Our Devotion Is Continuous
Yael Eckstein | July 21, 2022
This is the food offering you are to present to the LORD: two lambs a year old without defect, as a regular burnt offering each day. Offer one lamb in the morning and the other at twilight… — Numbers 28:3-4
Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Torah portion for this week is Pinchas, which means “Phinehas,” from Numbers 25:10–30:1.
As my children get older, there are some things I really miss about those days when they were little, like bedtime. Reading stories and tucking them in was always a special time together. It was also a chance to pray together because the last words said by Jews before going to sleep are Shema Yisrael Adonai Eloheinu Adonai echad, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one” (Deuteronomy 6:4) This was the first verse I learned as a child, and the first verse I taught my own children.
In the morning, when I would wake my children up, together we said the first prayer that my father taught me, that all Jews say as soon as we open our eyes. It’s called Modeh ani, “I am thankful.” It’s a short prayer, thanking God for having faith in us and for giving us a new day to enjoy life and to serve Him.
Our Devotion Is Continuous
The importance of starting and ending every day in praise and worship of God is based on a Temple service discussed in this week’s Torah portion. We read, “This is the food offering you are to present to the Lord: two lambs a year old without defect, as a regular burnt offering each day. Offer one lamb in the morning and the other at twilight.”
These daily offerings were the first offering in the morning and the last offering in the evening in the Temple, every day of the year. Together they are known as the tamid offerings because of the word describing them, translated here as “regular.” But the word tamid really means “continuous” or “constant.” It’s the same word used for the fire on the altar which had to be kept burning “continuously” — tamid. (Read Leviticus 6:13.)
If the twice-daily offerings were brought to start and end the day, many hours apart, why does the Bible refer to them as “continuous”?
The Bible is teaching us an important lesson. God doesn’t expect us to spend all day in constant praise and worship. We would not be able to go about our lives. But by starting and ending each day with prayer and affirmations of faith, we show God that He is our priority, that our mind is never far from Him, that our devotion to Him is continuous, tamid.
If you don’t already, try framing your day with a prayer in the morning and a prayer in the evening. They don’t have to be complicated or lengthy — just a word of thanks or praise to God for each day.