How many loaves of bread were brought with each korban todah (thanksgiving sacrifice)?
By Rabi Reuven Semah
"And he shall remove his garments and put on other garments and carry out the ashes." (Vayikra 6:4)
This Shabbat is Shabbat Hagadol. The reading in the Torah is the perashah of Sav. We call the Shabbat before Passover the Great Shabbat because of the miracle that happened on the Shabbat before the Jews left Egypt. However, there is an important message in our perashah that tells us that every Shabbat is great.
The kohen had many important functions when he offered the korbanot in the Mishkan. One of those jobs was to remove the ashes from the altar. The Torah says that the kohen should change his clothing when he cleans the altar so that he shouldn't soil his holy garments. Rashi comments that from here we learn that the garments that one wears when he cooks a pot of food for his master should not be the same garments that he wears when he serves a cup of wine to his master. The Talmud learns from this that a person should change into beautiful clothing for Shabbat. Just as the kohen during his service in the Mishkan didn't wear the same garments that he wore while cleaning out the altar, but wore beautiful clothing to perform the service, the same applies to Shabbat. We shouldn't wear the same garments that we wore to prepare for Shabbat, on Shabbat. We should wear more beautiful garments for Shabbat.
Every Shabbat is a great Shabbat and it deserves our full honor. If we dress up for our important appointments, we should at least accord to Shabbat the same respect. Make every Shabbat Shabbat Hagadol. Shabbat Shalom.
By Rabbi Shmuel Choueka
"Command Aharon and his sons" (Vayikra 6:2)
Rashi tells us that the word "sav" -command - is needed to encourage someone if there is a loss of money involved. The Kohanim were being commanded regarding the Olah sacrifice which was fully burned on the Altar, and they had no share in the animal except for the skin. Therefore, in order to make sure that they did this korban with the same zealousness as the other sacrifices, the word sav is used. We see from here that loss of money doesn't only mean an actual loss but even a lack of gain. The Kohanim didn't personally lose anything by doing this sacrifice. They just didn't profit, and still the Sages call this a loss.
This has major significance for us. We tend to do certain misvot with enjoyment and gusto, especially those we benefit from, either benefiting with physical rewards or deriving honor and recognition for it. But when it comes to doing things that have no glory attached to them, we may feel we are not gaining from these activities and even consider them somewhat of a loss. That's when we need to be encouraged, just like the Kohanim. Whatever we do in the service of Hashem, regardless of the instant payback, ultimately will benefit us in this world and most certainly in the next world. We should feel privileged to be able to help others and to fulfill Hashem's will, and we should try to do it with enthusiasm and enjoyment as if we would be getting rewarded on the spot. The reward will be had sooner than we could imagine when we realize how our lives are immeasurably richer. Shabbat Shalom.
THE GREAT SHABBAT
Why is the Shabbat before Pesah called "Shabbat Hagadol - the Great Shabbat"?
One reason is because of the great miracle that took place in Egypt on that day. On the tenth of Nissan, which was Shabbat, the Jews were instructed to prepare a sheep to be used as a Korban Pesah. When the Egyptian first-born visited Jewish homes and inquired what they were doing with the sheep, the Jews replied that they were preparing a Korban Pesah to G-d, who would kill the Egyptian first-born. Upon hearing this they went to their parents and to Pharaoh begging them to send out the Jewish people. When they refused, the first-born declared war against their parents and killed many of them, as it is written in Psalms, "Who struck Egypt through its first-born" (136:10).
What is so unique about this miracle that it should be described as a "nes gadol - great miracle"?
Throughout history the Jewish people have been confronted with numerous enemies. Fortunately, Hashem comes to our salvation and miraculously our enemies are destroyed. The uniqueness of the miracle of Shabbat Hagadol was that while Egypt and Pharaoh were still in their fullest strength and glory, their own first-born demanded compliance with Hashem's will, and when they refused, an internal war erupted, fought on behalf of the Jewish people. Thus, the Egyptians killing Egyptians on behalf of the Jewish people was the greatest miracle that the Jewish people have witnessed.
Alternatively, when the Egyptians visited the homes of their Jewish slaves, they were horrified to see how the Jews were treating the lambs, which the Egyptians worshipped. When the Egyptians asked what they were doing with the lambs, the Jews did not try to evade the question and proudly proclaimed, "We have a G-d Who commanded us to sacrifice these."
A major difference between a katan - minor - and a gadol - adult - is that a minor is frequently timid and likely to obscure the truth with excuses. On the other hand, an adult, mature and not ashamed of his actions, forthrightly proclaims his convictions. On this Shabbat the Jews acted as mature adults and did not hesitate to make known their allegiance to G-d. Since they acted like gedolim, this Shabbat is known as Shabbat Hagadol. (Vedibarta Bam)
"The fire on the altar shall be kept burning on it; it shall not be extinguished" (Vayikra 6:5)
In Pirkei Abot (5:5), the Rabbis teach us that miraculously the rains never put out the fire of the wood-pile on the altar. The Mizbeah (altar) was situated in an open space, exposed to the elements. Yet, the fire continued to burn even during the heaviest rains. It seems strange that such a miracle would be choreographed. Why did Hashem simply not have it rain upon the Mizbeah so that such a miracle would not be necessary? Rav Chaim of Volozhin infers a valuable lesson from this miracle regarding our commitment to serve Hashem under all circumstances.
Hashem could certainly have prevented the rains from falling upon the Mizbeah. That would not have taught us, however, that the fire of the Mizbeah burns despite the rains. We now see that nothing stands in the way of the flame of the altar. It miraculously withstands the rains and any other material/physical barriers. The Hebrew word for rain is geshem. Geshem also happens to be the root of gashmiut, a term which denotes everything material and physical in this world. Fire is often used as a metaphor for Divine spirituality.
Thus, the miracle that the fire was not extinguished by the rains allegorically teaches us that we may not permit our material desires to quench our spiritual fire. The flame of the love for Torah must dominate our quest for materialism. It must burn constantly despite the material attractions of the world. The excuse, "I have to make a living," should not stand in the way of our spiritual growth. (Peninim on the Torah)
"Take Aharon and his sons with him, and the garments and the anointing oil...and gather all the congregation together unto the entrance of Ohel Moed" (Vayikra 8:2-3)
Moshe is enjoined regarding the misvah of anointing Aharon and his sons prior to their induction into the priestly service. What reason is there for the whole congregation of B'nei Yisrael to assemble at the entrance to the Ohel Moed? What connection do they have to this misvah, and what purpose is served by it? As this misvah is directed to Moshe, why did he relate it to B'nei Yisrael?
The Kohen Gadol's influence over the people is proportional to the extent that they are unified and in agreement. When there is discord and strife among them, his spiritual influence cannot imbue them with his source of holiness. B'nei Yisrael may be compared to a body with the Kohen Gadol being the leader and head. If the various organs are separated, then what purpose will the head serve? As Moshe was about to anoint the Kohanim, he first assembled all the people in front of them. This assemblage was the essential, reciprocal relationship required to maximize the Kohen Gadol's influence over the people. Only through unity can the influence of holiness penetrate all of Klal Yisrael. (Peninim on the Torah)
Answer to pop quiz: Forty.
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