The "Acceptance" of Sacrifice by Rafi Gasner


            פרק א פסוק ד says וסמך ידו על ראש העולה ונרצה לו לכפר עליו, "he shall lay his hand upon the head of the burnt offering and it will be accepted for him."

            We know full well how strongly opposed the תורה is to the use of magic or types of superstition but does the Passuk imply that the עולה possesses special powers of influencing the will of הקדש ברוך הוא?

            To clarify this פסוק we must analyze the meanings of ונרצה לו.  This phrase has a number of meanings as we shall demonstrate.

            The first meaning is the sinner shall return to Hashem. An example would be found in שמואל א' פרק כט פסוק ד. The second meaning is that the sin will be paid off by the man making atonement for him.  This meaning  is used in ישעיה פרק מ פסוק ב.  And thirdly, we can combine the first and second meaning that the sin is forgotten and Hashem is no longer angry.

            However, our question still remains.  Rav Yaakov Zvi Mecklenburg suggests an answer to our question.  Rav Yaakov says that the פסוק refers to the desire aroused by the sinner to do something to try and make amends with Hashem.  The offering does not חס ושלום have any magic powers on Hashem, rather it's a symbol of man's desire to purify himself and get closer to הקדש ברוך הוא.          

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