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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 1, v. 1: "Vayikroh" - This word is spelled with a small letter Aleph. The Mesoroh calls this an "Aleph z'iro." The Shach in Y. D. #245 brings in the name of the Kolbo that the first part of Chumosh to be taught to young children should be Vayikroh: "Yovo'u t'horim v'yaasku b'taharos." This is alluded to in the Mesoroh of "Aleph z'iro." Aleph means teach, and z'iro means the small ones. Teach, starting from this verse, the small ones who are beginning to learn Torah she'b'ksav. (Peninim Y'korim)

Perhaps we can connect this with a conversation between Moshe and Pharoh. Pharoh responded to Moshe's demand to let the bnei Yisroel leave Egypt for three days to offer sacrifices with (Shmos 10:11), "l'chu noh hagvorim," only the men may leave, since there is no need for the children to be involved with sacrifices. Moshe, however, demanded that the children should be brought along as well. He even mentioned the youth BEFORE the adults (10:9), "binoreinu uvizkeineinu neileich b'voneinu uvivnoseinu." Moshe insisted that even the young children connect to the service of Hashem through sacrifices.

Indeed, when the bnei Yisroel left, the verse says (14:8), "u'vnei Yisroel yotzim b'yod ROMOH." ROMOH is spelled Reish-Mem-Hei. These are the same letters as the siman in Y. D. quoted above where the Shach quotes the Kolbo, concerning sacrifices being the first topic in Chumash to be taught to young children. The bnei Yisroel, including their young children, left Egypt to serve Hashem by accepting His Torah, predicated by ALL entering His covenant with a sacrifice (Shmos 24:8).

Ch. 1, v. 2: "Odom ki yakriv" - Rashi first explains that the sacrifice discussed is a "n'dovoh," a donation, and not a "chovoh," an obligatory sacrifice. Then Rashi says that we learn from the word "odom" that a sacrifice which is stolen property cannot be used. Why does Rashi explain the latter part of the verse before the earlier part? The Kosnos Ohr answers that the word "odom" could have been explained to mean bnei Yisroel only, as per the rule (gemara Y'vomos 61a and B. M. 114b), "Attem kru'im odom." However, after explaining that the sacrifice discussed here is a "n'dovoh," a donation, we cannot say that in this verse "odom" excludes a non-ben Yisroel, since non- bnei Yisroel may also donate sacrifices to Hashem. The explanation of the latter part of this verse forces us to say that "odom" who is mentioned earlier, must exclude stolen animals from being accepted as sacrifices.

Rabbi Yosef B'chor Shor in the Moshav Z'keinim asks, "Why do we need the word "odom" to exclude a stolen sacrifice?" We know this from (1:10) "korbonO," HIS sacrifice." He answers that two verses are needed, one for theft where the animal is offered before "yiush," before the original owner has given up hope of recovering his stolen possession, and a second verse for the case of the animal being offered after the original owner has given up hope of recovering it.

The Moshav Z'keinim points out that the final letters of the three words, "odoM kI yakriV," are Beis-Yud-Mem, which spell "BaYoM," into the sea. This alludes to Hashem's forgiving a person who has sinned, and has thrown his sins into the sea, as is stated in Michoh 7:19, "V'sashlich bimtzulos YOM kol chatosom."

Ch. 1, v. 2: "Min ha'b'heimoh min habokor umin hatzone" - The Rosh points out that since in general, undomesticated animals, "cha'yos," are included in the term "b'heimoh" (gemara B. K. 17b), the Torah in this verse specifically enumerates only "bokor" and "tzone."

Why indeed did Hashem not accept kosher undomesticated animals as korbonos? 1) Hashem did not want to burden people with bringing animals that are not readily available and which usually require hunting to capture them. (Rosh)

2) Undomesticated animals were not included in the blessing that Hashem gave to animals, to be abundant. The reason for this is that the snake is included in the category of undomesticated animals. (Rosh)

3) Undomesticated animals are haughty. (Rabbi Ziskind of Rottenburg)

4) Domesticated animals are readily attacked by carnivorous animals. Hashem prefers those who are pursued as stated in Koheles 3:15, "v'ho'Elokim y'vakeish es hanirdof." (Rabbi Ziskind of Rottenberg)

5) Hashem prefers oxen and sheep (sheep include goats), as they are signs of the Zodiac which are pure and bring a positive influence into the world. (Rambam Moreh N'vuchim, section 3)

Ch. 1, v. 4: "V'somach yodo al rosh ho'oloh" - Many of the korbonos require "smichoh," the act of placing one's hands onto the head of the sacrifice and leaning on the animal. If not done, the sacrifice is still valid, but the mitzvoh of "smichoh" has not been fulfilled. A reason for bringing this type of offering is to atone for not fulfilling a positive commandment.

