Shema Yisrael Home

              Fish&Soup.jpg - 12464 Bytes Subscribe

   by Jacob Solomon

This Week's Parsha | Previous issues | Welcome - Please Read!


A person... who brings an offering to G-d (1:2)

The subjects of this Parasha are the categories of offerings brought to the Tabernacle (and later the Temple). Broadly they fall under three categories:

(a) The Olah - burnt offering, which is brought for thoughts associated with sin (following the Kli Yakar to 1:3), and carelessness.

(b) The Shelamim - peace offering - brought for several reasons, including thanksgiving and joy (c.f. Rashi to 7:12)

(c) The Chatat - sin offering - for accidentally transgressing one of the prohibitions of the Torah. That is followed by the Asham - guilt offering - for various specified situations involving sin.

However, the logical sequence would be Chatat, Olah, and Shelamim - 'starting with the worst and finishing with the best'. Going from sorrow to joy. What may be learnt from the order as set in the Torah - Olah, Shelamim, and Chatat? Inappropriate thoughts and intentions, followed by thanksgiving and joy, and only then, sin.

But the progress of the Parasha implies the following. A person's outlook in life should move from 'Olah' to 'Shelamim' to 'Chatat'.

For the best way to handle sin is to avoid it, not bring a post-sin sacrifice, or today - remorse over what happened. That involves care with one's daily program, the company one keeps, and the circles one mixes in. But the framework should be one of happiness and recognizing G-d's gifts to us: as the daily service expresses it: 'We are happy! How good is our portion! How pleasant is our lot! And how pleasant is our inheritance'. Indeed, the Torah states that one of the reasons that curses fall on the Israelites is because 'you did not serve… G-d with joy… when you had abundance (Deut. 28:49). And within that framework, sin is postponed to the 'appendix' - something that happens only when things go wrong…

Written by Jacob Solomon. Tel 02 673 7998. E-mail: for any points you wish to raise and/or to join those that receive this Parasha sheet every week.

Parashiot from the First, Second, and Third Series may be viewed on the Shema Yisrael web-site:

Also by Jacob Solomon:
From the Prophets on the Haftara

Test Yourself - Questions and Answers


Shema Yisrael Home

This article is provided as part of Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Permission is granted to redistribute electronically or on paper,
provided that this notice is included intact.

For information on subscriptions, archives, and
other Shema Yisrael
Classes, send mail to

Jerusalem, Israel