Pearls of Rashi – Vayikroh

This week’s Torah portion is Vayikroh. It is the beginning of the third book of the Torah, which largely deals with the sacrifices which were offered in the newly erected Mishkan, and later in the Bais Hamikdosh.

The Parshah, and the entire book of Vayikroh, begins by telling us that Hashem called out to Moshe[1]; “And He called to Moshe, and Hashem spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting, saying.” What did Hashem say to Moshe? He said to him that he should say to the Jewish people[2] “… When a man from among you brings a sacrifice to Hashem, from animals, from cattle or from the flock you shall bring your sacrifice.”

There are four different ways of saying “a man” in the Hebrew language[3]. In the verse’s Hebrew, the word “Adam – אדם” is used. Why did the Torah choose this particular word? Rashi explains that this word is used as an allusion to the first man, who was named Adam. Rashi tells us as follows. “… Just as Adam, the first man, never offered sacrifices from stolen property, since everything was his, so too, you must not offer sacrifices from stolen property.”

We need to understand this. How can Rashi say that the entire world belonged to Adam? Granted, when he was created, he was the only person in the world. He was surrounded by everything, including all of the animals, from which he could bring a sacrifice.  Nevertheless, he had not actually acquired any of them; he had certainly not acquired “everything.” According to Jewish law, in order to own something, one must first make an acquisition through various means. We find that Adam had taken no such action!

This can be understood by a teaching of the Rambam. He tells us that[4] “whatever land a king conquers belongs to him. He may distribute it to his servants and soldiers as he sees fit; he may also retain as much for himself as he sees fit.”

From this we understand, that for a king no manner of acquisition is needed. All that he needs to do is to conquer land. The only reason that is necessary is because the land originally belonged to someone else. Had there been no previous owner, there would be no need for military conquest.

This was true of Adam. He was blessed that he would[5] “fill the earth and subdue it.” He had the status of a king; hence the world was his.

Each of us has control of our possessions, our portion in this world. May each of us take advantage, and use our portion in the world in the service of Hashem. In this manner we will certainly bring Moshiach now!

Wishing one and all a good Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 12, Beginning with Page 8

Mr. Sholom Moshe ben Reb Shlomo Meir
Hacohen ע”ה Cohen
Passed away Shabbos Parshas Beshalach,
13 Shevat, 5779
May His Soul be bound in the Eternal Bond of Life
* * *
לעילוי נשמת
ר’ שלום משה בן ר’ שלמה מאיר הכהן ע”ה כהן
נפטר ש”ק פ’ בשלח, י”ג שבט, ה’תשע”ט
ת. נ. צ. ב. ה.
יו”ל ע”י בני משפחתו שיחיו

[1]. Our Parshah, Vayikroh 1:1.

[2]. Our Parshah, Vayikroh 1:2.

[3]. Ish, Gever, Adam and Enosh; איש, גבר, אדם, אנוש

[4]. Laws of Kings, Chapter 4, Paragraph 10.

[5]. Parshas Bereishis, Bereishis 1:28.

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