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Vayikra

Vayikra: Boundaries Will Truly Liberate You

G-d's limiting us protects us

Vayikra: Boundaries Will Truly Liberate You
A young man tells his family he’s disgusted with the rules his parents place on him. He tells them he feels choked from all his obligations and he’s leaving the house to feel free and happy. His parents try to convince him otherwise to no avail. He packed his bags and left. He decided to be free ‘so let’s go all the way’ he thought to himself and parked himself in the middle of the town park. It was lush with trees grass and flowers, the birds were chirping, the sun was shining, the grass was soft under him and he felt as free as a sparrow.

Evening came. He started to look through his belongings for a warm sweater. Much to his chagrin he forgot to bring warm clothing with him. The cold chilled him to his bones but he stubbornly decided that this is the price for freedom and stayed focused on his goal.

‘Mr. Free Young Man’ had a tough night in the park and at the crack of dawn he was crawling home bleary eyed. He fell straight into his mother’s arms. She accepted him back home with love and happiness. The young man suddenly discovered that in his narrowly confining house made with cement walls he felt truly free. In one moment he felt protected again. From that day onwards he was grateful for what he had and tried to stay within his life’s boundaries and limits.

Sometimes a Jew imagines that if he tries to serve G-d to the utmost and listen to G-d’s rules which curtail his activities it will be too difficult for him, too limiting. He imagines that if he can do whatever he wants he’ll have that freedom he so desires. But when he distances himself from his Father who wishes he would live in clear boundaries for his own benefit, he will feel like that boy in the park.

In The Book of Vayikra our loving Father in Heaven gives boundaries that are the most liberating in the world, to us his children. These are fortified walls that protect our lives and souls. Observing His exact laws is the only way to feel like we belong, are protected, and watched over. These laws work even when our intellect can’t fathom their depth.

So it’s true, most of us strayed from the path over and over again. But the greatest message our Torah potion tells us is: “You made a mistake? You thought freedom is liberating? You understood your mistake? So just come home and admit your mistake and the following verse applies to you: “The Cohen (Priest) will make atonement for him and he will be forgiven on one of any of the sins he was guilty of.”