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07.03.2014 10:28    Comments: 0    Categories: Weekly Parashah      Tags: torah  shabbat  parashah  yayikra  

Parashat Yayikra -1 Minute on the Parasha with Rabbi Cowen:

The Book of Vayikra (Leviticus), is also called Torat Kohanim. This is because the Laws of the Priests appear predominantly in this Book and details mostly the korbanot (offerings) that were brought in the Mishkan/Tabernacle. The first group of offerings is referred to as korban olah, a burnt offering. The animal is brought to the Mishkan's entrance. For cattle, the one bringing the offering sets his hands on the animal. Following this ritual, it is slaughtered and the kohen sprinkles its blood on the altar. The animal is skinned and cut into pieces. The pieces are arranged, washed and burned on the altar. A similar process is described involving burnt offerings of other animals and birds.
The Parasha goes on to describe the various meal offerings. Part of the meal offering is burned on the altar, and the remainder is eaten by the kohanim. Mixing leaven or honey into the offerings is prohibited. The peace offering, Korban Shelamim, part of which is burnt on the altar and part is eaten, can be either from cattle, sheep or goats. The Torah explicitly prohibits eating blood or chelev (certain fats in animals).
The offerings that atone for inadvertent sins committed by the Kohen Gadol, by the entire nation, by the leaders of tribes and by the average individual are detailed. Laws of the Korban Asham, guilt-offering, which atones for certain verbal transgressions and for transgressing laws of ritual purity, are listed. For those who cannot afford the normal guilt offering, a meal offering is listed. The offering to atone for misusing property sanctified for a holy purpose, laws of the "questionable guilt" offering, and offerings for dishonesty are detailed.


Points to Ponder this Week:
A. As we will begin to learn in the coming Sefer Vayikrah of all the great Avodah that was done in the Bais HaMikdash, we can and should become home-sick. However, there is a tremendous conciliation that the Targum (to Tehillim 84:8) provides us with.  The Pasuk there states “Yeilchu MeChayil El Chayil…--they should go from strength to strength.”  We typically understand this to mean that immediately after one prays, he should learn at least a little bit so that he goes from one strength--the strength of Davening--to the next strength of learning.  This is actually codified in Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 155:1, where Maran rules:  “After one leaves the Beit Hakenesset he should go to Beit HaMidrash and have a set time for study, which he should not give up even if he thinks he will be able to make a large profit.”  So, then, what does the Targum to this Pasuk add?  The Targum translates ‘MeChayil El Chayil’ as ‘one should go from the Bait HaMikdash to the Bait HaMidrash’--clearly and incredibly indicating that the Bait HaMidrash is the strength one should pursue after leaving the Bait HaMikdash.  We must understand and apply from this teaching how great our House of Study truly is--one elevates himself even after leaving the Bait HaMikdash by going into the Bait HaMidrash!  As we continue through the Parashiot of the Avodah in the Bait HaMikdash, and to the extent it is not rebuilt today or any time during Sefer Vayikrah, we should take note of the great importance of the Bait HaMidrash where we study in our times.  Indeed, Chazal (Berachot 8A) teach that “MeYom SheCharav Bait HaMikdash Ain Lo LeHakadosh Baruch Hu Elah Daled Amot Shel Halacha--from the time the Bait HaMikdash was destroyed Hashem’s treasure remains as the ‘Four Amot Shel Halacha’ that we study.  Over the next several weeks, we may be distracted with preparations and involvements--even for good things--but we should take the lesson of the Targum and remember the preeminent importance of the House of Study in our daily lives.  May we soon be zoche to follow the actual dictates of the Targum--to leave the Bait HaMikdash and go the Bait HaMidrash!


Pre-Purim Thought
The following is excerpted from the wonderful work “The Light of the Ben Ish Chai on  Megillat Esther”--the commentary of the Ben Ish Chai on the Megillah,  as translated by Rabbi Yerachmiel Bratt, Shlita:
“And Esther said, ‘Fast for me, neither eat nor drink, for three nights and three days’ (Esther 4:16).  Haman was a Gilgul of Esav and Mordechai a Gilgul of Yaakov.  Yaakov and Esav are always at extremes.  This is based on the Pasuk, ‘HaKol Kol Yaakov…--The voice is the voice of Yaakov and the hands are the hands of Esav.’ (Bereishit 27:22)  When the voice of Yaakov is strong (when Yaakov is immersed in Torah and Tefillah), Esav’s hands (strength) is diminished.  Esav is overcome when Yaakov asserts his Torah force.  In the time of Mordechai, the Jewish people re-accepted the Torah and thus re-established their connection to Hashem.  To awaken the Torah’s merits, K’lal Yisrael had to fast for three days.  The Torah affects a person completely and contains three primary components: thought, speech, and physical action.  These three activities embrace the gamut of human behavior.  Each day of fasting corresponded to one of the components, and thus to one aspect of Torah.  Esther specified that the fast should be for nights and days because she wanted to invoke all aspects of Torah--whereas the primary time to learn the written Torah is during the day, the primary time to learn Gemara is at night.  Additionally, three full days equals seventy two hours and this number is equivalent to the Gematria of Chessed.  Thus, the three-day fast was instituted to demonstrate our re-dedication to Torah study, and invoke Hashem’s Chessed upon us.
 
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