Our True Calling
Yael Eckstein | February 27, 2023
Offer one lamb in the morning and the other at twilight… —Numbers 28:4
This month marks the fourth anniversary of the passing of my father, Fellowship Founder Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein. In his honor, I offer you a selection of devotions on the spiritual importance of legacy and leadership.
What would you answer if I asked you the following question: What is the most important verse in the Bible? Now, for most of us this is an almost impossible question to answer. And I’m sure if we had more than one person in the room, a great debate would break out to determine which verse was the most important one!
About 2,000 years ago, a group of Jewish sages did just that and debated this exact question. One sage suggested: “Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God, the LORD is one” (Deuteronomy 6:4). Another sage chose: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18). Then came the third opinion: “Offer one lamb in the morning and the other at twilight.”
And surprisingly enough, the Talmud recorded that the discussion ended by saying that the third opinion was best.
At first glance this dispute is puzzling. The first two opinions put faith in one God and kindness to others as the top principles of the Torah. But what did the third sage mean? How can the command for the daily offering in the Temple be considered the most important principle in the Torah?
Our True Calling
The lesson here is about consistency. The daily offering was brought without fail every single day, once in the morning and once in the evening. Consistency is of chief importance in the Torah. We can argue about which value is greater — belief in God or loving others — but consistency trumps them both. Why? Because our values are only as valuable as we make them.
It’s actually easier to engage in the rare act of selfless heroism than it is to wake up every morning and live our day-to-day lives in accordance with God’s will. Declarations of faith and values are wonderful, like the verses chosen by the first two sages, but our true calling as people of faith is to serve God — to make an offering to Him — every day, morning and evening.
We see this message in the choosing of Joshua as the successor to Moses. Why was Joshua chosen over Caleb, who had also bravely spoken out against the spies, or Phineas, who acted boldly when God’s honor was at stake?
The sages explain that Joshua was chosen because he stayed by Moses’ side day-in and day-out. Joshua made it his business to learn from Moses’ leadership not only in time of crisis but every single day of his life. That consistency made Joshua the right choice to lead the nation into the Promised Land.
The daily, quiet acts of righteousness are what God values most. We don’t need to do anything extraordinary — just be extraordinarily dedicated to all we do.