פ’ ויקרא-פרשת החדש-ראש חדש תשע”ח
Volume 23, Issue 1
INSIGHTS from the SEDRA
Insights from the Sedra is a project of the Scholars’ Kollel of Great Neck. It aims to provide several questions and answers about the Sedra, culled from various commentaries, including the following: Baal Haturim, Darash Moshe, Vedebarta Bam by Rabbi Moshe Bogomilsky, Torah Treasures by Dov Furer, Wellsprings of Torah by Alexander Friedman, and Kol Dodi by Rabbi Dovid Feinstein, Great Torah aDov Wasserman, The Vilna Gaon, and Growth Through Torah by Zelig Pliskin.
ויקרא אל משה
“And he called to Moshe.” (1:1)
QUESTION: Why is it customary for children who begin learning Chumash to start Vayikra before Breishit?
ANSWER: Throughout the generations, it has been customary to begin teaching young children Torah with the Chumash of Vayikra because they, like the Korbonos are pure. R’ Asi says: “Let the pure come and deal with the pure,” and let them learn the Torah of Korbonos. The Kli Yakar writes that this is one of the reasons why the “א” in the word ויקרא is written very small. This alludes to the liitle ones who begin here: Let these teachings be the beginning, like the letter Alef, which is the beginning of the Alef Bais. (Kli Yakar)
The word Alef means “to teach”. The small letter implies that one should learn always to be humble. Moshe Rabeinu was the best man to teach us this lesson since he was not only the greatest prophet but the humblest man on earth. (R’ Bunim of Pshischa)
אדם כי יקריב מכם
“When a man among you brings an offering…” (1:2)
When a person comes to bring a korban, he should think in his heart “מכם”, which are the roshei teivot for מדה כנגד מדה – measure for measure. This way the person will recognize his transgressions, and do teshuvah properly. (Ben Ish Chai)
כי כל שאר וכל דבש לא תקטירו ממנו אשה לה’
“For any leaven or any honey you shall not burn it as an offering made by fire to Hashem…” (2:11)
Leaven is a symbol of arrogance, haughtiness and pride. Honey is symbolic of sweetness and physical pleasure. These two elements are contrasting in their physical makeup as well as their taste. With the instruction not to sacrifice any leaven or honey, the Torah teaches us that extremes never bring any good to mankind. We must always look for the “King’s Path”, staying away from extremities. (Divrei Shaul)
Leaven alludes to the yetzer hara. Just as leaven causes the dough to expand and become sour, so too, the yetzer hara causes a person to sin and makes him sour. Honey also alludes to the yetzer hara. Just as honey is sweet, so to the yetzer hara seems sweet when it tempts a person to sin. Since both of these things allude to the yetzer hara, they may not be offered to Hashem. (Ba’al HaTurim)
נפש כי תחטא
“When a person will sin…” (4:2)
QUESTION: Why are the korbanot meant only for someone who sinned inadvertently, and can barely be referred to as a sinner, whereas someone who sinned intentionally, surely requires that much more of an atonement and is exempt from bringing a korban?
ANSWER: By bringing the flesh, fat and blood as a sacrifice, the inadvertent sinner strives to atone for which he committed involving these very elements. However, the pre-motivated sinner, transgressed with the very depth of his mind, spirit and soul. A korban cannot atone for the spirit. Such a sinner is considered like one whose mind had been pierced and is unfit. (Torah Gems)
The root of the word “techetah” is “cheit”, meaning sin. In all of its linguistic forms, this word is always written with the silent letter aleph. Since this letter is always silent, why is part of the word at all?
The numerical value of “cheit” is 18, which is one greater than the numerical value of the word “tov”, meaning good. When a person commits a sin, he is obligated by the Torah to do teshuvah and seek forgiveness for his misdeeds. If he does so with sincerity, not only will it gain for him forgiveness, but his teshuvah may even allow him to attain a higher level of closeness with Hashem than he enjoyed previously, as the Talmud teaches: Great is repentance for it converts intentional sins to merits (Yoma 86b). The repentant reaches a higher level because he distances himself from something that he enjoyed, and acknowledges that what he did was wrong.
Thus, we can see that at the time he commits his sin, he is indeed one step removed from “tov”. Should he repent, the silent aleph will be ignored, leading to a value of 17 – the value of “tov” – for repentance will have transformed the sin into something positive. Should he not repent and instead remain set in his evil ways, the silent aleph remains there, attesting to his distance from “tov” and his need to do teshuvah. (Kol Dodi)
Rav Yeshayah HaLevi Horowitz zt”l (Shelah HaKodesh) would say: “In the parsha of korbanot, the verse begins by speaking of an offering to Hashem (korban l’Hashem) and concludes by calling it ‘your offering’ (korbanchem), omitting mention of Hashem. Homiletically, the verse teaches us that if your offering to Hashem comes from yourself, your essential humanity, representing your sincere effort to draw closer to Hashem, then your offering has the exalted status of an offering to Hashem. But if you merely go through the motions of performing the physical acts of the service, then it remains merely ‘your offering.’”
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