oil so beneficial as to preserve their source from the fire of the altar.