by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS TZAV - POROH 5760 BS"D
Ch. 6, v. 2: "Tzav es Aharon" - Throughout parshas Vayikroh the commands were directed to the CHILDREN of Aharon and not to Aharon himself. This is the first place where the commands were directed to Aharon.
1) The Baal Haturim on 1:5 says that Aharon was being spurned in parshas Vayikroh because of his involvement in the sin of the golden calf. He prayed to Hashem for forgiveness and the priestly mitzvos of this parshas were directed to him. The Toras Kohanim (7:1) says that Moshe prayed for Aharon's forgiveness, saying that it was improper for one to love the water of the wellspring (one's progeny) and hate the wellspring itself (the parent). As well You have given honour to the tree by the virtue of its fruit. Since oil and wine are used as libations on the altar, You have prohibited using olive trees and grapevines as fuel for the altar fire.
2) Although addressing a different point, the words of the Ramban seem to offer an answer as well. He asks why the command in Vayikroh is to the bnei Yisroel (1:2), and in our parsha to Aharon. He answers that parshas Vayikroh is targeting the people who bring their sacrifices, and incidentally tells us what the Kohanim will do with the sacrifices. Our parsha tells the Kohanim what to do with the sacrifices. Hence Aharon is mentioned as soon as there is a command to the Kohanim. 3) Rabbi Yonoson Eibeschitz in Divrei Y'honoson answers with the words of the M.R. Bmidbar 9:5. It is of the opinion that the bnei Yisroel only sacrificed the daily Korban Tomid offerings (communal offerings) in the desert. This is supported by the verse in Omos 5:25, "Hazvochim u'minchoh higashtem Li bamidbor, - Have you then sacrificed for Me slaughterings and meal offerings in the desert?"
Parshas Vayikroh discusses the Olas Minchoh, Olas N'dovoh, Shlomim, Chatos, and Oshom offerings. None of these were brought in the desert. Aharon would not enter Eretz Yisroel. His descendants, however, would. They could process the sacrificial offerings mentioned in parshas Vayikroh, so the command was to the "bnei Aharon." Our parsha begins with the laws of the daily Olas Tomid, which was sacrificed even in the desert. Hence the command was also to Aharon.
Ch. 6, v. 6: "Eish tomid" - Rashi (gemara Yoma 45b) tells us that the word "tomid" does not refer to the fire itself (as "eish" is feminine and would require the adjective "t'midoh"), but rather it teaches us that this fire is used for another function which is associated with the word "tomid," namely the kindling of the menorah about which the Torah says in Shmos 27:20 "L'haalos neir TOMID." Rabbi Noach Mindes in Parp'ro'os L'chochmoh finds a mathematical allusion to this. "Eish" and "menorah" each equals 301.
Ch. 6, v. 6: "Eish tomid ...... lo sichbeh" - It is well-known that if unholy, improper thoughts enter one's mind during prayer, he should say this verse to chase away the negative thoughts. This might be inherent in the verse. The FIRE refers to the fervour and spiritual energy one exerts. The altar refers to the connection one has with Hashem through prayer. LO, meaning NO, refers to the negative thoughts which crop up in one's mind but should NOT be there. If one exerts much fervour and concentration continuously, "Eish tomid tukad," - during prayer, "al hamizbei'ach" - then the negative thoughts, "lo," - will be extinguished, "sichbeh." The GR"A says that reading the prayers from the siddur chases away evil thoughts.
Ch. 6, v. 6: "Eish tomid ...... lo sichbeh" - Rashi on Shmos 30:3 "V'tzipiso oso zohov tohore es GAGO" says that only the golden incense altar had a roof, but not the copper clad altar which was in the Mishkon courtyard. Rather, it was hollow and was filled with sand, which was the surface upon which the sacrifices were burned. The gemara Chagigoh 27a says that although the top surface of the golden altar was quite thin, the fire did not burn through it. From this the gemara extrapolates that a sinner will surely be protected from the fire of Gehinom in the merit of any mitzvos he has. This point can only be derived if the resistance to fire by the surface of the golden altar is a supernatural event, as explained by Rashi and others. The gemara does not say this regarding the copper clad altar. It is therefore most puzzling that the Sforno on Shmos 30:3 says that the top surface of the golden altar remained intact in spite of the fire on its surface which consumed the daily incense by natural means. He writes that since the amount of incense to be burned was small and the fire did not have to burn constantly, the integrity and durability of the top surface of this altar should come as no surprise. This seems to contradict the gemara Chagigoh.
