CHAMISHOH MI YODEI'A - FIVE QUESTIONS ON THE WEEKLY SEDRAH - PARSHAS VAYIKRA 5767 - BS"D
1) Ch. 1, v. 5: "V'hikrivu bnei Aharon haKohanim es hadom" - And the sons of Aharon the Kohanim shall bring the blood close - The gemara Z'vochim 35a derives from the Torah only mentioning Kohanim by the "holochoh" stage of the blood service, that the slaughtering of a sacrifice may be done by a non-Kohein, and only from the transportation of the blood towards the altar and onwards is it required to use Kohanim.
The gemara Brochos 31b relates that the following question arose in the days of Eili the Kohein Godol: Is it required to specifically have a Kohein to slaughter a sacrifice? Shmuel the prophet, while still a youngster, brought the above-stated proof from our verse that a Kohein is not required. How could this question arise at this juncture? The Mishkon was in use for 39 years in the desert and surely many a Yisroel slaughtered a sacrifice!
2) Ch. 1, v. 14: "V'im min ho'ofe oloh korbono laShem" - Our verse says that if one offers a bird "oloh" FOR HASHEM, while in the other two species of "oloh," bovine and sheep, FOR HASHEM is left out (verses 3 and 10). Secondly in both the earlier sacrifices, bovine and sheep, it mentions that "haKohanIM," plural form, will process it (verses 5 and 11), while by the bird "oloh" it is expressed in the singular form, "haKohein" (verse 15). Why?
3) Ch. 2, v. 5: "Minchoh al MACHAVAS" - There are nine different "Kor'b'nos Minchoh," but physically there are only five different ways in which they are prepared. One type is our "mincho al MACHAVAS."
In our Shabbos songs we sing, "Hashomer Shabbos ha'bein im habas, lo'Keil yeirotzeh k'minchoh al MACHAVAS." Why is keeping the Shabbos appeasing to Hashem as a MACHAVAS offering, specifically?
4) Ch. 4, v. 27: "V'im nefesh achas te'cheto ...... ba'asosoh achas mimitzvos Hashem" - Shouldn't the verse have said, "b'OVROH al achas mimitzvos Hashem"?
5) Ch. 5, v. 8: "Umolak es rosho mimul orpo" - We have two startling "chidushim" regarding the bird offerings. One is that it is slaughtered with the nail of the Kohein. When slaughtering a non-sacrificial bird or an animal, whether sacrificial or mundane (chulin), this would render it non-kosher, and by a sacrificial bird only with the use of a nail is it fit. If a blade is used the sacrificial bird is rendered unfit. The second matter is that ritually correct slaughtering, whether for mundane (chulin) meat or for a sacrifice, always requires slaughtering from the front of the neck and not the nape. Here by the bird offering, only entry from the nape is proper. Why these two departures from the regular rules of slaughtering a bird?
In Vayikra 17:3-5 the verses relate that when a person wants to have a bovine, sheep, or goat slaughtered he must bring it to the Mishkon to the Kohein. The Medrash Tanchuma explains that if a person in the desert wanted to eat meat he would have no choice but to bring it as a sacrifice. Simply put, there was no "chulin," secular meat, allowed in that era. Rabbi Zalman of Volozhin explains that the reason the Torah allowed for a non-Kohein to slaughter a sacrifice is because slaughtering of "secular animals" may be done by a non-Kohein, so this act is obviously not a sacrificial service. However, in the desert where only sanctified meat was allowed, we find no precedent of a non-Kohein's slaughtering "chulin." At that time slaughtering was still a sacrificial service and required a Kohen.
We can now understand why Eili was not able to clarify this question simply by being aware of non-Kohanim doing this act for numerous years earlier, as in the desert only Kohanim slaughtered. This all changed immediately upon the bnei Yisroel's entry into Eretz Yisroel, once "chulin" meat was permitted. However, since until this point non-Kohanim did not slaughter, even Eili was not aware of the halacha changing. (Taam Vodaas)
The Ponim Yofos answers both these questions by pointing out that although an "oloh" sacrifice is totally consumed on the altar, the hide of the sacrifice is given to the Kohanim who do the service that week. Hence the sacrifice is not totally for Hashem, so the word "laShem" is left out by the bovine and sheep sacrifice. Likewise haKohanim, in the plural form is used, as the hide is split among the Kohanim. However, by the bird "oloh" absolutely nothing is given to any Kohein, hence the sacrifice is totally laShem, and the only involvement is with the one Kohein who has the mitzvoh of processing it, hence the singular form.
1) My Chumash Rebbi answered that the word MACHAVAS simply rhymes with "habas," and was therefore chosen. This is probably the best answer.
2) However, by delving into the way this Korban Minchoh was prepared, perhaps another answer will emerge. The mishnoh in M'nochos 63a says that according to Rabbi Chananioh ben Gamliel the difference between a "minchas marcheshes" and a "mincha al machavas" is that the "marcheshes" is deep fried, while the "machavas" is fried on a flat griddle that has no sides. Perhaps this would explain the expression "AL machavas," ON a griddle, and not IN a pan.
The gemara Shabbos 118a says that one who keeps the Shabbos properly merits to receive an unrestricted inheritance, as was promised to Yaakov. This is expressed in Yesha'yohu 58:14, "Im toshiv miShabbos raglecho ...... v'haachalticho nachalas Yaakov ovicho." Possibly this is why a "minchoh al MACHAVAS" is chosen in this Shabbos song. If someone keeps the Shabbos holy, he merits to have an unlimited inheritance, symbolized by a Korban Minchoh which is prepared on a griddle which also has no borders. (Nirreh li)
Two students of the Holy Magid of Mezeritch, the Rebbe Reb Ber, had a conversation. The first said that he was so ashamed of his sins. He didn't know what to do with them. The other student responded that he felt he had recourse for his sins through repenting. However, what would he do with his mitzvos? He was so embarrassed that many of them were done incompletely, with limited intention, or for reasons other than to fulfill Hashem's wishes.
The Kedushas Levi, Rabbi Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev, says that this point is alluded to in our verse. "If a soul sins by doing a mitzvoh of Hashem," by having other intentions, etc.
The Chinuch in mitzvoh #124 says that the Torah requires these two severe departures from the norm to accommodate the man who is so poor that he is financially forced to bring an avian sacrifice. By requiring the use of the Kohein's nail rather than a ritual slaughtering knife, a "chalif," time is saved by not having to fetch the knife and making sure it is properly sharpened. Secondly time is saved by slaughtering the bird from the nape side, which is the side naturally facing the Kohein. Slaughtering from the front side requires turning the bird's neck and firmly holding the neck in that position. The Torah wanted to speed the process for the poor man, concerned even with saving him seconds, as he is pressed financially to pursue any manner of income available. What a powerful lesson to not waste the time of a poor person!
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