by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS VA'YIKRA 5771 BS"D
Ch. 2, v. 13: "Al kol korboncho takriv melach" - On all your sacrifices you shall bring salt - Sh.O. O.Ch. 167:5 writes that our tables upon which we have meals are equated to the "mizbei'ach," and our eating at the table is akin to the consumption of a sacrifice. We should therefore have salt at our meals. This protects from punishment. Tosfos on the gemara Brochos 40a d.h. "ho'vei melach" explains that when a number of people have washed their hands to partake in eating bread, those who wash earlier sit idly waiting for the final people to wash. The prosecuting angel then has a claim against these people who are not being productive while they wait. The presence of salt at the table attests to our covenant of salt with Hashem, and this protects us from any punishment.
Ch. 4, v. 2: "Nefesh ki secheto" - When a soul will sin - Why does the Torah attribute the sin to the soul rather than to the coarse physical body? This is akin to a situation where two people sinned the same sin against a king. One was a total stranger to the country, while the other was in the service of the king in the palace. When the king decided their punishments, he let the stranger off and had his "inner circle" worker receive a stiff retribution. The king's servants were aghast, wondering why a complete stranger was let off the hook, while an otherwise loyal worker was punished quite strictly. The king explained that the stranger does not grasp the greatness of the king as he does not live in the country. The formerly loyal worker was fully cognizant of the king's accomplishments in ruling the country for the betterment of the citizenry and yet, he still sinned. For this he deserves a strict punishment.
So too it is with the coarse body and the spiritual soul. The body is removed from grasping the greatness of Hashem, and is let off more easily than the soul, which by virtue of being spiritual, grasps to an extent the greatness of Hashem, and in turn, deserves a stiff punishment. (Baa'lei Tosfos)
Ch. 4, v. 3: "Im haKohein hamoshiach yecheto l'ashmas ho'om" - If the anointed Kohein will sin to the guilt of the nation - To clarify the final words "l'ashmas ho'om" the Dubner Magid offers a parable: If a person traveling alone strays from the correct path he has only affected himself as only he is lost. However, if a goods trader has in tow twenty or thirty wagons laden with merchandise that are led by the same number of people, and he goes astray, he not only affects himself, but also has led astray twenty or thirty people who follow the tracks made by his lead wagon into "gone astray land." This is the intention of these words of our verse. When the anointed Kohein strays from proper mitzvoh observance, since he is a high profile person and all take note of his actions, they will likewise do the same. He is thus leading a large number of people astray. This is "lashmas ho'om."
Ch. 4, v. 12: "V'soraf oso al eitzim bo'aish al shefech ha'deshen yisrof" -And he shall burn it on wood with fire on the ash dump he shall burn - The specially anointed Kohein has his sacrifice burned in a most public setting, outside the Mikdosh compound for all to see. This teaches a powerful lesson. Let everyone see that even this most holy of people, when he has acted incorrectly, confesses and brings an atonement sacrifice. (Baal Haturim)
Ch. 5, v. 5: "V'hisvadoh asher choto o'lehoh" - And he shall confess for that which he sinned upon it - The word "o'lehoh" seems to be superfluous. What indeed brought this person to transgress his vow? The gemara N'dorim 20a says that one should not be in the habit of regularly making vows because this will bring to his abrogating a vow. The word "o'lehoh" tells us that it is insufficient for him to only confess for his transgressing the vow he made. He must also confess for the acts that brought to this sin, wantonly making many vows. This is the intention of "o'lehoh." (Imrei Shefer)
Ch. 5, v. 6: "V'im lo sagia yodo dei seh" - And if his hand will not reach sufficient for a sheep - What does the word "dei" in this phrase teach us? The Toras Kohanim says that even if this person has sufficient funds for numerous birds, and even if he is just short a minimal coin for purchasing a sheep, we do not say that he should work until he has sufficient for a sheep. Rather, he should immediately bring the poor man's offering. This is because "Chavivoh mitzvoh b'shaatoh" (gemara P'sochim 68b. the Toras Kohanim goes on to say that even if he actually owns a sheep but needs it for his basic livelihood, he is not required to use it as his offering. This situation is akin to his not having a sheep. This is the intention of our verse when it adds the word "dei." It is not enough to own a sheep, but one has to have "sufficiently enough" to afford giving a sheep. (Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh)
Ch. 5, v. 11: "Lo yosim o'lehoh shemen v'lo yitein o'lehoh l'vonoh" - He shall not place upon it oil and he shall not give on it frankincense - Why by oil is "simoh" used and by frankincense "n'sinoh?" Rabbi Shlomo Gantzfried in Apirion answers that the difference between these two terms is that "simoh" is used when something is to be placed even for a short time, while "n'sinoh" indicates being placed with the intention to have it remain. The gemara M'nochos 59b says that this minchoh offering is invalidated when oil is placed onto it even if one where to remove as much oil as he can. If he were to place frankincense onto this minchoh then it may not be processed as long as the spice is there, but it ma be removed in its totality and then the minchoh is valid. This is why our verse says "lo yosim" by placing oil, as even if the intention is to immediately remove it the minchoh offering is invalidated, while by placing frankincense it is only a problem when it is left there and not removed.
Ch. 5, v. 12: "V'komatz haKohein mi'menoh" - And the Kohein shall take a fistful from it - Rabbi Meir Simchoh, the Ohr Somei'ach, was once given the honour of being "m'sa'deir kidushin" at the wedding of a Kohein. After the chupoh Rabbi Meir Simchoh gave him the following blessing: "May it be the will of Hashem that it will be fulfilled in you the words of the verse, 'V'komatz haKohein mi'menoh.'" People did not understand what he meant with these words and someone asked him to clarify his seemingly enigmatic blessing. He said that it was rather simple. The gemara Brochos 8a and Y'vomos 63a says that when someone would wed in the west (Eretz Yisroel) he would be asked, "Motzo" or "motzei?" The gemara goes on to clarify that these two words are from two verses, "Motzo ishoh motzo tov" (Mishlei 18), and "Motzei ani mar mimo'ves es ho'ishoh" (Koheles 7). The two words are spelled the same and the only difference is the "nikud," vowelization, the former with a Kometz under the Mem, and the latter with a Cholom under the Mem. The blessing was that the brand new groom merit a Kometz.
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