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Friday, Nissan 2 5783 (Hakhel Year) / March 24, 2023


This Shabbat we read from the Torah, Parshat Vayikra. With this Parsha we begin the third book of the Torah, which is also called, VayikraLeviticus. Each of the five books of the Torah (Breishis, Shmot, Vayikra, Bamidbar, Devarim) carries the name of the first Parsha in that book.


Parshat Vayikra speaks about the various sacrifices and offerings which were to be brought upon the altar in the Tabernacle and later in the Holy Temple.


There were basically two kinds of offerings. One which the congregation or an individual were duty-bound to offer, like the daily morning and evening offerings. Also, the sin offering, when someone committed certain transgressions, they had to bring a sacrifice as an atonement. 


The second category are the offerings which a person brings as a contribution - as a goodwill gesture to G-d. It is about this category, which the Torah speaks about in the beginning of this week’s Parsha.


Within this category of offerings, there are various kinds of offerings which one can choose from. They vary from cattle offerings, a fowl offering or even an offering made out of flour. It all depended on how much the person can afford. A wealthy person brought an offering from cattle, while a poor person would bring a fowl or a flour offering.


The Torah tells us that each of these offerings, no matter whether expensive or cheap, will bring great satisfaction to G-d.The Torah uses the same expression of satisfaction to G-d for the fowl or flour offering, as for the much more expensive, cattle offering.


The fowl offering was burnt on the altar with its feathers. Our sages explain that G-d says, “Even the smell of burnt feathers, which people cannot tolerate, being that its an offering of a poor person, it gives a great aroma and brings great satisfaction to Me.”


“From here we learn,” say our sages, “that G-d’s measurement is not in quantity, but in quality. Whether one gives more or one gives less, as long as a person does the best they can afford, and they do it for G-d’s sake, not for ulterior motives, they are both equal in G-d’s eyes.”


The Talmud tells that once there was a wealthy person who was leading a big ox to the Holy Temple to be offered on the altar. At some point the ox stubbornly wouldn’t continue. Nothing they did would make him go forward. A poor man carrying a bundle of grass happened to pass by. He fed the ox the grass and thus was able to lead him to the Temple. The sages said that the poor man’s bundle of grass was as good an offering as the rich man’s ox. G-d wants from us the best WE can do according to our means.


Correction to yesterday’s Torah Fax: Searching for Chametz is Tuesday night, April 4.




Montreal candle lighting time: 6:54 / Shabbat ends: 7:58