Thoughts on the Weekly Parshah by HaRav Eliezer Chrysler
Formerly Rav of Mercaz Ahavat Torah, Johannesburg

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Vol. 13   No. 23

This issue is sponsored
l'iluy Nishmas
R. Yehudah ben R. Aharon z.l.

Parshas Vayikra

The K'lei Mishkan and the Bigdei Kehunah
(Part 2)

Taking a Security
(adapted from the K'li Yakar)

Rashi ascribes the opening reference to the Mishkan as a testimony ("Mishkan ha'Eidus") to the fact that the mere construction of the Mishkan bore evidence that G-d had pardoned Yisrael for the sin of the Eigel. Otherwise, He would never have condescended to dwell in their midst.


The K'li Yakar however, connects it with Moshe's desire to cleanse himself of all suspicion regarding the large amounts of gold, silver and copper that passed through his hands, as we discussed last week. And it is in this connection that the Torah writes "in the hand of Iysamar the son of Aharon the Kohen". It is inevitable, he explains, that when smelting gold and silver, some of the precious metal will disintegrate, and one will end up with just a fraction less in weight than the amount with which one began. Yet here, the Torah is informing us that down to the last ounce, Iysamar ultimately ended up with the exact amount of smelted gold, silver and copper as the raw materials that Moshe initially received. An incredible miracle, and a reflection of the integrity of Moshe and the workers who helped process the materials. G-d made no bones about the fact that His Shechinah rested among them and assisted them in their efforts.


The Ramban, who explains the opening Pasuk in this Parshah in a similar fashion to that of the K'li Yakar (which we discussed last week), presents an entirely different interpretation of the term "Mishkan ha'Eidus" however. He explains that "Mishkan" on its own refers to the bottom set of curtains. Consequently, when the Torah wishes to talk about the Mishkan as a whole, it refers to it as "Mishkan ha'Eidus", with reference, no doubt, to the Luchos, which by virtue of their miraculous format, served as a constant testimony that the Shechinah rested in Yisrael (see Ki Sisa 32:15). According to this explanation, the word "ha'Eidus" has no bearing on anything mentioned in either 'Vayakheil' or 'Pikudei'.


In the previous issue, we also discussed why the Torah places the double expression of Mishkan here in Pikudei, at least according to the Medrash which ascribes it to the fact that the Mikdash down here corresponds exactly to the Mikdash in Heaven.

The K'li Yakar also explains it according to the Medrash that "ha'Mishkan Mishkan ... " comes to inform us that the Mikdash (which is also called Mishkan) was destined to be taken twice as a security ('Mashkon') for their sins. And because the two words ("ha'Mishkan" and "Mishkan") refer to the two Batei Mikdash, the second one is missing a 'Hey', corresponding to the five things that were missing in the second Beis-Hamikdash: the Aron (incorporating the lid and the Keruvim), the Heavenly Fire (that consumed the Korbanos), the Shechinah (the Divine Presence), the Ru'ach ha'Kodesh (the holy Spirit) and the Urim ve'Tumim (the Names of G-d that were placed in the folds of the Choshen Mishpat).

And this Medrash conforms with Medrash Eichah, which, commenting on the Pasuk in Eichah (4:11) "G-d gave vent to His anger and He set fire to Tziyon", explains that He poured His wrath on to wood and stones, with reference to the Beis-Hamikdash which was designated as a security, to pay for the sin of the Golden Calf. This means that although G-d forgave Yisrael for that sin, that was only on condition that they did not repeat it by worshipping idols once more. That is why, the moment they began worshipping the Golden Calves that Yeravam set up in Beis-Eil and Dan, G-d had the authority to punish them for the sin of the Eigel. But, in accordance with the agreement, He would take the Mashkon that had specifically been set aside for that purpose, the wood and the stones of the Beis-Hamikdash - but not the Bigdei Kehunah.

* * *

(Adapted from the Ma'ayanah shel Torah)

Returning to the Source

"And all your Flour-offerings you shall salt, and do not discontinue with the salt of your G-d's covenant" (2:13).

Because a covenant was made with salt from the six days of the creation, when the lower water was promised that it would be brought on the Mizbe'ach in the form of salt and as a water libation on Succos (Rashi).