Rabbeinu Bachyei in our parsha (6:3 and 6:21) and the Paa'nei'ach Rozo on 1:7 both say that the copper clad altar had a top surface of copper as well. They ask a question based on our verse, which says that there must be a permanent fire, always burning on the copper altar. Since the copper altar was ten cubits high and five cubits wide, it is obvious that the Kohanim must process the burning of the sacrifices while standing on the top surface of the altar.
Since a fire was permanently burning it must have heated the complete copper top of the altar as copper is an excellent heat conductor. (See Sh.O. Y.D. #121.) If so, how could the Kohanim stand on the top surface with their bare feet? Rabbeinu Bachyei and the Paa'nei'ach Rozo answer that since the fire on the altar came from heaven, it had the unusual property of only heating the surface space on which it was burning. Although there was a requirement to also add man-made fire, the heavenly fire's nature of not spreading heat by conduction spread into the man-made fire. (This might be the intention of the gemara Yoma 21b, which says that the heavenly fire consumes man-made fire.) Please note that the gemara Chagigoh only mentions the miracle regarding the golden altar.
Although Rashi seems to be in disagreement with Rabbeinu Bachyei and the Paa'nei'ach Rozo, I saw a commentator write that both opinions are true. There was no roof on the copper clad altar when it was originally crafted. However, after the rebellion of Korach and his 250 followers, a test of offering incense took place (Bmidbar 16:17). The result was the death of Korach's 250 followers. In Bmidbar 17:2 Hashem commanded Moshe to have Elozor collect the 250 pans that were used to hold and burn the incense and have them flattened and used as a cladding for the outer altar. He says that these were not used as an extra layer where there already was copper cladding, but rather as a roof for the altar.
I have looked into many commentators' writings, and have not been directed to or come across this again. If anyone knows where this is written, kindly let me know. Clarification of the above-mentioned Sforno would also be appreciated. Thank you.
Ch. 6, v. 16: "V'chol minchas Kohein kolil t'h'yeh" - The Rambam in Moreh N'vuchim 3:48 says that the rationale behind the Kohein's meal offering being totally consumed on the altar in contra-distinction to a non-Kohein's meal offering being eaten by a Kohein after a handful is separated through the act of "k'mitzoh" and being burned on the altar, is that if a Kohein were allowed to eat his own meal offering it would seem as if he offered almost nothing to Hashem, the handful going to the altar being such a small amount. The Daas Z'keinim explains that the Kohein's eating the meal offering of another person is viewed as Hashem receiving the complete offering and the Kohein receiving it from Hashem as a heavenly gift. A Kohein's own offering, if he were to eat it, even though it is also received from the "Celestial table - mi'shulchan Govoah," nevertheless is not viewed as such, but rather as just eating his own food.
An obvious question on this line of reasoning is that we find by the bird atonement offering, "Chatos ho'ofe," the Kohein eats the bird and the altar receives only a bit of blood in the "mitzuy" process, even when it is the Kohein's own offering. This can be answered with the insight of the Meshech Chochmoh mentioned in last year's parshas Vayikroh issue.
Vayikroh, Ch. 5, v. 7: "Echod l'Chatos v'echod l'Oloh" - For the atonement of certain unintentional sins, a sin offering must be brought. This is either a sheep or a goat. If the sinner is so poor that he cannot afford a sheep or goat, the Torah allows him to bring two birds, one as a sin offering, a "Chatos," which is eaten by the Kohein, and one as an "Oloh" offering, which is totally consumed on the altar.
The gemara Chulin 22a says that the processing of the bird "Oloh" may not be done at night because it is compared to the "Chatos" bird offering that accompanies it, which may only be done by day. Someone asked the Rashbo (Tshuvos hoRashbo vol. 1, responsa #276), "How could anyone even entertain the thought that the "Oloh" offering could be processed at night, since we have a teaching from Vayikroh 7:37,38 that ALL sacrifices must have their blood processing, "avodas hadam," done by day?" The Rashbo wrote that he had no answer for this question, but suggested another text in the above gemara which totally leaves out the comparison of "olas ho'ofe" to "Chatos ho'ofe."
The Ibn Ezra asks, "Why is there a need for an "Oloh" altogether when offering birds, since the original sacrifice was only a "Chatos?" He answers that since the original sacrifice was a sheep or goat (5:6), there would have been a portion for the Kohein and a portion for the altar as well. However, if the poor person were to only bring a "Chatos" offering of a bird, there would be nothing for the altar. The sole purpose of bringing the "Oloh" bird offering is to give the altar its portion.
