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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS VAYIKRA 5775 BS"D

Ch. 1, v. 1: "Vayikra Hashem el Moshe va'y'da'beir eilov mei'ohel mo'eid" - And Hashem called to Moshe and He spoke to him from the tent of covenant - Rashi says that the diminutive letter Alef connotes Moshe's great humbleness. The Alef was written small by Moshe, as if it weren't there and we would read the word as "va'yikar," and He happened, a sort of coincidental communication, a negative connotation of impurity, as "keri," which we find by Hashem's communicating with Bilom.

Why did Moshe wait until now to do this? The verses are replete with Hashem's calling Moshe, "vayikra," in parshas Yisro, by the preparation for and the giving of the Torah. Rabbi Yitzchok Admor of Vorke answers: "ANIVUS BORABIM GAAVOH," that one who acts modestly in a public setting is actually acting arrogantly. Here, where Hashem spoke to Moshe from the tent of covenant, where no one heard the voice (see Rashi at the end of parshas Nosso), a One to one conversation with no spectators, and in this circumstance Moshe acted modestly, this is TRUE modesty.

Ch. 1, v. 2: "Odom ki yakriv mikem korbon" - A person from among you who will bring close an offering - Rashi says that we derive from "odom," primary man, that just as he could not have brought an offering from stolen goods, as the whole world was his, so too, today a person may not bring an offering of stolen goods.

The Chid"o derives from "odom" that just as when primary man brought an offering to Hashem he did it out of his own volition, as there was no one else around to bring an offering, so too, when we bring a voluntary korbon it should be motivated by our emotion of wanting to come close to Hashem and bring him an offering.

Ch. 1, v. 2: "Odom ki yakriv mikem korbon laShem" - A person from among you who will bring close an offering to Hashem - If a person offers "mikem," from among you, i.e. his "odom," his human niceties, and lives just for Hashem, them it is an offering "laShem." When it is just, "Min habheimoh umin habokor ," from his animals from his cattle , without the emotion of offering himself, in effect somewhat of a replacement "tmuroh" mentality, then "takrivu es korbanchem," you will be bringing your offering that is accepted, but is lacking the "laShem" component. (Holy Shalo"h)

Ch. 1, v. 9: "V'hiktir haKohein es hakole hamizbeichoh" - And the Kohein should burn everything on the altar - Toras Kohanim says that "hakole" includes the horns and the hooves of the oloh offering. The Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh asks how was Avrohom allowed to use the horns of the ram he slaughtered in place of his son Yitzchok, as detailed in Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer chapter #31, since this was an oloh replacement, and everything is to be burned. The Imrei Shefer offers that the rule of everything being burned is limited to the original offering. He explains what he means. Let us say that one offered an oloh that had no horns and for whatever reason he made a substitution oloh that had horns. He is not responsible to offer the horns of the new offerings. Yitzchok did not have horns so the ram replacement, in this case totally permitted as Hashem sent a message to not slaughter him, also does not require its horns being burned.

Perhaps we can say this law was not binding before the giving of the Torah, as Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer states that other components of the ram were also set aside for use, parts of the body that Yitzchok also had.

Ch. 4, v. 3: "Im haKohein hamoshiach yecheta l'ashmas ho'om" - If the anointed Kohein will unintentionally sin to the guilt of the nation - When a highly placed person sins unintentionally it is common for people to enlarge his sin, saying that such a knowledgeable person surely sinned intentionally. This is "l'ashmas ho'om," to the assessment of the nation that it was an "oshom," intentional sin. This is why the blood of this offering has the unique law of being placed on the golden inner altar, as per the words of the next verse, "V'nosan haKohein min hadom al mizbach k'torres hasamim." This altar is out of the public view, in the Beis Hamikdosh, not in the courtyard. The gemara Z'vochim 88b says that an act that is usually done privately, in our case loshon hora, has its atonement in a private venue. Thus when the anointed Kohein brings his sin offering there is a component of atonement for the loshon hora of the nation. (Meshech Chochmoh)

Ch. 5, v. 7: "V'im lo sagia yodo dei seh echod l'chatos v'echod l'oloh" - And if he cannot afford a sheep one as a chatos and one as an oloh - The Paanei'ach Rozo, Ibn Ezra, and Baa'lei Tosfos question the introduction of an oloh offering for the poverty stricken man, given that the original offering for a wealthy man was but a chatos. Ibn Ezra first cites Rabbi Yitzchok who says that he brings an oloh for the negative thoughts he has against Hashem for meting him out such a tough life of penury. I understand this as follows: We do not suggest to every poor man to offer an oloh from time to time because of such negative thoughts. This is because this is not what is uppermost in a poor man's mind. However, it is when he knows he will bring a "poor man's" offering to the Beis Hamikdosh in front of the many people who are present, in the public arena, that this negative sentiment rises to the fore, hence the need for an oloh. Ibn Ezra writes that another explanation pleases him.

Shortly after WW II the Holy Admor of Satmar spoke to a group of war survivors. He cited the above-mentioned words of Rabbi Yitzchok and asked a powerful question. Near the end of our parsha, the Torah deals with sins where originally an animal chatos offering is required. The Torah allows for a sliding scale of offerings based upon one's financial ability. The Torah gives three levels, for the man of means, the poor man, and the absolutely destitute man. By the absolutely destitute man the law is that he brings a meal offering as a chatos in place of an animal chatos, but there is no oloh offering, not even of flour. Why? He surely bears displeasure with Hashem for his being so poor. (Perhaps this difficulty is what led the Ibn Ezra to prefer another approach) The Holy Admor of Satmar answered that when a person is that poor he needs no atonement. Hashem understandingly forgives him for his complaints when things are that tough. He went on to say that he is sure that just about every one present had complaints to Hashem for all the indescribable sufferings he went through. It is the person's evil inclination that then springs upon him and says that he is so very weak in his belief in Hashem, and that all is for the good so he should not have complaints. This is the "poor of the poor" person. He needs to have no guilt feelings for this. Hashem understands and readily forgives. Eyes should just be set on rebuilding (zyavak"Ya).

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See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha, Chasidic Insights and Chamisha Mi Yodei'a


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