subscribe.gif (2332 bytes)

by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

Back to this week's Parsha | Previous Issues


Ch. 1, v. 1: "Va'yikroh" - This word is spelled with a small letter Alef. The Mesoroh calls this an "Alef 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 "Alef z'iro." "Alef" 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. (Pninim Y'korim)

Perhaps we can connect this with a conversation between Moshe and Paroh. Paroh 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." This word has the numeric value of 245, the same value as the siman in Y.D. mentioned 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).

Actually, we must first teach a child the Alef Beis before he can be taught the text of Vayikroh or anything in the Torah. There is a most breathtaking allusion to beginning a child's education with the first verse in Vayikroh calculated by Rav Y. Orbach zt"l. If we calculate the value of all the letters of this verse in "millui," meaning that an Alef is not counted as one, but rather fully spelled out Alef-Lamed-Fei, which equals 111, and so on, we have a total of 4710. This is calculated without the first Alef in the verse, which is small. We find that the intention of having a letter in the Torah appearing diminished is to also interpret the word without that letter, such as Breishis 23:2, where the word "v'liv*k*osoh" appears with a small Kof and is interpreted as "u'l'vitoh," - and for her daughter (See Rashi ad loc). This total of 4710 is equal to the numeric value of all the letters of the Alef Beis "b'milluy," including the repetition of the final letters Mem-Nun-Tzadi-Pei-Kof. Thus our verse alludes to the complete Alef Beis as well, truly the first thing a child is taught textually.

1:3 "Min habokor zochor" - The Ibn Ezra says that the reason for a "korban oloh" being male only is that since a "korban oloh's" flesh is totally consumed on the altar, it is a primary sacrifice compared to others that have their flesh eaten by people. Therefore it is only a male, which is also the dominant gender (in its strength). According to this an explanation is needed for the female bird "korban oloh." Perhaps the Ibn Ezra feels that the dominance is present in animals only and not in birds.

Ch. 1, v. 5: "V'ZORKU es hadom" - There are six manners of placing the blood of a sacrifice upon the altar. They are:

1) "Z'rikoh" - throwing from a pan from a distance, upwards. (Our verse)
2) "Shfichoh" - spilling from a pan downwards from close proximity. (Shmos 12:7)
3) "N'sinoh" - placing by dipping one's finger into the blood and wiping it on the surface of the altar. (Shmos 29:12)
4) "Hazo'oh" - sprinkling by either dipping one's finger or an "eizov" (hyssop) branch into the blood which is in a pan and propelling blood droplets from a distance, or by thrusting a slaughtered bird without releasing it, and thus droplets from its lacerated neck reach the altar. (Vayikroh 5:9)
5) "Mitzuy" - pressing the blood out of the laceration in the neck of the sacrifice against the wall of the altar. (Vayikroh 1:15)
6) "Y'tzikoh" - We find this term in Vayikroh 8:15 and 9:9, "V'es hadom YOTZAK el y'sode hamizbei'ach." How does this differ from "shfichoh?" Answer next week.

Ch. 1, v. 8: "V'orchu," v. 12 "v'orach" - The Ibn Ezra and the Daas Z'keinim explain the change from the plural form in our verse to the singular form in verse 12. Our verse discusses the placing of the parts of a bovine onto the altar. This large animal requires the involvement of a number of Kohanim. Verse 12 discusses a sheep sacrifice, which is smaller, thus requiring only one Kohein.

Ch 1, v. 8: "Hapo'deir" - How is this word to be translated?

1) The complete body except for the head. (Targum Yonoson ben Uziel in verse 12, also mentioned by the Ibn Ezra)
2) The trachea, lungs, heart, and liver. (Rav Saadioh Gaon)
3) A general name for the fats. (Ibn Ezra and Ramban) The Ramban adds that it is so called since the letters of this word can be switched to spell "porod," - separate. The tendency of fat membranes is to be easily separated (peeled) from adjoining flesh.
4) Specifically the layer of fat that separates (again "porod") sections of the inner organs. (Ramban) Perhaps the Ramban refers to the diaphragm.

