by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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IN HONOUR OF THE MARRIAGE OF OUR SON SHOLO-M TO MISS M.Y. MARGULIES 29 ADOR
SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS VAYIKRA 5769 BS"D
Ch. 1, v. 8: "Al ho'eitzim asher al ho'aish" - Upon the wood that is upon the fire - Toras Kohanim derives from these words that the wood used should be of the type that readily will ignite and burn. This excludes older growth, which develops knots in the wood. This section takes longer to burn as it retains its natural moister for longer, and as well emits more smoke than knotless wood. This also excludes young olive tree or grape vine wood, because they have knots even when young.
Medrash Lekach Tov and maseches Tomid chapter 2 explain that olive tree and grape vine wood are excluded because their produce, oil and wine, are used for libations upon the altar. This is a case of the child, i.e. the produce, protecting the parent. Similarly, a child whose deeds are proper can protect his parent from the punishment of Gehinom, as we find, that Avrohom protected his father Terach from punishment in the afterlife.
Ch. 1, v. 10: "Rei'ach nicho'ach laShem" - For a pleasing fragrance to Hashem - The gemara Zvochim 46 explains that "rei'ach" is the requirement to place the body of the sacrifice upon the altar in a condition that it will emit a strong pleasing smell. Simply put, this means that it should be placed while it is raw. The ensuing smell will be somewhat like a barbequed meat smell, which is very pleasing (unless you are pregnant). This prohibits one to first broil the meat before he places it upon the altar.
"Nicho'ach" means that the meat should be offered with a specific intention. This is not that one gives Hashem great "nachas" with his actions, that Hashem enjoys the actual offering, akin to sinking one's teeth into a succulent steak. Rather, the intention is that Hashem should have great satisfaction with a ben Yisroel's having fulfilled His wish of bringing the sacrifice (gemara Zvochim 46).
Ch. 1, v. 11: "Domo" - Its blood - Here by the sheep offering the word "dom" has the possessive suffix HIS. By the bovine offering we find only "hadom," the blood, without a possessive suffix. The Baal Haturim explains that the colour of an ox's blood differs greatly from that of a person, so there is no possessive. The blood of a sheep or goat is similar to that of a human. The verse therefore adds the possessive suffix HIS, to allude to the person's responsibility to look at the sacrificing exercise as if he was the actual offering, the blood being his (Ramban), something more readily done when its appearance is similar to a human's blood.
Ch. 2, v. 2: "M'lo kumtzo" - His fistful - The Rada"k in sefer Hashoroshim entry K-M-TZ sources this word from the concept of bringing together, seemingly interchanging the Mem and a Beis. Rabbeinu Bachyei says that it means a hole. When a person clenches his fist he creates a sort of hole along the inside length of the clenched fingers. The gemara M'nochos questions whether flour that is found between the fingers is sanctified or not, as it does come up when the fist is closed, but is not within the area of the clenched grip. The gemara does not clarify this and says that Kohanim who were stout did this service, as their chubby fingers would bring up no flour beyond that which was found within the grip.
Ch. 2, v. 6: "Posos osoh pitim" - Fold it into sections of bread - There are a number of words that connote bread, "lechem, matzoh, kikar, chaloh, pas, pirur, and pras." "Lechem, kikar lechem, and matzoh" all connote a complete bread. "Pras" or "prusoh" indicate a piece of bread that is broken off a complete loaf. "Pas" likewise connotes an incomplete bread, but not specifically a piece separated from a complete bread. This term can also be used when a bread is folded and its sections are still attached. Each section that is folded is called "pas." "Pirurim" are small pieces of bread that are smaller that the volume of a "kazayis." A "pas" connotes a section of bread that contains at least a "kazayis." (Malbim)
Ch. 2, v. 7: "Marcheshes" - Deep pan fried - The Ibn Ezra explains that since this bread is deep fried it emits sounds when being fried, similar to when one speaks very quietly and all that is noted is his lips vibrating. The Bnei Yisos'chor sources the name of the month "Mar Chesvon" from this word, explaining that one prays very lengthy prayers throughout the previous month of Tishrei, and although "Mar Cheshvon" is bereft of holidays, one's lips still vibrate from the prayers on the numerous holidays in Tishrei.
Ch. 2, v. 8: "V'heiveiso es haminchoh asher yei'o'seh" - And you shall bring the meal offering that will be made - Targum Onkelos translates "yei'o'seh" as "tisa'beid," that SHE will be made. This seems to follow the gender of "minchoh," which is female. Yet, the verse expresses itself in the male form. Mesorres haTargum cites three places where "yei'o'seh" is translated in the female form, Shmos 31:15, "Sheishes yomim yei'o'seh m'lochoh," here, and Vayikra 11:32, "Kol kli asher yei'o'seh m'lochoh vohem." This is most unusual. It seems that the Ibn Ezra on Shmos 31:15 alleviates this problem. He offers that the verse is shortened and there is an understood word "kol" before "m'lochoh." This seems to do precious little to explain the apparently improper gender form. As well, what is he after with adding the word "kol?" If we translate "kol" not in tandem with "m'lochoh" as "any form of work," but rather as a free standing word, "anything," an answer emerges. The verse in Shmos is saying that anything thing that constitutes "m'lochoh" should not be done, and in Vayikra 11:32 that a vessel through which anything that constitutes work, utility, can be done, is subject to defilement. This does little to help us in our verse.
Ch. 2, v. 11: "Ki chol s'ore v'chol dvash lo saktiru mimenu isheh laShem" - Because any leavening and any honey you shall not it as a fire offering to Hashem - The Rambam in Moreh N'vuchim 3:46 writes that he found in writings that explain the service of idol worshippers that they always added sweeteners to their meal offerings, which were leavened, and as such had a bitter tinge to them. To distance ourselves from their manner of service the Torah prohibited "dvash."
Rabbeinu Bachyei explains this prohibition as being representative of our evil inclination, which is sometimes called "s'ore," and entices us with what is perceived as sweet.
Sefer Hachinuch says that leavening is representative of being lackadaisical, as leavening takes place when one leaves dough at rest for a while. The lesson of prohibiting leavening teaches that one serve Hashem with great alacrity. The prohibition of honey teaches that one not run after perceived sweet things. He goes on to apply this to food, saying that one should minimize his intake of sweet foods, and thus he will be healthier and be able to serve Hashem better.
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