The Gemara comments on the Pasuk "you shall salt" ... 'even on Shabbos'.

And a number of Rishonim ask why the Torah sees fit to teach us this, seeing as there is nothing wrong with salting food on Shabbos ('Ein Ibud be'Ochlin').

The Sochatchover Rebbi answers that the Pasuk is not coming to authorize salting the meat of Korbanos on Shabbos, but to obligate it, since we might otherwise have thought that it is not necessary.

To understand this, he explains, we need to look at the source of the Mitzvah of salting the meat of Korbanos. Chazal teach us that when at the time of the creation, G-d divided the water into the Upper Water (above the sky) and the Lower Water (the seas, etc.) the latter wept because it was located so far away from G-d's Throne of Glory, and that He placated it by promising it that no Korban would ever be brought without being salted (which of course, is extracted from water). To clinch that promise, G-d gave the Korbanos with 'a covenant of salt'.

Now on Shabbos, when everything returns to its source, including the lower water, which returns to its place above the sky (I am not sure exactly what this means), there is good reason to assume that the Korbanos do not require salting. That is why the Torah needs to say that they do.



A far more simple explanation is given by the Rashba. The Rashba points out that the parts of the Korban that need salting are the Eimurim (the Cheilev [non-Kasher fats ..]), which are not considered food. That being the case, the Isur min ha'Torah of salting does in fact apply (because it is a derivative of tanning), just like it applies to skins.


"And all your Flour-offerings you shall salt ... on all your Korbanos you shall bring salt" (Ibid.)

Since the Torah finally obligates the salting of all Korbanos, why does it then find it necessary to single out the Minchah, (which after all, is a Korban too), for special mention?

The answer, explains R. Leibele Charif, lies in the fact that the purpose of a Korban is to rectify the elements of creation (which are blemished by our sins). That is why, says the Arizal, a Korban comprises all four elements - salt (still-life), wine (for the drink-offering), the animal (animal) and the Kohen who sacrifices it (man who speaks).

A Minchah, on the other hand, is anyway lacking 'animal', which might prompt us to believe that it does not need salt (still-life) either. The Torah therefore, needs to inform us that such an assumption is wrong and that a Minchah too, requires salt. And the reason for this is because it is based on a false premise. Indeed, says R. Leibele Charif, a Minchah too, contains the element of animal. For Chazal have said that the poor man who brings a Minchah-offering, is considered as if he brought his Soul (which falls under the category of animal).


"If the anointed Kohen (the Kohen Gadol) sins (be'Shogeg), to the guilt of the people" (4:3).

See Rashi.

R. Ya'akov from Lissa interprets this to mean that if a Kohen Gadol sins, even be'Shogeg, the people will follow suit.

The greater the person, he explains, the more care he has to take not to sin. The people tend to watch Gedolim like hawks, and the slightest flaw they find, they treat as an excuse to emulate. So the Torah writes that if a Kohen Gadol sins, albeit be'Shogeg, it will be to the guilt of the people, who will take his mistake as their cue to sin on purpose.



Targum Yonasan translates "le'Ashmas ho'om" as 'to bring the Korban of the people not in accordance with the Halachah'. What does he mean by this strange statement, asks the Meshech Chochmah?

Actually, he explains, it is the Pasuk that begs explanation. Remember, that according to Chazal's interpretation of the Pasuk, it is not just the Kohen Gadol who sinned, but all the people, who acted upon his incorrect ruling.

How is it possible, he therefore asks, for a Kohen Gadol to arrive at such a mistake, where he not only sins himself, but causes the entire community to sin as well? What happened to the Pasuk in Shmuel 1 (2:9) "He guards the feet of his pious ones" (against sinning), and what happened to the Chazal which teaches us that whoever brings merit to the community will not cause others to sin (as the K'sav Sofer asks)?

It must therefore be that the Kohen Gadol sinned earlier by not bringing the Korbanos of Yom Kipur (when the whole of Yisrael relied on his expertise and integrity to atone on their behalf), into the Kodesh Kodshim, and there, unseen by the people, he sprinkled the blood of the people's bull incorrectly.

