In Parashat Emor, while dealing with the all of the holidays in the order of the year, the Torah commands that a Minchah Chadashah, a new meal offering, be offered on the fiftieth day since the day the Korban Omer is brought, the second day of Pesach (VaYikra 23:16). Of all the sacrifices brought throughout the course of the entire year, the Minchah Chadashah is the only one described as “new.” Why is this specific Korban referred to as “new?” Furthermore, the general rule is that the only Minchah offerings allowed to be sacrificed, whether for an individual or for the public, must be unleavened, but this Minchah, known as the Korban Shtei HaLechem, must be leavened. Why is this Korban different from all other Korbenot Minchah?
Perhaps the most logical answer to the first question is that the Korban is called “Chadashah” because it is essentially a new type of Korban Minchah since it consists of Chametz. This solution, however, creates more problems than it solves. If any Korban Minchah different from all others is called “Chadashah,” the Korban Omer should also be considered new, since it is offered with barley flour, the only Minchah that must be accompanied by such flour. Additionally, the Korban Omer is the first Korban brought with any of the grain crop from the new year’s harvest, and thus should be called a Minchah Chadashah as well according to this answer.
Rabbeinu Bachya (in his commentary to BeReishit 4:3) explains that this Korban is an atonement for Kayin’s killing of Hevel. He explains that the day that Kayin and Hevel decided to bring Korbanot, which concludes in a fight in which Kayin murders his younger brother, is the fiftieth day after the creation of the world, corresponding to the fiftieth day after the Korban Omer is brought. Usually, a Korban cannot be Chametz because Chametz represents the Yeitzer HaRa, but on Shavuot, we intentionally make the Korban Minchah Chametz because the fiftieth day is the Yoveil for the world when we are freed from the Yeitzer HaRa. Rabbeinu Bachya does not address the issue of the phraseology of “Minchah Chadashah” beyond commenting that it is different.
The Kli Yakar disagrees, arguing that the entire Korban must be thematically related to Shavuot, the day on which it is brought. Although according to the Torah, the only significance of Shavuot is the bringing of the Korban Shtei HaLechem, Chazal explain that the day centers on the giving of the Torah, which occurred on Shavuot in the first year in the desert. An example of a parallel between the Korban and the giving of the Torah is that the Shtei HaLechem consists of two loaves, symbolic of the two Luchot. Normally, Korbanot are not brought as Chametz because we fear the Yeitzer HaRa, which, as mentioned above, Chametz represents. With the Korban Shtei HaLechem, we do not have this concern because the Torah will protect us from the Yeitzer HaRa. We intentionally make this Korban Chametz to challenge the Yeitzer HaRa, to emphasize that if we are faithful to the Torah, Hashem will protect us. The Kli Yakar continues to explain that this Korban is called a Minchah Chadashah not because this Korban is unique in terms of being the first Korban brought with the wheat of the new crop (the Omer uses barley) or because it is Chametz but because it is representative of the Torah, which must be viewed as a newly acquired possession every day. (Similarly, the Torah uses the language of “Asher Anochi Metzavecha HaYom” in Keriat Shema because every day, one must reaccept the Torah.) Hopefully, we will continue to challenge the Yeitzer HaRa, learn Torah daily, and bring the Korban Shtei HaLechem in Yerushalayim, BeMeheirah VeYameinu.