Chasidic Insights

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 2, v. 11: "Ki chol s'ore v'chol dvash lo saktiru isheh laShem" - In our daily prayer we say that if a person would add even a very small measure called "kortov" of honey to the incense mixture it would exude such a powerful aroma that people would fall to the ground. However, the reason for not doing so is because the Torah in our verse prohibits burning sweet nectar on the altar. We see from this that even when we have logical compelling reasons to refrain from doing an act, the most compelling reason is that the Torah said NO. (The Holy Admor of Kotzk)

Ch. 2, v. 11,13: "Ki chol s'ore v'chol dvash lo saktiru isheh laShem, Al kol korboncho takriv melach" - Yeast, honey, and salt all are items that arte not food in their own right, but rather, they enhance other foods. If so, why are yeast and honey excluded, while salt is required as an accompaniment to all sacrifices? Yeast makes things bloat and grow, even things that really shouldn't. This is akin to haughtiness. Honey, fruit nectar, sweetens everything, i.e. it never yields to the taste of the item into which it was introduced. Salt however, enhances the natural flavour of foods, i.e. it subordinates itself to another. (Rabbi Shmuel Yaakov of Paris in Sh'eiris Menachem)

Ch. 3, v. 17: "V'chol dom lo socheilu" - Do not eat with gluttonous lust, with your blood throbbing. (Rabbi Shmuel of Slonim in the writings of Rabbi Shmuel Zalman Shaloveski)

Ch. 4, v. 2: "Nefesh ki secheto" - How does the bringing of a sacrifice afford atonement? When a person sins it is because a spirit of folly has entered him (Rashi Bmidbar 5:12). His human level has left him at the time of sinning. when h repents and decides to bring an atonement offering his human spirit returns and replaces the "nefesh habhamis." An animal is brought in place of the "animalistic spirit" that was in him at the time of sinning. (Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh on Vayikroh 9:8)

Ch. 4, v. 19: "V'es kol chelbo yorim mi'menu" - A destitute person came to the Imrei Emes, lamenting his condition, saying that he did not even have a pair of tefillin to his name. The Imrei Emes offered him a pair of tefillin, but advising him that they were his inheritance from the Sfas Emes. The fellow was in such awe of the Sfas Emes that he refused to wear them and another pair was found to give to him. a household member asked the Imrei Emes why he was willing to part with this treasure. He answered that by giving the tefillin to a poor man he would be doing a mitzvoh. The Torah requires of us to give the fattest choicest items for Hashem.

Ch. 5, v. 17: "V'os'soh achas mikol mitzvos Hashem asher lo sei'o'senoh" - What is a mitzvoh of Hashem, and yet it should not be done? This refers to acts that people calculate as "mitzvos" but in reality are sins, i.e. "It is a mitzvoh to bury that person," etc. (Rabbi Chaim Mayer of Vizhnitz)


See also Sedrah Selections and Oroh V'Simchoh

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