Parshat ha Shavuah Verses – Vayikra

Having missed two full weeks due to an enormous amount of new work that poured on me because some people cannot resist trying to do anything they can to disrupt the life of the Jews, I am back discussing the holy texts.

This book, Leviticus –  וַיִּקְרָא is, possibly, the one that serves as the reason for the hate we experience all the time. It talks about holiness, a concept much misunderstood today. In a sense holiness for the Jews means separateness. And the one that is separate is always misunderstood, feared, sometimes despised, but never welcomed. “The Hebrew word for “holiness,” kedushah, conveys the twin ideas of separation from and dedication to something and hence holiness as a religious ideal refers to the attitude and state of mind in which certain activities and thoughts are rejected in order to come closer to God.”

vThis is a very hard book to comment, and I am not at all sure I am up to the task that I chose for myself.

And yet:

Look at the peoples around you

They are slaughtering their children to the gods

You are not to touch humans! A life is sacred

It is always extremely hard to talk, or even read about sacrifices. However, if we come to think what environment people lived in at that time, we may see that this was the most gentle way to have a ritual close to what the surrounding people had, and yet so different.

There are plenty of commentaries on sacrifices – קָרְבָן. One of the interesting is the interpretation of Ramban, where he says that a korban is an action showing complete trust in HaShem. It is meant to “inspire a sense of appreciation for and pride in the Creator. That is why a sacrifice is called korban; it expresses kereivah v’achdut – intimacy and unity” (Dorash Dovid, p.17)

Now, let us look at something I only now noticed:

ב  דַּבֵּר אֶל-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם, אָדָם כִּי-יַקְרִיב מִכֶּם קָרְבָּן, לַיהוָה–מִן-הַבְּהֵמָה, מִן-הַבָּקָר וּמִן-הַצֹּאן, תַּקְרִיבוּ, אֶת-קָרְבַּנְכֶם.

2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them: When any man of you bringeth an offering unto the LORD, ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd or of the flock.

ג  אִם-עֹלָה קָרְבָּנוֹ מִן-הַבָּקָר, זָכָר תָּמִים יַקְרִיבֶנּוּ; אֶל-פֶּתַח אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד, יַקְרִיב אֹתוֹ, לִרְצֹנוֹ, לִפְנֵי יְהוָה.

3 If his offering be a burnt-offering of the herd, he shall offer it a male without blemish; he shall bring it to the door of the tent of meeting, that he may be accepted before the LORD.

I not sure why, but there is a startling distinction here. Regular offering – a male animal. A peace offering – both male and female are accepted.

A Rabbi I know just a little bit, Efim Svirsky offers the following explanation:

Корбан Ола исправляет неправильные мысли
Неправильные мысли приходят из сферы Хохма.
Это мужской принцип и животное приносится мужского пола
Приношение за грех связано со сфирой Малхут, и способно исправлять самые низкие энергии.
Животное приносимое обычным человеком-женского пола.

Мирные жертвоприношения могут быть и того и другого пола
Это учит нас, что независимое положение человека ( мужская энергия),
или зависимое ( женская) не отражается на его возможности быть счастливым,если человек продуктивен в той роли которую он/а исполняет
Рав Нахман.
Хочу напомнить, что изучая жертвоприношения – это как бы мы их и приносим.

א  וְאִם-זֶבַח שְׁלָמִים, קָרְבָּנוֹ–אִם מִן-הַבָּקָר, הוּא מַקְרִיב, אִם-זָכָר אִם-נְקֵבָה, תָּמִים יַקְרִיבֶנּוּ לִפְנֵי יְהוָה.

1 And if his offering be a sacrifice of peace-offerings: if he offer of the herd, whether male or female, he shall offer it without blemish before the LORD.

ו  וְאִם-מִן-הַצֹּאן קָרְבָּנוֹ לְזֶבַח שְׁלָמִים, לַיהוָה–זָכָר אוֹ נְקֵבָה, תָּמִים יַקְרִיבֶנּוּ.

6 And if his offering for a sacrifice of peace-offerings unto the LORD be of the flock, male or female, he shall offer it without blemish.

Not sure I am gleaning this from the written text as it clearly states – male or female, but I am no Rabbi.

The notion of a living breathing thing paying for my sin is a hard one to swallow for me as for pretty much any “modern” human being:

Do you see the blood flowing freely off mizbeach?

See how the innocent dies for your sins!

How can you ask to be forgiven?

vaikraSometimes I think that we all would be much more careful in our words and deeds had we known that an innocent creature is to die if we sin. Or, is it a part of my soul that dies within me if I say a nasty word, or get angry? Is it not why we all look back at our lives at some point and wish we didn’t make that step or said that word?

May we all look at our lives carefully, trying not to step too far from the Divine commands however we see them be.


Here’s a much better explanation on the parshah:



2 Comments Add yours

  1. Fascinating interpretation of the difference between Korbonos – thank you for a very insightful Dvar Torah!


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