This blog will be continued G-d willing after Pesach, starting again April 8th.
From Chabad.org: We now read about the induction of the priests and the inauguration of the Tabernacle. In the presence of all the Jews, Moshe dressed Aaron and his sons in the priestly vestments and anointed them, along with the Tabernacle and its vessels, with the holy anointing oil.
I find it fascinating that the Jews were invited to see not only the inauguration of the Tabernacle, but how the priests got ready to serve. They bathed (modestly, no doubt), dressed with the proper garb, received the oils (on their heads). I think it continues the important theme that being ready and performing Mitzvot (good deeds) is so much more than just executing them. Preparing for them, and being in a position to perform them, is of equal importance. That’s the beauty of living in a Jewish community. It allows for more opportunities to help others, contribute to the community as a whole receive and host new members, and that’s besides the advantage of feeling like we belong. But it all start with preparing and putting ourselves in a position to succeed and perform, which is what the Cohanim were doing just prior to the inauguration.
From Chabad.org: The Torah now discusses the Todah (Thanksgiving) Offering, brought by an individual who survived a perilous circumstance. We then learn about various grounds for the invalidation of a sacrifice, such as impurity or improper thoughts on the part of the priest performing the service. We are then commanded not to consume blood or any of the fats offered on the altar. The prohibition against eating these fats applies to all domesticated animals. The section wraps up with the portions of meat the priest is given from the Peace Offering. With this we conclude the laws of sacrifices.
Two items stand out while reviewing this Aliya. First, the rule that any leftovers from an offering left for three days should be burnt, and if eaten it disqualifies the offering itself. This apparently indicates a certain lack of urgency by the Cohen, but I’m not sure why urgency is required of leftovers, and why it would disqualify actions done three days prior.
The second most interesting item (to me) is the prohibition of eating blood or fats leftover from an offering. I understand blood more than fats, but both seem like they carry a deeper meaning. Maybe in next cylce’s blog we’ll be able to dive deeper.
This section discusses the priestly meal offering, brought by the Cohen Gadol (high priest) twice daily, and by every priest on the day he is first inducted into Temple service. The laws of the Sin Offering and Guilt Offering, also discussed in last week’s reading, are also repeated with added details. An important principle discussed is a vessel’s absorption of sacrificial meats cooked therein, and the possibility of purging (certain types of) vessels of the vestiges it absorbed — a concept which is very germane in the laws of kosher. This section concludes with a discussion regarding various gratuities the priests were entitled to take from the different offerings and sacrifices.
An interesting distiction should be noted between the offerings brought by every Cohen on their first day, and the sin offerings brough. While the Cohen’s offering is completely burnt on the alter (priests may not keep any section to eat), the sin offering does have certain parts that are edible by the Cohen. Initial intuition would dictate that sin offerings aren’t as “edible” as first-day-Cohen offerings because the former represents sin, while the latter represents a more positive event.But perhaps the rule helps us and the Cohanim embrace the power of the offering, and getting used to the fact that it purifies, both the person who brought it, and the offering itself.
Shishi discusses the fourth and final type of sin offering, that of a person who is guilty of sinning unintentionally (it’s important to note that unintentional sinning is still wrong, and requires atonement, which is why the Rabbis place further restrictions, to keep us further away from sinning). Also discussed is the “vacillating” sin offering (Oleh Viyored), brought by an individual guilty of certain specific sins (making an oath, not testifying about something they saw, touching something spiritually unclean, swearing to do harm or good). The offering varies depending on what the person can afford.
This vacillating offering is interesting. Imagine filling out a form where all the answers are true/false, and suddenly you see a multiple choice answer. It certainly draws your attention to it, as does this. Looking at the list of transgressions for this category, they all seem to be deliberate actions, as opposed to unintentional acts. So if someone decides to accept an oath, for example, they must keep their oath, but also bring an offering. So why would a person consciously decide to accept an oath, or touch a carcass? Once again, the answer could be the allowance of the human element. Maybe there was no one else to care for the dead, and maybe an oath was required to give someone hope or comfort. I’m not justifying sinning, just pointing out that just as the circumstances behind each scenario is different, the offering is also varied based on affordability. This was probably the most widely-brought offering, so it’s nice to know that it was adjustable.
This Aliya describes the three unique sin offerings: 1) When the High Priest sinned (see Weekly Dvar for more on this one), 2) If the entire nation sinned because of a wrong ruling by the High Court, and 3) If the King sinned.
Two things immediately stand out to me in this Aliya. first, the second Passuk (verse) seems superfluous, saying that if a person sins unintentionally… that’s it – there isn’t a “then” attached to the “if”. The very next Passuk starts with “if the Cohen sins…”. The second thing that stands out is the order of the offerings described. Cohen, then community, then king. It’s not going from broad spectrum to specific people, it’s going from specific, to broad, back to specific. It just seems a little random.
It could be that the two questions can help answer each other. Maybe the “extra” Passuk is there to tell us that a person will sin, inevitably, because they’re human. And the Cohen is listed first because it’s that very same Cohen that will be handling the sin offerings for everyone else. It shows the humanity of the system, that no one is above mistakes; not the king, not the court, and not even the Cohen who will handle your sin offering. So don’t feel so bad if you make a mistake, because we’re build to err. It’s what we do about it that matters…
As I pondered yesterday’s post, I realized that blogs could be so much more than individual ramblings. So what next? Well, I’m glad you asked…
It’s been my dream that I somehow contribute to a global Torah movement, much like Daf Yomi did many years ago. But rather than the content being selective by nature (those that understand Gemara), wouldn’t it be great if there was a Torah/Parsha version of Daf Yomi? That is, if everyone learned the same Torah portion every day. Well, my Daily Aliya idea is to learn that day’s Aliya (already divided for us), and what better vehicle than a daily blog? How perfect! There are, however, a few kinks to work out. One, what if there is no Parsha in a given week? Do we discuss nothing? Two, what about the seventh Aliya every week? I suppose I could write after Shabbat, or the Weekly Dvar could substitute for that day’s Aliya. I’d love feedback on either, both, or anything else.
I think we can officially start April 7th, after Pesach ends. In the meantime, I need to figure out how to post these on my iphone.
Now testing iPhone updater.