Thursday, March 30, 2017

why no minachos of chameitz

It is very hard to make time to go through these parshiyos properly when there is so much to do for Pesach.  Kabbalists say there is some powerful tikun that can be accomplished if you sweat when baking matzah.  I don't understand such ideas, but I do understand that you can accomplish a lot of you sweat while cleaning for Pesach. 

The Netziv (2:11) has a nice explanation of why you can't bring a korban mincha that is chametz.  The Ohr haChaim at the beginning of Parshas Tazria quotes a Tanchuma that records a conversation between R' Akiva and Turnusrufus.  Turnusrufus was bothered by why we have a mitzvah of milah -- if G-d made us araleim, then why should we tamper with his creation?  R' Akiva responded by asking Turnusrufus whether he thought a stalk of wheat was better than a loaf of bread.  It's a rhetorical question -- of course we all prefer to eat the bread.  G-d gave us the world to perfect, to improve, to mold.  We are supposed to turn the wheat into bread.  In the process, we ourselves grow.  For our purpose, what's important is the example the Midrash uses of man's work making a difference -- the baking of bread.  A whole chunk of meleches Shabbos, the paradigm of what creative work is all about, is devoted to the steps of siddura d'pas, the labor involved in making bread.  In a similar vein, the Midrash and Yerushalmi (43a in the Vilna ed, see Ridbaz there) explain the machlokes R' Nachman and Chachamim whether the nusach ha'bracha is "ha'motzi lechem min ha'aretz" or "motzi..." is not just a technical grammatical issue, whether the word "motzi" is past tense or not (as the Bavli explains), but is l'shitasam as to whether the tree Adam haRishon ate from was a loaf of bread.  R' Nachman holds that in gan eden bread literally grew on trees -- man didn't need to work to produce it; therefore, you can saw "motzi," past tense, because at the time of creation G-d, not man, made the bread.  Chachamim hold that we need to use the future tense because, as the gemara in Kesubos tells us, it is only in the time of future geulah that this bracha of bread growing on trees will be realized.  In the here and now, however, in between gan eden and the future geulah, the only way we can get that bread is if we put our own effort = hishtadlus into making it.  The Netziv on our pasuk tells us that this requirement of histadlus is inversely proportional to the level of ruchniyus a person is on.  The closer a person is to holiness, the less hishtadlus is needed.  In gan eden and when geulah happens, when we are really close with G-d, there is no need at all for our baking bread.  So too, when you come to the Mikdash, writes the Netziv, that's not the place to bring your bread.  "Adam ki yakriv" -- when we bring korbanos, we reach back in history to imitate like Adam haRishon (see Chasam Sofer) in gan eden, when bread grew on trees, and when it didn't need to come from us.

Pesach is such a special time that for a week we put aside our baking bread, our hishtadlus, and we let G-d take care of everything. 


  1. And on Shovuos we davka bring a korbon of chometz, because hakol modim bo'Atzeres debainan nami lochem...

  2. Which would give new meaning to קרבן ראשית as a reference to ma'aseh breishis.

  3. < The closer a person is to holiness, the less hishtadlus is needed. > That fits with Rashbi's take on "veasafta deganecha."
    does he say that his offering was bread rather than a unicorn?

    1. Eilu v'Eilu.

  4. mixing 1) the point about little to no hishtadlus with 2) the introductory perspiration, we might get an angle on why there should be salt on every korban mincha--
    Kayin, firstborn man, whose mincha wasn't accepted, nonetheless was singularly meritorious for his original* impulse to give a gift to G-d; that his aspirational, defining initiative be rectified & elevated, Hashem orders we Jews to conveniently add melach onto our gifts of grain from the generous, properly cooperative land of Israel.
    why sodium?
    Kayin gave much of himself to scrape together his offering**, sweating, thru no sin of his own, over the resistant soil, sweating upon his slowly growing yield, sweating still UPON his finalizing, separated siddur of grain--- what component of sweat remains once its water content evaporates? salt.

    *according to the plain text (minus any midrash as to Adam's precedential korban)
    **see E-Man's remarks at Divrei Chaim, Oct. 15, 2009

  5. Interesting connection to Pesach. The Abarbanel says that the chametz and matza question means "why by a korban todah do we bring both, but by a korban pesach, which ought to be a korban todah for the geulah, we only bring matza, like a shelamim." If that's the question, then the answer is missing. So the Chasam Sofer says two answers, one that the ikar is not the geula but instead the opportunity to grow, so it's more like a shelamim or the milu'im, which were only matza. Another answer he gives is similar, that the korban focuses on the poschim bignai, the lichluch of Aram that needed to be cleansed, so, once again, it's more a miluim than a todah. BUT having said all that, you still need your pshat in why Chametz is not part of either the miluim or the pesach. I wonder, though, why it is present in the Todah.