1,9 "V'hiktir haKohein es HAKOL hamizbeicho" - The Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh asks from the gemara Chulin 90a that says that we include the horns and the hooves in the requirement of the "complete" burning of the "korban oloh." This is derived from the word "HAKOL" in our verse. If so, how was Avrohom allowed to save the horns of the ram which he sacrificed as a "korban oloh" (Breishis 22:13) for shofros, as mentioned in Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer chapter 31? He answers that the gemara Z'vochim 86a says that once the sacrifice has been placed onto the altar and the fire's intense heat causes pieces, called "pokin," to fly off the altar, the pieces need not be returned to the altar and may be used for mundane purposes. This might have happened to those horns. Alternatively, he offers that the gemara there says in the name of Rabbi Z'eiro that the horns and hooves are only placed onto the altar to be consumed if they are connected to the body of the sacrifice. If they were disconnected before being placed onto the altar, they are not to be burned on the altar. The horns of the ram might have been disconnected from the body. This second answer seems very far-fetched. However, upon taking notice of a seemingly superfluous word in the story of the A'keidoh, Breishis 22:13, "ne'echaz basvach b'KARNOV, - the ram's HORNS were entangled in shrubbery," an explanation might emerge. Why mention which part of its body was entangled? Perhaps this alludes to the answer of the Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh, that the ram's horns became detached before being placed onto the altar. This is plausible since its horns were entangled and it could very well have struggled mightily to free itself, loosening or detaching its horns in the process. Finally, he offers that Avrohom did not have to comply with the future edicts of the Torah, as it had not yet been given. The decision to comply or not to depended upon weighing benefits that could arise from not complying, in this case having shofros available for the heralding of Moshiach. This concept has been discussed at length in a previous issue regarding Yaakov's marrying two sisters.

2,9 "Haminchoh ...... ishei rei'ach nichoach laShem" - The gemara M'nochos 110a says that the term "ishei rei'ach nichoach laShem" is found by an animal sacrifice (1:9), a bird sacrifice (1:17), and a flour offering (our verse). This teaches us that whether the offering is a costly one or a meager one it is always pleasant to Hashem as long as the provider of the offering has heavenly intentions in mind. The Holy Admor of Kotzk says that the stress of this statement is to tell the one who gives a costly sacrifice to have in mind a heavenly objective. A wealthy person who offers an expensive, visually impressive sacrifice is often intent on self-aggrandizement and glorification. It is much easier for a poor person who brings either birds or a meal offering to have proper spiritual intention as he is humble in spirit. "Echod hamarbeh v'echod hamamit u'vilvad she'y'cha'vein odom (hamarbeh) es daaso lashomayim." (Ohel Torah and R. Shmuel Yaakov of Paris in Mimaynos Ha'netzach)

Ch. 5, v. 8: "Umolak es rosho mimul orpo" - We have two startling "chidushim" regarding the bird offerings. One is that it is slaughtered with the nail of the Kohein. When slaughtering a non-sacrificial bird or an animal, whether sacrificial or mundane (chulin), this would render it non-kosher, and by a sacrificial bird only with the use of a nail is it fit. If a blade is used the sacrificial bird is rendered unfit. The second matter is that ritually correct slaughtering, whether for mundane (chulin) meat or for a sacrifice, always requires slaughtering from the front of the neck and not the nape. Here by the bird offering, only entry from the nape is proper. The Chinuch in mitzvoh #128 says that the Torah requires these two severe departures from the norm to accommodate the man who is so poor that he is financially forced to bring an avian sacrifice. By requiring the use of the Kohein's nail rather than a ritual slaughtering knife, a "chalif," time is saved by not having to fetch the knife and making sure it is properly sharpened. Secondly time is saved by slaughtering the bird from the nape side, which is the side naturally facing the Kohein. Slaughtering from the front side requires turning the bird's neck and firmly holding the neck in that position. The Torah wanted to speed the process for the poor man, concerned even with saving him seconds, as he is pressed financially to pursue any manner of income available. What a powerful lesson to not waste the time of a poor person!

