The Parsha Discussion: Vayikra — White Space

Posted by Alex Israel on March 14, 2018
Topics: The Parsha Discussion, Vayikra, Vayikra (Leviticus)

When you look at a book or any page of text, beyond, around, and between the print there are margins, spacing, and paragraph breaks. Why are these important? This is known as the “white space” without which the eye finds it difficult to focus and to absorb the content of what has been written.

In the Torah, too, the words are divided into paragraphs, with halakhically mandated margins, paragraphs, and breaks between sections. In his opening remarks to Parshat Vayikra, Rashi reflects upon the purpose of the subdivisions and paragraphing in the Torah, assuming that these divisions were part of the original transmission of Torah as God taught Moses the Law. He writes:

And what purpose did these subsections serve? To give Moses an interval for reflection between one division and another and between one subject and another — something which is all the more necessary for an ordinary man receiving instruction from an ordinary man. (Rashi)

Click here to read more from Rabbi Alex Israel in this week’s Parsha Discussion: Vayikra: White Space.

Please note that if you are printing The Parsha Discussion on US paper, please select the option “fit to print”.

About Alex Israel

Alex teaches Bible at Pardes and is the Director of the Community Education Program and the Summer Program. Alex was born and raised in London. He holds degrees from London School of Economics, the Institute of Education London and Bar-Ilan University. Alex studied at Yeshivat Har Etzion under Rav Aharon Lichtenstein and Rav Yehudah Amital, and gained Rabbinic ordination from the Israeli Rabbinate. Click here to read more.

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