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Posted on March 21, 2024 (5784) By Shlomo Katz | Series: | Level:

Volume 38, No. 24
13 Adar II 5784
March 23, 2024

Sponsored by Menachem & Rivka Youlus in memory of Yehoshua Binyamin ben Aryeh Dov Youlus a”h

This week’s Parashah discusses Korbanot / sacrificial offerings. The anonymous sage known only as “a Levi from Barcelona” z”l (Spain; 13th century) writes: Man’s heart is drawn after his deeds. Therefore, when a person sins, he cannot obtain atonement through words alone, saying to himself, “I have sinned and I will not repeat my deed.” Rather, he must perform some action to effect complete atonement. Specifically, he must go through the trouble of bringing an animal to the Bet Hamikdash and following the procedures associated with whichever Korban he is bringing. Only this can impress upon him the evil of what he did, so that he will never repeat it.

The sage from Barcelona continues: To enhance the impression that the Korban makes, Hashem commands us to bring as offerings those things that a person’s heart desires: meat, bread, and wine. In addition, when a person witnesses the Shechitah of the animal he brought, it affects him. He thinks: “I and my animal have a great deal in common–all that distinguishes us is a human’s intellect, but I cast that aside when I sinned.”

The writer continues: This explanation can account for voluntary offerings as well, for they reinforce the supremacy of man’s intellect over his physical body. This is a good reminder even for someone who has not sinned. He adds: We must keep in mind, however, that P’shat / the “simple” explanation alone will never fully explain a Mitzvah. For that, we need the help of Kabbalists. (Sefer Ha’chinuch 95)


“Vayikra / He called to Moshe, and Hashem spoke to him from the Ohel Mo’ed, Laimor / saying.” (1:1)

Rashi z”l writes: “Vayikra” expresses affection and is the way angels address each other, as it is written (Yeshayah 6:3) “Ve’kara” / And one called to another.” To the prophets of the nations of the world, however, G-d reveals himself using an expression that denotes events of a casual character and of uncleanness, as it is written, (Bemidbar 23: 4), “Va’yiker/ And Elokim happened to meet Bil’am.” [Until here from Rashi]

R’ Yehuda Loewe z”l (Maharal of Prague; died 1609) elaborates: “Va’yiker” is used when Hashem speaks to a gentile prophet, in contrast to “Vayikra” when He speaks to a prophet of Bnei Yisrael, to indicate that the former receive only “half” a prophecy, just as the word “Va’yiker” (ויקר) is only part of the word “Vayikra” (ויקרא). Why can gentiles not receive a complete prophecy? Because they do not have the Torah to purify their intellects.

Thus, writes Maharal, we read (Esther 3:14), “The copies of the decree were to be promulgated in every province, and to be published to all peoples, that they should be ready for that day,” i.e., the 13th of Adar. Haman was not a prophet, but he was given an inkling of prophecy, a premonition that something momentous would happen in the Persian Empire on the 13th of Adar. What did happen, however, was not at all what he expected. He experienced only “half” a prophecy. (Ohr Chadash 3:14; Tiferet Yisrael ch.21)

Midrash Tanchuma asks: What is the meaning of “Laimor”? The Midrash answers: “Saying to Bnei Yisrael.”

R’ Avi Ezri Zelig Margalios z”l (rabbinical judge and Darshan / preacher in several European cities; died 1715 in Eretz Yisrael) explains: The Zohar interprets “Ohel Mo’ed,” usually translated “Tent of Meeting,” as “Tent of Time.” (The holidays are called “Mo’adim” because they are “meetings” with G-d that come at fixed times.) When Hashem spoke to Moshe from the Ohel Mo’ed, He was telling Moshe that this meeting place, the Mishkan/Mikdash, would only exist for a time. Eventually, the Bet Hamikdash would be destroyed.

However, Hashem continued, “Laimor / Say this to Bnei Yisrael.” The Torah uses two verbs to introduce Hashem’s speaking to Moshe: “Va’yomer” (from the same root as “Laimor”) and “Vy’da’ber.” Our Sages explain that the former connotes soft speech, while the latter connotes harsh speech. One would think that a portent of the destruction of the Temple would be introduced by “Vy’da’ber.” No! says Hashem. “Laimor” / Tell it to Bnei Yisrael gently, for it is good that I will pour My anger on stick and stones and not on them. (Kessef Nivchar)



The Gemara (Megillah 4a) teaches: “A person is obligated to read the Megillah at night, ‘Ve’lishnota’ during the day.” The continuation of the Gemara entertains the possibility that “Ve’lishnota” means “to learn its Mishnah”–i.e., that one is obligated to read Megillat Esther at night and to study the Mishnayot of Masechet Megillah during the day. Ultimately, however, the Gemara determines that “Ve’lishnota” means “and repeat it”–i.e., that one must read the Megillah again during the day after having read it at night. [Until here from the Gemara]

Though the Gemara rejects its initial understanding of “Ve’lishnota,” even the rejected suggestions of the sages of the Gemara must have some basis. Why, then, did the Gemara think that part of the Mitzvah of Megillah reading is studying the Oral Law associated with the Megillah?

