Parashat Vayikra

The Fine Distinction Between Loving and Casual Relationships

The small aleph in the opening word of Vayikra alerts us to the subtle but significant differences between intentional, loving relationships with God, and accidental, casual ones.

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Incredibly, brilliantly, our tradition underscores this by telling us to shrink the aleph, miniaturize it, as if to say: these distinctions are small, and not always very obvious, but they are crucial. For a relationship to move away from the casual, accidental, and impure, to the planned, prepared for, and loving, very small, but significant things have to happen.

This is the symbolism of the small aleph; how close to each other these two very different kinds of relationships can be, how hard it is to distinguish what it is that turns a relationship from the casual and impure to the signified and loving, but how crucially different from each other they really are.

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Rabbi Shimon Felix

Rabbi Shimon Felix is the Israel Director of the Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel. He lives with his family in Jerusalem, and has taught in a wide variety of educational frameworks in Israel and abroad.