Parashas Vayikra 5780 – Hope the best Medicine This Parasha is dominated by the laws of the different sacrifices. Thus, at onset there are a couple of oddities that dictate if it has at all the title of “Korban”. The first condition is: “A man who brings one of you a sacrifice…”. The sentence’s construction is problematic as it should say “A man from you who brings a sacrifice…” The second condition is: “He shall lay his hand upon the head of the Olah, that it may be granted to him, to obtain expiation.” In other words, short of these 2 conditions, the offering is not considered a “Korban”. Let’s to define what is a “Korban”. As per above, it’s not as simple as bringing an animal from the flock and expect expiation. The Zohar explains, there was a compelling reason why Moshe remained outside the Mishkan and did not enter immediately after completing it? He was listening if Hashem was still angry at the Bnei Yisrael for the sin of the golden calf. Hashem called Moshe to enter the Mishkan and not to worry, as He had no intention to punish further the Bnei Yisrael. Yet, Hashem informed him that Bnei Yisrael will sin and lose the Beth Hamikdash, but as long as they have Korbanos, they could not be defeated. Moreover, if they sin and bring offerings, they will never lose the Beth Hamikdash. What is the secret power of the offerings? Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch points out that korbanos are described as brought for and before Hashem [the Name, Yud-Keh-Vuv-Keh]. The Name of Elokim is never used in this context. As we know, the former represents the merciful side of Hashem, whereas the latter represents the Din [strict judgment]. He explains that the korbanos are not as all other Mitzvos mandatory, there are optional while offering the opportunity of a direct “line” [connection] to Hashem. The offering is the expression of a sinner to express his distress of having distanced himself from Hashem. Bringing an offering illustrates the burning expression of the person to draw closer to Hashem. [The Zohar states that the root of the word Korban is to bring closer, as the Korban’s function is to bring the Bnei Yisrael closer to Hashem]. The Midrash recounts that the people ascending the temple mount dragging an animal were all crying. Locals would enquire why do you cry, can we help? They would answer “I’ve sinned to the Living G.d of Israel”. Then, they would all cry and accompany them to the gates of the Temple. On the other hands, people descending the Temple mount were ecstatic and jubilant. People would ask for the reason of their joy. They would reply, we just gained complete expiation of our sins, how could we not be ecstatic? People would go and rejoice with them. The Zohar explains, the way people knew their sin was expiated was; when a Korban was accepted a fire would come down in a shape of a lion [the Angel Uriel] and combust the entire animal instantly. However, if it was not, the fire would have the shape of dogs [representing the demons]. What is the main factor that ensures the acceptance? It is the second condition above mentioned. If the sinner truly repents while laying his hands on the animal’s head, his offering will have the statute of a “Korban” and deliver the expected outcome. However, if his repentance was not sincere or if it was motivated by a profit, the fire of dogs will devour his offering. From the above, two important lessons are taught in the first verses of this week Parasha. 1) Not to worry and to relieve anyone from worrying. Hashem seeing Moshe’s worries immediately called upon him to enter the Mishkan and at once reassured him. The destruction caused by worries is well illustrated in a story with the Ramban. As well documented, he was the royal’s doctor. And as it usual, the ministers envied and jealous his position. They searched for a gentile pagan doctor. Once, they found a good one, they approached the King and advised him to change doctor, as why using a Jew when a Pagan like them was available. The King was smart and told them to let them compete. Each one was to provide his worst poison to the other and they must drink it. Obviously, “it was decided” that the pagan would give his poison to the Ramban. The Rambam did as ordered and drank the poison, and to the amazement of all, it didn’t seem to affect him. He then provided a cup to his counterpart who was forced to drink it. The pagan doctor was expecting to feel something so he could diagnose which antidote to take. As the time passed his worries were growing as he didn’t know how to cure himself. He then died within a week. The King call the Rambam and asked him, which poison he gave him. The Rambam surprised the King by informing him, he would never dare poison a human being. He gave him distilled water. So, the king retorqued how did he die? The Ramban answered because of his worrying. Worries are more lethal than poison! The second lesson is; Hashem provided us a very unique opportunity, through a sincere repentance, to erase our sins and turn them into good deeds. This is an amazing favor, let’s take advantage of it sincerely. Because of our repentance we shall deserve the abolition of the plague!