The gemara Z'vochim 6a raises a question. "If one offers a Korban Oloh as an atonement for not fulfilling a mitzvoh, but does not do "smichoh," does this afford any atonement, as the person has once again not fulfilled the positive command of doing "smichoh?" The gemara says that the Rabonon say that previous sins are atoned, but not this sin of not having done "smichoh."

Picture a person being found guilty of theft. The judge obviously rules that the object or its value be returned. He also requires that the thief write an apology to the victim. The thief agrees to comply. He now robs someone of a sheet of paper upon which he writes the apology for his previous theft. He appears in court again for the second theft. No doubt, the judge will deal with him very harshly now, as in his supposed act of repentance, he has once again stolen.

Not so Hashem. Although a person brings a sacrifice for the specific intent of bringing about atonement for neglecting to fulfill a positive command, and in this self-same act repeats the exact same wrongdoing, namely, again not fulfilling Hashem's command to do a positive mitzvoh, in spite of this, Hashem will still forgive him for his previous neglect.

Ch. 2, v. 1: "Korban MINCHOH" - The Sefer Chinuch in Mitzvas Assei #116 tells us that the word "MINCHOH" means a PRESENT. He says that there are two reasons for a flour-offering to be called a Minchoh.

1) Flour-offerings are the minority of the total amount of offerings brought. Just as a person keeps most of his possessions for himself and only gives a minority away as presents, so also the minority flour-offering is called a "present".

2) The majority of flour-offerings are donations rather than being obligatory, and are therefore called "presents."

Ch. 2, v. 5: "Minchoh al MACHAVAS" - There are nine different "Kor'b'nos Minchoh," but physically there are only five different ways in which they are prepared. One type is our "mincho al MACHAVAS."

In our Shabbos songs we sing, "Hashomer Shabbos ha'bein im habas, lo'Keil yeirotzeh k'minchoh al MACHAVAS." Why is keeping the Shabbos appeasing to Hashem as a MACHAVAS offering, specifically? My Chumash Rebbi answered that the word MACHAVAS simply rhymes with "habas," and was therefore chosen. This is probably the best answer.

However, by delving into the way this Korban Minchoh was prepared, perhaps another answer will emerge. The Mishneh in M'nochos 63a says that according to Rabbi Chananioh ben Gamliel the difference between a "minchas marcheshes" and a "mincha al machavas" is that the "marcheshes" is deep fried, while the "machavas" is fried on a flat griddle that has no sides. Perhaps this would explain the expression "AL machavas," ON a griddle, and not IN a pan.

The gemara Shabbos 118a says that one who keeps the Shabbos properly merits to receive an unrestricted inheritance, as was promised to Yaakov. This is expressed in Yesha'yohu 58:14, "Im toshiv miShabbos raglecho ......

v'haachalticho nachalas Yaakov ovicho." Possibly this is why a "minchoh al MACHAVAS" is chosen in this Shabbos song. If someone keeps the Shabbos holy, he merits to have an unlimited inheritance, symbolized by a Korban Minchoh which is prepared on a griddle which also has no borders.

Ch. 2, v. 11: "Lo sei'o'seh chomeitz ki chol s'ore v'chol dvash lo saktiru" - This verse tells us that it is prohibited to prepare the Korban Minchoh in a manner which makes it leavened. Since we know that mixing flour with fruit juices rather than with water keeps the mixture from becoming chometz (gemara P'sochim 35b), the Torah tells us that this may also not be done, as not only may "s'ore" not be offered on the altar, but "dvash," fruit juices, may also not be offered. (Maharil Diskin)

Ch. 4, v. 27: "V'im nefesh achas te'cheto ...... ba'asosoh achas mimitzvos Hashem" - Two students of the Holy Magid of Mezeritch, the Rebbe Reb Ber, had a conversation. The first said that he was so ashamed of his sins. He didn't know what to do with them. The other student responded that he felt he had recourse for his sins through repenting. However, what would he do with his mitzvos? He was so embarrassed that many of them were done incompletely, with limited intention, or for reasons other than to fulfill Hashem's wishes. The Kedushas Levi, Rabbi Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev, says that this point is alluded to in our verse. "If a soul sins by doing a mitzvoh of Hashem," by having other intentions, etc.

