Vol 17.02 - Vayikra 2 Spanish French Audio Video
(5737) The reason that the beginning of the section of Korbanot is with the voluntary offerings, according to Pshat and pnimiyut
The Rebbe says:
1. As a preparation to the upcoming inauguration of the Mishkan (the Tabernacle) which begins in next week’s Torah portion (Parshas Tzav) and continues through the portion after that (Parshas Shemini), this week’s Torah portion talks all about the various offerings.
2. The order in which the Torah decides to tell us about the offerings is first to discuss the offerings which were voluntary offerings, such as the Burnt Offering (Korban Olah), the Meal Offering (Korban Mincha), and the Peace Offering (Korban Shelamim), and then to tell us about the obligatory offerings, such as the Sin Offering (Korban Chatas), and the Guilt Offering (Korban Asham).
3. The Rebbe now questions this order of instructions:
Wouldn’t it make more sense for the Torah to teach us first about the offerings which are obligatory and only then tell us about the voluntary offerings? After all, if a Jew didn’t want to bring a voluntary offering he didn’t need to know the laws concerning them, however every Jew needed to bring an obligatory offering and therefore needed to know the laws concerning them!
4. The Rebbe now answers our question according to Nigleh (the revealed part of Torah):
Moreover, on the eighth and final day of inauguration the Shechinah did indeed come and rest in the Mishkan “as testimony for the Jewish people that Hashem overlooked the incident of the golden calf”.
We see from all of this that it would be very unlikely for the Jewish people to sin during this time.
On the other hand, considering how much the Jewish people were moved to donate to the Mishkan, to the point that Moshe Rabbeinu had to command them to stop donating because there was already a surplus of supplies, it is very likely that the Jewish people would want to bring voluntary offerings at the first possible opportunity when the Mishkan was “up and running”.
Bearing all of this in mind we can easily answer our question as to why the Torah would first tell us about the voluntary offerings before the obligatory offerings: The Torah first tells us about what is more pertinent and timely- voluntary donations, and then tells us about what might need to be brought later in time- sin offerings.
5. The Rebbe now answers our question from the viewpoint of the inner part of Torah by first asking another question:
Our Sages tell us that the main element of the Korbanos (sacrifices) was the intention and feeling of the person while his offering was brought. As Rashi says, “The Torah says, ‘It is a pleasing fragrance (to Hashem)’, regarding a Burnt Offering of fowl and regarding a Burnt Offering of livestock. This is to teach us that one who gives an expensive offering is the same as one who gives a modest offering, as long as his heart is directed toward Heaven”.
Furthermore, even sacrifices which are brought to atone for the person are only effective because of the thoughts and feelings that the person has while his offering is being sacrificed. As the Ramban (Nachmonides) says, “One who is bringing a sacrifice must have in mind that he sinned to his G-d with his body and soul and it would be fitting that his blood be spilled and his body burned if it weren’t for the kindness of his Creator who is taking the animal’s blood instead of his and burning the animal’s body instead of his; and this causes the sacrifice of the animal to atone for him”.
Interestingly, we also see from the Hebrew word for sacrifice- “Korban”- that the main idea is the sentiment of the person: The word, “Korban”, comes from the word, “Kiruv – Closeness”, to teach us that we must draw ourselves near to Hashem when we bring a Korban.
If all of this is indeed true, we must wonder why the Torah didn’t even mention this aspect of the Korbanos (sacrifices)?
This is where the Torah’s decision to place the voluntary offerings before the obligatory offerings comes in:
The Torah describes voluntary offerings as offerings from people “whose heart inspired them to generosity”.
Consequently, when the Torah first tells us about voluntary offerings before all the other offerings, the Torah is underscoring that the beginning and fundamental point of all offerings is the intention of the heart.
6. The Rebbe now takes this answer one step further and explains what the Torah is teaching us on an even deeper level:
In truth, the intention and feeling of the heart that one must have by all sacrifices is internally inherent in every single Jew. The only difference between voluntary sacrifices and obligatory sacrifices is that by voluntary sacrifices, since it’s being brought of the person’s own accord, his good intentions and sentiment is revealed and clearly seen, whereas by obligatory sacrifices, since he is being forced to bring it, it isn’t clearly seen.
This then explains why the Torah doesn’t explicitly command the Jewish people to have good intentions and feelings in their heart; it is because these feelings are already inherently a part of every single Jew.
A proof to this can be seen in the Talmud and the Rambam who say that if a person fails to bring the offering that he has promised, he must be coerced until he says, “I want to bring this offering”, even though the verse clearly says that it must be from the person’s own will. The reason for this, says the Rambam, is because really every Jew wants to be a part of the Jewish nation and fulfill all the Mitzvos (commandments) while abstaining from all the aveiros (sins), the only thing is, sometimes a person’s yetzer horah (evil inclination) wins over him. Therefore, when you hit him and coerce him you are really weakening his yetzer horah, and when he says, “I want to bring this offering”, this is really him returning to his original desire.
7. The Rebbe now finishes off by taking this one step further:
Just like we said regarding the stipulation that the voluntary offerings must be voluntary, that really this desire is inherent in every Jew and that’s why you are allowed to coerce someone; and the good intentions that one must have are also inherent in every Jew and that’s why the Torah doesn’t explicitly command us to have good intentions; so too regarding the aspect of Korbanos that you must draw yourself close to Hashem (as we said earlier), we must say that this is also inherent in every single Jew. As the Alter Rebbe used to say, “A Jew does not want, and cannot, be ripped apart from G-dliness”.
Translated and adapted by Shalom Goldberg. Taken from Likutei Sichos volume seventeen, second Sicha. https://dev.crownheights.info/something-jewish/16924/the-weekly-sicha-of-the-rebbe-parshas-vayikra/
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