Parshas Vayikra:
 By: Yaacov Silverstein
e@mail: hm16@popeye.cc.biu.ac.il
HomePage: http://faculty.biu.ac.il/~hm16/

This Dvar Torah was prepared in the merit and memory of my grandfather: Rav Yitzchak Zev Ben Yisroel Mordechai HaKohen Solomon

Parshas Vayikra:


"Command Ahron and his sons saying: This is the law of the elevation offering (Olah)..."

Why command?


The term that the Torah uses here is "Tzav" (command), there are many different opinions on why this term was used and not the usual term "Say or Speak (Emor, Dabeir...).

The Sages explain that the term "Tzav" was used, in order to tell the Kohanim to be especially zealous in performing their service, and this must be repeated also to future generations.(Sifra)

Rav Shimon brings down that the language of "Tzav" is a language to bring out

zealousness for the present time and the future, for especially here it is needed, for here in this case there is a monetary loss.(Rashi)

For the word "Tzav" is a very strong expression, and is usually used when the speaker feels the listener may be lax in following the order.

Many ask why Davkah Ahron, who was such a great person, needed such warnings? Why was the Torah worried about Ahron worrying about loosing his money for a Korban?

Also, why is there need to repeat this to future generations, there are no "Korbanos" (Sacrifices/Offerings) in our days?

And finally, one may ask, what monetary loss is involved here, for the Pasuk is talking to the Cohanim, and not to Bnei Yisroel who are spending their money to purchase a Korban, so what monetary loss is there?

Laziness...even if it is slight:


The Sefer Gur Aryeh brings down that the Kohen must give up earning a livelihood, and instead perform the sacrificial service. This giving up of his livelihood is especially found by the Korban Olah, for all of the meat is burnt on the Altar.

Thus Ahron and the future generations are commanded not to be lazy in bringing the Korban, especially now since they have a sort of "Chisaron Kis (a loss of money).

We see here that even the Kohen Gadol, who is on such a high level, and was also rich, he still needed the warning here by the sacrifice, for only the Torah knows what is deep down in every persons heart and soul.

The Sefer Kol Dodi brings down that the whole reason we bring Korbanos is to help attain atonement for ones sins.

One is to feel by the Korban Olah, that it is being brought instead of him. So if the Cohen would eat part of the Korban, the one who brings it would feel good that at least the Cohen is enjoying part of his Korban, so he wont feel that his money is going to waist. Yet the reason behind bringing a Korban is to attain atonement, thus the offering is totally burnt, to make the bringer have a more complete feeling of Teshuva.

An animal was sacrificed completely, without having any enjoyment from its meat, because of ones sins.

Learning the laws is like bringing a Korban:


Rav Shlesinger asks in his Sefer "Alei Hadvarim", that the Midrash brings down on this Pasuk, that when the Torah tells us "This is the law of the Olah", everyone who learns the Torah that deals with the Korban Olah, he is looked at as if he brought the Korban himself.

Now that our Bais Hamikdash (Holy Temple) has been destroyed, we are to spend time learning about the Korban Olah, and it is as if one has brought the Korban.

Also, Rav Shlesinger brings out that the Kohanim were also the teachers of Torah to the Bnai Yisroel, they were to make sure that the Bnai Yisroel wont sin, and thus they wouldn't have the need to bring Korbanos.

He thus brings another reason for the Cohen's financial loss, for there would be much less Korbanos, if the Bnei Yisroel would be more careful in keeping the Mitzvot.

On this comes Rebbi Shimon and says that since all the livelihood of the Cohen is in the Korbanos, thus the Torah tells the Cohanim to be zealous in the teaching of Torah, even though they will end up loosing money, for there would be less Korbanos.

Rabbi A.J Twerski brings down that in spite of the greatness of the Kohen Gadol, still the Torah knows human nature.

For one may be completely devoted to Hashem, yet he may retain in himself a small amount of stinginess.

For miserliness or stringiness is a character flaw that no one is immune to.

From this we see the greatness of learning about the Korbanos, and even the reciting of Korbanos in the Davening.

Let us remember this the next time we say the Parshat HaKorbanos in Davening, and let us say it slower and with more Kavanah. For, there is great gain by reading this Parsha, for it helps in rooting the belief in ones heart and for forgiveness of ones sin.

Halacha Byte:


Halachot of the month of Nissan:

Part #1


Rosh Chodoshim:


First of all we count the Jewish year, starting from the month of Tishrei.

Yet, because of the greatness and significance of Nissan, we count months of the year, from the month of Nissan.

Learning about Pesach:


It is a Mitzvah to learn the laws of Pesach during the 30 day period before Pesach.



There are those who don't eat Matzoh from Rosh Chodesh Nissan, in order to be able to eat Matzoh on Pesach with an appetite.

Shabbos HaGadol:


The Shabbos before Pesach is called Shabbos HaGadol.

There are various reasons for calling this Shabbos by this name, where the main reason is because of the great miracles which occurred then.

When the Bnei Yisroel took sheep to sacrifice to Hashem, which the Egyptians worshipped, yet the Egyptians didn't harm the Bnei Yisroel.

The Minhag is for the Rav to give a Drasha (Shiur) on this Shabbos.

The main purpose of this Drasha is that the Rav should review the essential Halachos of Pesach with the congregation.

This is also one of the reasons why the Shabbos is called "Shabbos Ha Gadol", for the Rav of the city (who is a great person), gives a Shiur to all.

Pesach Flour:


There is a wide custom in most Jewish communities, to supply the needy with funds to purchase their necessities for Pesach.

This custom is better known as "Kimcha De Pescha", we especially worry about others having what to eat during the Pesach holiday, for it says, "Whoever wants to come and eat, is invited...".

It is not a Mitzvah of Tzedakah, for Tzedakah applies all year round, rather it is because Pesach is the holiday of freedom.

What we don't say:


During the month of Nissan, we don't say during Davening:

Tachanun, Yehi Ratzon(on Mon & Thur), Tzidkascha Tzedek (Mincha on Shabbos), and Av Harachamim (where most Poskim hold to say it after Pesach, since it is during the counting of the Omer).

Also, one usually does not fast or say eulogies during this month.



During the first 13 days of the month of Nissan, some communities have the Minhag to read after Davening in the morning, the Parshat Ha Nissiem.

The Parshas Ha Nissiem is found in the Torah in Parshas Naso, it deals with the offerings brought by the Nessiem(tribal princes), where each day one of the 12 Nessiem would bring his offering. On the 13th of Nissan we read from the beginning of Parshas Behaloscha till "Kayn Asah Et HaMenorah.



There are those who have the Minhag to read over parts of the Haggadah on Shabbos Hagadol.

Those that do read over the Haggadah read from, "Avodim Ha-Yinu...Le Chapeir Al Avonoseinu."

There are a few reasons for this Minhag, amongst them is, because this is when the actual redemption started.

Also, to prepare the children for the Seder, so they should know what to ask.

Finally, the month of Nissan is destined to be the month of our forthcoming redemption, as it says, "In Nissan we were redeemed, and in Nissan we are destined to be redeemed".

May we all be worthy and merit this soon in our days, and may our Tefilos turn into Korbanos brought in the Third Bais Ha Mikdash(Holy Temple).

The above Halachos were taken from the following Seforim:

1) Halachos of Pesach - By Rav Shimon D.Eider , it is an English Sefer that is sold by Feldheim publishers, and is an excellent work for Pesach.

2) Sefer Ha Todah - By Rav Eliyahu Ki Tov, also available in English.

3) Sefer Otzar Taamei Ha Minhagim - By Rav Shmuel Pinchas Gelberd.