Ch. 5, v. 7: "Echod l'chatos v'echod l'oloh" - For the atonement of certain unintentional sins, a sin offering must be brought. This is either a sheep or a goat. If the sinner is so poor that he cannot afford a sheep or goat, the Torah allows him to bring two birds, one as a sin offering, a "chatos," which is eaten by the Kohein, and one as an "oloh" offering, which is totally consumed on the altar.

The gemara Chulin 22a says that the processing of the bird "oloh" may not be done at night because it is compared to the "chatos" bird offering that accompanies it, which may only be done by day. Someone asked the Rashboh (Tshuvos hoRashboh vol. 1, responsa #276), "How could anyone even entertain the thought that the "oloh" offering could be processed at night, since we have a teaching from Vayikroh 7:37,38 that ALL sacrifices must have their blood processing, avodas hadam, done by day?" The Rashboh said that he had no answer for this question, but suggested another text in the above gemara which totally leaves out the comparison of "olas ho'ofe" to "chatos ho'ofe."

The Ibn Ezra asks, "Why is there a need for an "oloh" altogether, since the original sacrifice was only a "chatos?" He answers that since the original sacrifice was a sheep or goat (5:6), there would have been a portion for the Kohein and a portion for the altar as well. However, if the poor person were to only bring a "chatos" offering of a bird, there would be nothing for the altar. The sole purpose of bringing the "oloh" bird offering is to give the altar its portion.

The Meshech Chochmoh says that according to this Ibn Ezra we can understand why there is a need for a special teaching that THIS "olas ho'ofe" cannot be processed at night. Although no sacrifices may be processed at night, but since the whole purpose of bringing this "oloh" was to offer the altar its portion, there is good reason to believe that this would be an exception. The burning of "olos" may be done at night, as mentioned in the first Mishneh of Brochos regarding burning of parts of korbonos at night. Similarly, one might think that the complete processing of this particular "oloh" may be done at night. Therefore we need a special comparison to its accompanying offering, the "chatos ho'ofe", that it may only be done by day.

The Meshech Chochmoh had a visitor on the day that the above Torah thought came to his mind. The Meshech Chochmoh told his guest that he had taken a short midday nap that day and had a dream in which the Rashboh appeared to him and told him that the Meshech Chochmoh had answered the question posed to the Rashboh in a far superior manner.


Yeshayohu Ch. 43, v. 22: "V'lo osi koroso Yaakov ki yogato bi Yisroel" - In parshas Ki Siso a parable of the Dubno Magid was mentioned, about which the Holy Admor of Kotzk said that it was one of three places where the Dubno Magid's parable brought out the main, "emes la'amito" meaning of the verse. On this verse of our Haftorah we have the second one.

A man was once travelling on a business trip, and took a ship to reach a far off destination. He brought with himself samples of jewellery, semi-precious stones, and the like. His berth-mate on the ship was also on a business trip, but unlike the first man, he had brought samples of building materials, such as steel and wooden beams, etc.

Upon reaching the port, all passengers left the ship and had their parcels sent by porters to the address they designated. The jewellery merchant had made himself comfortable in his lodgings on the third floor of a hotel. A knock on his door announced the arrival of the porter with his parcel. The porter entered, saying that he would like to deliver the merchant's parcel to his room. The merchant said that the porter had obviously made a mistake and brought the wrong goods. The porter was surprised, questioning how the merchant knew that there had been a mistake if the parcel was not even in sight yet, as it was still in the hallway.

The merchant answered that it was obviously the wrong parcel, since the porter was sweating and panting heavily. "Possibly, you have brought the building supplies merchant's goods which are very heavy. My parcel of jewellery samples is very light. There is no reason one would sweat and pant from carrying it. So, even before I saw the parcel, I was sure that you made a mistake."

Similarly, says the Dubno Magid, if Hashem sees that one is totally fatigued and exhausted from doing a mitzvoh, he is obviously not doing it properly, as a mitzvoh that is done with the proper intent brings happiness and vitality into the heart of the one who does it. If, "yogato bi Yisroel," Hashem need not even examine the mitzvoh, since this shows that , "v'lo osi koroso Yaakov." (Siach Sarfei Kodesh vol. 2 #55)

Bez"H the third parable will appear in the Haftorah of parshas Massei.


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