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Parashat Vayikra – Growth is Change


We begin the book of Vayikra, literally ‘He called to Moshe (to come closer)’, at the culmination of the building of the Sanctity which was completed in the end of the last book of Sefer Shemot.

It begins with G-d calling out to Moshe to come near, as a loving parent to a cherished child.

The Midrash comments that this is not only an expression of love but also a calling for personal growth. In other words, when G-d calls to us, it is to stimulate us and urge us on to something bigger and better out of His love for us.

It is likened to the rigid shell of the lobster which cannot expand as the lobster grows. It eventually feels confined by the tightness of its shell and must shed it and grow a new one. As it again increases in size, the process is repeated. Growth is change, and although it is beneficial and vital for survival, it doesn’t come without discomfort and pain.

Our natural tendency is to maintain the status quo and stay in our safe comfort zone rather than to change. We are therefore likely to fail to interpret the signals of discomfort correctly and rather than see it as an opportunity for growth, we may try to eliminate the discomfort by applying some therapeutic or numbing “cure.” The correct response would be to recognize that the time has come to advance to a new stage of development like the lobster.

Each time G-d called to Moshe, it was a new challenge for him to elevate himself to an even higher level of spirituality. This was an urging to grow, and although it involved greater demands of him, he knew it was a sign of Divine love.

Every person has potential that he has not realized. Growing is not easy, but growing pains are a sign of Divine love.


Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Shaul