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EXODUS 29:39 – OFFERING LAMBS

“Offer one lamb in the morning and the second lamb in the afternoon” (Exodus 29:39).

The Introduction to the Ein Yaakov compendium of Talmudic Aggadita (Midrash) cites a fascinating discussion about which verse best captures the essence of the entire Torah.

Rabbi Akiva puts forward the famous verse in Leviticus 18:19 – Love your neighbor as yourself. Ben Azzai maintains that a more inclusive verse is Genesis 5:1 – This is the book of the generations of Adam. On the day that G-d created man He made him in His image.

Ben Zoma claimed to have a more inclusive verse: Hear O Israel, Hashem is our G-d, Hashem is One (Deuteronomy 6:4).

Finally, Shimon ben Pazzi said that he found the most central verse: Offer one lamb in the morning and the second lamb in the afternoon (Exodus 29:39). Rabbi Ploni stood up and asserted that the correct view is the one held by Shimon ben Pazzi.

The importance of the first three verses is readily appreciated. Why did Shimon ben Pazzi focus on a verse describing the daily Temple offering, and why did R’ Ploni choose this as paramount above the others?

The Maharal of Prague explained that it is certainly important to give our ascent to noble spiritual truths. However, personal transformation will not come through making such declarations. It is only through consistent and continuous spiritual practice, day in and day out, that we can effect real change in ourselves.

By Rabbi Michael Skobac

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