Dear Vayikra, 

Let me begin by just putting it all out there. We both know it to be true, but I never had the audacity to say it out loud – I have been ignoring you my whole life. Yes, I’ve given you a nod from time to time, but for the most part, I have never given you the attention that you truly deserve. 

Instead of grappling with the applicability of Korbanos in the modern era on Parshas Vayikra, I lazily defaulted to talking about the upcoming Yom Tov of Pesach. On Parshas Tzav and Shmini, I pretended there was no parsha at all! I used Shabbos HaGadol to talk about whatever was on my mind, thinking that no one, myself included, could relate to the inauguration of the Mishkan. In doing so, I failed to mine these texts for their lessons on intentionality and preparedness. 

I’m embarrassed to talk about Tazria-Metzora. Of course, Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut would be so much more relevant than “arcane” laws of a mysterious and highly contagious infection understood by few and that necessitated a two-week quarantine. I get it now. No need to say anything at all. 

Acharei Mos and Kedoshim weren’t even that hard to discuss. Family purity and the sanctity of marriage are clearly paramount in Judaism. We even read you on Yom Kippur! As a society, we are clearly falling short of the Torah’s expectations. But you know how long it takes to research the latest on love and relationships? And then, to delicately craft a message on these themes?! It was so much simpler to talk about Rabbi Akiva’s students and the need for greater tolerance and understanding. 

Lag B’omer with its bonfires and mystique were far more appealing than Parshas Emor and a strained discussion on why the Torah disqualifies Kohanim with disabilities. The laws of Shmita and Yovel or the drama of the Six-Day War? I’m sorry, Behar-Behcukosai, you didn’t stand a chance. And then, what I was really waiting for, Chazak chazak v’nis’chazeik! Finally! 

And now, to say, Chazak?! With no Sefer Torah, all alone, reading mournfully from my Chumash?! Chalash, chalash, would be more fitting! I readily admit, I deserved it. I ignored you and you ignored me back. I’ve learned my lesson and now I miss you dearly. 

Please believe me when I say, I have changed!  I yearn to better understand you, and to give you the attention you deserve; to kiss your parchment, your letters, and to hold you near to my heart. Vayikra, I beg you, please take me back. 

With humility and deep yearning, I remain,  

The Rabbi