And it is as a result of that transgression, the Meshech Chochmah concludes, that G-d caused him to sin again in a manner that he becomes obliged to bring a Chatas, and which reveals his earlier sin to the public, whose trust he betrayed. For so the Navi writes in Yirmiyah (23:24) "If a man sins in secret, will I not see Him" ('If he hides himself from the public eye, will I not reveal his deed'), says Hashem"?

And that is precisely what the Pasuk means here according to the Targum Yonasan's explanation.


"When a king sins ... " (4:22).

Note how the Torah writes, not 'If a Nasi sins', like it did by the Kohen Gadol, but "When a Nasi sins"!

The reason for this, says the Ma'ayanah shel Torah, is because, bearing in mind the royal tendency towards pride that accompanies power, it is not a matter of 'if', but of 'when' he will sin, because it is all but certain that sin he will. As the Zohar writes 'Sovereignty leads to pride, and pride leads to sin'.

Interestingly, this concept is hinted in the first letters of the words "Asher Nosi Yecheta", which spell 'Ani' - ME!, conveying the message that the royal insignia has as its dictum 'I and no other".


"And the Kohen shall atone for him before Hashem ... on one of all the things that man will do to sin on it" (5:26).

The Mo'or va'Shemesh citing R. Mendel from Riminov, refers to an old Minhag in Yisrael that, when the Ba'al Korei completed the Parshah of Vayikra, the entire community would stand up and respond in chorus "lo'Keil Asher Shovas mi'kol ha'ma'asim ba'yom ha'Shevi'i".

The reason for this interlude was to avoid concluding the Leining with something bad.

But why specifically this phrase?

It is written in Sefarim that by resting on Shabbos one 'returns to Hashem the creation that is His', which simply means that one acknowledges G-d to be the Master of the world that He created. By so doing, one fulfils one's obligation "to work it and to guard it". (See Bereishis 2:15)

Someone who steals and then swears falsely, is in fact denying that G-d owns the world and distributes property in the way that he sees fit.

And it is therefore appropriate to follow the end of the Parshah with the above Pasuk ("lo'Keil Asher Shovas mi'kol ha'ma'asim ba'yom ha'Shevi'i") as if to say - that when a person brings a Korban for failing to acknowledge G-d's Mastery over the world, he will do well to let 'the Kohen atone for him, to attain forgiveness on his behalf, by acknowledging the G-d who rested from all his works on the Seventh Day'. Yes, Shabbos is the ideal occasion to acknowledge that it is G-d who created the world, and that the world belongs to Him.

* * *

Nut-Shells for Sale!

"This nation I created for Myself that they might tell My praise ... But you did not call out to Me, Ya'akov" (Yeshayah 43:21/22).

The Likutim Yekarim explains this with the following parable:

A young man soon after his marriage, once went to the market to look for merchandize to purchase which he would then sell at a profit.

There, he saw a shop-keeper selling nuts at four gold pieces per Litra.

It did not take him long to work out that, since half the nuts consisted of shells, the retail price of nut-shells was two gold-pieces per half-litra. Based on that calculation, he went round the rubbish-dumps, collecting all the nut-shells he could find. When he felt he had amassed enough goods to start business, he set up a stall in the market-place, where he proceeded to sell nut-shells at four gold-coins per litra (all pure profit).

Soon enough, a crown had gathered and began splitting their sides laughing at the crazy salesman.

'You fool', they said to him. 'People are willing to buy the shells, only because of what they contain. But who's ever heard of anybody purchasing nut-shells?'


In the same way, the Navi was telling K'lal Yisrael; G-d created Yisrael together with all their material needs, with the sole purpose of singing My praises, which in effect is the 'nut' of the creation. Everything else is the 'shells', which are necessary to attain the goal.

And what did K'lal Yisrael do? They did not call out to G-d; They took the shells, leaving the nuts behind!

* * *

(Adapted from the Seifer ha'Chinuch)

Please bear in mind that the rulings in this article reflect the opinion of the Seifer ha'Chinuch and are not necessarily Halachah.

