subscribe.gif (2332 bytes)

by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

Back to This Week's Parsha | Previous Issues

For sponsorships and advertising opportunities, send e-mail to:SHOLOM613@AOL.COM


Ch. 1, v. 1: "Vayikra" - And He called - The connection between this verse and the final one of Shmos is that the Ari z"l writes that one should not read "Torah shebiksav" at night, while "Torah she'b'al peh" is permitted. The final words of the previous parsha, "hamishkoN yomoM v'aiSH ti'h'yeH" has final letters that spell the word "mishnoh," and by ending with the word "layloh," we have an allusion that "Torah she'b'al peh" may be read at night. Our verse says, "Vayikra el Moshe Va'y'da'beir Hashem." The first letters of the last three words of this phrase spell YOM, alluding that the written Torah that Hashem transmitted through Moshe only be read by day. (Orchos Chaim)

Ch. 1, v. 1: "Vayikra" - And He called - Rashi (Medrash Tanchuma) says that this word indicates a calling of love. Rashi also says that we should not think that Hashem called to Moshe not only when relating more of the Torah, but also for informing him of leaving paragraph spacing, blank spaces.

Symbolically there is a very important message here. Moshe, who embodies the Torah scholar par exellence, is called with a calling of love when he is to be taught more and more of the Torah. This is the written part of the Torah. The blank areas symbolize the situations when even the most diligent Torah scholar must break away from studying or teaching, i.e. to do a mitzvoh whose time is passing and there is no one else to tend to it, or to collect charity or the like for a needy cause. Since he is acting correctly by tearing himself away from Torah learning, we might think that Hashem's call to him to do this or that is a call of love on the same level as when he is able to learn. However, this is not the case. The blank spaces, the times one must attend to other matters, is not a calling of love. One would have been better off had he not been required to tend to another matter. (Dorash Moshe)

This is similar to the point raised by the Ta"z. He says that if a situation arises where one must save another's life, even if he is in the middle of Torah study, he MUST attempt to save the life. If he doesn't, he has transgressed a severe Torah prohibition, "Lo saamode al dam rei'acho." Nevertheless, had he merited, Hashem would not have sent this mitzvoh his way, and he would have been allowed to continue his Torah study undisturbed.

N.B. - This interpretation of "breaks," "hafsokos," is not in agreement with other commentators, such as Divrei Dovid, who explain that it means an actual parsha, just that it does not have the prelude "va'y'da'beir" or "va'yomer."

Ch. 1, v. 2: "Odom ki yakriv mi'kem korbon laShem" - A man from among you who will offer a sacrifice - There are four terms for man, "odom, ish, gever," and "enosh." The title "odom" connotes man on his highest level, his uniqueness. (This explains why only this name of all four has no plural form.) Since he is making an offering to come "close" (hence the word "korbon") to Hashem he is deserving of this exalted title. (Tzror Hamor)

Ch. 1, v. 3: "Im oloh korbono" - If an oloh offering is his sacrifice - The well-known explanation for "oloh" being discussed first is that the "oloh" is the most elevated offering, as its flesh is completely consumed on the altar. Rabbeinu Bachyei offers that M.R. 7:3 says that the "oloh" offering brings atonement for sins in the realm of thought. Since every sin begins with the thought process, the Torah likewise mentions the type of sacrifice that brings atonement for improper thoughts.

Ch. 1, v. 3: "Tomim yakri'venu .. yakriv oso lirtzono" - Complete he should offer it .. he should offer it to his satisfaction - M.R. 3:5 relates that someone once brought an ox as an offering to the Beis Hamikdosh. On the way the ox became very stubborn and refused to go any further. A poor man noticed the goings on and gave the ox an herb called "truksima" to eat. It ate it and this caused the ox to sneeze and cough. It expelled a needle that was in its throat. Had it lodged in the trachea it would not have come out with just coughing and sneezing. Had it remained inside, it surely would have imbedded itself in the ox's trachea, rendering it a "treifoh," unfit for not only as a sacrifice, but even for plain consumption. As soon as it expelled the needle it readily went to the Beis Hamikdosh. We see from this that animals are sensitive to the point that they are reluctant to be brought as an offering if they are unfit. This is the intention of these words of our verse. Bring a complete animal, not one with a blemish. "Yakriv oso lirtzono," to make sure that it has no blemish, see if you can bring it close to the Beis Hamikdosh with its approval. (Drush Shmuel)

Ch. 1, v. 16: "V'heisir es muroso b'notzosoh" - And he shall remove its crop with its intestines - Rashi (M.R. 3:4) explains why the bird's intestines are removed and not offered, while an animal's intestines are emptied of their waste, and the intestines are offered. Says Rabbi Tanchum ben Chaniloy, "This is because an animal eats food provided by its owner, food that is not gotten through theft. Birds, however, eat from fields that have owners. They thus are sustained through theft. Let this not be an offering."

This leaves us with an obvious question. All of the bird should be totally excluded from being an offering, since all of its body is sustained from theft. There are stages in the digestion of a bird. First the food is in the crop and stomach, basically intact. It then goes through stages of digestion, going through the liver, the arteries, and finally ending up in the organs. The Rambam hilchos g'zeiloh 1:1,2 says that if an item is stolen and is still intact, even if the owners have given up hope of recovering it, and the thief dies and passes on his possessions to his heirs, the stolen item is not included. We do not say they own it and only have to make monetary reparations. Since it is intact, it itself must be returned. If however, it has undergone a change, and we thus have both "yiush v'shinuy r'shus," giving up hope and then a change of domain from the deceased to his heirs, they may keep it, and only have to pay its value to the victim of theft. We derive this from the words "asher gozal" (Vayikra 5:23).

Applying these rules here, when the food "stolen" by the bird is intact, in its digestive system, it is still intact. Therefore these organs are not accepted. The rest of the body, although it receives its sustenance from the "stolen" food, it receives it in a totally changed form, and is therefore acceptable as a sacrifice. (Abarbanel)

I don't fully comprehend this. Why not empty the digestive system of its cache and offer it sans food?

Ch. 2, v. 11: "Chol s'ore v'chol dvash lo saktiru" - All sourdough and all nectar you shall not burn - The reason these two items are not accepted as an offering is that they have the nature to swell and ferment, causing expansion. This is symbolic of arrogance, where one makes himself great and large. This is shunned by the Torah. (Chinuch)



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha and Chasidic Insights

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