The Meshech Chochmoh says that according to this Ibn Ezra we can understand why there is a need for a special teaching that THIS "olas ho'ofe" cannot be processed at night. Although no sacrifices may be processed at night, but since the whole purpose of bringing this "Oloh" was to offer the altar its portion, there is good reason to believe that this would be an exception. The burning of "olos" may be done at night, as mentioned in the first Mishneh of Brochos regarding burning of parts of korbonos at night. Similarly, one might think that the complete processing of this particular "Oloh" may be done at night. Therefore we need a special comparison to its accompanying offering, the "Chatos ho'ofe", that it may only be done by day. (See preface to M'kore Boruch and Meshech Chochmoh on Rambam hilchos maa'seir sheini v'neta rva'i 7:3)
Given this information, we see that the "Chatos ho'ofe" works in tandem with the "olas ho'ofe," the "Chatos" being the eaten component and the "Oloh" being the burnt component. Hence, we view this pair of birds as supplying a respectable portion for the altar via the "Oloh," and the Kohein may therefore eat his own "Chatos ho'ofe" offering.
Ch. 6, v. 18: "Bimkome asher tisho'cheit ho'Oloh tisho'cheit haChatos" - The Holy Admor of Satmar zt"l interprets these words as follows: The M.R. Vayikroh 7:3 and the Medrash Tanchumoh on our parsha #13 say that an Oloh sacrifice atones for sins which are in the realm of thought only. When one brings an Oloh sacrifice and envisions all that is being done to the animal should be done to him as atonement for his improper thoughts, he cleanses his soul of the negative affects. He is then safeguarded from actually sinning, even by accident.
If however, he does not take to heart that his negative thoughts have a deleterious affect upon his soul and bring him a step closer to an ACT of sin, he will likely end up sinning, albeit by accident. This is the meaning of our verse. "BIMKOME asher tisho'cheit ho'Oloh," if one does not take action immediately and bring an Oloh for his sins in thought, "tisho'cheit haChatos," IN PLACE OF only bringing an Oloh he will end up bringing a Chatos offering for an actual sin.
Ch. 7, v. 10: "V'chol Minchoh v'luloh va'shemen vaCHA'REIVOH" - Targum Onkeles on these words says "D'filoh bimshach u'd'loh filoh." FILOH is Aramaic for "mixed," hence he is translating CHA'REIVOH whose literal meaning is DRY, as "not mixed" (with oil). Compare this with the Targum Onkeles on Breishis 8:13 on the words "CHORVU hamayim," which he translates as "N'GIVOH mayoh," - the water DRIED up. Why does he seemingly stray from the literal translation of "vacha'reivoh" - "u'N'GIVOH," and use the words "u'd'loh filoh," which would more accurately be a translation of "v'einoh v'luloh?" Rabbi Mordechai Levenstein in Nefesh ha'Geir answers with the words of the mishneh in the gemara M'nochos 55a. The mishneh says that ALL meal offerings were kneaded with warm water, but were carefully guarded to not become leavened, as per the Torah's edict that "no leavened nor sweetened offerings shall be burned upon the altar" (Vayikroh 2:11). The mixing with water includes meal offerings which come as an atonement, even though they are not permitted to have accompanying oil or "l'vonoh," frankincense. Thus CHA'REIVOH in our verse does not mean dry, but rather dry of oil. This is why Targum Onkeles says "u'd'loh filoh," - and not mixed, rather than "u,n'givoh," which means totally dry of any liquids, as in Breishis 8:13.
Answer to last week's question: How does "y'tzikoh" (Vayikroh 8:15, 9:9) differ from "shfichoh" (Shmos 12:7)?
We find in 8:15 the added words "va'y'kadsheihu l'chap'eir olov" after "v'es hadom YOTZAK el y'sode hamizbei'ach." As well, in 9:9 Targum Yonoson ben Uziel adds these words to the meaning of the verse. The Meshech Chochmoh says that we see from this as well as from 8:12, "Va'YITZOKE mishemen hamish'choh al rosh Aharon va'yimshach oso l'kadsho" that "y'tzikoh" is pouring for the benefit of the recipient, to either sanctify a person or the altar.
Physically it might not be different from "shfichoh." However, "shfichoh" is the pouring of the blood onto the altar for the required service of the sacrifice.
The Meshech Chochmoh adds that the source word form for "y'tzikoh" might be "mutzok," meaning placed in a permanent fashion. Blood of "shfichoh" was meant to drain away through the opening at the base of the altar, but the sanctifying "y'tzikoh" blood remained on the altar until it was consumed by the heavenly fire (10:24).
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