VaYikra 5780

A gitten erev Shabbes! This weeks parsha is Parshas VaYikra. This parsha contains all the mitzvos pertaining to the korban chatos and korban oshom (two forms of sin offerings, for those unfamiliar). This can seem to be quite discouraging at first, especially for someone who has, rachmono litzlon, done a lot of aveiros, as the vast majority of us have done, Hashem Yerachem. However, there are still many things we can learn from this parsha.

Starting with the word VaYikra, which is written with a small aleph, the Baal HaTurim explains this is because Moshe Rabbeinu was incredibly humble and didn’t want to appear to have special status, rather he wanted this place where Hashem calls to him to be de-emphasized and be written the same was as it is when Hashem comes to Bilam, with the word “Vayikar,” which lends itself to a meaning of “chance” rather than a specific call. However Hashem insisted it should be written as VaYikra, meaning that Hashem specifically called on Moshe Rabbeinu, rather than VaYikar. We can learn from this that the secret to gadlus in avodas Hashem Yisborach, not anything that can be seen by others neccessarily, is to make oneself incredibly humble. The Baal HaTanya brings in Likkutei Torah that the world “קרא” is related to the word “קבל” through bringing the translation in Uva L’Tzion, in the Kedusha there. So when we call to Hashem, that means we must have the kavonno of receiving Hashem, referring to Ohl Malchus Shomayim, and the hashpo’os we can receive from Him. In order to attain this level, we must first attain a state of bittul, a state of nullification before Hashem Yisborach at least part of the time, ideally at all times. To reach bittul is possible through engaging in learning Torah and fulfilling mitzvos and davening with kavonno. The best exercise is to take a set of time every day and contemplate how Hashem runs every moment of your day, working through until you can truly see how Hashem runs the world completely from the drop of a leaf to a global pandemic. Once this mental state is reached, then the person can attain bittul and see how insignificant they are in relation to Hashem. At this point, the person can be called יקר, important/precious, with the small alef representing אני, meaning I. To become a proper vessel for Hashem one has to recognize his insignificance in relation to the grand picture, and at the same time realize that the whole world was created for his benefit, in order that the person should be able to serve Hashem with simcha and goodness of heart.

In relation to the korbanos, the most important aspect of this avodah, according to Chazal and the Zohar, was that the person viewed the animal they brought as the person alone, meaning that the animal was brought to die in the perosn’s place for their sins. Hence the fat and blood that was burned was to be the person’s fat and blood, and the act of confession over the head of the animal effectively placed the sins within the animal itself, so to speak. In place of sacrifice at this current time, we can pray and confess to Hashem alone in order to make tshuva. The key aspect, according to the Rambam, is that a person should feel true remorse and genuinely commit to change after confession, giving tzedakah, and fasting if the person is able and it is a safe time period. Even the Tikkunim of the Ari can be completed through giving tzedakah, as explained by the Baal HaTanya in Iggeres HaTshuva. So even though we don’t have a Beis HaMikdash right now, may that soon be corrected, we can still complete the process of tshuva through heartfelt prayer and sincere change. Like it says in the posuk “and we will pay you with the oxen of our lips,” meaning that in place of the korbanos, we will instead daven to Hashem until it is proper to bring them once more.

Hashem should bentsh us all with tshuva shleimoh, with refuos and yeshuos, and that we should be zoche to bring korbanos in the Beis HaMikdash according to His Will with the coming of Moshiach swiftly within our days!

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