He called to Moses!
He speaks in a Voice… audible… but scarcely so.
“What’s this? Was it my imagination? Do I really hear a voice speaking to me?” Moses thinks to himself.
The Voice, above all voices, commences an unpretentious moment, one when Yehovah renews His struggle to have intimacy with mankind. Intimacy that was lost in the Garden. Intimacy only a few chosen souls since Adam have enjoyed. “He called to Moses” or in Hebrew, “He called to Moshe.” What Moshe’s ears hear is the Voice dictating relevant details, thought to be implemented only by priests, but to whom is the voice really speaking?
Today’s people of God testify to hearing the voice of God or claim to experience the spirit leading them, but is what they hear, or the intensity of their leading, enough to do what Moshe did? Was his encounter so different from ours? Would such a voice from nowhere, speaking only to you, empower you to be more than you are now?
Leviticus 1 tells us that that day, Moshe hears the Voice share an abundance of details. Details we often seek for ourselves in our closet prayers.
We know that the testimony of Israel begins in Exodus and concludes with the institution of the Tabernacle. There Moshe discovers that Yehovah’s presence (His “glory,” as Exodus calls it) satiates the Tabernacle and Moshe cannot enter. In obeying Yehovah, Israel has created a consecrated and sanctified place (a Tabernacle) for Yehovah, here on Earth. Is this the end of the story? No?
What most consider to be primarily liturgical specifics for the Tabernacle service, rather Leviticus births the universe of Tabernacle service…relationship!
Now, on this stage, it is Yehovah’s turn to once again create. Within the Exodus Tabernacle, a space for man is created. Only Yehovah can do this. There He clears His glory (pulls back the veil), just enough to create this opening for man. By entering there, man gets back to Eden. In essence, in Leviticus, Yehovah is saying, “You let Me be in your personal space, now I will let you be in Mine.” And thus the world of the Tabernacle, which would become the Holy Temple, comes to life. It is a place for man and Yehovah.
There, in that space, the accoutrements of priestly service become more than they first seem to be to the casual observer. Leviticus teaches Moshe, and all of humanity who might bother to venture there, the chance to encounter Yehovah. Yitzchak Reuven of The Temple Institute, in Israel, tells us, “The acts of service explained to Moshe, in a silent voice, are “the language of the korbanot, translated simply as ‘offering(s),’ but literally meaning, the ‘coming closer(s).’”
He explains that Leviticus is the description of korbanot and it is the primer of a new language. The language of the korbanot is wordless, non-verbal. It is in a form impossible for the natural mind of man to comprehend. Seizing the moment to come closer to Yehovah involves a language that cannot be described in words, and doesn’t need to be described in words. “It is a language of experiencing, of being one thing one moment, and then something so much finer the next.”
The forceful silence of this language is “the internal choreography of the korbanot. It is accompanied by a sound track that includes the lowing of the cows, the baaing of the lambs and the bleating of the goats.
“It is a soundscape that includes the many-pieced orchestral accompaniment of the Levites and their pure song of the holy psalms which can be heard over the roar of the altar fire. But all that is a white noise, a beautiful, holy sound tapestry that blocks out the noise and din of the outside world. It, thus, enables the truly silent [man-Yehovah] dialogue to unfold, undisturbed, by the ego-dross that mars our daily lives, rendering us deaf to G-d’s never-ending silent call to draw near to Him.
“The silent language of the korbanot…is able to express joy and sadness, contrition and repentance, gratitude and thankfulness, humility and surrender. Each type of offering described in Leviticus reveals a different facet in the life experience of man. A different non-verbal means to convey man’s [need] to be near to [Yehovah] for all of life’s moments: the highs and the lows, the moments of pain and loss and the moments of sublime grandeur and exaltation.
“There is nothing more beautifully expressive of our hopes and fears, our dreams and aspirations, our tireless ability to pick ourselves up and our endless longing for closeness to [Yehovah], than prayer. When [Yehovah] spoke to Israel at Sinai, He needed to shout from the mountaintop, as it were, to make His voice heard. This was man’s world, and [Yehovah] was still a stranger in the very world He created. When Israel built the Tabernacle they created a place for [Yehovah’s] presence to be overwhelmingly manifest in man’s world. [Yehovah] no longer needed to shout to be heard, nor does man.
“The modern day revival of the ancient spoken Hebrew language…the language of the prophets, which for long centuries had been confined to scholarly books and weighty tomes, is rightfully considered to be a miraculous expression of the prophetic ingathering of Israel: her return to her land, her liberty and her place in history. The resuscitation of the beyond-verbal and above-audible language of the korbanot – the Divine service of the Holy Temple – will return Israel and all humanity to a place where [Yehovah] calls out and man draws near, a ‘house of prayer for all nations’ where each nation speaks the language of korbanot, universally understood by [Yehovah] and man.”
Much of the above material is excerpted (edited for readability) from a posting of The Temple Institute, written by Yitzchak Reuven, in Israel. Adar II 8, 5776/March 18, 2016. We offer it to bless all God’s people.
Be Blessed and Highly Favored,