Pearls of Rashi – Parshas Vayikroh

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This week we read the Torah portion of Vayikroh. It is also the beginning of the third book of the Torah, and it deals extensively with sacrificial law. The first sacrifice which the Torah discusses here is a burnt offering. Regarding this sacrifice, the Torah tells us that[1] “… a burnt offering, a fire offering, with a pleasing fragrance to the Lord.” The same phrase is used numerous times in the Torah regarding different sorts of offerings. Obviously, this is meant allegorically; Hashem is not pleased by a particular fragrance. Rashi[2] explains that the meaning of the phrase is that “this sacrifice gives Me pleasure for I commanded and My will was fulfilled!”

This is obviously an allegory as well; man does not have the power to either please or displease G-d. However, this is easier to understand than the literal meaning of the verse. Hashem chose to create a world, inhabit it with people and give them an instruction manual (the Torah) which teaches 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. Following the “instruction manual” and accepting Hashem as our King is a satisfying experience.

The only 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 happy and kosher Pesach!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 32, Pages 1 – 6

מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש


חיילי “צבאות השם” חיים ועדן עודד שיחיו מאריס
נדפס ע”י הוריהם
הרה”ת ר’ מנחם מענדל
וזוגתו מרת חי’ מושקא שיחיו מאריס

[1]. Vayikroh 1:9.

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

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