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Some Things Last Forever

Friday, 15 March, 2013 - 1:00 pm

I recently saw a short video about the iPad. Actually it wasn’t really about the iPad. It was about toilet paper.

A husband is constantly telling his wife about the greatness of the iPad, as a replacement for her sticky notes, paper, books, Sudoku and more. Soon he learns that some things – such as restroom supplies – cannot be supplanted by virtual reality.

***

In this week’s parsha Vayikra the Torah lays out the laws of sacrifices. There were many categories of sacrifices in the Bais Hamikdosh (Holy Temple). Some were communal; others were private. Some were for festivals; others were for sins. Some were from animals; others were of fine flour.

The Talmud points out that it is said of a large ox, "A fire-offering, a sweet savor" (to G-d); of a small bird, "A fire-offering, a sweet savor"; and of a meal-offering, "A fire-offering, a sweet savor." This is to teach you that it is the same whether a person offers much or little, so long as he directs his heart to heaven.

In other words, each person gives according to his means. So long as it is sincere, G-d will accept the meager gift of the poor as readily as (or more readily* than) the grand contribution of the wealthy.

***

To many of us, living in the twenty first century, animals and birds may not resonate as much. But perhaps smartphones, iPods and xBoxes sound more familiar. As we slide toward a more virtual future we might find ourselves wondering, “What things in life are irreplaceable? What will remain with us forever?”

***

With Passover around the corner, each of us are preparing in our own way. Every family has its own unique Pesach experience. But the principle of ridding our souls of Chametz and celebrating true internal freedom – these are universal.

***

I don’t know if toilet paper will be around forever, but the principle of a sincere and humble heart certainly will be.

 

* From the Midrash:

An ox was once being led to sacrifice, but would not budge. A poor man came along with a bundle of endive in his hand. He held it out towards the ox, which ate it... and then allowed itself to be led to sacrifice. In a dream it was revealed to the owner of the ox: "The poor man's sacrifice superseded yours."

Once a woman brought a handful of fine flour, and the priest despised her, saying: "See what she offers! What is there in this to eat? What is there in this to offer up?" It was shown to him in a dream: "Do not despise her! It is regarded as if she had sacrificed her own life."

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