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MARCH 24-25, 2000 18 ADAR II 5760

Pop Quiz: What was placed inside the hoshen?

ASHES ASHES - Rabbi Shmuel Choueka

"The Kohen shall wear his linen tunic...and he shall remove the ash" (Vayikra 6:3-4)

The Kohen who did the service of separating the ashes from the altar would first change his clothing, and then remove the ashes outside the camp. This second part of the service seems to be a menial task, and as such, he was not supposed to do it with his regular garments. Yet it seems that it was the same Kohen who would take out the ashes, just that he had different clothing for this less glamorous task.

The lesson we can learn is that in the eyes of Hashem, any service, however menial it seems to be, is important and is given over to the same Kohen who does the regular sacrifices. In a king's palace, we will have a cook, waiters, busboys, cleaning help, etc. - each with a higher or lower level job. In the service of Hashem, any time we serve him, we are doing HIS WILL. Therefore, the same Kohen will do all aspects since they are all ways to serve Hashem. We should remember this whenever we do misvot which may not seem so glamorous! Shabbat Shalom.

Rabbi Reuven Semah

"And he will carry the ashes to the outside of the camp to a pure place." (Vayikra 6:4)

Our perashah discusses the many details of the korbanot, the offerings placed on the Altar in the Temple. Part of the ritual is to remove the ashes that remain on the Altar. The Kohen takes the ashes outside the Israelite camp and places them in a pure, not contaminated place. Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch makes an interesting statement based on a hint made by the Torah. The Jewish family as we know it is of primary importance. Hashem blesses a couple with beautiful children. Each one of these children is a priceless gem. At times, it will occur that one child will be born who is not blessed with the same capabilities as the rest of the children. That child might be unable to join the mainstream of children his age in a regular school setting. Sometimes parents feel compelled to send this child to a secular institution devoid of a Jewish religious atmosphere. This is not the opinion of our Torah. Each child, whether he or she is physically or mentally disadvantaged, deserves a Jewish religious experience in school. These children are holy Jewish children and their religious needs have to be nurtured. If a religious institution is available, that child should be able to attend that institution. If an institution of a certain type does not exist, then the community must rise to this challenge and build one. The Jewish community is capable of doing almost anything as long as there is a desire to do it. The American society has proven that a disadvantaged child, given the proper education and encouragement, can blossom into a fully productive and happy individual. That individual deserves and needs a Torah environment. The Torah tells us that even ashes that came from the Altar must be put in a pure place; since it came from the Altar it is holy. How much more so do our children, born from our holy families, need to be placed in a pure and holy atmosphere. Shabbat Shalom.


"In the place where the burnt-offering is slaughtered shall the sin-offering be slaughtered" (Vayikra 6:18)

Why did the Torah prescribe that the two korbanot be slaughtered in the same place?

A sin offering is brought by a person who has violated the Torah, while a burnt-offering is brought as a contribution to the Bet Hamikdash. To protect the reputation of the people, the Torah commands that they both be slaughtered in the same place, so that if someone observes the animal being slaughtered, he will not suspect that the owner is a sinner, but rather a generous person bringing a contribution.

Since tefillah (prayer) takes the place of the sacrifices, the Gemara says that the Sages have prescribed that the prayer of the Amidah be recited quietly, so that a sinner who wants to confess to Hashem should not be overheard by his neighbor and suffer embarrassment. (Vedibarta Bam)


"And the Kohen shall put on his linen garment...and lift up the ashes which the fire has consumed...then he shall remove his clothes and put on other clothes and carry out the ashes" (Vayikra 6:3,5)

Prior to lighting the fire for the new day's offerings, the Kohen would perform the ritual of lifting up the ashes. This act does not belong to the preparation of the altar for this day's service, but rather this is a culmination of the previous day's service and may only be performed by a Kohen dressed in the complete priestly vestments. The ashes are then placed on the eastern side, next to the Altar, to serve as a remembrance of the devotion represented by the sacrifices of the previous day to Hashem. A new idea is learned from this ritual which serves as the introduction to the service of the new day. Today's service brings no new mission; it has only to carry out and fulfill with renewed vigor that which yesterday's mission also was to accomplish. The very last Jewish grandchild stands before Hashem with the very same mission in life that his first ancestors bore, and every day adds his contribution to the task given to all the generations of Klal Yisrael. The Jewish "today" must take its mission from the hand of its "yesterday."

The removal of the ashes out of the camp, from all the remains of the preceding day to prepare the altar for the service of the new day suggests another idea. If the lifting of the ashes introduces the service of a new day with the remembrance of the previous day, the removal would, on the other hand, express the thought that every new day mandates an attitude of freshness. Each new day calls us to go to our mission with full devotion and vitality, and nothing which has been performed prior to this, should diminish our energy as we begin to perform our duty. As important as is the recognition of "yesterday's" mission, equally important is the freshness of our attitude in approaching "today's" mission. (Peninim on the Torah)

Answer to Pop Quiz: The urim v'tumim, a parchment with the name of Hashem written on it.

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