The first portion of the book of Vayikra/Leviticus is Vayikra, which means “He Called.” This is the 24th Torah Portion.
Torah: Leviticus 1:1 – 5:26 (6:7)
Haftarah: Isaiah 43:21 – 44:23
Apostolic: Hebrews 9:23 – 10:1
You can read or listen to the portions below:
Isaiah 43:21 – 44:23
the people I formed for myself,
so that they would proclaim my praise.
But you haven’t called on me, Ya‘akov;
because you have grown weary of me, Isra’el.
You have not brought me sheep for your burnt offerings,
you have not honored me with your sacrifices.
I didn’t burden you by requiring grain offerings.
or weary you by demanding frankincense.
You have not spent money to buy me sweet cane
or filled me with the fat of your sacrifices.
Instead, you have burdened me with your sins
and wearied me with your crimes.
I, yes I, am the one who blots out
your offenses for my own sake;
I will not remember your sins.
Remind me when we’re in court together —
tell your side, make the case that you are right.
Your first father sinned,
and your spokesmen rebelled against me.
Therefore I repudiated the officials of the sanctuary,
delivered Ya‘akov to the curse of destruction,
and subjected Isra’el to scorn.
“Now listen, Ya‘akov my servant,
Isra’el whom I have chosen:
Thus says HaShem, who made you,
formed you in the womb, and will help you:
Don’t be afraid, Ya‘akov my servant,
Yeshurun, whom I have chosen.
For I will pour water on the thirsty land
and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour my Spirit on your descendants,
my blessing on your offspring.
They will spring up among the grass
like willows on the riverbanks.
One will say, ‘I belong to HaShem.’
Another will be called by the name of Ya‘akov.
Yet another will write that he belongs to HaShem.
and adopt the surname Isra’el.”
Thus says HaShem, Isra’el’s King
and Redeemer, HaShem-Tzva’ot:
“I am the first, and I am the last;
besides me there is no G-d.
Who is like me? Let him speak out!
Let him show me clearly what has been happening
since I set up the eternal people;
let him foretell future signs and events.
Don’t be frightened, don’t be afraid —
Didn’t I tell you this long ago?
I foretold it, and you are my witnesses.
Is there any G-d besides me?
There is no other Rock — I know of none.”
All idol-makers amount to nothing;
their precious productions profit no one;
and their witnesses, to their own shame,
neither see nor understand.
Who would fashion a god or cast an image
that profits no one anything?
All involved will be ashamed,
but more than anyone else, the people who made them.
Let them all be assembled, let them stand up;
let them fear and be shamed together.
A blacksmith makes a tool over burning coals;
with his strong arm he shapes it with hammers.
But when he gets hungry, his strength fails;
if he doesn’t drink water, he grows tired.
A carpenter takes his measurements,
sketches the shape with a stylus,
planes the wood, checks it with calipers,
and carves it into the shape of a man;
and, since it is honored like a man,
of course it has to live in a house.
He goes to chop down cedars;
he takes an evergreen and an oak;
he especially tends one tree in the forest,
plants a pine for the rain to nourish.
In time, when it’s ready for use as fuel,
he takes some of it to keep himself warm
and burns some more to bake bread.
Then he makes a god and worships it,
carves it into an idol and falls down before it.
So half of it he burns in the fire;
with that half he roasts meat and eats his fill;
he warms himself; says, “It feels so good,
getting warm while watching the flames!”
With the rest of the log he fashions a god,
a carved image, then falls down before it;
he worships it and prays to it.
“Save me,” he says, “for you are my god!”
Such people know nothing, understand nothing.
Their eyes are sealed shut, so that they can’t see;
their hearts too, so they can’t understand.
Not one thinks to himself or has the knowledge
or the discernment to say,
“I burned half of it in the fire,
baked bread on its coals, roasted meat and ate it.
Should I now make the rest an abomination?
Should I prostrate myself to a tree trunk?”
He is relying on ashes!
A deceived heart has led him astray;
so that now he won’t save himself, just won’t say,
“This thing in my hand is a fraud!”
“Keep these matters in mind, Ya‘akov,
for you, Isra’el, are my servant.
I formed you, you are my own servant;
Isra’el, don’t forget me.
Like a thick cloud, I wipe away your offenses;
like a cloud, your sins.
Come back to me, for I have redeemed you.”
Sing, you heavens, for HaShem has done it!
Shout, you depths of the earth!
Mountains, break out into song,
along with every tree in the forest!
For HaShem has redeemed Ya‘akov;
he glorifies himself in Isra’el.
Hebrews 9:23 – 10:1
Now this is how the copies of the heavenly things had to be purified, but the heavenly things themselves require better sacrifices than these. For the Messiah has entered a Holiest Place which is not man-made and merely a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, in order to appear now on our behalf in the very presence of G-d.
Further, he did not enter heaven to offer himself over and over again, like the cohen hagadol who enters the Holiest Place year after year with blood that is not his own; for then he would have had to suffer death many times — from the founding of the universe on. But as it is, he has appeared once at the end of the ages in order to do away with sin through the sacrifice of himself. Just as human beings have to die once, but after this comes judgment, so also the Messiah, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to deliver those who are eagerly waiting for him.For the Torah has in it a shadow of the good things to come, but not the actual manifestation of the originals. Therefore, it can never, by means of the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, bring to the goal those who approach the Holy Place to offer them.