June 14, 2024
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June 14, 2024
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The Right Way to Atone

“What are you doing tomorrow?” Annie asked her best friend, Marlee. “I don’t have any plans, do you want to go to the mall or to see a movie?”

Marlee shook her head. “Sorry, Annie, but I have to stay home Sunday. I have to finish my English paper and my parents want my help cleaning for Pesach.”

Annie frowned. “Sorry, that sounds like a bummer of a day. We haven’t started cleaning yet, and I should be able to finish my paper after Shabbos.”

The girls continued their game of Mastermind and the conversation turned away from weekend plans and towards school.

After Shabbos, inspired by Annie, Marlee finished her English paper and even took some time to clean her room for Pesach. Her parents still wanted her home the next day to help, but Marlee hoped she could get away with helping in the morning. Maybe she could get to a movie with Annie after all. As she was getting ready to turn her phone off and go to sleep, she noticed a text from another friend of hers, Emma. Emma’s parents were taking her to see the Lion King on Broadway, and Emma wanted to know if Marlee wanted to come. Of course Marlee wanted to, so she ran out of her room to ask her parents. “Of course you can go,” Marlee’s mother answered. “You finished your paper and cleaned your room tonight. Just help clean in the morning, and then you can go. Marlee hugged both of her parents tightly and ran back to her room to text Emma. However, she saw another text waiting for her; it was Annie. She knew that Marlee finished her paper and cleaned, so she was curious if Marlee was now available for a movie on Sunday. With a move she would soon regret, Marlee lied and said she still couldn’t go to the movie.

By Monday afternoon, Annie had already found out about Marlee seeing the Lion King with Emma. This made her upset, and Marlee could tell something was wrong. Marlee figured it was that she went with Emma instead, so she went to apologize to Annie. “Annie, I have to tell you something…” Marlee began, and continued to explain to Annie how it all happened. “I’ll make it up to you, I promise.” And make it up to Annie, Marlee did. Marlee’s mother took the girls for manicures on Wednesday after school, and dropped the girls at the mall on Thursday evening. Marlee and Annie saw a movie at the mall, bought “best friends” necklaces and even rode around on those motorized animals. The girls had fun, but Annie didn’t seem 100% happy. Marlee wasn’t concerned; she knew exactly what was needed to top off their trip. “Hey Annie, let’s go to the chocolate store, I’ll buy you that truffle you love.” However, Annie wasn’t interested. “It’s okay. Your mother will be here in 10 minutes. Let’s just go wait for her.”

Marlee was confused by this reaction, but didn’t want to make a big deal out of it. She and Annie began to walk towards the exit, taking a familiar route. One of the stores they passed was a clothing store called Truth. Something about the store made Marlee stop and stare at the sign. Annie poked her friend. “C’mon Marlee. You have never bought anything there and you aren’t going to start now.” But Marlee needed another second, so she kept staring. Finally it hit her. She turned to her best friend. “Annie, I’m really sorry about the whole Lion King thing. I just realized what I did wrong. It wasn’t that I went; it was that I lied about going. I never want to let anything come between us, so lying is one of the worst things I could do to you. I want to always trust you and I hope you will always trust me.” This admission was exactly what Annie had been hoping for. She gave Marlee a big hug. “Thanks Mars. That means so much. Think we still have time for that truffle?”

Parshat Vayikra is all about korbanot. What to offer; how much flour, wine or “bread” to include; and when a korban is necessary. Interestingly, the first korbanot mentioned are voluntary korbanot, not the korbanot required when someone sins. This teaches us an important lesson. The purpose of all korbanot (and nowadays, tefillah) is to strengthen the relationship between each of us and Hashem. The root of “korban” is k-r-v, which means to “come close.” Even when fixing a mistake or sin, the purpose can’t be just to make up for the mistake. We must figure out what we hurt in the relationship and try to fix that directly.


Yair Daar is the director of Student Life at Bicultural Hebrew Academy High School. He can be reached at [email protected]

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