5,26 "L'ashmoh voh" - The Baal Mo'ore Voshemesh in his writings on parshas "Hachodesh" mentions that it was the custom of the congregation of the Holy Admor Rabbi Mendel of Riminov to say in unison the words "Lo'Keil Asher Shovas Mikol Hamaasim Ba'yom Hashvii" immediately after the reading of "l'ashmoh voh," the last words of our parsha. We do not want to end a reading with a negative statement, so these words from the Shabbos morning prayers were said, as their first letters form the acronym "l'ashmoh voh." There obviously must be more to this than a connection by acronym only. One who steals and does not realize that Hashem gives each person his allotted income denies the mastery of Hashem over the world, as the Creator and Apportioner to humanity. Indeed, the gemara Shabbos 10a says that one who judges properly becomes a partner with Hashem in the creation, as he brings back property to its rightful owner, as per Hashem's plan. Shabbos is our most tangible testimonial mitzvoh to Hashem's creation of the world. When one returns the money or property that he has previously falsely denied, he makes amends and reinstates himself as a person who believes that Hashem has created the world and still controls it. "V'nislach lo ...... l'ashmoh voh" indicates that he believes in "Lo'Keil Asher Shovas Mikol Hamaasim Ba'yom Hashvii." (Pardes Yoseif, Otzar Chaim, Shaa'rei Aharon)

Perhaps a totally different approach could explain why our sages culminated this parsha with a verse that is seemingly negative. The Yerushalmi Kidushin 1:1 and the Sifro (Toras Kohanim) in its final words on our parsha both derive from the words "l'ashmoh voh" that one need not return an object which was taken from another and is likewise not held responsible for causing a loss if it is less than a most minimal coin called a "prutoh." If one would be held accountable for even less than a "prutoh" loss to his fellow man, it would seem that no one would be free of this sin. Anytime one causes another a most minor delay or inconvenience when he should not have done so, has caused a loss of the value of less than a "prutoh." How great is our joy when we derive from these words that one is not held responsible for causing a loss of less than a "prutoh."

Answer to last week's question: The gemara Brochos 55a relates that B'tzal'eil told Moshe that if he were to create the vessels before the Mishkon, there would be no place for placing the vessels. Moshe agreed and told him to create the building components first. Even if the vessels were crafted after the creation of the Mishkon components, since the vessels were completed by the 25th of Kisleiv and the Mishkon was not assembled until the next Rosh Chodesh Nison, there still wasn't an erected Mishkon into which the vessels could be placed. What was accomplished by making the vessels first? This question is raised in the Shaalos U's'shuvos Chasam Sofer O.Ch. #188 in the name of his Rebbi, Rabbi Noson haKohein Adler zt"l. He answers that there was no problem with storing the vessels even without the Mishkon erected. They may be put into any dwelling. This was so only until they were inaugurated into service by being anointed with the "shemen hamish'choh," the special fragranced oil. The anointing would be done chronologically in the order of the creation of each item. Whatever was created earlier must be anointed earlier. He brings no proof for this point, however. The problem would arise at the time of the Mishkon dedication if the vessels were created first. They would also have to be anointed first, and at that point it would not be allowed to place them into any dwelling, as they would now have their full sanctity. They may only be placed into the Mishkon. However, it would not yet have been anointed and would not be fully sanctified. If he would create the Mishkon first, it would be anointed first and then assembled as a fully functional Sanctuary, and then the vessels would be anointed and have the Mishkon ready and waiting for the vessels to immediately be placed inside it.


Back to this week's Parsha | Previous Issues

This article is provided as part of Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Permission is granted to redistribute electronically or on paper,
provided that this notice is included intact.

For information on subscriptions, archives, and
other Shema Yisrael Classes,
send mail to
Jerusalem, Israel