Parshat Vayikra

A Student Publication of the Isaac and Mara Benmergui Torah Academy of Bergen County
Parshat Vayikra         3 Nisan 5762           March 16, 2002          Vol.11 No.22

In This Issue:

Rabbi Ezra Weiner
Yehuda Goldin
Zev Feigenbaum
Eli Winkler
Halacha of the Week
Selling Egg Matza to Ashkenazic Jews
-Rabbi Howard Jachter

This week’s issue is sponsored by Ellen, Stuart and Dani Shaffren in honor of Rabbi Michael Engel, Rabbi Avi Pollack, Rabbi Andrew Rosenblatt, and Rabbi Kenneth Schiowitz on the occasion of their being formerly ordained at Yeshiva University’s Chag Hasemikhah.


Salt is Forever
by Rabbi Ezra Weiner

In Perek 2 Pasuk 13, the Torah commands Al Kol Karbancha Takriv Melach, “On all of your offerings you shall offer salt.” Why is salt such an essential element for each and every Korban?

Rabbi Nissan Alpert zt”l offers two possible answers. The purpose of Korbanot is for man to establish a relationship with Hashem. The actual offering of the Korban, and the various rituals that accompany their offering, are not the man objective. Man must understand that the Korban is only a means to establish a lasting, permanent relationship with Hashem. Salt, a preservative, represents that notion of permanence. In addition, salt functions to remove the blood from meat (it is precisely this quality that allows it to function as a preservative). When man comes closer to Hashem via Korbanot, he is only able to do so if he removes the impurities that act as a barrier between him and Hashem.

If man’s objective in offering Korbanot is to both rid himself of his impurities and to establish a relationship with Hashem that is permanent. In doing this he will achieve the relationship with his creator that is fit to be entitled Melach Brit Elokayich.

Jewish Korbanot

by Yehuda Goldin

In this week’s Parsha, the second Pasuk says, Adam Ki Yakriv Michem Karban Lah, “If any man of you shall offer a sacrifice to Hashem.” The question that immediately arises is why the previous Pasuk mentioned “ Binei Yisrael but Adam is mentioned here, and then finally, the Pasuk states Michem, “ some of you.” The Pesukim begin to say that all of Binei can offer sacrifices, then expands this to allow all of mankind, including non-Jews, and finally limits this permission to “some of you.”

Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch provides an explanation for this use of language. He explains that first Binei is extended to, allow even non-Jews to offer up sacrifices in the Beit Hamikdash, since every human being can offer up sacrifices, not just Jews. Rashi too (Gemara Cholin Ha) explains Adam here to be in its general sense, including non-Jews. This idea, of non-Jews being allowed to bring sacrifices in the Beit Hamikdash, is illustrated in Yishayah, Vahaviotem El Har Kodshi... Ki Beiti Beit Tefillah Yikra Likol Haamim, “I shall bring them (the nations of the world) to the Mount of my sanctuary (Beit Hamikdash) … for my house will be called a House of prayer for all of the nations.”

However, it now makes sense as to why both Binei Yisrael and Adamare mentioned, but the question still remains as to why the third phrase of Michem is added. Rabbi Hirsch goes on to explain that Michem limits a person who is called a Mamzer, literally, one “who has become changed,” who is not permitted to bring sacrifices in the Beit Hamikdash. This person who “has changed” has become in a sense “un-Jewish,” since he has followed in the path that contradicts Judaism. For non-Jews, anyone is allowed to bring a sacrifice. Yet, for the Jews, it is not sufficient to merely be an Adam but one must also follow the “pure conception of a human being.” However, this does not mean to say that any Jew who is not perfect is not allowed to bring a sacrifice to Hashem. It is referring to heretics, or people that abandon Judaism and follow another religion, contradictory to Judaism.

However, a paradox emerges from this explanation, that a Jew turned Goy may not bring sacrifices, while a born ??? is permitted to bring sacrifices. Rabbi Hirsch explains the reasoning behind this. He says that the Mizbayach which was set up by Jewish hands to service Hashem would forfeit the purity of its meaning through the sacrifice of a Jewish-Goy. This is because the Jewish ideology, which gives the Mizbayach its meaning, would be given over to the Goy idea, so to speak. Yet, through a born, Goy the Mizbayach does not forfeit anything over in its pure relation to Hashem. On the contrary, it was set up for the purpose of gathering all the Goyim to Hashem, as shown by that Pasuk in Yishayah.

