This week’s Haftorah mirrors the parshah’s main characters, Jacob and Esau. We hear an affirmation of love for Jacob’s children and a promise of retribution to the house of Esau. Quite specifically Esau’s mountains made “desolate and his heritage into a habitat for jackals.”
Then we see something we wouldn’t think typical for a holy text, a reproach of the priesthood for offering up sick or lame animals to the sacrifice. Not just because that’s kind of a smack in the face as far as sacrifice goes, but there also seems to be a reference to some of the rules of Kashrut in what kind and how animals are permitted to be slaughtered.
“And you say, ‘here is a weary one,’ and you cause it pain, says the Lord of Hosts. And you brought that which was taken by violence, and the lame and the sick. And you bring an offering—will I accept it from your hand?”
We’re also warned: “cursed is he who deals craftily.”
The priests are getting reprimanded for offering the poorest of their animals for sacrifice. They’re not infallible as inherently holy men, and they’re not being good stewards of the faith. They’re trying to get away with something—well, if it’s just going to be killed and we’re not going to get to eat it, we might as well not use one of our good animals.
We’re reminded a sacrifice of something we really don’t want isn’t really a sacrifice. So while we’re not offering up livestock as an expression of our faith—what are we supposed to be offering? What do we pay lip service to instead of changing our ways that is not so convenient for us. Like biting our tongue or being kind when maybe we don’t want to. Maybe it’s giving more than we’d like, even if that means we have to skip our $5 schmancy cappuccino today.
Editors note: That cappuccino COULD fund PunkTorah and OneShul for over a year! Click here to read about the link between overpriced coffee and online Jewish community.
Casey (Kefira) McCarty is a published author living in Ohio. She is the Assistant Director of the Columbus Idea Foundry, a community workshop space, and is an artisan who crafts jewelry, Judaica and fine art available online and in Central Ohio galleries and boutiques. You can find her online shop at www.sinemetudesigns.etsy.com