Vayikra, the third book of the Torah, is markedly different from the others. It contains no journey. It is set entirely at Sinai. It occupies only a brief section of time: a single month. There is almost no narrative. Yet, set at the centre of the Mosaic books, it is the key to understanding Israel’s vocation as “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation,” the first collective mission statement in history.

This parsha, with which the book opens, details the various kinds of sacrifice the Israelites brought to the Tabernacle. There were five: the burnt offering (ola), the grain offering (minchah), the peace offering (shelamim), the sin offering (chatat), and the guilt offering (asham).