Mitzvah 116:
The Korban Minchah

It is a Mitzvah to perform the Avodah pertaining to the Minchah, as prescribed by the Torah in the various Parshiyos that deal with it, and as the Torah writes in Vayikra (2:1-7) "And a person who brings a Minchah ... ". "And if your Korban is a Minchah on a pan ... " . "And if your Korban is a Minchah in a pot ... ". A Minchah is a Korban that consists of different kinds of flour, and not of animals. As the author already wrote earlier, the strong physical similarity of an animal Korban to oneself prompts the bringer to humiliate himself, to humble his desirous and sinful Soul, when he sees a creature with a living soul like his own, but which has no seichel (common sense) being burned and utterly destroyed. It will help him realize that a person who sins, due to his own lack of seichel, will perish just like the animal, should he continue to behave like one, because man's sins are the result of his animal instinct.

In fact, he says, even a non-animal Korban comes to humble one's Yeitzer-ha'Ra, for man sees that his sins cause his money to be burned and destroyed, even though the message may not be quite as blatant as that of a Korban Beheimah.

The reason that this Korban is called a Minchah, is because the word 'Minchah' has connotations of a small gift, and a flour-offering tends to cost less than an animal, and also because the majority of Menachos are brought as a Nedavah (voluntarily), conforming with the way people generally interpret 'Minchah'.


Here is a list of the various kinds of Menachos that are brought independently (and not as a Minchas Nesachim [together with a Drink-Offering, as part of another Korban]), when the Beis-Hamikdash stood. There are three Menachos Tzibur (communal Menachos): The Omer on Pesach, the Sh'tei ha'Lechem (the Two Loaves on Shavu'os and the Lechem ha'Panim every Shabbos), all three of which bear the title 'Minchah'. Whereas there are nine Menachos Yachid (brought by individuals): 1. 'Minchas Chotei' (of a sinner), brought by a poor man who is Chayav a Chatas but cannot afford to bring an animal or even a bird; 2. 'Minchas Sotah', which the Pasuk in 'Naso' refers to as "Minchas Kena'os"; 3. 'Minchas Chinuch' (the Minchah brought by a Kohen on the day that he is initiated into the Avodah). 4. 'Minchas Chavitin' (the daily Minchah of the Kohen Gadol); 5. 'Minchas So'les' (the Minchah of fine flour, brought as a Neder [which in turn is brought in fulfillment of a vow to bring a Korban] or a Nedavah); 6. 'Minchah al ha'Machavas' (that is fried on a pan); 7. 'Minchas Marcheshes' (that is boiled in a pot); 8. 'Minchas Ma'afeh Tanur' (that is pre-baked in an oven) that is baked as Chalos; 9. 'Minchas Ma'afeh Tanur' brought as wafers. The last five of these are all brought as a Neder or a Nedavah. Most of the above are brought in the form of fine flour made from wheat, but some are made from barley; most of them are eaten by the Kohanim (aside from the Kemitzah [the fistful that is removed and burned on the Mizbei'ach]), but some are entirely burned. All of them are brought as Matzah, with the sole exception of the Sh'tei ha'Lechem, which are Chametz, and which are also referred to by the Torah as 'Minchah', even though they are not brought on the Mizbei'ach. True, the Pasuk writes " ... Any Minchah which you bring to Hashem shall not be prepared as Chametz", but it precludes the Sh'tei ha'Lechem from this La'av when it continues (with reference to them) "A Korban of the first (wheat) you shall bring them to Hashem", insinuating that the La'av does not apply to them.. Nevertheless, since they contain Chametz, they are not brought on the Mizbei'ach, as the Torah adds " ... but they shall not go up on the Mizbei'ach as a pleasant smell". All the other Menachos are baked as Matzah.


And this is how the Minchah is brought: The owner brings fine flour from his house in either a silver, golden or metal receptacle, and proceeds to the Kohen, who carries it to the Mizbei'ach, where he takes a fistful with the tips of his fingers. This fistful (known as the 'Kometz') he burns on the Mizbei'ach, and the rest of the Minchah is eaten by the Kohanim. This is the order of the Menachos that are eaten, those that are burned, the Melachos that are performed by Zarim and those that are performed by Kohanim. The remaining details are discussed in Maseches Menachos.

The bringing of the Minchah†applies only when the Beis-ha'Mikdash is standing. A Kohen who changes the Ma'aseh ha'Minchah as prescribed by the Torah has negated a Mitzvas Asei.

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