by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS VAYIKRA 5768 BS"D
Ch. 1, v. 1: "Vayikra el Moshe" - And He called to Moshe - Yalkut Shimoni derives from the fact that Moshe would not enter "ohel mo'eid" without first being invited by Hashem, that a carcass is better than a Torah scholar without wisdom. In Radom Poland a young Torah scholar took upon himself the Rabbinical leadership gratis, but without an appointment by the community. The city actually had a Rabbinical head, Rabbi Shmuel Mohliver. There was great dissent in the community and in spite of being advised to back off he stayed on. The self-appointed scholar was shortly thereafter chased away from the city. He then solicited help from government officials and with their backing returned, again to the consternation of the community. He was then forced to appear in front of Rabbi Shmuel Mohliver, who cited the Yalkut Shimoni. Rabbi Mohliver asked how we derive from Moshe's coming into "ohel mo'eid" only when invited that a carcass is better than a Torah scholar with no common sense. He went on to answer that if one goes against the wishes of the whole community, and doesn't even take counsel with Torah scholars, it is obvious that he has no common sense. In this manner a carcass is better than he. People find the smell of a carcass repugnant. They would then take it and throw it to a distance, where it does not disturb them. The carcass, at least, doesn't come back to disturb them again.
Ch. 1, v. 6: "V'hifshit es ho'oloh v'nitach osoh linsochehoh" - And he shall strip the oloh offering and cut it into its pieces - A Chasidic insight: One is required to remove his feeling of superiority, and he should scrutinize every bit of his actions. (Divrei Avrohom)
Ch. 1, v. 15: "Umolak es rosho" - And he shall slash its head - The reason a bird is not slaughtered with a knife, as are other sacrifices, is because Hashem commanded that it be slaughtered upon the altar. One is not to bring a knife upon the altar, as this runs against the ruling that one not lift a life-shortener upon the altar, a life-extender. (Chizkuni)
Ch. 1, v. 15: "ES roshO v'hiktiR hamizbeichoH" - Its head and he shall burn it upon the altar - The final letters of these four words spell TORaH. This alludes to those who are killed by beheading, burning, or the like, that they are considered a pure sacrifice for Hashem. Their souls fly to lofty heights in the upper worlds, just as a bird flies. The final words of our verse, "al kir hamizbei'ach" have the same numerical value as "m'zumon muchon l'chayei ho'olom habo." (Yalkut Ho'eizovi)
Ch. 1, v. 15: "V'nimtzoh domo" - And he shall press out its blood - When an animal sacrifice is offered there are four distinct services. They are the slaughtering, the receiving of the blood in a sanctified receptacle, the walking the vessel with the blood in it towards the altar, and the sprinkling/placing/throwing the blood upon the wall/s of the altar, "sh'chitoh, kaboloh, holochoh, n'sinas hadom." Here we seem to not have an equivalent of "kabolas hadom," as the bird's blood goes directly from its neck to the altar.
As well, there seems to be no "holochoh," as the bird is brought to the altar alive, and is slaughtered right there, requiring no further walking.
Ch. 1, v. 16: "V'heisir es m'uroso b'notzosoh" - And he shall remove its crop along with its intestines - Rashi comments that although the intestines of an animal are offered upon the altar, the digestive system of the bird-oloh is not. This is because an animal is sustained by its owner, while a bird flies anywhere it finds food and just takes it, an act of theft. Hashem does not want the organs that digested the stolen food upon His altar. In Yeshayahu 61:8 we find, "Sonei go'zeil b'oloh." These words are interpreted to mean that Hashem loathes an oloh offering that is involved with theft. This interpretation would be more readily evident in these words if they were switched around, with the verse saying, "sonei oloh b'gozeil," Hashem detests an oloh that is gotten through theft. However, based on the words of Rashi as applied to our verse the words are set in a very precise order. Hashem detests theft that is IN an oloh, food that was gotten through theft that nurtured the bird.
The Imrei Emes asks why it is the bird faulted with theft. After all, it is Hashem's system of sustenance that birds follow by instinct. He answers, based on a medrash in parshas Breishis, which states that Hashem gave each creature input into deciding its structure, nature, manner of sustenance, etc. The bird's poor choice of a theft system is its own doing, hence it is held against the bird. The Beis haLevi at the beginning of parshas Trumoh says that parshas Mishpotim precedes Trumoh to teach that only honest money should be donated. This is not limited to the building fund, but also to the items offered as sacrifices. See the words of the Maharsh"o on the gemara Ksubos 67, where he heavily rebukes those who make money in an improper manner and then offer large sums for a "mi sh'beirach."
Ch. 2, v. 14: "V'im takriv minchas bikurim" - And when you will bring close the first-ripened meal offering - Rashi notes that "v'im" does not mean, "and if," as this is not voluntary. Rather it means "when." Rashi has already dealt with "im" that is obligatory at the end f parshas Yisro, where he cites Rabbi Yishmo'eil, who says that three instances of "im" are obligatory, there "Im mizbach avonim taa'seh li, Im kesef talveh es ami," and here. Rashi here equates this "im" with "v'im yi'h'yeh ha'yoveil," which is also a must. Rabbeinu Chaim Paltiel asks on Rashi that if we add the verse by "yoveil" we have a total of 4 instances, not three. He answers that Rashi only means that "im" there is a must, as "yoveil" must come every fiftieth year, but it is not in Rabbi Yishmo'eil's list because it is not an "im" that is a mitzvoh, as it comes automatically.
The Rambam writes that "yoveil" only takes place where people cooperate and release their slaves and return inheritance fields they purchased. It therefore seems that "yoveil's" coming is an IF. Of course this insight is not a remedy for the concern raised on Rashi by Rabbi Chaim Paltiel.
Ch. 4, v. 15: "V'somchu ziknei ho'eodoh es y'deihem al rosh hapor lifnei Hashem v'shochat es hapor lifnei Hashem" - And the elders of the congregation shall lean their hands upon the head of the ox in front of Hashem and he shall slaughter the ox in front of Hashem - The Rokei'ach notes that "lifnei Hashem" is mentioned twice. He explains that this teaches us that the Merciful One, expressed as Hashem, is filled with mercy to readily forgive in this case of the congregation, a group, unintentionally sinning. I am puzzled by this comment as we find earlier, where the anointed Kohen unintentionally sins, and the Torah prescribes his sin offering, the term "lifnei Hashem" (4:4) as well. Note that there and here three activities (besides the sprinkling of the blood "lifnei Hashem") are mentioned, the bringing, the placing of hands upon the sacrifice, and the slaughtering. There "lifnei Hashem" is mentioned by the bringing and slaughtering, but not by the placing of his hands upon the sacrifice, while here "lifnei Hashem" is mentioned by the placing of their hands and the slaughtering, but not by the bringing. Perhaps an answer lies in this difference, although I see no resolution through this.
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