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Dear Mogen David Family,

This week we begin a new sefer with Parashat VaYikra. VaYikra is termed 'Torat Kohanim' by the Chachamim as it details the Mitzvot pertaining to the Kohanim and their Avodah in the Mishkan/Mikdash. Much has been written attempting to understand the theological and philosophical relevance and benefit of offering Korbanot to Hashem. It seems there is a Korban for all scenarios--voluntary offerings, obligatory offerings, communal offerings, individual offerings, Korban Chatat, Asham, Oleh v'Yored, etc...

 In practical terms, what purpose do Korbanot serve to accomplish? 

The Sefer HaChinuch, in Mitzvah No. 95, offers a lengthy and insightful answer to our question. Bringing various sources throughout the Gemara the Sefer HaChinuch explains that each part of the animal offered as a Korban corresponds to a different physical, psychological, or spiritual deficiency which caused the offerer to go astray (ex. the legs run to do aveirot; the hands perform the actions...). A Behema, an animal, acts instinctively without the advantage of higher intellectual processing and decision making afforded to Man. If we were to truly utilize our intellect, stop and think of HaKadosh Baruch Hu before each and every action taken, says the Sefer HaChinuch, we would never come to sin, acknowledging that Chet only removes us further from Hashem and Avodah Sheleimah.

A Korban--as the shoresh "karov," closeness, implies--pushes us closer to Hashem and Mitzvot. When we witness the needless burning and offering of the animal, a creature with no Da'at, we recognize that thoughtless actions led us to sin, acting like an animal as slaves to our instinct. In turn, this also forces us to realize Yad Hashem, the governing Hand of G-d and live as Ovdei Hashem.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Yehuda Moses Rav HaKehillah/Senior Rabbi

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Fri, March 24 2023 2 Nisan 5783