Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Tzav

Offering To Alter The Course Of History

By Rabbi Pinchas Avruch

"Command Aaron and his sons saying, 'This is the law of the olah (1) offering.'" (Vayikra/ Leviticus 6:2) The Medrash explains exegetically that a component of the command is "saying", that the Children of Israel are instructed to occupy themselves with reading these verses that dictate the requirements of the offering. In addition to the consumption of the offering facilitating achievement of atonement and elevation, the study of this chapter - the words that spur the striving Jew to action - generates identical results.

The Chofetz Chaim (2) expounds that in our era, when (because of our errant ways) we do not have the Bais HaMikdash (Holy Temple in Jerusalem) in which to serve G-d with our offerings, we still possess the opportunity to study their laws and utilize that effort in their stead. Thus, it is incumbent upon us to study the relevant Torah selections to merit the Divine protection needed to insulate us from our enemies. Indeed, their power is greater still.

The Talmud (Megilla 16a) expounds that as Haman prepared to fulfill the royal decree to dress Mordechai in the King's garb and parade him about the capital (Esther 6), the Sages of Shushan were sitting before Mordechai, reviewing the laws of measuring the kemitza, the fistful of flour of the mincha offering. Upon Haman's inquiry into their topic, they explained that this offering was a vehicle for atonement in the Temple. Replied Haman: "Your fistful of flour has come and pushed aside my ten thousand silver talents (that I offered King Achashvairosh for the right to annihilate the Jews)."

At that most challenging time, mere moments before Esther would approach the King to reveal her identity and request the reversal of Haman's decree, how could the Rabbis be studying the mundane and still-dormant laws of the mincha flour measure? Rather, concludes the Chofetz Chaim, lacking the Temple, the study itself gains atonement, to such an extent that Haman was not only rendered harmless, but was forced to concede Mordechai's upper hand.

Our physical world, by its construct, challenges our ability to find and maintain our connection with G-d. The Kabbalists explain that the Hebrew for "world" - "olam" - derives from "he'elam", meaning "hidden"; our physical world hides the spiritual realities from our consciousness. Our life's challenge and charge is to cut through the fog of physicality to forge our spiritual connections, to appreciate that G-d's spiritual realm is reality and it is we who live in the imaginary. Little has changed since Mordechai and his fellow Sages had to see through G-d's concealment to appreciate that the sequence of chance events they were experiencing was actually the exquisite unfolding of the Divine plan. And we, like they, have the power - through our prayer, through our repentance and with our "offerings" - to redirect the course of history.

Have a Good Shabbos!

(1) literally: elevation; the olah is an offering that is completely consumed on the altar to atone for an unfulfilled positive command or unfulfilled sinful thoughts, or brought by one wishing to elevate his spiritual level
(2) Rabbi Yisrael Meir HaKohen Kagan of Radin; 1838-1933; author of basic works in Jewish law, philosophy and ethics and renowned for his saintly qualities


Text Copyright © 2005 by Rabbi Pinchas Avruch and Torah.org.

Kol HaKollel is a publication of The Milwaukee Kollel Center for Jewish Studies · 5007 West Keefe Avenue · Milwaukee, Wisconsin · 414-447-7999


 






ARTICLES ON NOACH:

View Complete List

The Choosing People
Rabbi Label Lam - 5761

Unity With Caution
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5766

The Seven Noachide Laws
Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene - 5769

> People In Stone Houses Shouldn
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5773

Too Perfect
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5759

Making Something of Nothing
Rabbi Shlomo Jarcaig - 5764

Looking for a Chavrusah?

The World is a Symphony
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5757

Certain Things Noach Did Not Have To Worry About
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5775

Now -A Hopeful Place
Rabbi Label Lam - 5771

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Missed Opportunities
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5772

Rabbi Frand on Parshas Noach
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5770

A Second Chance
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5759

ArtScroll

Language Barrier
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5760

Not Just Despite, but Because of!
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5759

Joint Efforts
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5772

Join the Voices in the Ark
Rabbi Label Lam - 5774



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information