Also, the Talmud Yerushalmi teaches that the existence of Masechet Megillah, a tractate of the Oral Law, is alluded to by the phrase (Esther 9:28), “Nor shall their [i.e., the days of Purim’s] Zecher / remembrance perish from their descendants.” How so?

R’ David Cohen shlita (Rosh Yeshiva of the Chevron Yeshiva in Yerushalayim) explains: We read (Shmot 3:15), “This is My Name Le’olam/ forever, and this is Zichri / My remembrance from generation to generation.” The Gemara (Pesachim 50a) explains: In this world, we do not pronounce Hashem’s Name beginning “Yud-Heh”; it is hidden (“Ne’elam”–from the same root as “Le’olam”). In its place, we substitute the Name that begins “Aleph-Dalet,” which is a Zecher / remembrance of His Name.

R’ Cohen continues: Significantly, whenever we see Hashem’s hidden Name in writing, we pronounce it exactly the same as the Name that begins “Aleph-Dalet,” which the Gemara calls a remembrance. This reminds us that, though Hashem is hidden, He is nevertheless very present in our world and is pulling the strings at all times. Notably, this is the message of the Purim story, which consists of a series of hidden miracles. Hashem is alluded to, but never appears openly, in the Megillah.

R’ Cohen concludes: This is exactly the relationship of the Written Torah and the Oral Law. R’ Eliyahu z”l (1720-1797; the Vilna Gaon) is quoted as saying that the Written Torah parallels the hidden Name of Hashem, which a scribe writes in the Torah; the letters are visible but unknowable. The Oral Law parallels the Name Aleph-Dalet, which is how we pronounce and, to some degree, understand His Name. The Written Torah cannot be understood without the Oral Law, just as we cannot grasp Hashem’s true Name–i.e., His Essence–in this world; we need a “remembrance” in its place. In this light, we can understood why the Gemara understands the “Zecher / remembrance” of Purim as alluding to the Oral Law and suggests that we study it. (Yemei Ha’Purim ch.7)



“Enter in peace, crown of her husband, also with Simcha / gladness and good cheer . . .” (From the Friday night hymn, Lecha Dodi)

R’ Aryeh Finkel z”l (1931-2016; Rosh Yeshiva of the Mir Yeshiva in Modi’in Ilit, Israel) asks: We are instructed regarding all Mitzvot (Tehilim 100:2), “Serve Hashem with Simcha.” And, we are warned of punishment that awaits, G-d forbid, “because you did not serve Hashem, your Elokim, with Simcha and goodness of heart . . .” (Devarim 28:47)! What, then, is the nature of the added Simcha with which we welcome Shabbat?

R’ Finkel explains: We read (Tehilim 92:1), “A psalm, a song for the Sabbath day.” The Gemara (end of Masechet Tamid) comments: “A song for the future, for the day that will be entirely Shabbat-like and restful forever,” i.e., the World-to-Come. Shabbat, writes R’ Finkel, connects a person to that eternal world which is filled with Simcha and contentment. Shabbat, we are told, is a microcosm of the World-to-Come. On Shabbat, one can feel, to some degree, the Simcha of the World-to-Come.

To be clear, R’ Finkel continues, we are not referring to the Simcha we will experience when we receive reward for our Mitzvot in the World-to-Come. After all, we are taught (Avot 1:3), “Do not be like servants who serve Hashem in order to receive reward.” Rather, the source of our joy is Hashem’s love for us, because of which He promises us reward and eternal Simcha.

One of the foundations of Emunah / faith, writes R’ Finkel, is the belief that Hashem, the G-d of truth, keeps His promises. Shabbat is a day for strengthening our Emunah, which includes feeling Simcha due to the knowledge that Hashem loves us and, therefore, has promised us reward in a world that is all good. (Logically, Hashem does not owe us anything for serving Him. Therefore, any reward that He gives us is merely an expression of His love for us.) (Yavo Shiloh p.83)