Points to Ponder

Vayikra 5778

And he called to Moshe (1:1) – The Midrash comments that whenever we have a Talmid Chacham who lacks Daas, a carcass (Neveila) is better than he. The Midrash proves this point from Moshe who did not enter Ohel Moed until he was called. But why the comparison to Neveilah? Rav Aharon Kotler ztl. explained that if one does not act with Derech Eretz in his Torah study, then a Nevailah is better than he because through the process of Korbanos we learn how Hashem loves us. If a person is not consistent internally with the shell of Torah he holds – then he is but an empty vessel – a dead container for what should possess life.

As a pleasure small to Hashem (1:9) – Rashi explains that the Reiach Nichoach comes when Hashem sees that you are following his words. What part is the actual Nachas Ruach? It cannot be the Korbanos because the Novi constantly notes that Hashem does not need the Korbanos. Rav Nosson Tzvi Wachtfogel ztl. explains that the Nachas Ruach comes from man’s bending of his own spirit to serve the will of Hashem. In truth, Hashem makes it easier by making the choice of animals those that are more apt to being caught, hence, their mindset is toward Hashem anyway. By offering one of those Korbanos, man learns to bring himself to that level of Hashem awareness too.

Northward () – So many of the Korbanos require the sprinkling of the blood in the north. Why? Rav Zechariah Tubi Shlita (of Kerem B’Yavneh) explained that the North is the place of strength and Din. We see the strength of Hashem in the North and bringing the Korbanos there is an opportunity for us to appease Hashem there.


When a soul will offer a Korban Mincha to Hashem (2:1) – Why does the Torah introduce the concept of the Korban Mincha with the word V’Nefesh? The Gemara (Menachos 104b) derives 2 laws here – Nefesh teaches us that this is the only Korban that is brought without any partnership. Also, the word Nefesh teaches us that even if a person is just a soul due to poverty his Korban is desired – in fact especially desired – by Hashem. Rav Betzalel Rudinsky Shlita explains that a Korban Mincha is a symbol for the soul of a person (hence it cannot be brought in a partnership) and when the Gemara (Meachos 110a) compares a one who studies Torah to the Korban Mincha because both are not merely about amounts – they are about something beyond the materials – they are about the clarity of the soul.

Shelamim (3:1)- The Steipler ztl. asked what the value of the voluntary Shelamim was about. If the purpose of the Korban was to redirect man’s will toward that of Hashem, what is gained by offering from your own free will? The Steipler answered that when a person needs to work on his Ahavas Hashem, he wants to be able to offer a voluntary Korban. By making the voluntary gesture, done with Simcha and zeal, the person learns to bring out his love for Hashem.

When a Nasi sins (4:22) – Rashi notes that the generation is to be praised when it has a leadership that desires to admit its flaw in order to achieve Kappara. Rav Schachter Shlita would often add to us that the generation that sets its standards on doing right rather than being seen as flawless is a generation whose leaders are not afraid to admit when they are wrong. The Ben Ish Chai notes that the words Asher Nasi Yechta have as their abbreviation the word “Ani” – if the Nasi is all about “Ani” he runs the risk of sin.

Asham Talui (5:17) – Is the Asham brought because of a doubt on Kareis or even on the doubt of having violated a Lav? The Talmud (Kreisus 25b) explains that it is indeed a Machlokes. Problem is that how can a doubt be more strict than having violated the actual prohibition. Had the violator known that he did an Issur Lav he would not bring a Chatas. Why now does he bring an Asham on a doubt? Rav Genack Shlita explained that when a person does not know if he did an Avaira, he does not properly try to do Teshuva. Therefore we make him bring a bigger Korban. If he HAD done the Avaira and KNOWN about it, his Teshuva would be complete and accepted. Therefore he brings the bigger Korban.

This month is the first of the months (Shemos 12:2) – Rashi explains that Moshe had a hard time figuring out the Molad system. Why in this Mitzva did he have trouble? Rav Nosson Gestetner ztl. explained that the Yirushalmi notes that Hashem had given the power over nature to the Beit Din. In other words, nature will change to conform to the Psak of Rosh Chodesh. Moshe could not understand HOW this happens. Rav Gestetner explains that when the people were Moser Nefesh to take a sheep which was also a supernatural effort on their parts, they merited to be able to have supernatural things happen for them.

Haftorah: And on the Chagim and Moadim the Mincha shall be… (Yechezkel 46:1) – Yamim Tovim have 3 names – Chagim, Moadim and Regalim. Rav Eliezer Melamed Shlita notes that there are different aspect to each of the names: Chag denotes the joy of going to visit Hashem and bring a korban – in essence to do His will. Moed highlights the fact that the Jews unite together during this time and the Mikra Kodesh of Regel highlights where we are going together – onward and upward spiritually. We need all three aspects to make our Yamim Tovim complete.