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Small Sacrifices: Understanding Parashas Korbanos

Troubled Times

Nowadays, due to pressured morning schedules, many Jews are lax about saying the Korbanos section, since it has a lower halachic priority than the prayers that follow it. Nonetheless, in times of crisis in the world, one should try to make a special effort to say Korbanos. This will impart protection from the conflicts that surround us, and act as a safeguard during these troubled times (Kaf Hachaim 1,36).

One of the most powerful parts of Korbanos is the verse, “You should slaughter the sacrifice on the tzaphona (northern side) of the altar before Hashem” (Leviticus 1,11). Hashem has promised that whenever someone recites this verse, Jew or non-Jew alike, He will remember Akeidas Yitzchak and bring them salvation (Vayikra Rabba 2,10 as cited by the Shulchan Aruch 1,8). What connection does this verse have to Akeidas Yitzchak, and why are these words so important?

Aside from meaning “north,” the Hebrew word “tzaphona” has two other connotations. “Tzaphon” implies “hidden,” while simultaneously meaning “to see.” Both these definitions are connected to Akeidas Yitzchak, whose reward is hidden from man and seen only by Hashem. The word “tzaphon” in the Korbanos recalls the akeidah and is a key that opens the gate to Divine Assistance (commentary of Matnas Kehuna and Maharzu on medrash).

This verse is also connected to the verse, “The evil starts from the tzaphon (north)” (Jeremiah 1,14). This refers to the land of Bavel (currently Iraq), which has been a source of strife for the world in both the past and in the present. Reading this Torah verse, which makes mention of the north, guards us from the evil that lurks in the north (Baal HaTurim, Vayikra 1,11).

Iraq continues to be a focal point of conflict that threatens our daily lives,
besides many other hostile forces which lurk in the world today.
Our Sages promised us that the recitation of Korbanos
will protect us from all such dangers

Text Copyright © 2008 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and



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