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השיבה שופטינו כבראשנה

Hashivah shofteinu k’varishonah. Restore our judges as we had originally.

In the brachah of Hashiveinu, Return us, we asked Hashem for personal, individual teshuvah, return. Each Jew should find it in his heart to realize that he is distant from where he should be, from where Hashem wants him to be. The blessing of Hashivah shofteinu, Restore our judges, our leaders, is a plea for collective teshuvah, for all of Am Yisrael, wherever they may be spiritually, physically, geographically distant from Eretz Yisrael, to all come together as one nation, under Hashem, serving Him in a unified and united manner. We understand that it is all about leadership – from…

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זאת התורה לעולה למנחה ולחטאת ולאשם ולמלואים ולזבח השלמים

This is the law of the Elevation/burnt-offering, the meal-offering, the sin-offering and the inauguration offering, and the feast peace-offering. (7:37)

There are three forms/categories of korban, offering/sacrifice. This means that individuals from varied backgrounds and circumstances determine the category of korban which they offer. Horav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, zl, explains the following Chazal (Midrash 3:5) which relates that King Agripas, who was quite wealthy, approached the Kohen in charge of the daily service and said, “I want to bring one thousand Olos (burnt-offering) today. I do not want anyone else to occupy the Mizbayach, Altar, other than me.” (Essentially, one thousand korbanos would preclude anyone else from bringing a korban.) Along came a poor man, and, in his hands, he…

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אם על תודה יקריבנו

If he shall offer it for a Thanksgiving-offering. (7:12)

a Korban Todah, Thanksgiving-offering, to express his gratitude to Hashem and as a manner of declaration that he acknowledges that no one other than Hashem saved him. Hakoras hatov, recognizing the benefits/good that we receive from others, is a critical mitzvah, quality, which defines a human being. One who is a kafui tov, denies the good that he receives, is deficient in humanness. It is a never-ending mitzvah which one cannot completely repay, because we do not know the complete extent of the benefit and consequences that we have received. Indeed, Horav Moshe Aharon Stern, zl, explains that it is…

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אש תמיד תוקד על המזבח לא תכבה

Fire shall be kept continually on the Altar; it shall not go out. (6:6)

In the standard calculation of the Jewish day, daytime follows night. We daven Maariv, the Evening Service, hence ushering in the new day. Shacharis, the Morning Service, is actually the second service of the day. In the Mikdash, Sanctuary, it was the reverse, with evening following daytime. The way of the world is that the symbolic evening precedes the symbolic day. This means, explains Horav Nissen Alpert, zl, that (most often), before man is privy to “light,” to see what becomes of his toil and labor, he must sit it out in “darkness,” wait in hope that his efforts will…

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מקבץ נדחי עמו ישראל

Mekabeitz nidchei amo Yisrael

How was Avraham Avinu able to unite an entire world of committed pagans to accept the monotheistic belief? A world filled with idol worshippers, each devoted to a form of sheker, falsehood, left their idols and joined the ranks of believers. How did this occur? He showed them the truth. Someone who is living the life of a lie will eschew the lie as soon as the truth glares at him. Avraham taught the world the meaning of emes, truth. When they saw the truth, they realized the falsehood to which they had been adhering. Our Patriarch could have easily…

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כל חלב לד'

All the choice parts for Hashem. (3:16)

Concerning all offerings, all the choicest parts are to be offered to Hashem on the Mizbayach, Altar. Rambam (at the end of Hilchos Isurei Mizbayach) writes that this idea applies to everything across the board: the choicest, the best, is to be designated exclusively for ruchniyos, spirituality. Among the examples that are given is the idea that the shul in which one davens, prays, should be more impressive, fancier than his home. David Hamelech lamented the fact that he lived in a palace made of cedar wood, while the holy Aron, Ark, was ensconced in a tent. It should be…

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ואם זבח שלמים קרבנו

And if he will slaughter a peace-offering. (3:1)

Targum Onkeles defines the word zevach as “a holy slaughtering.” Indeed, the essence of a Korban Shelamim, Peace-offering, is fundamentally different from that of other korbanos. The average korban serves as a medium to serve Hashem. As part of this objective, the animal must be slaughtered, but the slaughtering is not the primary act of hakravah, offering. Unlike other korbanos, the act of shechitah, slaughtering, within the context of a shelamim, has greater significance. A Korban Shelamim is brought by a person who wants to eat mundane food. He wants elevated, consecrated food. When one partakes of a Korban Shelamim,…

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וכל קרבן מנחתך במלח תמלח

You shall salt your every meal-offering with salt. (2:13)

You shall salt your every meal-offering with salt. (2:13) The Bris Melach, Covenant of Salt, which Hashem made with the earthly waters after He created a division between the waters above and the waters below, is the reason that salt is included in the Temple service. In his Elef HaMagen, Horav Eliezer Papo, zl, author of the Pele Yoeitz, writes that the words melach/timlach have the same letters as mechal/timchol, forgiveness. He comments that the greatest korban, sacrifice, one can bring before Hashem is to be maavir al midosav, voluntarily surrender his right (or feeling that he is right) to…

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אדם כי יקריב מכם קרבן לד'

When a man among you brings an offering to Hashem. (1:2)

The Torah refers to the person who brings the korban, sacrifice/offering, as Adam, which is also the name of Adam HaRishon, to imply that, just as Adam did not bring an offering from a stolen animal (since everything belonged to him), so, too, should we not serve Hashem with ill-begotten goods. Adam HaRishon offered a bull as his korban to Hashem. This primordial bull was different from any other bull that would ever be created. Chazal (Chullin 60a) state: “Adam arose and offered up a bull whose horns appeared before its hooves, as David Hamelech writes (Tehillim 69:32): V’sitav l’Hashem…

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מקבץ נדחי עמו ישראל

Mekabeitz nidchei Amo Yisrael. Who gathers the dispersed of His People Yisrael.

Three elements are to be discerned in this brachah. It begins with Teka b’shofar which shall proclaim to the nations, commanding them to set free the Jewish people and allow them to liberate their Land. Following this, a banner will be raised for all that long for redemption. This is now possible because the nations have been given the “message” via the blast of the great shofar. The opportunity for return is now available for all who seek it. Last, the opportunity is available for all of the lost Jews who have strayed due to ignorance, who, through no fault…

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