Parashat Vayikra!

Dear Friends;


I hope that you will enjoy the following Parsha summary followed by a Dvar Torah;


” Parsha in a Nutshell ”


Parashat Vayikra begins with Hashem calling Moshe into the Mishkan where he will be taught many mitzvot, to be ultimately passed on to the Jewish people. The first half of the parsha describes the various “optional” korbanot (sacrifices) brought by individuals. They consist of the following: the korban olah (elevation offering) which is completely consumed on the altar; the korban minchah (meal offering) which, because of its inexpensive contents, is usually brought by someone of modest means; and the korban shelamim (peace offering) partially burned on the altar, with the remainder divided between the owners and the Kohanim.

The second half of the portion discusses the “required” chatat (sin) and asham (guilt) offerings to be brought in atonement for unintentional transgressions.

The sin offering is brought to atone for transgressions committed negligently by the High Priest, the entire community, the king, or the ordinary Jew.

The “guilt offering” is brought by one who is in doubt as to whether he transgressed a divine prohibition, or who has committed a “betrayal against G-d” by swearing falsely to defraud a fellow man.


” Dvar Torah ”


In this week’s Parsha and in the most parts of the book of Vayikra, the Torah talks about the sacrifice ceremonies performed in the Mishkan which would be carried out in the Holy Temple later on in time. The Torah goes into great detail describing different kinds of sacrifices. There were optional sacrifices and there were required sacrifices.

At the beginning of the parsha, the Torah talks about the laws of the Korban “Olah”, a volunteered offering with a variety of options, depending on one’s financial status. The wealthier individual could bring cattle, a less wealthy person, sheep, an even poorer individual could bring a turtledove. For the most destitute individual who would like to offer something but has no money for even a turtledove, the Torah commands: “When a nefesh, a soul, offers a meal-offering (Korban Mincha) to Hashem, his offering shall be of fine flour; he shall pour oil upon it and place incense upon it”. But in connection to animal offering, the Torah says: “When a person (adam) from among you will bring an offering to Hashem from the animals…”

The Chachamim ask the following question. Why does a man who just brings some flour and oil (meal-offering) is referred to as a soul, while the one who brings an animal is just called a person?! For who is it that usually brings a meal-offering? The poor man! The Talmud says that Hashem is saying, as it were, ”I will regard it for him as though he brought his very soul as an offering”. It seems that the offering of the poor man is more dear to G-d than the offering of the rich person. But why?

Rabbi Chaim Goldberger from Atlanta gives the following explanation. Although, the offering that the poor man brought, could have been at little or at no cost to him, since he probably made the flour from the grain left behind in a field. But, it can be assumed that to one who is impoverished, the act of parting with fine flour which he might otherwise eat to silence his hunger is an even greater act of sacrifice than that of the rich man giving up an expensive animal. To the poor, the flour is more than a large chunk of his possessions; his life depends on it! The Torah is teaching us that it is not the size of the gift that determines the magnitude of the sacrifice; rather the importance lies in the giver’s intentions.

Out of all our daily prayers, the one that is the shortest is the Mincha, the afternoon service. It contains neither the long introductory and closing segments of the morning service (Shacharit), nor the Shema and the other paragraphs of the evening service (Arvit). It is basically just the Amidah (the silent prayer), yet the afternoon service is the only one which we call by the name “mincha”. Why is that? Because, as impoverished as this service appears, it is the only one that comes right in the middle of our workday; it is the only one that asks us to drop whatever we are busy doing and remind ourselves that we are merely subjects of our great Almighty master. Mincha is the only prayer service that asks us to disconnect ourselves from our mundane and worldly mindset and try to connect with our Creator. It may take just fifteen minutes, but it is a mincha — an prayer which is as dear to Hashem as your soul!!

Yes my friends, when it comes to donating to the house of G-d, it’s not the quantity that matters, but rather, it’s the quality! Hashem does not assess contributions and commitments based on monetary value. As long as you put in your best effort, that’s all that matters to G-d.  The Torah tells us that when you assess the gift of a poor man, or anyone who gives, don’t look at the quantity — look at the quality. Don’t look at the person — look at his soul!


Shabbat Shalom & Regards;