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Parshat Vayikra

Pop Quiz: What was required to be brought with every sacrifice on the Altat?

by Rabbi Reuven Semah

"But if his means are insufficient...then he shall bring as his guilt offering a tenth-ephah of fine flour" (Vayikra 5:11)

Our perashah begins the third book of the Torah. The book of Vayikra speaks a lot about the sacrifices, the korbanot, in the Mishkan. We yearn for the return of the korbanot for they were of great benefit for our people.

If a person had to bring a korban due to a sin, there is a type of korban that is adjustable according to his means. If he could afford it he should bring an animal which is expensive. If he is less fortunate he may bring a bird offering. If he is very poor he may bring flour, which is a meal offering. A rich man is not permitted to bring the poor man's korban. The Sefer Hinuch tells us an amazing statement. "If a poor man brings a rich man's korban it is unacceptable!" He writes that if Hashem had pity on him and allowed him to fulfill his obligation with a small korban, it is wrong for him to push himself to bring more than he could afford. The Hinuch concludes, "Therefore every person should learn from this law that a person should not spend more than that which is appropriate according to his means, for that is a cause of stealing if he can't meet his demands."

It is truly amazing that the laws of the korbanot given to us thousands of years ago could have such a current up to date message for our generation. How fortunate we are to have such a holy Torah.
Shabbat Shalom.

by Rabbi Shmuel Choueka

"If a soul will bring a sacrifice" (Vayikra 2:1)

When a person brings a regular sacrifice, the Torah uses the word "adam - a man," but when a poor person brings a sacrifice then the word used is "nefesh - soul." The Rabbis tell us this means that G-d considers this poor man who struggled so hard to bring a sacrifice as if he brought his very soul to Hashem.

This lesson is not limited only to donating to charity. Rather, anyone who is limited in any field and nevertheless tries his hardest to do something in the service of G-d, even though the actual accomplishment may be modest, Hashem considers the effort as if the person brought his whole self close to G-d.

This should be encouraging to all of us in all our endeavors. If we don't pray so well or read Hebrew fluently and we still try our best, it means that much more to Hashem. If we can't grasp all the subject matter of a class and we still try our best to attend, it's as if we brought our soul to our Creator. This should inspire us onward to improve and expand our involvement in studying, praying and community work since it is so precious in the eyes of Hashem.
Shabbat Shalom.


"And He [Hashem] called to Moshe" (Vayikra 1:1)

The Midrash states that Moshe was actually known by ten different names, each describing a different aspect of his multi- faceted personality. Each name depicted a specific trait not implied by the others. Of all the names mentioned, however, the name Moshe, given to him by Batyah, the daughter of Pharaoh, was the only one by which Hashem addressed him. A name is an appellation which characterizes a person's personality, a single word which uniquely encapsulates an individual's entire essence. We must, therefore, endeavor to understand why Hashem selected the name Moshe to reign supreme over all the other names. Indeed, the name Moshe is merely a description of the fact that Batyah saved Moshe from drowning. How does this name describe Moshe's essence?

Rabbi Chaim Shmulevitz explains that it is apparent that Moshe's rescue was attributed to Batyah's mesirut nefesh, self- sacrifice. She defied her father's decree in order to save a life. Since Moshe's survival was accomplished through Batyah's act of self-sacrifice, this attribute became thoroughly imbued in him. It became an intrinsic part of his personality. Thus, the most fitting description of Moshe's essence was "Moshe," a name which refers to Batyah's selfless act.

There can be no name more suitable for a Torah leader than one which conveys the attribute of mesirut nefesh. Self-sacrifice for the klal, general population, as well as for each individual, is the crucial attribute essential for successful leadership of Am Yisrael. This quality was strongly manifest by Moshe throughout his tenure as Israel's leader. (Peninim on the Torah)

Answer to pop quiz: Salt.

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