by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS VAYIKRA 5772 BS"D
Ch. 1, v. 2: "Odom ki yakriv mi'kem korbon laShem" - A person when he will offer from among you an offering to Hashem - The next verses go on to say that he should bring it to the door of "Ohel mo'eid" and that he should do "smichoh," placing his hands onto the head of the offering. The Holy Zohar (1:93) writes that bringing an offering "mi'kem" refers to circumcision, an offering from the person's body. Circumcision is done to a ben Yisroel only, not a non-Jew. Then he will be able to come to the door of "Ohel mo'eid" and do "smichoh." Although a non-Jew's "oloh" offering is accepted and processed, he is prohibited from coming to the door of "Ohel mo'eid" and likewise he does not do "smichoh." He cannot even appoint an agent to do "smichoh" for him, as there is a verse that excludes "shlichus," appointing an agent, for "smichoh." (Chasam Sofer)
Ch. 1, v. 3: "Im oloh korbono" - If his offering is an oloh - The Torah begins with an "oloh" rather than any other type of sacrifice because an "oloh" is brought to atone for a sin in the realm of thought. This type of sin is the most common and must be dealt with first. There are options for the offering, an ox, a sheep, and a bird. A wealthy man brings an ox, a medium level is a sheep, while a poor man brings a bird. This corresponds to the attitude towards sin. A wealthy person is haughty and feels that his wealth allows for him to do as he wishes, hence he should bring an expensive animal for atonement. This logic follows through for the mid-level and poor man as well. (Rabbeinu Bachyei)
Ch. 2, v. 5: "V'im minchoh al hamachavas" - And if a meal offering on the griddle - In our Shabbos zemiros we sing, "Hashomer Shabbos ha'bein im habas loKeil yeirotzeh k'minchoh al machavas." In previous issues we have dealt with the issue of why specifically a "minchoh al machavas."
Another incite is offered. The gemara M'nochos concludes that the "machavas" offering provides atonement even for sins in the realm of action, while the "marcheshes" offering only provides atonement for sins in the realm of thought. Since one who safeguards Shabbos is forgiven even if he sins by worshiping idols as they worshiped during Enosh's generation, an atonement for action, not only thought is provided. This is why the "shomer Shabbos" receives atonement like that provided through a "machavas" meal offering. (Taamo Dikra)
Ch. 4, v. 2: "Nefesh ki secheto" - When a soul will sin - Our verse attributes the sin to the soul and not to the body. We similarly find in Yechezkeil 18:4, "Ha'nefesh hachotaas hee somus." This is akin to two people who have transgressed against a king, one a commoner who has no connection to the king, and one who works in the king's "inner circle." When they were brought in front of the king for him to sentence them, he acquitted the outsider and sentenced the insider to a harsh punishments. When asked by others in the "inner circle" why he did not treat them both equally, the king responded that the outsider has no appreciation of who the king was and what great things he does for the country on an ongoing basis. However, the insider is quite cognizant of the king's greatness, so he deserves a harsh punishment.
Similarly, the coarse physical body is far from appreciating the greatness of Hashem's spirituality, while the soul is well aware of it. (Baalei Tosfos)
Ch. 4, v. 12: "V'soraf oso al eitzim bo'aish al shefech hadeshen yiso'reif" - And he shall burn it on wood at the location of the disposal of the ash shall it be burned - The verse is discussing the burning of some parts of the atonement offering of the Kohein Godol. The Torah requires that it be burned outside the Mikdosh campus, on the Mount of Olives. This is a public place, not like the Mikdosh campus. There is a lesson to be derived from this. The Torah wants the public to know of the Kohein Godol's bringing an atonement offering. The common man would then surely learn that if he has done something wrong, that he should seek atonement. (Baal Haturim)
Ch. 4, v. 23: "O hoda eilov chatoso asher choto boh" - Or if it became known to him his sin that he sinned in it - The word "boh" seems superfluous. Perhaps the message is that it is insufficient to regret the actual sin itself only. Rather he should take into consideration not only the sin itself, but the CAUSE of the sin, "boh," what brought him to sin. (n.l.)
Ch. 5, v. 12: "V'komatz haKohein mi'menoh" - And the kohein shall remove a fistful from it - Rabbi Meir Simchoh haKohein, the Meshech Chochmoh, was honoured with officiating at a wedding, "sidur kidushin." The groom was likewise a Kohein. after the ritual Rabbi Meir Simchoh blessed him with, "May it be Hashem's will that it will be fulfilled in you the words of the verse, "V'komatz haKohein mi'menoh." Those standing nearby who heard these cryptic words could not fathom what sort of blessing this was. He answered that the gemara Brochos 8a and Y'vomos 63b says that in the west (Eretz Yisroel) shortly after a person would marry they would ask him, "Motzo o motzei," - he found or he finds. Thgis refers to two verses. One says, "Motzo ishoh motzo tov" (Mishlei 18), while the other says, "Motzei ani mar mimo'ves es ho'ishoh" (Koheles 7). This was the intent of the blessing, that the broom, a Kohein, will hopefully be able to apply the "Kometz" vowel to his wife, and not the "Cholom" vowel.
Ch. 5, v. 21: "Nefesh ki secheto umo'aloh maal baShem" - A soul when it will sin and commit a transgression against Hashem - The gemara B.B. 88b says that theft from a person is greater than theft from the Sanctuary. By theft from a person the verse mentions "sin" before "maal" (our verse) and by theft from the Sanctuary "maal" is mentioned first, "Ki simol maal v'chotoh vishgogoh."
Theft from a private person is especially grave when the victim is a poor person. Rabbeinu Yonah in his Shaa'rei Teshuvoh 3:24 writes that theft from a poor man carries in its wake the penalty of death by Heaven, as the verse in Mishlei 22:22 says, "Al togzol dal kid al hu v'al t'da'kei oni b'sho'ar ki Hashem yoriv rivom v'kova es ko'veihem no'fesh." One is more likely to steal from a poor man because he does not have the resources to pursue redress.
"Oppressing a poor man in a gateway" refers to embarrassing him in public. Some people have little regard for a poor man because of his financially low status.
This theme is taken up by the Kav Ha'yoshor 2:84. He cites the gemara Brochos 6b, which asks how does one steal from a poor individual, given that he has nothing to steal. The gemara explains that this refers to a situation where the poor man greets a person on a higher financial rung and receives no response simply because the other person considers it below his dignity to even converse with such a poor person. This is considered theft. He laments that he finds this sin as a very common occurrence.
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