Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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1) Ch. 1, v. 1: "Vayikra" - And He called - Rashi (Medrash Tanchuma) says that this word indicates a calling of love. Rashi also says that we should not think that Hashem called to Moshe not only when relating more of the Torah, but also for informing him of leaving paragraph spacing, blank spaces. What important message can we derive from this?

2) Ch. 1, v. 9: "V'kirbo uchro'ov yirchatz" - And its innards and its legs you shall wash - We do not find this command by chatos, oshom, or shlomim. Why?

3) Ch. 1, v. 15: "Es rosho" - Its head - The mishnoh Z'vochim 64b explains that the requirement to separate the head of the bird from its body only applies to an "oloh" offering and not a "chatos" offering, where the verse says "lo yavdil" (verse 17). Why this difference?

4) Ch. 2, v. 10: "Kodesh kodoshim" - Holy of holies - Every "minchoh" offering has the exalted status of "kodshei kodoshim," and a non-Kohein has no part in its consumption. Why is every "minchoh" given this status?

5) Ch. 5, v. 1: "Im lo yagid v'nosso avono" - If he will not testify then he will bear his sin - Rashi explains that this is a situation of a person asking his friend to come to his aid by testifying in his favour, for example his friend was witness to a loan that he gave and the recipient is denying that it ever took place.

The word LO in our verse is spelled in an unusual manner, Lamed-Vov-Alef, while almost everywhere else it is spelled without the letter Vov. Why?



Symbolically there is a very important message here. Moshe, who embodies the Torah scholar par exellence, is called with a calling of love when he is to be taught more and more of the Torah. This is the written part of the Torah. The blank areas symbolize the situations when even the most diligent Torah scholar must break away from studying or teaching, i.e. to do a mitzvoh whose time is passing and there is no one else to tend to it, or to collect charity or the like for a needy cause. Since he is acting correctly by tearing himself away from Torah learning, we might think that Hashem's call to him to do this or that is a call of love on the same level as when he is able to learn. However, this is not the case. The blank spaces, the times one must attend to other matters, is not a calling of love. One would have been better off had he not been required to tend to another matter. (Dorash Moshe)

This is similar to the point raised by the Ta"z. He says that if a situation arises where one must save another's life, even if he is in the middle of Torah study, he MUST attempt to save the life. If he doesn't, he has transgressed a severe Torah prohibition, "Lo saamode al dam rei'acho." Nevertheless, had he merited, Hashem would not have sent this mitzvoh his way, and he would have been allowed to continue his Torah study undisturbed.

N.B. - This interpretation of "breaks," "hafsokos," is not in agreement with other commentators, such as Divrei Dovid, who explain that it means an actual parsha, just that it does not have the prelude "va'y'da'beir" or "va'yomer."


This is because these organs of the animal are consumed by the owners. They obviously will not eat them without first cleansing them. Our verse is discussing an oloh sacrifice, which is totally consumed on the altar. The Torah therefore tells us to wash these parts of the animal so that clean respectable offerings are burned. (Rabbi Yoseif Bchor Shor)


Vayikra Rabboh chapter #7 says that an "oloh" offering affords atonement for sins that are in the realm of thought, "hirhur haLEIV." We find this expression, "thoughts of the HEART" in the Torah as well, "V'chol yeitzer mach'sh'vos LIBO rak ra kol ha'yom" (Breishis 6:5). It would seem that thoughts should be relegated to the mind and not the heart.

We cannot hold a person responsible for a fleeting negative thought that enters his mind, as this is very hard to control. This might be the intention of the gemara B.B. 164b, that no one is free of "thoughts of sin." What is in a person's control is to chase such a thought out of his mind before it settles into his heart, changing from a thought to an emotional urge. Thus when discussing wrong thoughts the verse and our Rabbis both express it as "thoughts of the HEART." It is now well understood that by an "oloh" offering the head is separated from the body. This is to symbolize to a person that even if a negative thought has entered his head it should not be nurtured and enter the heart.

However, by a "chatos" offering the opposite is true. A person unintentionally sinned with the organs of his body. Had he applied his head, he could have avoided sinning. Thus the verse says that by a "chatos offering" the head should not be separated from the body. (Shem miShmuel)


The reason it is given this status is because it is the offering of a poor man, and Hashem loves those who are of a modest and humble spirit. (Rabbi Yoseif B'chor Shor)


We can explain this by offering that there is a dual intention here, both Lamed-Alef = NO, and Lamed-Vov = to him. The simple understanding is as just explained that the one requested to testify falsely swore that he knew nothing. There is also a second message. A person may not testify against another person where he knows that his testimony will accomplish nothing. For example, if only one witness comes to testify that a person intentionally ate pig, the court will not do anything about it because two witnesses are required before punishment is administered. The gemara Makos 9 relates that a person named Zigud testified that Tovia sinned in the above fashion and the courts did nothing to Tovia. However, they administered lashes to Tovia for knowingly testifying as a single witness, as all this accomplishes is loshon hora. We can thus say that if "Lamed-Vov yagid," he testifies only concerning HIM, another person, but not in a manner that can bring about court action, "v'nosso avono," the witness has sinned. This is actually the straightforward meaning of the verse in Dvorim 19:15. (Nirreh li)



See also Sedrah Selections, Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha and Chasidic Insights

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