Self-Sacrifice by Yosef Levine


      This week's Parsha begins with a discussion about Korbanos, or sacrifices.  The Posuk says,"אדם כי יקריב מכם קרבן לה',"which literally means, "If any man brings of you an offering to the Lord"(ויקרא א':ב').  At first glance, one might think that the words are out of order here because the word "מכם", "of you", is generally understood to modify the word "אדם", "any man", making the Posuk read, "אדם מכם כי יקריב קרבן...","If any man of you brings an offering...".  But this explanation must be ruled out because the Torah did not likely misplace this word.  Rather, the word is placed where it is to teach a significant lesson.

            There is a well known Chassidic explanation for this misplaced word that applies to us today.  When Hashem asked Bnai Yisrael to build Him a sanctuary, He said, "ועשו לי מקדש ושכנתי בתוכם", "And they shall build me a sanctuary, and I will dwell within them."(שמות כ"ה:ח').  The word בתוכם, within them, in this case teaches that Hashem will dwell not only in the physical dwelling place that He will have in the Mishkan, but He will also dwell in the spiritual sanctuary which exists within each person.  Thus, He will dwell בתוכם, within them, meaning within the Jewish people.  Likewise in our Parsha, when the Torah refers to אדם כי יקריב מכם, a man who brings "of you" an offering, it teaches us that what is required is not only the physical act of bringing an offering in the Mishkan, but a spiritual act of bringing an offering from within the sanctuary that exists inside each of us, namely, our soul.  In  other words, one must be willing to sacrifice part of himself in order for a Korban to be accepted.

            The word Korban derives from the root קרב, meaning "drawing near".  Despite the fact that we cannot bring offerings today, there is still a way in which we can draw near to Hashem by making a spiritual sacrifice of ourselves to Him.  We should set aside more time, if possible, to learn Torah, Daven with more intent, and sacrifice some of our daily pleasures and replace them with Mitzvos.  With this, we will be offering ourselves to Hashem, fulfilling the words of our Posuk אדם כי יקריב מכם, thereby drawing closer to Him and bringing the days of Moshiach במהרה בימינו.

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