Let’s Talk About Burning Brighter

Between Us

This week’s parasha, Tzav, continues the discussion of different types of sacrifices and the role of the ancient priests. Each day, one of the priests would be assigned to keep the fire of the sacrifices burning, adding wood when necessary. At first, only the wealthy contributed the wood; in time the rabbis decreed that all Jews should participate in keeping the fire burning.

This subtle change speaks volumes about our individual responsibility as Jews today. While it is tempting to cede leadership and oversight of Jewish life to rabbis, cantors and educators, it is both our challenge and our responsibility to incorporate Jewish thought and ritual into our daily lives. We can all set aside time to create Jewish moments around the Shabbat dinner table, through prayer, Torah study and acts of tzedakah.

In 1989, Billy Joel wrote a song called “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” into which he rapidly weaves over one hundred 20th century names, places and historical events. The chorus begins, “We didn’t start the fire. It was always burning since the world’s been turning…”

Indeed, we didn’t start the inspirational flame of Jewish life. Without us, it cannot be sustained; with us, it can burn even brighter.

Steven A. Rakitt, Chief Executive Officer  
[email protected]

Here are ways to Make It Yours this week: