Raboyseyee and Raboyseyettes:
Korbonois: Sparks Notes version
The fun and games are over. No more (for a while anyway) salacious stories about Moishe being swallowed by a snake, about Yoisef and eishes Potiphar, Dina and Shechem, Loit and his two daughters, Yehuda and Tamar, Yoicheved and her merry go round husbands, Yitzchok marrying a three year old, Avrohom trying to get rid of his wife, twice, Yankif marrying a total of four full and half sisters, Reuven moving his mother’s bed, if you chap, and other such foibles including the heylige Shevotim throwing their brother into a pit and then selling him for a few pieces of silver to a band of traveling spice dealers. Zicher we’ll miss reading these stories especially since the RBSO seemingly loved all these great people (characters) despite their weaknesses and seemingly bizarre behavior at times. These stories were avada quite interesting and, sadly, we could relate to some of them, if you chap. We loved the heroes and hated the villains. They made us feel not so giferlich about ourselves and our own Oisvorfish behavior. At times, many of you imagined yourselves with a few extra pilgashim (concubines) or what it was like to be married to four at a time. Whereas Sefer Bereishis and Shemois were replete with givaldige stories, Vayikra has few and little character development. Its primary focus is on the Koihanim (priests) with detailed attention given to Korbonois (animal sacrifices). Later in the sefer we’ll get to forbidden relationships ober chap nisht, which is exactly what the rules are; that’s still a few weeks away.
Nu, it’s time to learn about Korbonois (sacrifices). Why? Ver veyst (beats me). Have you seen a mizbayach (altar) anywhere recently? The Beis Hamikdash is long gone and though we avada yearn and eagerly await its return, seemingly that’s still some time away. Why? Because the Moshiach is not here? And why is that? Ver veyst! Seemingly the RBSO doesn’t think we are deserving yet, and are we? We’re taught that the Yiddin have to observe Shabbos for two weeks in a row or at least refrain from speaking loshoin horo. Nu, can you see why he’s not here? Can he ever come, given these restrictions? When was the last time you saw two or more Yiddin together in a room without loshoin horo? When? Never! Nowadays, due to our terrible behavior and long list of sins, we no longer have the Beis Hamikdash. In fact, the Yiddin haven’t been able to bring sacrifices since its (the Second Temple) destruction in 70 CE.
Says the heylige Gemora (Yoma 4a) that we taka learn a lesson about loshoin horo from the very first posik in this week’s Parsha: “He called to Moishe, and God spoke to him from the tent of meeting, saying” (Vayikra 1:1). Says the heylige Gemora that we derive from the word ‘saying’ that if someone tells another person something in confidence, he is not allowed to repeat it without permission of the information provider. Shoin, another avayro most of you violate at least weekly. Avada the Oisvorfer had long ago discovered a loophole around this prohibition: one can simply just -say it over once- without repeating the loshoin horo, if you chap. If the person does repeat the information without permission, he transgressed the prohibition of ‘not saying.’ Although most mitzvah counters do not include this prohibition in their 613 count, some do. In any event, violating a ‘no saying’ doesn’t epes seem as giferlich as violating a ‘no doing’, if you chap.
Nu, back to Korbonois which are long gone, and with them, we have lost as many as 40% of the 613 mitzvois in the gantze Toirah. Come again! Is that taka emes that bazman hazeh (in our times) here in Golus (exile), we don’t have the full 613 mitzvois? And just how many do we have left? Nu. let’s count. We began with 613 mitzvois, (248 dos, and 365 don’ts) however since we lost the Beis Hamikdash and all the korbonois, the number has been dramatically reduced azoy: Of the 248 positive commands, only 126 currently apply. And of the 365 negative commands, only 243 are still in force. So in total, nowadays, 369 mitzvois are still operative. Grada that’s not such good news because mathematically at least, violating one of the ah-says or loi- sah-says is percentage-wise much worse than before and zicher the RBSO, when looking over your stats, will not be very happy with your behavior, mine either. Oy vey!
Ober were the Moshiach and the Beis Hamkidash to suddenly re-appear, and given our technological advancement, we will be quite ready. I suspect that an APP for korbonois would make life easier. Today it’s not difficult to imagine scanning an image of a potential offering and emailing it to the kohain for inspection and scheduling purposes. But in lieu of sacrifices we have an alternate form of getting close to the RBSO – we call that DAVENING (praying) to the RBSO. Unfortunately our davening is nebech also not up to par, especially given all the talking and deal making during davening but it’s still epes (something) and I guess better than nothing at all and avada we must be grateful that the RBSO granted us the medium of prayer to reach out to Him and serve Him in lieu of sacrifices. And since the Beis Hamikdash is long gone, feel free to take a nap for the next few weeks; I’ll wake you when things heat up again.
Several decades ago, the Oisvorfer was a young impressionable bochur in the making who went to a small Yeshiva, ok- many- in Brooklyn where he was introduced to Chumash. The Rebbe said we would be learning Sefer Vayikra. And to this day, I still can’t figure out why it has been the minhag (custom) of many Yeshivos, dating back hundreds of years, to start teaching the kids this information. Nu, who says you or I have to know why? Do you understand why one can’t dip the tea bag into a cup of boiling hot water but can do so 5 seconds later after re-pouring the same boiling hot water into a “Kli Shaynee?” And do you understand how selling chometz to the goy through the Rabbi (who avada makes a nice cut) by picking up his handkerchief, is a legitimate transaction? Avada not but efsher one day when, according to some, the third Beis Hamikdash (Temple) falls down from the sky (min hashomayim mamish), all this will become illuminated. Until then, ver veyst?
Ober you’re not the only one that asked this question as to why we break the kids in with laws about sacrifices that no longer exist? Asks the midrash (Yalkut Shimoni): “Why do young children start with Toiras Kohanim (AKA: Vayikro)? Let them start with Bereishis (and really get them excited). Avada he also answers and says: since the korbonois (sacrifices) are pure and the children are pure, let the pure come and deal with the pure.” What that means, I don’t know but that’s what he says. And says the Avnei Azel: that there is mamish a relationship between Sefer Vayikra and the education of children in that both require sacriﬁce. In this case, he was referring to financial sacrifice, efsher (maybe) due to the exorbitant tuitions that Yeshivas charge before tacking on graduation and myriad other fees all meant to gouge the parents. Sefer Vayikra, according to his thinking, teaches parents as well as children the value of sacriﬁces for Toirah purposes. Of course these lessons are aroisgivorfini gelt (money in the toilet) on the children as they’re enjoying lunch daily in one of the many eating establishments.
And speaking of the Beis Hamikdash, it was avada the case that when the first two were standing, the Yiddin used to bring Korbonois (sacrifices) to the RBSO and with that, welcome to Sefer and Parshas Vayikra which is primarily (at least the first 19 or so chapters) all about the various Korbonois that individuals can bring, all voluntary. Do you really care if an individual elects to bring a Korban Olah from cattle, sheep or turtledoves? Nu, neither do I but the heylige Toirah dedicates quite a bit of space to Korbonois in this Sefer and in others and mistama there’s a good reason. Exactly what that reason is, ver veyst?
The RBSO zicher told Moishe all about these strange rituals ober didn’t really tell him why? We got the manual, the grizzly detailed instructions but were epes never told why we bring these. And what do you suppose happened as a result? For centuries to come, beginning with the Rishoinim, our Sages and other luminaries have argued vehemently about ‘why’ but all that for another day. Halt kup (pay attention) as we learn about korbonois.
Nu- let’s start with basics: what the hec is a korban and why do we need to know? The first seven chapters of Sefer Vayikra deal with the various types of korbanois and their detailed laws. So that you don’t fall asleep during laining and have something to say besides debating whether or not Tebow is good or bad for the Jets or if Linsanity is taka over, or back, or stam loshoin horo about your chaver, the Oisvorfer will teach you all you need to know about Korbonois in Sparks Notes fashion; here we go. Ershtens: what are they? Korbonois were offered in a variety of settings by Yiddin going back all the way to Kayin and Hevel. In fact, it was a korban that led to the first ever recorded murder in the gantze Toirah. Our Zeydes (forefathers), when aroused to do so, also brought Korbonois to thank the RBSO for whatever. Odom brought Korbonois as did Noiach, Sheim, Avrohom, Yitzchok and Yankif. Even bad guys including Bil’om and Bollock, in their quest to win the RBSO’s approval to curse the Yiddin, brought Korbonois.
A Korban was usually an animal sacrifice, such as a sheep or a bull that underwent shechita (Jewish ritual slaughter), and was, depending on its classification, often cooked and eaten by the offerer, with parts given to the Koihain and parts burned on the mizbayach (altar). Korbanois could also consist of doves, grain, wine and incense. Ok are you sleeping yet? Veyter.
Korbanos were given first in the Mishkan (Tabernacle), and later, in the Beis Hamikdash (Temple). A number of these korbanois were known as korbanois nedava (gift offerings). Unlike skipping out on many other mitzvois that the RBSO gave over that have dire consequences for their violation, especially the lo- sah-says, these were totally voluntary. And the bottom line is: while the individual decides whether or not to offer a sacrifice, the Toirah sets forth the details of how each offering is to be prepared. We’re almost done.
Though not obligatory, were a person aroused to give such an offering, he fulfilled the Mitzvah and was considered highly praiseworthy. If he was otherwise aroused, if you chap, and committed a few no-nos, there were other Korbonois tailor made for the sinner. Obviously, there were plenty of those. There were five main korbanois brought by the people to the Mishkan. A korban could be brought for many different reasons. Some were brought automatically each and every day. Others were brought in gratitude. Others were for special occasions like Yom Tov. Exactly how sending the pure and innocent animal to slaughter can offer forgiveness for one’s chotoim (sins), ver veyst? Seemingly it worked and epes it wouldn’t be such a giferliche idea to think about investing in cattle if you chap, especially so if you are a sinner, and especially an aroused one.
1. The Oilah – a consumed offering placed on the Mizbayach.
2. The Mincha – an allegiance or gift offering. This was not an animal sacrifice, but an offering of flour (rich in carbs) brought by a poor person.
3. The Sh’lomim – a peace offering. This was a means of expressing thanks to the RBSO on a joyous occasion (also a good way to make peace with the RBSO if one chapped a piece, if you chap)
4. Sin Offerings- (as I said, perhaps the most popular of all offerings) which came in two varieties:
a. The Chatos – a sin offering which served as atonement for certain sins committed unintentionally (what? I wasn’t allowed to do that? Oops!) by a person including the Kohain Gadol (high priest) and the king.
b. Korbon Oleh V’Yored (going up and down, if you chap)– a special type of sin offering which varies with the wealth of the sinner. In other words: a rich sinner paid more for atonement. These offerings were required for the following offenses:
i) swearing falsely that one had not seen or heard evidence needed for testimony.
ii) entering the Beis Hamikdash or eating consecrated food while ritually unclean.
iii) failing to fulfill a vow.
iv) confessing to a transgression.
5. The Oshom – a guilt offering which was required as part of the penitence for unintentionally using consecrated property or for retaining someone else’s property by falsely swearing.
Says the heylige Toirah: “If one’s offering is an oilah-offering from the cattle, he shall bring a perfect male; he shall bring it to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, in accordance with his will, before Hashem” (1:3). Why are the laws of the oilah enumerated ﬁrst? The korban oilah was brought as atonement for evil thoughts and now it all makes perfect sense. Since the thoughts always precede the actions, it is appropriate to discuss the korban that atones for thoughts ﬁrst. Zicher many of you can recall countless instances where actions were taken , loi olaynu – without much thought and taka at times such actions were mistama most enjoyable, if you chap. The lesson of this idea is that we must recognize the direct connection between our minds and our actions. We have to guard our thoughts and what enters our minds. We have to understand that our thoughts have a direct inﬂuence on our actions. Thus, your head is the most vulnerable part of your body, if you chap. We must take special measures to protect our heads, just as Yaakov Oveenu did when he placed stones around his head, the only part of his body that he protected. Of course, we know that even this protection didn’t exactly work out as he still married a total of four full and half sisters and had at least 12 sons and one daughter.
As I stated above, there are many reasons offered as to why the RBSO created this entire Korban gisheft (enterprise) but I though the next two sum it up quite nicely. The only reason that the RBSO instructed us to bring and offer Korbonois is so that the lazy Koihanim who had no other skills or crafts (back then) but working in the Beis Hamikdash, could earn a few dollars. They, of course, had plenty to eat and mistama took a few bribes to move the poor sinners ahead on the Korban line…nu…what can you do? And just like the magnificent RBSO created many industries as we have studied together in Sefer Shemois, here in Vayikra, He’s busy with the Koihanim and wants to make sure they didn’t become a bunch of schnorrers ringing your bell every Sunday (5 at a time out of one car) and created this entire system. This way, they could mamish dedicate themselves to their Avoida (jobs) in the Temple service. Makes sense and also a practical p’shat.
Another: some say that the Korbanois system was created so that sinners who had to bring a Korban would feel the pinch in their pockets. Unfortunately, it was some other pinching that mistama (likely) got them into trouble to begin with. Avada it’s well known that the imposition of fines and penalties is supposed to deter sinning. The sinner will realize that his wayward ways are getting too costly and get back on the right path. And for this reason, wealthy sinners had to bring a more expensive korban while the schlepper sinners got away with a lesser korban. In other words: a poor sinner could commit bigger sins and pay less. Gevaldig and perhaps the only time in life when it’s efsher better to be poor than rich. Efsher only!
A gitten shabbis-