Our biblical portion opens with the exalting and exultant ceremonies of the consecration of the desert Sanctuary, closely followed by a description of the tragic death of Aaron’s two eldest sons. These events lead to a fascinating halachic discussion between Moses and Aaron that has important ramifications for our religious attitudes today.
Would you rather be a martyr, a hero, or a builder? Each of these, says anthropologist Mary Douglas, corresponds to a different kind of society. Each creates a different prism through which to view the world.
“And God called to Moses, and spoke to him out of the Tent of Meeting, saying: ‘Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When any man of you brings an offering to God, you shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd or of the flock’” [Leviticus 1:1-2].