Friday, March 27, 2015

Tzav 5775, March 2015; All Mankind and Karbanos

Twice daily, the High Priest himself was to offer a sacrifice known as the Minchas Chavitin.  This was a true mincha-type sacrifice of flour and oil and spices, burnt entirely on the alter and never eaten by him or any other kohen.
G-d gives us gifts big and small. She looks like
she fully appreciates the gift of the berries she
picked, doesn't she?
Abarbanel, quoting Sanhedrin, teaches that this is to remind us to always improve others before considering reproving ourselves, for before the Kohen Gadol could consider offering sacrifices to atone for the people, he first had to atone for his own sins. In addition, he says, the high priest brought the same form of sacrifice as a poor man, brought it himself as a sinner, and was atoning for the sin of the Golden Calf bit by bit through these small daily sacrifices.

The next discussion of korbanos is that of the Shalmay Todah. This is the thanksgiving offering given by a Jew who had been rescued from certain forms of danger (imprisonment, illness, sea or desert travel; today we say the birkas hagomel for this purpose). The Shlamim sacrifice otherwise is one that could be brought even by a non-Jew who wishes to bring a gift before G-d for any reason. It was shared among many people (it was a whole animal and 40 loaves of bread), so as to publicize the gratitude and the appreciation of the bringer to a maximum number of people. In this way, many people could regularly be reminded in very physical terms of the good G-d does for us daily.

Kohen Gadol or poor sinner, Jew or non-Jew, all came to bring similar gifts before G-d in the Mishkan and then the Beis haMikdash. Daily they had such a physical connection with G-d in mind. At this time as we approach Pesach, we can turn our thoughts towards karbanos but also towards the daily good G-d does for us.

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