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לא ישים עליה שמן ולא יתן עליה לבנה כי חטאת היא

He shall not place oil on it nor shall he place frankincense on it, for it’s a sin-offering. (5:11)

The plain meal offering for a chatas, sin (offering), was brought for specific sins. This korban is part of the Korban Oleh v’yoreid, variable sin-offering, class, which is a dispensation to provide one who is poor the opportunity to atone for his sin with a korban. The variable korban is comprised of either a sheep or a goat, two turtledoves or two young doves, or, in the event that one has no funds, a tenth of an eiphah of flour. While oil and frankincense are put on all other meal offerings, the chatas receives no embellishment of oil or frankincense, since…

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והיה כי יאשם לאחת מאלה והתודה אשר חטא עליה

When one shall become guilty regarding one of these matters, he shall confess what he has sinned. (5:5)

Horav S.R. HIrsch, zl, observes that in addressing the concept of vidui, confession regarding a sin, the Torah uses the word, v’hisvadah, which (loosely translated) means, “he shall confess,” but should really be translated, “he shall confess (acknowledge) to himself.” Hisvadah is hispaeil, reflexive form, that denotes a confession of guilt pointed at oneself. The sinner is not expected to “make confession” (as they do in other religions), certainly not to G-d, Who knows everything. He does not require our confession to make Him aware of our sins. It is to himself that the sinner must admit that he “missed…

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אדם כי יקריב מכם קרבן לד'

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

Without a Bais Hamikdash where we can offer korbanos, offerings, we rely on our tefillos, prayers, to take the place of these korbanos. As such, our tefillos must be on the madreigah, spiritual plateau, of korbanos. The Sefer HaChinuch (Parashas Terumah, mitzvah of constructing the Mishkan) explains that korbanos, like the Mishkan, availed the Jew the opportunity to express himself to Hashem in a tangible manner. Thus, when a person sinned and brought a korban as penance, he was not getting by with a perfunctionary, Chatasi, “I sinned. I am sorry.” Rather, he offered a korban, an animal which would…

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ויקרא אל משה וידבר ד' אליו

And He called to Moshe; and Hashem spoke to Moshe. (1:1)

Psychologists talk about the importance of living a focused life. One who is focused possesses an inner peace borne from having direction, the knowledge of where he is heading, as well as a plan to get there. To live a focused life takes goals, practice and skill. The Torah does not rely on contemporary psychology. The Torah is the source of all psychology and ethics. Chazal derive from the above pasuk that Moshe Rabbeinu did not enter the Mishkan until Hashem called to invite him to enter. This was a manifestation of the attribute of daas, commonly translated either as…

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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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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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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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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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ויקרא אל משה

He called to Moshe. (1:1)

Rashi comments: “Calling”, Vayikra, preceded every statement, every saying and every command. It is a language of affection. In other words, prior to speaking to Moshe Rabbeinu, Hashem called his name (twice). This was followed by the actual message. Hashem speaks to each and every one of us – all of the time. He employs various media of “expression,” but each communication is intoned with love. Perhaps this method of signaling a communication to Moshe applies equally to us. First, Hashem signals us by calling our name in order to get our attention. This is followed by the message. Now,…

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אדם כי יקריב מכם קרבן לד'

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

I recently came across an article penned by a secular Jew, decrying our yearning for the rebuilding of the Bais HaMikdash. In one of his gripes, he declared that he found the notion of korbanos, sacrifices, primitive, archaic, and a form of service no longer necessary. While to the ancients it was natural to offer a korban, offering, to Hashem, this modern man eschews such form of worship. Obviously, he is clueless with regard to the underlying concepts of korbanos and the spiritual elevation they engender in the person who offers them. A korban is a way of coming closer…

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