פ’ ויקרא – זכור תשע”ט
Volume 28, Issue 1
INSIGHTS from the SEDRA
Insights from the Sedra is a project of the Scholar’s 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 Lights by Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Goodman, Something To Say by Dov Wasserman, The Vilna Gaon, Growth Through Torah by Zelig Pliskin and The Call of the Torah.
The Sefer of Vayikra, the third of the Chamisha Chumshei Torah, consists of ten parshiyot. Most of them deal with the korbanot and the kohanim who serve in the holy capacity of Priesthood, administering all the tasks relating to the sacrifices and the Mishkan. The purpose of the offerings was to bring one closer to Hashem and elevate one’s level of spirituality. This sefer is thus referred to by chazal as Toras Kohanim.
Throughout the generations, it has been customary to begin teaching young children Torah with the Chumash of Vayikra because they, like the korbanot are pure. R’ Asi says: “Let the pure come and deal with the pure,” and let them learn the Torah of korbanot. The Kli Yakar states that this is one of the reasons why the “א” in the word ויקרא is written very small. This alludes to the little ones who begin here: Let these teachings be the beginning, like the letter aleph, which is the beginning of the aleph-bet. (Torah Gems)
וכל קרבן מנחתך במלח תמלח ולא תשבית מלח ברית
“And every offering of your meal offering, you shall season with salt; do not leave out the salt of the covenant…” (2:13)
The Torah speaks of this salt as being a covenant, a brit. Just as the worlds cannot endure without salt, so too, the world cannot endure without Torah. (Sifsei Kohen)
Salt is a stabilizing element, resulting from the interaction of fire and water. Salt is produced by the heat of the sun evaporating the sea water. Salt is designated, the Covenant of Hashem. The covenant, representing the alliance between the opposing elements of fire and water, is the guarantee of Hashem’s covenant with man, and is a covenant founded on the harmonious union of two opposite principles: love and justice. (Kol HaTorah)
Salt like a covenant, denotes permanence, because it preserves what was, and inhibits change. Therefore, salt symbolizes Hashem’s unchanging covenant. (R’ Shimshon Raphael Hirsch)
Maftir Parshat Zachor & Purim
זכור את אשר עשה עמלק
“Remember what Amalek did to you…” (Devarim 25:17)
QUESTION: Why is the command of remembering the viciousness of Amalek written in singular and not “Zichru…lachem” etc., in plural?
ANSWER: Amalek attacked the Jews when they camped in Refidim. The word רפידים is related to the root word of “pirud” – פירוד – disunity and separation. When the Jewish people are disunified, it is possible for Amalek to creep in. Therefore, the Torah says in the singular “Zachor – remember what Amalek did lecha – to you – to stress that Amalek attacked when there was disunity and when everyone was concerned only about himself. By remembering this all will live in harmony and thus prevent a renewed attack by Amalek. (R’ Simcha Bunim of P’Shischa)
Parshat Zachor is always read on the Shabbat before Purim. For maftir, we read additional parsha found in Devarim (25:17), where, as a nation, we are commanded to destroy Amalek. The nation of Amalek came into existence at the same time that Klal Yisrael did. Eisav’s son Elifaz had a son named Amalek. Eisav and Elifaz’s legacy to Amalek was an undying hatred toward Bnei Yisrael.
Chacham Chaim Meshash tz”l of Mekans (Nishmat Chaim) would say: “Why is the entire parsha of the mitzvah to eradicate the memory of Amalek written in singular form with the exception of the phrase, b’derech b’tzeitchem m’mitzrayim – ‘On the way when you were leaving Egypt,’ which is written in the plural form? The Torah stresses that when Bnei Yisrael arrived at Har Sinai to receive the Torah, immediately after the battle with Amalek, they encamped as one person with one heart (Rashi, Shemot 19:2). The implication is that prior to their encampment they were divided, not united. Therefore, this phrase is written in the plural, emphasizing that Amalek can successfully launch a campaign against us only when we are not together. Esther’s instructions to Mordechai, ‘Go, gather all the Jews’ is the guarantee for our victory over Amalek.”
Rav Menachem Mendel Schneerson zt”l (Lubavitcher Rebbe) used to say: “Why was annihilation decreed upon the Jews of that generation? Because they enjoyed the feast of King Achashveirosh (Megillah 12a). The problem was not their participation in the feast; indeed, Achashveirosh supplied kosher food for his Jewish subjects. The problem was that they enjoyed the feast. With the royal kosher menu in hand, the exiled Jew felt he no longer needed Hashem for his survival. The decree of annihilation was not a punishment, but a consequence of this attitude. Putting his faith in mortals, the Jew denied his supernatural status, the status of a nation whose very survival belies the laws of history. The Jew was now vulnerable to the decrees of a mortal Achashveirosh.
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