Parshat Vayikra Vol.9 No.22
Date of issue: 11 Adar II 5760 -- March 18, 2000
|This issue has been sponsored by
the Dashevsky family in honor of:
Leila Esther Dashevsky on her becoming a Bat Mitzva,
David Charles Abarbanel & family
on his becoming a Bar Mitzva,
and Tzivya Aliza and Nili Meira Block & family on their becoming Bnot Mitzva.
Do It or Else
by Rabbi Avi Rosenfeld
Sefer Vayikra deals with a variety of sacrifices, including the sin offerings, Chata'ot, the peace offerings, Shelamim, and the burnt offerings, Olot. When the Torah introduces the Ola, the first sacrifice mentioned in Vayikra, the Torah writes, Yakriv Oto Lirtzono Lifnei Hashem, "A person must bring this Korban voluntarily before Hashem." Rashi, quoting the Gemara in Rosh Hashana (6a), states that at times it is necessary for the Bait Din to force a person to bring a sacrifice. This is learned from the words, Yakriv Oto, "he must bring it." However, the word Lirtzono states that the sacrifice must be brought willingly. The Gemara resolves this contradiction by stating that the courts have a right to pressure a person until he says he wishes to bring the Korban (Kofin Oto Ad Sheyomar Rotze Ani). This Gemara requires explanation. How is it possible to force a person to do any action willingly?
We can answer this question by analyzing another seemingly difficult idea. Halacha requires all divorces be given voluntary. Unfortunately, at times, a man does not wish to give his wife a divorce when he must. Under certain limited circumstances, the courts have the right to force a person to divorce. This is also an example of Kofin Oto Ad Sheyomar Rotze Ani, we force a person to voluntarily hand his wife the divorce contract. The Rambam, when dealing with the laws of divorce (Hilchot Geirushin Chapter 2), explains the reason behind this apparent contradiction. The only time a person is considered forced (Oneis) is when he is required to do something that the Torah does not insist be done. However, if a person does not act properly (i.e., he refuses to perform a Mitzva), he is doing so because he has acquiesced to his Yetzer Harah. When the court "forces" a person to do something, the Rambam writes, the court is in fact restoring his true will, which is to fulfill the laws of the Torah. The driving logic behind this fascinating insight is that a Jew fundamentally wants to act in accordance with the Torah, despite what his actions may indicate.
This is exactly the idea the Torah is conveying to us regarding Korbanot. If a person is not willing, for whatever reason, to bring a Korban that he has promised to offer, the courts have the right to force his hand. This is learned from the word Yakriv, the Korban must be brought even against a person's free will. However, the Korban's component of Lirtzono, that it must be voluntarily brought, still exists because the person truly wants to do want is right, even if he does not realize it right now.
There is an extremely powerful message behind this Halacha. In Judaism, we believe every person is inherently good. Despite the fact that people sometimes sin, the internal nature of the Jew remains basically good. It is our responsibility to be Kofin Oto Ad Sheyomar Rotze Ani, to always force ourselves to become better people.
by Zachary Reich
When the Torah begins to explain which animals may be brought for a Korban, it begins, Adam Ki Yakriv Mikem Korban, "A person, when he brings from you a sacrifice." Why does the Torah use the word Adam instead of the more commonly used word Ish?
Rashi explains that Adam is a reference to Adam Harishon who never brought stolen Korbanot because the entire world was his. Sacrifices must be brought from one's own flock, and Hashem rejects any sacrifice brought of a stolen animal.
This same concept is repeated later when the Torah explains the procedure of sacrificing doves or pigeons. Rashi explains that the bird's stomach must be removed for two reasons: it contains waste and, unlike animals that only eat their owner's food, birds eat from any food they can find. Therefore, birds have stolen food inside their stomach. Since Hashem despises anything stolen, the stomach must be removed. Even though birds do not understand right from wrong, their stomachs are considered unclean for Korbanot to Hashem because of the stolen food.
Later, in chapter five, the Parsha discusses guilt offerings. It tells of an individual who uses the Kelim in the Bait Hamikdash for personal use. The Torah writes Nefesh Ki Timol Maal Vechata Bishgaga. Similarly, when the Torah speaks of theft, it says Timol Maal before Chait, meaning intentional sin. The Torah seems to be teaching that stealing from another is as bad as abusing the holy utensils of the Bait Hamikdash.
Accordingly, this Parsha greatly emphasizes the gravity of the sin of theft.
by Avi Shteingart
This week's Parsha begins with the words vayikra El Moshe, "And He called out to Moshe" (1:1). Rashi comments on this phrase, Hakol Holech Umagiah Le'oznav Vecol Yisrael Lo Shomin, "The voice of Hashem would go and reach Moshe's ears, but all of Bnai Yisrael would not hear." The Gur Aryeh says that since Hashem called Moshe by name, the verse could have said, Vayikra Moshe, "And He called, 'Moshe.'" However, the phrase says "And He called to Moshe," indicating that only Moshe heard his name being called.
