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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 1, v. 1: "Vayikra" - And He called - Moshe surely stayed at "ohel mo'eid" and there would be no need to call him, only to start communicating with him. "Vayikra" teaches us that although Moshe had communicated with Hashem "peh el peh" numerous times, he did not become informal with Hashem. His great modesty is being taught here. He waited for a clear invitation before entering "ohel mo'eid" to receive Hashem's communiqu?. (Medrah Hagodol)

Ch. 1, v. 1: "Va'yikra" - The diminutive letter Alef allows for this word to be read "va'yikor," - He happened. This is the term used when Hashem appeared to Bilom (Bmidbar 23:4). Moshe, in his great modesty, wrote this Alef small. Why didn't Moshe do this the first time we find the word "va'yikra" when Hashem spoke to Moshe, in Shmos 19:20?

The gemara N'dorim 38a says that Hashem only rests His Holy Spirit upon a person who is wise, strong, wealthy, and modest. Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin asks why the traits of strength and wealth are required. (The Rambam in his "shmoneh prokim" says that strong means that he masters over his inclination and wealthy means that he is happy with his lot.) He answers that if a person is not strong and wealthy his modesty can be suspect. Perhaps because he lacks these two traits he is timid, but does not truly have the characteristic of being humble. However, if one is both strong and wealthy, and still behaves modestly, we realize that his humbleness is genuine.

When Hashem spoke to Moshe in parshas Yisro it was before he had financial wealth. Although the bnei Yisroel left Egypt with untold wealth, Moshe busied himself with the remains of Yoseif. Only after Hashem said to him "p'sol l'cho" (Shmos 34:1), from which we derive that the "p'so'les," the etched out bits of the tablets, a very precious stone called "sanpirin," were given to Moshe, was he wealthy. Only after this would Moshe's modesty be clearly recognized. (Rabbi Shmuel Wolkin)

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: "Da'beir el bnei Yisroel v'omarto a'leihem" - Speak to the bnei Yisroel and say to them - "Da'beir" means to tell them the general mitzvoh. "V'omarto" means to then fill in the details and minutiae. (Rabbeinu Bachyei)

Ch. 1, v. 2: "Odom ki yakriv mikem korbon" - A person from among you who will bring an offering - A sacrifice is called "korbon," sourced from "bringing close. Through his sacrifice he elevates himself upwards and brings a positive influence from above downward. (Holy Shal"oh)

Ch. 1, v. 2: "Odom ki yakriv mikem korbon laShem min habheimoh min habokor" - A person from among you who will bring an offering to Hashem from the animals from the cattle - When a person is ready to bring himself closer to Hashem, "min habheimoh," he has to be ready to be like an animal, not feeling any embarrassment and he should be ready to do hard work, "min habokor," from the "morning, at an early age he should pursue this and not say that he will push it off until he is older and then repent for his early years. (Sha"ch al haTorah)

Ch. 2, v. 13: "Ba'melach" - The word "melach," salt, is mentioned in this verse three times. This alludes to the three places that salt was placed in the Mikdosh. The gemara M'nochos 21b says that salt was placed in the "lishkas ha'melach" for salting the hides of sacrifices, on the altar ramp for salting the organs of the sacrifice just before they would be placed into the altar fire, and at the top of the altar for salting the "kometz," the fistful of the meal offering that was separated for burning on the altar. (Binyan Shlomo of Vilna)

The Shulchan Oruch O.Ch. 166:5 says that because our table where we eat is equated to the altar, we should place salt upon it. The "Bo'eir Hei'teiv" says in the name of the Kabbalists that when one has made a blessing on bread he should dip it 3 times into salt. Perhaps the 3 times correspond to the 3 times "melach" is mentioned in our verse. (Avodas haGershuni)

Ch. 3, v. 2: "Pesach ohel mo'eid" - The opening of the tent of convocation - The gemara Eiruvin 54 says that the heart of the righteous of earlier generations are like the opening of the ante-room, "ulom," of the Beis Hamikdosh, while the hearts of the righteous of recent generations are like the opening of the "heichol," the "kodesh" room of the Beis Hamikdosh. Rashi explains that the opening of the ante-room is double that of the "heichol." Technically, it is four times as large, as the outer opening is 40x20 cubits and the inner opening is 20x10 cubits. Rashi obviously means "double" in each dimension.

This seems to indicate that the difference is quantitative, as the size differences are only quantitative.

The Holy Admor of Satmar zt"l explains the difference in a qualitative manner. The opening to the "ulom" had no doors; it was always open. The opening to the "heichol" had doors, and indeed, was closed at night. When these doors were in a closed position no slaughtering may be done. This symbolizes a change in sanctity, sometimes more, and sometimes less. The opening to the "ulom" was always open, symbolic of a continuous level of sanctity. This is the difference. The hearts of the earlier generation were always filled with sanctity. It made no difference if they were praying, doing a mitzvoh, or eating or walking somewhere. They were always at a high spiritual level, always strongly connected to Hashem with no fluctuation. The hearts of the recent generations, although on a high level when involved with prayer or a mitzvoh, when they were doing mundane things there was a dip in their connection to Hashem. (Olomos Shechorvu)

Ch. 3, v. 16: "Kol cheilev laShem" - All the fat is for Hashem - The Rambam in hilchos issurei mizbei'ach, based on these words, writes that a person should subordinate his negative inclination and offer the most robust of the species of animal he is to bring. This is also true of other matters. When building a house of prayer, be sure to enhance it beyond your own home. When feeding a needy person, give him the choicest and tastiest of foods that are on your table. When you sanctify an object it should be a most worthy item.



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha, Chasidic Insights and Chamisha Mi Yodei'a

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