Our Special Mitzva

by Zev Feigenbaum

The first Rashi on Parshat Vayikra explains that Hashem’s voice was extremely loud but Bnai Yisrael cold not hear it. Rav Moshe Feinstein in Darash Moshe asks that if Hashem’s voice could not be heard then for what purpose was it loud? The Gemara in Sota (2a) brings another example of a heavenly voice that is not heard by humans. The heavenly voice announces, “ The daughter of this individual is designated for that man.” Here too we can ask what is the purpose of this voice if it cannot be heard?

The purpose of the heavenly voice is so that one should feel as if he was commanded directly from Hashem, although he was actually taught the Mitzvot through Moshe. Since the voice that reached Moshe carried through out the world it was really directed to us. We should have been able to hear it were it not for the fact that we are unworthy. As such, the divine laws would be more stringent if only Moshe was directed to tell us.

This is the reason that at mount Sinai all Jewish souls where present, even those of future generations. The soul before it enters the body is not obligated to do Mitzvot. When the soul and body are joined together the knowledge that it previously heard the Mitzvot obligates the person to observe the Mitzvot.

The same is true with the heavenly voice that states, “The daughter of this individual is designated for that man.” This is a special Mitzva for him. Each person has a special Mitzva, to marry a particular woman. The heavenly voice constitutes an additional Mitzva. Our awareness of this Mitzva is from our sages, whose words constitute reality for us.

Moshe’s Modesty

by Eli Winkler

The opening word of this week’s Parsha, Vayikra, the last letter, the Aleph, is smaller than the rest. Many Meforshim suggest possible answers as to why this is so. Many believe that the small Aleph reflects the modesty of Moshe and how that should be an influence on us. Moshe had wanted to write Vayikar, that God “chanced” upon Moshe, as it is used when Hashem appeared to Bilam. Hashem instructed Moshe to write Vayikra since He called directly to Moshe. In his modesty Moshe wrote Vayikra, but with a small Aleph.

Rav Bunim of Psischa said that Moshe thought of himself as just a normal person standing on a high roof. He himself was not any higher in spirituality then the rest of Bnai Yisrael, but was elevated to a higher position. He did not see himself as a “big Aleph,” but rather a small one. Moshe saw Hashem as the “big Aleph,” and always remembered that. This can be a lesson to all Jews as well. Not to see yourself as a “big Aleph,” but to see yourself as the “small Aleph,” and to care about Hashem and others.

There is a comment in the Midrash Tanchuma explaining how anyone who runs after honor and glory will find that honor and glory run away from him. However, the Midrash goes on to say that anyone who runs away from honor and glory will be chased by them. This was true about Moshe. However, if someone does not want honor, why will it chase after him? The Sefat Emet suggests that Moshe was not declining the honor at all. Moshe realized that he was being honored for his qualities and skills, which all came from Hashem. So, Moshe accepted the honor he got and, instead of regarding it as his own, he credited it to the One who really deserved it, Hashem. Honor, therefore, chased after him, because honor knew that Moshe would make sure everyone knew that only Hashem deserves true honor. In a world filed with people seeking glory and credit for that which really comes from Hashem, this first word of Vayikra teaches us a great lesson.

Halacha of the Week
One must refrain from talking after reciting the Beracha on Bedikat Chametz until beginning the Bedika. It is preferable to refrain from talking until the completion of Bedikat Chametz (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 432:1).

Staff at time of publication:
Editors-in-Chief: Josh Dubin, David Gertler
Managing Editors: Yair Manas, Uriel Schechter
Publishing Manager: Zev Feigenbaum
Publication Editor: Ilan Tokayer
Business Manager: Yehuda Goldin
Staff: Noam Block, Ami Friedman, Shuky Gross, Simcha Haber, Oren Levy, Ari Michael, Effie Richmond, Dani Shaffren, Sam Wiseman
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Faculty Advisor: Rabbi Howard Jachter

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