Essentially Equal by Chaim Strassman


In this week’s Parsha, Parshat Vayikra, many Halachot regarding the Mishkan are presented to us.  These Halachot cover topics from the Korbanot to if a Kohen Gadol sins.  When the Kohen Gadol sins, the Torah states that he must bring a bull as a Korban to atone for his sin.  After the bull has been slaughtered, the Kohen Gadol is supposed to take the blood and bring it to the Ohel Moed.  The Torah then states that the “Kohen” dips his forefinger into the blood and sprinkles it 7 times towards the Parochet.  Didn’t the Torah just state that the Kohen Gadol does the Avodah for this Korban? Why does the Torah suddenly switch from “Kohen Gadol” to just “Kohen?”

Chazal answer simply that at this point in the atonement process, the normal Kohen is permitted to participate.  The Kohen Gadol only has to bring the blood, not sprinkle it.  Rav Zalman Sorotzkin suggests a different answer.  He says that when the blood is being sprinkled, which is the essential act of atonement, the Kohen Gadol should forgo his Kavod and forget his position of power.  He should be pleading with Hashem with all his might to forgive him.  The Kohen Gadol should at that point see himself as a simple Kohen standing before Hashem.

Rav Sorotzkin points out that we see a similar idea regarding Yom Kippur as well.  When the Torah commands that the Kohen Gadol enter the “Holy of Holies” on Yom Kippur, it does not actually say that the “Kohen Gadol” should enter; it says Aharon should enter.  The Torah is reminding the Kohen Gadol that he should not feel proud that he is allowed to enter the Kodesh Kodashim, the holiest part of the Beit HaMikdash   On such an important occasion as Yom Kippur, the Kohen Gadol is “just” Aharon.

We can learn a powerful lesson from Rav Sorotzkin’s explanation.  When we are doing something for Hashem, who we are is not important.  In the eyes of Hashem, no one person is more important than anyone else.


Soul Flour by Tzvi Zuckier

If He Wills It… by Jesse Dunietz