Powered by WebAds

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Service of Hashem

The passuk in last weak's parsha said (VaYikra 1:2):

דַּבֵּר אֶל-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם אָדָם כִּי-יַקְרִיב מִכֶּם קָרְבָּן לַיהוָה--מִן-הַבְּהֵמָה מִן-הַבָּקָר וּמִן-הַצֹּאן תַּקְרִיבוּ אֶת-קָרְבַּנְכֶם.

Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them: When any man of you bringeth an offering unto the LORD, ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd or of the flock.

The English translation does not reveal an anomaly in the pasuk. The words אָדָם כִּי-יַקְרִיב מִכֶּם is very odd. The normal way to say this would be אָדָם מִכֶּם כִּי-יַקְרִיב. When such an anomaly occurs, it begs for us to find the lessons the Torah intended us to learn. I found two beautiful chassidishe explanations I would like to share.

The first is from Rav Yehoshua Heshel of Apta - the Ohev Yisrael, explains that when a person sacrifices for Hashem in a manner of מִכֶּם - From his very self. That is, when a person is prepared for self sacrifice of the highest order for his Creator - then it is considered a קָרְבָּן לַיהוָה, a sacrifice to Hashem. However, if a person only sacrifices from הַבְּהֵמָה מִן-הַבָּקָר וּמִן-הַצֹּאן - from his material possessions then it falls into a different category - קָרְבַּנְכֶם - Your korban, not the korban of Hashem. The lesson is clear - when we perform mitzvot, we must do so from the very essence of our being. It can NOT be simply a matter of habit or a dry fulfillment of an obligation. We must do so with the hope that we are using all that Hashem has given us to perform our service of Him to its fullest capacity.

The second explanation comes from the Alter Rebbe explains that when a person comes to bring a sacrifice to Hashem, it must be אָדָם כִּי-יַקְרִיב מִכֶּם - the בְּהֵמָה he brings to Hashem must come from his אָדָם - the Animal within his humanity. He must sacrifice to Hashem his own Animal soul - his evil inclination - his yetzer hara and use it as well to serve Hashem.