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Parshas Vayikra 5775
Candle Lighting Time: 6:54 pm
March 20, 2015
Volume 11 Issue 18
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Dvar Torah


Self Sacrifice 
By Rabbi Yochanan Eskenazi 

 A large portion of Sefer Vayikra discusses bringing different types of korbanos.  The Torah mentions many times that a korban is a "rayach nechoach la'Hashem" (literally, a pleasant aroma to Hashem).  Obviously, Hashem is not enjoying the pleasant smell of the roasting meats.  What is the meaning of this phrase, and what is the underlying reason why we are commanded to bring korbanos? 


Ramban explains the reason behind a korban is that we are really "sacrificing ourselves."  There are numerous ways a person can sin against Hashem: via thought, speech and action.  Therefore, when one sins, he is required to bring a korban.  He leans his hands on the animal, corresponding to a sin he did with his actions.  He must verbally confess, which corresponds to a sin he did with his speech.  Additionally, the innards and kidneys are burned on the mizbayach, which corresponds to a sin done with one's mind, since the kidneys and organs are the origin of thought and desire [See Gemara Brachos 61a-b].  Furthermore, the legs of the animal are burned on the mizbayach, corresponding to a person's hands and feet.  The blood is sprinkled on the mizbayach corresponding to one's soul [See Vayikra 17:14, "hadam hu hanefesh (one's blood is one's soul)].  A person bringing a korban is supposed to be thinking about all these things; that he sinned against Hashem, and it would have been appropriate that his own blood be spilled and his own body and limbs burned.  However, Hashem, in His Ultimate Mercy, allowed this animal to be taken as a substitute for the person.  This is also the reason why one needs to give parts of the korban as matnos kahuna (gift to the kohen), in order that he provide for the teachers of Torah [the kohanim- See Devarim 33:10] so that they pray on his behalf.  Ramban adds that this is the reason why there is a korban tamid (daily offering) on behalf of the entire Jewish nation, because the public as a whole cannot avoid sinning constantly. 


We see clearly, if one merely brought a korban yet did not have a feeling of teshuvah (repentance), he has missed the essence of the korban.  The most important part of bringing a korban is one's thoughts.  The Nesivos Shalom adds that this is why the Torah [Vayikra 1:2] states, "Adom kee yakriv meikem" (A person, should bring from you), as opposed to "adom mekem, kee yakriv" (A person from you, when you bring).  You should view the animal being brought as if it is you! 

The Gemara [Berachos 26b] teaches that since the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash our prayers are in place of the korbanos.  Chazal were very exacting when formulating the Shemoneh Esrei including the fact that it contains 18 brachos.  Why specifically 18?  The Medrash Tanchuma [Vayikra 1] answers, the number 18 corresponds to the 18 joints in a persons' spine.  When davening and bending ones' knees, a person is obligated to bow down to a point at which all the joints of the spine are opened.  Harav Shimon Schwab, zt"l explains it is clear from this Medrash that 18 represents the physical framework of the human being, and thus 18 is the ideal symbolism to express the essence of tefillah; when we daven we are offering our entire body and soul as a korban to Hashem. 


Additionally, after bowing down, the halachah demands the person to stand fully erect when saying Hashem's Name, to express the idea that Hashem is the zokef k'fufim (erects those who are bent over) (Shulchan Aruch 113:7).  This symbolizes that although we are prepared to offer ourselves as a korban, the ultimate will of Hashem is that we not die.  Hashem prefers that we remain alive, living according to His will.  By dedicating our lives and living according to His will, our lives in effect become a living korban to Hashem.  Rav Schwab adds, each time one davens he should also have this overpowering feeling that I am offering this prayer in place of myself. 


Ramban explains the root of the word "korban" is karav [to come close].  Essentially a korban is a vehicle to come closer to Hashem.  Utilizing this tool is not something that we need to wait for until the Bais Hamikdash is rebuilt.  The opportunity presents itself each time we daven!   

Dvar Halacha
The Halachos of The Pesach Seder 
part 2 


  By  Rabbi Yochanan Eskenaz i


 The Rambam [Hil' Chometz U'matzah 7:6-7] writes that each person is supposed to view himself as if he personally was a slave who has been freed from Mitzrayim.  Therefore, we are required to eat and drink while reclining to act like a free man (Shulchan Aruch 472:2).

The Ravyah's opinion is that nowadays since people generally do not lean while eating, one is not required to lean (Mishneh Berurah 472:12).  L'halachah we paskin one is required to lean, however, women are not required, for they can rely on the Ravyah's opinion (Rama 472:4).  It is important to note, if a woman would want to lean, she may, and it is considered praiseworthy (Kaf Hachaim 472:28).  A child who has reached the age of chinuch, should lean (Koveitz Halachos 21:12).

There are certain people who are not allowed to lean, since it is not considered proper to lean in front of specific people.  A student who is in his Rebbe's presence, even if this is not his primary teacher, should not lean (Shulchan Aruch 472:5), since he should have an awe of his Rebbe, comparable to awe of heaven (Mishneh Berurah 472:15).  The same halachah applies if one is in the presence of a great Talmud Chacham even if he is not his Rebbe.  If the Rebbe verbalizes that he is forgoing his own honor, than the student is required to lean (Shulchan Aruch 472:5).  A son is required to lean in front of his father, even if his father is his primary teacher (Shulchan Aruch 472:5), since one's father most probably will forgo his honor (Mishneh Berurah 472:14).  The same applies for a son in the presence of his mother (Dirshu MB quoting Harav Y.S. Eliyashuv, zt"l).  An avel (mourner) is required to lean (Mishneh Berurah 472:13).

To be considered leaning, one needs to lean both his head and body towards his left side, on a pillow or bed (Mishneh Berurah 472:7).  If one does not have any pillows he should lean on what he is sitting on [e.g. a chair or bench].  A person should not lean on his right side (Shulchan Aruch 472:3), either because it is not considered cheirus to lean on your stronger side or out of concern that the food will go down the trachea and not the esophagus (Mishneh Berurah 472:10).  A left-handed person must also lean on his left (Rama 472:3).  

One is required to lean while drinking the daled kosos (Shulchan Aruch 475:7) eating motzai matzah, korech (Shulchan Aruch 475:1) and the Afikomen (Shulchan Aruch 477:1).  There is a machlokes whether one needs to lean by karpas.  Most Poskim hold that one does not (Kaf Hachaim 473:114).  One is not required to lean while eating maror (Shulchan Aruch 475:1), since it is a remembrance of the slavery in Egypt (Mishneh Berurah 475:14).  If one wants to lean while eating maror, he may (Mishneh Berurah 475:14).

If one did not lean while drinking the second cup of daled kosos, he should drink another cup, without making the brachah.  If it happened on the third or fourth cup, one should not drink again (Rama 472:7).  Regarding the first cup [Kiddush], if one had in mind before drinking the first cup to drink wine in between the first and second cups, he should drink the cup again.  If not, he should not (Mishneh Berurah 472:21).  If one did not lean when eating matzah, he must eat one kzayis (Mishneh Berurah 472:22) of matzah again without a brachah (Shulchan Aruch & Rama 472:7).  It suffices to eat the smaller shiur for kzayis [the amount for mitzvos mederabban since he fulfilled his mitzvah me'deoraisa] (Koveitz Halachos 21:22).

If one did not lean by korech, he does not need to eat again (Koveitz Halachos 21:23 quoting Pri Chadash).  If one did not lean while eating the Afikomen, according to many Poskim, he does not need to eat again (Aruch Hashulchan 477:4).  The opinion of the Mishneh Berurah is unclear (see 472:22 & 477:4).

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