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Parshas Vayikra 5773
Candle Lighting Time: 6:50 pm
March 15, 2013
Volume 9 Issue 20
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Dvar Torah


By Rabbi Yosef Prupas



As we get closer to Pesach we focus on something that is common to this week's Parsha and Pesach. That common factor is chometz, which is forbidden both on Pesach and in the Temple during the bringing of sacrifices. Chometz is symbolic of the yetzer horah (evil inclination), representing out of control desires. Just as yeast left unchecked turns dough sour, so too a person who does not have control of himself will go to ruin. The rising of the dough via the yeast also represents ga'avah, (haughtiness),. In reality the yetzer horah and ga'avah are one and the same. It is a person's negation of G-d's existence which brings one to haughtiness. That is why chometz is not permitted to accompany a sacrifice, because what it represents is inappropriate while bringing a sacrifice to Hashem.  It is also why once a year we reflect upon the lesson of chometz during the Yom Tov of Pesach.


 The same concept is found in the requirements for the sacrifices brought in the Temple. The Maharal explains that the reason we offer Korbanos only from animals that are not predators, is because Hashem associates Himself with the oppressed. People who have achieved success often attribute it to their own efforts and abilities. On the other end of the spectrum are the downtrodden who realize that everything comes from Hashem.  And so again, here we see the connection between the sacrifices and the removal of haughtiness.


                        This concept is further seen in the need for salt to accompany the korban mincha. Rashi explains that when the lower waters were separated from the upper waters on day two of Creation, the lower waters were distraught.  The rule is "one should ascend in kedusha (holiness) and not descend." The waters were now being lowered into a finite world, a world of physicality. G-d therefore made a covenant with the water that in the Temple water would be used for libations, and its salt would accompany the korban mincha. As a result the water was elevated in kedusha. The Maharal points out that the water by lowering itself was instead elevated. This is applicable in all areas of life, for in order to grow spiritually one has to "diminish" oneself by understanding that any success is only G-d given. One has to realize that his abilities and talents were given to him by G-d so that he can achieve his predestined goals in life.


We live in an era of "I" phones and the like, whose whole marketing scheme is to grab you by focusing on ego and self. We are inundated by ideologies which cause one only to think about what is in it for him. During this period prior to Pesach, during Pesach itself, and withthe weekly Torah portions that teach us about sacrifices, we can think about the lesson of the chometz, the sacrifices, and water, and apply it to our lives.  May our learning of Torah and increased humility in turn merit the coming of Moshiach speedily in our day.





Dvar Halacha


The Laws of Krias Hatorah  part 3


By Rabbi Yochanan Eskenazi


When one is called to the Torah, he should go immediately and not delay (Mishneh Berurah 141:25).  The reason is because one should display kavod hatzibbur (being courteous to the congregation) and also kavod hatorah (honoring the Torah) by demonstrating how dear the Torah is to him (Mishneh Berurah 141:22).  Similarly, one should take the most direct way on his way to the bimah and the longer way back after his aliyah, to show that leaving the Torah is difficult for him (Aruch Hashulchan 141:9).


The oleh recites Barchu before reciting Birchas Hatorah (Shulchan Aruch 139:6).  The tzibbur responds Baruch Hashem Hami'voruch L'olam Va'ed, in order to show that they also want to be included in blessing Hashem (Shulchan Aruch 139:7).  Afterward, the oleh recites Birchas Hatorah; the brachah of Asher Bachar Banu before krias hatorah and Asher Nassan La'nu etc. afterward.


Before one recites the brachos, he should open the Torah and look at the place where his aliyah starts (Shulchan Aruch 139:4).  When reciting Barchu and the brachos before reading, he should keep the Sefer Torah open, because it is considered tircha d'tzibbura (inconveniencing the congregation) to close and then reopen the Torah (Mishneh Berurah 139:17).  As an aside, Rabbi Yissochar Frand, shlit"a, points out that we see how important the honor of the tzibbur is.  Even though opening and closing will only add merely a few seconds; Chazal were still careful that one should not inconvenience other people (Parshas Balak-5768)!


The Rama [139:4] suggests one to turn his head to the side [so as not to seem as if he is reciting the brachos written in the Torah].  However, the Mishneh Berurah [139:19] brings an opinion that it is not proper to physically turn one's head away, rather one should close his eyes.  One should recite Barchu and Birchas Hatorah in a loud and audible voice in order that the tzibbur can answer amen (Shulchan Aruch & Rama 139:6).  The Mishneh Berurah [139:24] explains that as long as 10 people heard him recite Barchu it is sufficient.


While one is reciting Birchas Hatorah one should hold onto the handles of the Sefer Torah (Shulchan Aruch 139:11).  The Mishneh Berurah [139:35] adds that one should also hold on to the Torah the entire time it is being read.


There is a minhag to slightly lift up the Sefer Torah while reciting the words V'nassan La'nu Es Toraso (and He gave us His Torah) and V'nassan La'nu Toras Emes (and He gave us the truthful Torah) to show that this is the Torah that Hashem gave us (Aruch Hashulchan 139:14).


The oleh should recite the leining quietly along with the baal koreh during his aliyah, in order that his brachah is not a brachah le'vatalah (Shulchan Aruch 141:2).  Both the oleh and the baal koreh should stand (Shulchan Aruch 141:1). Someone who has difficulty standing may lean on something a little bit (Shulchan Aruch 141:1 & Mishneh Berurah 141:4).  The oleh should wear a tallis (Mishneh Berurah 14:11 & Aruch Hashulchan 91:2).



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