Friday, March 27, 2020

avodas ha'korbanos in the midbar and in the future

Abarbanel in his introduction to Vayikra writes that the focus of our sefer is the kohanim, those who are our leaders and Torah teachers.  We need to ensure this group is supported economically -- korbanos and terumos/maasros to eat -- and they in turn need to follow the many laws in our sefer that have to do with their maintaining a state of kedusha, e.g. not becoming tamei l'meis.  Chazal don't refer to the sefer a "Torah haKorbanos," but rather "Toras Kohanim."
Ramban in his introduction has a different view and places his focus on the korbanos, not the kohanim.  He writes that after the building of the Mishkan, which was the culmination of the story of galus and geulah=hashra'as haShechina of sefer Shmos, the Torah now devotes itself to the topic of preserving the gains that were made and ensuring that the Shechina remains with us.  "Yivarechicha Hashem v'yismirecha..." -- meforshim explain that when a person gives a gift, the recipient may squander it, but when Hashem gives us the gift of his bracha, he also gives us the gift of shemira, a way to preserve it so that it is not wasted.  G-d know we are bound to mess up, so he gives us the parshiyos of korbanos in advance as a way to fix the problem. 
Shem m'Shmuel asks: The nevi'im speak of korbanos that will be offered in the future, after mashiach comes and we have the bayis shlishi.  Chazal tell us that those will be days where there is no more zechus or chovah, where the world will be united in kabbalas ol of Hashem.  Why will we still need a tikkun for our mistakes when there will be no mistakes?
Let me give you an analogy: A person goes on a diet and loses 50 pounds.  He wants to keep the weight off, so he starts exercising for a half hour each day.  After while, the person comes to realize that the exercise that he is doing to keep his weight down is actually beneficial in its own right -- he feels more relaxed after working out, he has more energy, he feels younger, etc.
So too with the avodas ha'korbanos.  What was given to us as a means of correcting our mistakes will one day be appreciated as a means of ritzuy, valuable in its own right.  We said in musaf of Rosh Chodesh this past Thursday, "u'seir izim na'aseh b'ratzon."  We look forward to the day that we can offer the seir, the korban chatas, not to correct our deficiencies, but rather "l'rzaton," as a means of ritzuy, simply to find favor in Hashem's eyes.
Rashi comments on the first pasuk on our parsha that Hashem told Moshe to say “divrei kivushin” to Bnei Yisrael.  The first Mishna in the second perek of Taanis says that on fast days a chacham would say “divrei kevushim” to the people.  Rashi explains: kovshim es ha’levalos l’hachziram l’mutav.  The chacham would give them musar!  What is the mussar that Moshe gave Klal Yisrael here in our parsha?  Rashi explains that Moshe told Klal Yisrael that “b’shvilchem nidaber imi,”  that it is only because of them that Hashem speaks to him, not for my own sake. 
Where is the musar here?  Moshe is telling Klal Yisrael how chashuv they are, how worthy they are!?
Chasam Sofer answers: This is musar too.  This is the Slabodka mussar of gadlus ha’adam.  You are great, you are holy – so act like it.  Live up to who you are.
Maybe we can explain Rashi in light of the Ramban/Shem m'Shmuel above.  Sefas Emes (5661) explains thst the word “shvil” can mean a path.  “B’shevilchem nidaber imi” –- Moshe was telling Klal Yisrael that the toras ha'korbanos was not given to him on the level he is holding at, but rather on the shvil, on the path, on the level, that they, Klal Yisrael, were holding at.  Had Hashem been speaking to Moshe on his level, then avodas ha'korbanos would be the avodah of ritzyuy, purely l'reiach nichoach, to bring nachas ruach to Hashem, the level the nevi'im who speak about toras ha'korbanos in the time of geulah are describing.  But that's not where we were holding.  For us, we need to hear about the tikunim for chatas, for asham, etc.  We see toras ha'korbanos as a means to correct our mistakes. 
That's the little aleph in Vayikra.  There is toras ha'korbanos of gadlus, of the ymos ha'mashiach, but we are not yet zocheh to that.  Instead, we have the toras ha'korbanos of katnus, little aleph, on our level, what we can absorb for now. 


  1. -- "simply to find favor in Hashem's eyes"

    the act of vaporizing the korban not yet ayin mi'yesh, as man is still in it for the gain;

    "purely l'reiach nichoach, to bring nachas ruach to Hashem"

    finally, ayin mi'yesh...

    -- "katnus, little aleph": katnus = little, but why the letter aleph?

  2. -- "The nevi'im speak of korbanos that will be offered in the future...[when] we have the bayis shlishi..., where the world will be united in kabbalas ol of Hashem"

    when it will be the smoke of those korbanos which attains the heavens, rather than the top of migdal Bavel [a tikun set in motion by Shlomo when he called 70 thousand men to carry stones (= bricks) for the first Beis ha'Mikdash*, a thousand for each of the 70 sudden nations at Shinar; a tikun whose finish is described by Yeshayahu, at 56:7 & 8**]

    *Melachim I, 5:29

    **3 times the word 'scattered' in the Shinar valley account (11:4, 8, & 9), 3 times the word 'gathered' in pasuk 56:8

    -- "Had Hashem been speaking to Moshe on his level, then avodas ha'korbanos would be the avodah of ritzyuy*, purely l'reiach nichoach"

    but the first korban taught is voluntary (Rashi, 1:2a), not corrective [ie. is in lashon "Slabodka"]!

    ...on the other hand Rashi 1:2e teaches exclusion of an animal that's been worshiped, "the level...that...[only] Klal Yisrael were holding at" (eigel ha'zahav), not Moshe

    *rather than "ritzuy", the embedded message being that a "yu" [YU] education is "valuable in its own right"

  3. Not sure if you still these, but I heard from R' Aharon Soloveitcik that this is the pshat in "Hocheiach..." - Don't critizise your fellow man for what he is doing wrong. PROVE (other meaning of the word) to him how good he is and what level he should be on.