Jewish Korbanot by Yehuda Goldin


In this week’s Parsha, the second Pasuk says, אדם כי יקריב מכם קרבן לה,  “If any man of you shall offer a sacrifice to Hashem.”  The question that immediately arises is why the previous Pasuk mentioned “ בני ישראל butאדם  is mentioned here, and then finally, the Pasuk states  מכם, “ some of you.”  The Pesukim begin to say that all of בני can offer sacrifices, then expands this to allow all of mankind, including non-Jews, and finally limits this permission to “some of you.”

Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch provides an explanation for this use of language.  He explains that first בני is extended to, allow even non-Jews to offer up sacrifices in the בית המקדש, since every human being can offer up sacrifices, not just Jews.  Rashi too ((גמרא חולין ה explains אדם here to be in its general sense, including non-Jews.  This idea, of non-Jews being allowed to bring sacrifices in the בית המקדש, is illustrated in ישעיה,  והביאתם אל הר קדשי...כי ביתי בית תפילה יקרא לכל העמים, “I shall bring them (the nations of the world) to the Mount of my sanctuary (בית המקדש)  … for my house will be called a House of prayer for all of the nations.”

            However, it now makes sense as to why bothבני ישראל and אדם are mentioned, but the question still remains as to why the third phrase of  מכםis added.  Rabbi Hirsch goes on to explain that מכם limits a person who is called a מומר, literally, one “who has become changed,” who is not permitted to bring sacrifices in the בית המקדש.  This person who “has changed” has become in a sense “un-Jewish,” since he has followed in the path that contradicts Judaism.  For non-Jews, anyone is allowed to bring a sacrifice.  Yet, for the Jews, it is not sufficient to merely be an אדם but one must also follow the “pure conception of a human being.”  However, this does not mean to say that any Jew who is not perfect is not allowed to bring a sacrifice to Hashem.  It is referring to heretics, or people that abandon Judaism and follow another religion, contradictory to Judaism.

            However, a paradox emerges from this explanation, that a Jew turned גוי may not bring sacrifices, while a born גוי is permitted to bring sacrifices.  Rabbi Hirsch explains the reasoning behind this.  He says that the מזבח which was set up by Jewish hands to service Hashem would forfeit the purity of its meaning through the sacrifice of a Jewish-גוי.  This is because the Jewish ideology, which gives the מזבח its meaning, would be given over to the גוי idea, so to speak.  Yet, through a born ,גוי the מזבח does not forfeit anything over in its pure relation to Hashem.  On the contrary, it was set up for the purpose of gathering all the גוים to Hashem, as shown by that Pasuk in ישעיה.

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