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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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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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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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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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והרים את הדשן... ושמו אצל המזבח... והוצא את הדשן

He shall raise the ashes and place it next to the Mizbayach… He shall remove the ashes. (6:3,4)

The avodah in the Mishkan/Bais Hamikdash followed a daily routine. It was a clearly defined, Divinely-ordained, unchanging pattern of service. It began with the Terumas HaDeshen, the removal of the sacrificial ash from the previous day’s offerings, followed by the placing of wood, so that the fire on the Mizbayach, Altar, continued to burn. The first sacrifice of the day, as well as the last sacrifice, was the Korban Tamid. Tamid means consistent, which is a perfect way to describe the Korban. It was a constant. When activities are carried out in a particular order, unchanging, repeated daily, it might…

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ופשט את בגדיו ולבש בגדים אחרים

He shall remove his garments, and he shall wear other garments. (6:4)

Rashi observes that changing garments is not a chovah, obligation, but rather, proper conduct, so that the Kohen does not sully his clean vestments. It makes sense that the garments which one wears in the kitchen when he is cooking a pot of food for his master will not be the same garments that he will wear when serving his master. It just takes seichel, common sense. Thus, he dons other garments which are inferior to his vestments. How often do we read Rashi’s commentary and not incorporate it into our lifestyle? Upon serving the King/Master, one wears “different” clothes…

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זאת תורת החטאת

This is the law of the sin-offering. (6:18)

Sin is relative in the attitude of the sinner with regard to the sin; and in the status of the sinner which, commensurate with his position, demands a higher standard in his demeanor and attitude. The Korban Chatas, sin-offering, was brought as penance following the commission of an aveirah b’shogeg, inadvertent sin. One wonders altogether why penance is required. It is not as if the person had acted maliciously. Everybody errs. Nobody is perfect. Horav Moshe Soloveitchik, zl, (Zurich) likened this to a person carrying a package of inexpensive glasses. If, once in a while, a glass slips out of…

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וזאת תורת זבח השלמים... אם על תודה יקריבנו

This is the law of the feast Peace-offering… if he shall offer it for a Thanksgiving-offering. (7:11,12)

One who has survived a life-threatening crisis brings a Korban Todah, thanksgiving-offering: first, to demonstrate that he acknowledges that it was Hashem Who saved him; second, to pay gratitude to Hashem. David Hamelech says (Tehillim 107:21,22) Yodu la’Hashem chasdo, v’niflaosav livnei adam. V’yizbechu zivchei Todah v’yisapru maasav b’rinah. “Let them acknowledge to Hashem His kindness, and to the children of man His wonders. And let them sacrifice thanksgiving-offerings and relate His works with joyful song.” We derive from here that the offering of a Korban Todah is of overriding significance and is an integral part of the process of expressing…

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ויעש אהרן ובניו את כל הדברים אשר צוה ד' ביד משה

Aharon and his sons carried out all the matters that Hashem had commanded through Moshe. (8:36)

Rashi explains that the Torah is recording their praise in that they swerved neither to the right nor to the left. They followed the straight course as dictated to them by Moshe Rabbeinu. They had much to do, many mitzvos with a multitude of details. Nonetheless, whatever Moshe instructed them, they did. The Sifra adds that, despite their being commanded by a contemporary, they executed the commandments as if Hashem Himself had spoken to them. While we would expect Aharon and certainly his sons to perform the service, the inherent joy they manifested was to their credit, for it showed…

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והרים את הדשן אשר תאכל האש את העולה על המזבח ושמו אצל המזבח

And he shall take up the ashes to which the fire has consumed the elevation/burnt offering on the Altar, and lay them down at the side of the Altar. (6:3)

Prior to arranging the pyre and the kindling of the Altar fire, the Kohen was enjoined to perform the mitzvah of Terumas HaDeshen. The purpose of Terumas HaDeshen is not to prepare the Altar for the coming day’s sacrifices, since this is the focus of the Hotzoas HaDeshen, the removal of the ashes; rather, Terumas HaDeshen is in and of itself an avodah, priestly service. Thus, it may be carried out only by a Kohen kasher, dressed in his priestly vestments. The Haromas HaDeshen is the final conclusion to the service of the preceding day. Just as with the Korban…

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