Office of the Chief Rabbi
Pinchas and the best invitation ever

In this parasha, an invitation arrives from Hashem Himself in order to enable us to have a life changing experience. Be sure to RSVP.

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis ,

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis
Eliran Aharon

It’s one of the best invitations you’ll ever get.

Parshat Pinchas includes within it details of our major festivals, and the Torah calls them by the term ‘mikra kodesh’ (e.g. Bamidbar 28:18). Indeed we include this term in the kiddush that we make on our festivals. But what does ‘mikra kodesh’ mean?

Rav Shimshon Refael Hirsch translates the term as ‘a call to holiness’, an invitation to join God on these festive days.

If we relate to our festivals as an opportunity to respond to a special invitation, I believe it can have a transformative impact on our attitude. Of course, why should we keep the Yamim Tovim? It’s because God has commanded us to. It is a mitzvah d’oraitah, an imperative from the Torah. But in addition to that, it’s a ‘mikrah kodesh’. Hashem extends an invitation to join Him on the special day.

When you receive an invitation in the post I am sure that, like me, you recognise from the envelope that this is an invitation and you wonder: Who is it from? What is the occasion? You open it up full of anticipation, you read the details and then as the days draw near to the event itself you’re filled with excitement. That is how we need to relate to our Yamim Tovim.

Each one of our festive days carries with it an opportunity to practise special mitzvot, and of course there are various regulations regarding what we can and can’t do on the day, but the most important element of the day’s proceedings for us must be a spiritual opportunity. Hashem has invited us to join Him. He is the Host of the event, at which we can raise the levels of kedusha for ourselves, within our homes and in our lives in an extraordinary way.

It’s only with a keen sense of excitement and enthusiasm that we can enable ourselves and members of our families to appreciate these red letter days on our calendar as being something extraordinary.

Let’s never forget the fact that they’re called ‘mikrah kodesh’, an invitation arrives from Hashem Himself in order to enable us to have a life changing experience. It’s probably the best invitation you’ll ever get.



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