Vayikra
 

A Student Publication of the Torah Academy of Bergen County

Parshat Vayikra          5 Nissan 5764              March 27, 2004              Vol.13 No.27


In This Issue:

Rabbi Jonathan Krimsky
Avi Wollman
Halacha of the Week

Rabbi Chaim Jachter
 

This week's issue of Kol Torah has been sponsored by Marcy and Scott Zecher in honor of the Yartzheit of Marcy's father, Harry Orloff.



 

Sacrificing Satisfactorily
by Rabbi Jonathan Krimsky

Sefer Vayikra is referred to by the name Torat Kohanim because the Sefer consists mainly of korbanot and other rituals performed by the Kohanim.  There is a fundamental Machloket as to the reason Hashem commanded us to offer Korbanot.  Rambam (Morah Nevuchim 3:46) writes that since the Jews had lived amongst the nations of Mitzrayim and Kasdim, nations that were steeped in idolatry, the Jewish people became engrossed with the impurity of Avodah Zarah.  To sublimate this hideous desire, Hashem commands us to offer Korbanot to channel the Yetzer Hara to an acceptable form of worship.
Ramban is not very impressed with the approach of Rambam.  After all, he points out, Hevel offers a Korban to Hashem before the Egyptians and Kasdeans ever existed.  Even Noach, after he leaves the Tevah, offers a Korban to Hashem, and this too predates the Egyptians and Kasdeans.  Ramban suggests a different approach.  He feels that Korbanot are not merely preventative, but have inherent constructive meaning in and of themselves. A person, upon witnessing the blood of the animal being sprinkled and the body of the animal being burnt, should contemplate that it is his blood that deserves to get sprinkled and his body that deserves to get burnt.  Through this process, the one who offers the Korban is able to reconnect to Hakodosh Baruch Hu.
This seems to be a classic Machloket Rambam-Ramban, where the two opinions are mutually exclusive.  Yet, in his introduction to Sefer Vayikra, the Meshach Chachma suggests that both answers are correct and need not be mutually exclusive.  Korbanot were primarily instituted to distance us from Avoda Zarah.  This does not, however, apply to all Korbanot, just the ones that were offered outside of the Beit Hamikdash, i.e. Bamot.  Korbanot that were offered in the Beit Hamikdash were instituted to increase our relationship with Hakadosh Baruch Hu.
Until the Beit Hamikdash was constructed, the Jews generally had the option to offer Bamot.  If that is the case, why are Bamot prohibited today, if we have not had the fortune of offering a Korban in the Beit Hamikdash for the last 2000 years?  This question is particularly problematic according to Rav Chaim Cohen, found in Tosafot Megillah 10a, who holds that Kedushah Rishonah Lo Kidshah Liatid Lavoh, and therefore the status of Har Habayit should be the same as it was before the Beit Hamikdash was constructed.  The Meshach Chachma answers based on a Gemara in Yuma that Anshei Kneset Hagedolah nullified the Yetzer Hara of Avodah Zarah forever.  If so, there would be no purpose of offering Bamot today, for we have no temptations for Avodah Zarah that we need to offset; the only form of Korbanot that would be appropriate today would be those that are offered in the Beit Hamikdash, for they have inherent value.
Although we do not have the opportunity today to relate to God through Korbanot, the Gemara teaches us that Tefilah has its roots in the Korbanot.  The Gemara even considers each shul to have the status of a Mikdash Miat.  It therefore behooves us to take advantage of this opportunity of creating a relationship with Hashem.  This includes improving our Kavanah and our conduct as we beseech Hashem in our Batei Knasiyot.
May it be the will of Hashem that we should merit to fulfill the saying of Chazal that Binisan Nigalu Uvinisan Atidin Lihegael.  Once we experience the Geulah, we will be able to approach Hashem through Korbanot that should truly be an authentic form of Reiach Nechuach to Hashem.

Making the Physical Spiritual
by Avi Wollman

There is a Midrash on this week's Parsha that states that Rabbi Yehuda says that Hashem only reveals Himself to the nation of the world at night, as learned from the pesukim, "Hashem appeared to Avimelech in a dream at night..." and "Hashem came to Bilaam at night..." "On the other hand, there is a Pasuk regarding Avraham Avinu that shows how Hashem reveals Himself to Bnei Yisrael during the daytime, which is, "And he sat at the gate of the tent, in the heat of the day..." But what is the significance of the fact that Hashem appears to the nations of the world at night and Bnei Yisrael during the day?
The answer to this question, as Rabbi Frand notes, can be found in a theological difference between Bnei Yisrael and the Goyim. We, Jews, believe that the physical and the spiritual aspects of the world can be united together. Our view is that physical things can have Kedusha bestowed upon them. The Goyim, on the other hand, believe that these two ideas cannot be joined together. Their view is that there must be a separation between the physical and the spiritual. For example, Catholic priests are sworn to celibacy because it is there belief that in order to remain spiritual one must bar himself from the physical. Therefore, Hashem only appears to the Goyim at night when they are alone and separated from the rest of the world. Only then can they receive their spirituality. However, Hashem appears to Bnei Yisrael during the day, while they interact with the rest of the world. An important lesson to be taken from this is that we must stick to our ideals by always acting in a manner that represents a Kiddush Hashem and take our normal physical daily lives and make them Kadosh.

Halacha of the Week
The Rama (Orach Chaim 477:1) rules in accordance with the Ran that one should strive to complete the Hallel as well as the Afikoman before Chatzot.


Staff at time of publication:
Editors-in-Chief:  Ely Winkler, Willie Roth
Executive Editor: Jerry M. Karp
Publication Editor: Jesse Dunietz
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