Pearls of Rashi – Vayikroh II

This week we read the Torah portion of Vayikroh. It is also the beginning of the third book of the Torah. It deals extensively with sacrificial law. The first sacrifice which the Torah discusses here is a burnt offering. Regarding this offering, the Torah tells us[1] “… a burnt offering, a fire offering, with a pleasing fragrance to Hashem.” The same phrase is used numerous times in the Torah regarding various types of sacrifices. Obviously, this is meant allegorically; Hashem is neither pleased nor displeased by anything, including a particular scent. Rashi[2] explains that the meaning of the phrase is that “this sacrifice gives Me pleasure for I commanded and My will was fulfilled!”

Rashi’s words must be understood allegorically as well; nothing a person does can either please or displease G-d. However, this is easier to understand than one pleasing Hashem with a given scent. Hashem chose to create a world, inhabit it with people and give them an instruction manual (the Torah) to teach them how to behave. When man follows His instructions, G-d chooses to be pleased. However, this being the case, why is this expression used specifically regarding sacrifices? One would think that Hashem derives pleasure from every Mitzvah which man fulfills.

The fulfillment of every Mitzvah provides man with a benefit. This is certainly true of those Mitzvos which we understand. However, even fulfilling those Mitzvos which are beyond our comprehension gives us a feeling of fulfillment. It is a satisfying experience to follow the “instruction manual” and accept Hashem as our King.

This is true regarding most Mitzvos. One exception to this is offering a sacrifice. One has no benefit whatsoever from this. Buying meal, wine, oil, and an animal can make perfect sense. Buying them in order to burn them upon an altar does not. The very fact that one does so can only be for one reason, namely “because G-d said so.”

Each of us is different. Each of us has Mitzvos which excite him more, and those which excite him less. It is certainly easier to fulfill the former. Nevertheless, let us consider the lesson we learn from this. We must strive to fulfill each commandment equally “because G-d said so.”

Wishing one and all a good Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 32, Pages 1 – 6

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]. Vayikroh 1:9.

[2]. See his commentary to the above verse.

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