Points to Ponder

VaYikra 5775

And he called to Moshe (1:1) – The word Vayikra is spelled with a small letter Alef as “VaYikar”. The Baal Haturim explains that Moshe did not want to write Vayikra as it implied a unique relationship higher than that of Bilaam. What type of solution was writing with a small Alef? Rav Zeidel Epstein ztl. explained that Moshe wanted to be truthful in his understanding of his relationship with Hashem. He knew that left to his own merits, he was not as great . It was only because of the Chessed of Hashem that he merited the calling from Hashem. Knowing who you are and your spiritual standing is a critical component of being able to fulfill your potential. By Moshe’s settling on the small Alef, he was truthfully accepting his place and recognizing Hashem’s chessed in elevating him from that place.

When a man brings a Korban from you (1:2) – The sforno comments that the bringing is accompanied by a sincere Vidui from within the person. Rav Shach ztl. noted that the Sforno is teaching us a big Yesod in the bringing of Korbanos – namely that a person brings his very soul at the time that he brings a Korban. The ultimate Zevach for Hashem is a broken spirit. When his spirit is broken, his offering to Hashem is whole.

Adam (1:2) – The Midrash likens he who brings a Korban to Adam HaRishon (Vayikra Rabba 2:7). Rav Moshe Tzvi Neriah ztl. questioned why the comparison was to Adam and not to Jewish personalities. He explained that when the Mishkan was established, there was a relevation of Maamad Har Sinai which returned the world to its pre-Sin days at the time of creation. The world of the Korban begins with Adam at the time of the creation of the world and we hope for the return to that status each time we mention V’Arva L’Hashem Minchas Yehuda V’Yirushalayim K’Yimei Olam.

And the Kohein shall offer it all on the Mizbeiach as a pleasant aroma to Hashem (Vayikra 1, 9) Rav Wolbe (Da'as Shlomo) explained the bringing of Korbanos as a  means of creating a complete world which allows for the Shechina to rest upon it. They bridge the huge chasm that divides the body and the soul: the division between the physical world and The Creator. When one consecrates an animal he has effected kedusha upon the animal which not only gives it specific laws, it also allows the animal to be brought on the mizbeiach. He has taken the basest creature and transformed it into something appropriate to be offered to the Creator Himself. These korbanos were offered to Hashem in the Mishkan, a veritable spiritual haven in a turbulent world. It was there that the physical was transformed into the spiritual, and therefore, the Mishkan was deemed a "complete world." Consequently, it was there that the Shechina, "the complete Name," resided. Rav Wolbe continues that despite the fact that we lack the ability to offer korbanos, nevertheless, the lesson of the korbanos still rings true. We must make an effort to transform our physical bodies into spiritual beings. A person's body should be part and parcel of his avodas Hashem along with the thoughts and intentions that accompany the mitzvah. When one succeeds in this endeavor, he has created a "complete world" that allows for "the complete Name" to reside therein.

And the sons of Aharon will sprinkle the blood onto the alter (3:8) – Rav Belsky Shlita explained why the blood and the fats of a Korban Chatas are offered on the Mizbeiach. He notes that the blood is Maivin and provides the life to the human. Cheilev clogs and blocks the flow of blood. The burning of the Cheilev represents the removal and destruction of material that blocks the life-giving flow of spiritual energy. Kidneys too are burned for they represent bad eitza . Dam is merely elevated so that one’s life forces can be used for Avodas Hashem exclusively.

And it is hidden from him (Vayikra 5:2-3) – The Gemara (Shevuos 14b) notes that the word V’Ne’elam appears twice, once for forgetting tumah and the other for mikdash. Rav Elyashiv ztl. asks how one could be in the mikdash and forget that he is there? He answers that Hergel sometimes seeps into the mind here. Being present so long and without reminder of the place, often leads one to treat the Mikdash with the same care that s/he treats his/her own home.

It is an Asham Ashom Asham to Hashem (5:19)- It says Asham 3 times in the Possuk because it speaks to 3 levels. Some violate an issur inadvertently but enjoy it. This is the violation B’Ones U’bRatzon . There is a deeper level wherein one violate a mitzvah without benefit but without care for protecting the mitzvah (This is Shogeg). Then there is careless aveira performance. Rav Moshe Wolfson Shlita explains that if one does not stop the Ones at Ones level one will come to Shogeg and heaven forbid even Meizid. This is hinted to, in the word Asham which contains the first letters of Ones, Shogeg and Meizid.

Haftorah: Parshas HaChodesh: The Novi Yechzkel speaks of the rebuilding of the Beis HaMikdash. He refers to the coming of the Nasi to participate in the bringing of the Korbanos of the rededication of the Beis HaMikdash. Rashi notes that the Nasi here is a reference to the Kohein Gadol. Why will the Kohein Gadol be needed specifically? Rav Hershel Schachter Shlita explained that a more intense experience of the Shechina will exist at that time. Since at other times where there is a more intense experience of the Shechina (Avodas Yom HaKippurim) it is the Kohein Gadol who must perform the Avodah. The same will be true at that time. It is not the Halacha that changes – it is the circumstance.