Friday, March 14, 2008

Parshas Vayikra - "Putting Yourself Out There"

QUICKIE/ FUNFACT: Vayikra 1:2 "…When a man among you brings an offering to Hashem…"

The Sforno commenting on this passage says that an animal offering is not only an offering of one's animal but it is also an offering of oneself. An obvious question is, how does a person bring himself as an offering to G-d? Rav Eliezer Man Shach Zt"L answers that we can learn a tremendous lesson from the bringing of Korbanos. A person brings themselves as a Korban before Hashem when they stand before G-d and admit their nothingness with a broken heart. When a person shows this humility, even if they have a physical imperfection, which would disqualify them as a karban in the mikdash, they are still considered to be a perfect Sacrifice before the Lord. Not only are they Kosher as a Korban but they are considered to be an Olah offering, one that is most desired by the Ribbono Shel Olam.

The opening of the third book of the Torah begins with something unique and special. We are left to understand the small aleph that is written at the end of the first word of the parsha, Vayikra. After working on the Mishkan, and its construction was complete it was still lacking something. It was lacking the appeasement of G-d. Within this Calling (Vayikra) which Hashem did to Moshe, the Mishkan was now officially complete. It was until this point in history that Klal Yisrael waited for this Calling from Hakadosh Baruch Hu to Moshe. This calling was Hashem's notion of breathing life into the Mishkan and deeming it a valid resting spot. To make note of this point a small aleph is written in the Torah.

Why was this calling that was done by Hashem, specifically one that related to the Karbanos? If a person wants to be forgiven for a sin the Karban is not the most essential part of the offering but it is the Viduy and the Charata that comes with it that is the most important part! The Ramban answers that when a person brings a Karban it is not just like he is bringing the animal but it is like what we said earlier, he is bringing himself. A person should feel that his atonement is coming because all of the things that he is presently doing to the animal are also happening to him (Slaughtering, Skinning, spilling of the blood). therefore the giving of the Karban is one in the same with the Viduy and the Charata.

It says in the Midrash at the beginning of this Parsha that we should start teaching our children from Parshas Vayikra and not from Breishis and Shmos. Why is this? One would assume that they should try to amuse their children with the beautiful stories of our forefathers and then make an attempt at teaching them the more complicated details of the sacrifices. The Shulchan Shlomo answers, that quickly after commencing the studies of the Karbanos a person realizes that there is only so much that a Karban can fix. If one sins by mistake then he brings a Karban Chatas. If he sins on purpose however, he either pays with his life or some other sort of physical affliction. The Midrash says that we should start teaching our children from Parshas Vayikra because they will instantaneously realize the sensitivity of sin and they will distance themselves from it.

We are too teach our children the message of, Sur Meira Viasei Tov. This message is not only important to the children but it is equally as important to us as adults. When reading the Karbanos we are too imagine the scene as if we are being sacrificed on the mizbeach. The messege is clear we just have to internalize it.

HAVE A FANTASTIC SHABBOS! and a Shabbat Shalom ~

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