Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Vayikroh

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This week we begin studying and reading Vayikroh, the third book of the Torah. It teaches us of the many sacrifices and offerings which we would bring in the Sanctuary.

After telling us that Hashem called to Moshe, the Torah tells us that He told Moshe[1] to “Speak to the Jewish Nation and say to them, ‘When a man from among you brings a sacrifice to the Lord; from animals, from cattle or the flock you shall bring your sacrifice.'” Rashi cites the words “when a man from among you brings a sacrifice” and explains that “voluntary sacrifices is the concept which is under discussion.” In other words, Rashi makes it clear that the Torah begins teaching the laws of voluntary offerings.

Why does the Torah start by teaching us the rules of one who donates a sacrifice? It would seem more appropriate to begin with the law of an obligatory sacrifice.

The main point of an offering is not the sacrifice itself. It is neither the animal nor the grain and wine brought together with the animal. Instead, it is the intent and thought which goes into the offering. We know this from the words of the Sages[2]. “Whether one gives much or little (it is equally pleasing to Hashem), provided that he directs his heart to Heaven.” The same is true of mandatory sacrifices, which serve to atone for sin. The atonement occurs due to the thought that goes into the offering, not the actual animal and that which accompanies it.

The root of the Hebrew word for a sacrifice, “Korbon – קרבן,” is related to the word “Kiruv – קירוב,” which means drawing close. The idea of a sacrifice is to bring one’s abilities and senses closer to Hashem[3].

To teach us this all-important factor, the Torah begins the laws of sacrifices by telling us of free-will offerings. It describes offerings which one brings from the generosity of his heart. It does so to let us know that the heart is the introduction to all of the sacrifices.

Because each Jew has a Divine soul which is a veritable part of Hashem[4], he wants to come closer (Korbon – קרבן) to G-d from the depths of his soul.

I wish one and all a good Shabbos and a Kosher and Happy Pesach!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 17, Pages 9-16   

מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש

The Soldiers of Tzivos Hashem Chaim and Aiden Oded שיחיו Morris
Rabbi & Mrs. Menachem M. and Chaya Mushka שיחיו Morris

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


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

[2]. See the end of Talmud Menochos. See also Rashi’s comments to our Parshah, Vayikroh 1:17 and 2:1. 

[3]. See Sefer Habahir, Chapter 46. See also Zohar Section III, Page 5, a. This is also found in Sheloh Tractate Taanis, Page 211, Side b, and in Pri Eitz Chaim, The Gate of Tefillah Chapter 5.

[4]. See Tanya, the beginning of Chapter 2.

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