From this language two valuable lessons may be learned. The first is that when Hashem speaks to someone, only that individual hears Him. This point is also illustrated in Shmuel Alef (3:4-10), when Hashem called Shmuel by his name. The Pasuk states that Hashem called to Shmuel by his name and Shmuel ran to Eli the Kohen Gadol and said, "Here I am." Eli responded, "I called not, go lie down." Shmuel lay down, Hashem called him again, so Shmuel arose and went to Eli and said, "Here I am." Eli replied that he did not call and told to Shmuel to lie down. Shmuel lay down and again Hashem called him. When he ran to Eli, Eli understood that it was the voice of Hashem calling him. Hashem wanted to talk to Shmuel only, and He did not want Eli to hear Him.
Another valuable lesson that can be brought out from the phrase Vayikra El Moshe is that if someone wants to hear something, he must listen. An example of this lesson is found in Parshat Yitro, where the Torah writes Vayishma Yitro, "And Yitro heard." Rashi says that he heard about the splitting of Yam Suf and the war against Amalek. One can ask why the Torah had to say Vayishma, "And he heard;" the whole world had heard of the miracles Hashem had done. One answer is that although everyone heard about the miracles, only Yitro cared and listened. He paid attention because he found the miracles important, and that is why he traveled to join Moshe and Bnai Yisrael.
The lessons taught by the phrase Vayikra El Moshe are not only illustrated in stories from the Gemara, but can be seen in modern day events. Dr. Berman told me the following story:
When Dr. Berman was a solider in the Israeli army, he was in a unit in which the soldiers would often be woken up in the middle of the night, when there was an emergency. An extremely loud alarm would go off, and the soldiers would cause a large ruckus while they got ready. Then helicopters would come making a lot of noise, and the soldiers would get on the helicopters and fly away all within one minute! One night the alarm went off, everyone made a lot of noise, the helicopters came, and everyone left. When the soldiers came back, they found one soldier still sleeping. When that soldier woke up, the men asked him how he had slept throughout the entire exercise. The soldier replied that he was so tired that he chose not to hear all the noise, and therefore he did not hear it.
These three words, Vayikra El Moshe, show how it is important for people to listen to each other. Also, when we are imparting information to someone we must be sure that he understands. Because we have the power of choosing what to hear and what not to hear, we should be very careful to only hear the right things. We should listen to Torah and to our Rabbeim and parents. We should not listen to Lashon Hara and other bad things. We should choose not to succumb to negative peer pressure, but we also must listen to positive things that our friends tell us.
Should We Love or Hate
by Uri Weiss
The Rambam (Hilchot Yesodei Hatorah 2) states that people first have love for Hashem's creations and then gain love for Hashem. From here we learn to fear Hashem because of His power. The realization of Hashem's omnipotence should arose our fear (Yira) and ultimately our love (Ahava) of Hashem.
Rabbi Kanotopsky points out that Ahava and Yira can be seen in examining the order of the Korbanot. An Ola is given to raise one's spiritual status, which shows our desire to be like Hashem due to Ahava. Mincha means a gift, and gifts are given to try to be closer to someone because of Ahava. The word Shelamim comes from Shalom, which shows that we want to make peace with Hashem. People will make peace for both Ahava and Yira. Finally we have Chatat, which reminds us that people make mistakes and are far lower than Hashem (Yira).
Rabbi Kanotopsky explains that the reason why the word Adam is used in Vayikra 1:2 as opposed to the word Ish is because Adam was created to imitate Hashem. When we imitate Hashem it is a sign of Ahava after all, imitation is the highest form of flattery. Adam also reminds us that we are from the ground (Adama) and therefore we should have Yira.
A careful balance between Ahava and Yira is necessary and we must have both to maintain a stable and meaningful relationship with Hashem.
Food for Thought
by Dani Gross and David Gertler
1) Why does the Torah use the term Adam with Korban Ola and the Korban Oleh Veyoraid and use the word Nefesh for all other Korbanot? Consider Rashi s.v. Adam on 1:2, who says that just like Adam Harishon brought a Korban that was not from stolen goods, Bnai Yisrael, too, should not bring a Korban from stolen goods. Also consider the inconsistency within the Pasuk that uses the word Adam for Korban Oleh Veyoraid.
2) What is the purpose of Korbanot? Consider the Rambam who says that Korbanot have no intrinsic value while the Ramban says Korbanot serve a purpose for Avodat Hashem.
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