Re’eh, Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17; Numbers 28:9-15, Parshat Hashavua for Shabbat, August 27, 2022

This Shabbat we have two Torah portions: Re’eh (Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17) and a special portion (Numbers 28:9-15) in honor of the new month (Rosh Chodesh) Elul. Elul precedes the High Holy Days and is a special month to be set aside for reflection and growth. This is a time of preparation so that we enter the Holy Days filled with self-awareness and a desire to change. The final verse of this additional Torah reading goes, “And there shall be one goat as a sin offering to ADONAI, to be offered in addition to the regular burnt offering and its libation.” The goat for the sin offering is in addition to the regular sacrificial offerings. Perhaps we are meant to pay special attention to our sins during the month of Elul, in addition to our regular practice. In our time we rarely use the language of sin, it sounds and feel’s archaic to many of us. In Hebrew the word for sin is chet, in one sense of the word it means missing the mark or falling short. If the language of sin does not resonate for us then we can think in the sense of where we have fallen short, where we have not acted as he wished we had, with our families, our friends, and our community. If we all were to focus on where we have missed the mark and how we might change or grow to get closer doing right more of the time, imagine what our world might be like.