Daniel Cohen - Dvar Torah
My torah portion, Vayikra is found in the third book of the Torah which is also called Vayikra. Most of my portion speaks about how the People of Israel used to bring their burnt offerings to the Kohanim - my great, great, great, great, great ancestors.
In the days of my Torah portion, if you wanted to ask for forgiveness, you would have brought a sacrifice to do that. These sacrifices were there to bring people closer to G-d.
So, my parsha looks at how to make good when you stuff up. Of course, nowadays, people don’t bring sacrifices. We don’t have a Temple anymore. But what we do have today is the idea of t’shuvah. This is how you ask for forgiveness. To say sorry if you have done something wrong.
The idea of t'shuvah has four important steps. First you make a mistake or offend someone. Second, ask the person that you hurt or offended for forgiveness. Third, you can’t only ask for forgiveness but you also need to try and fix your mistake. Fourth, once you have done all of these things don’t make the same mistake and do it again. One of the ways to make amends is by paying back. This can be done through money or giving back to people who need through time and things.
I can relate this to my own life. When I was playing soccer at school, I took a shot and I kicked the ball into my friend’s face by mistake. I went up to him and said sorry and I helped him get up and made sure he was okay. I was more careful to try not to do it again. Sometimes though people never make up for their mistakes and we have to forgive or forget. I think that forgiveness is important because it helps you let go from being angry all the time.
Today I am becoming bar mitzvah and I have to be honest that when I thought about today, I really just wanted to do this with my family. Not a big crowd in shul. This has actually come about, not in the way that I wanted it to, but this is what we have to do today. And it’s all part of me growing up. I think we are all growing up today. And I hope that as I do, my family and everyone out there can stay healthy and be safe.