D'rash for Parsha Re'eh by Rabbi Rotenberg
Updated: Sep 13, 2019
In Leviticus (17:3), the Israelites are permitted to eat meat, BUT only if they first bring the animal to the tabernacle and offer a portion of it on the altar. In this week’s parsha, all of a sudden the Israelites are permitted to eat meat without sacrificing a portion of it on the altar! (see Deut. 12:20). How could this be?
It is because the situation for the Israelites is changing. Leviticus is for an Israelite community living all within a few miles of the altar. Deuteronomy is speaking to a community of Israelites who are about to encompass the whole land of Israel, Israelites who will be dozens or hundreds of miles away from the altar. One might have thought that Leviticus expressed the authentic Jewish law about meat eating, but it was no longer true to the Torah once the circumstances changed.
This is true for ourselves too. As our lives change, we must change too. To let our identity be defined solely by who we have been up until now is not being our authentic selves. In fact, it restrains us from being all that we could become. If we are to truly be ourselves we must embrace change, both outward and inward.