Thursday 18 March 2021

Shabbos Tzetl: Vayikra

6:21pm -  early candle lighting
7:15pm - Candle Lighting, Friday.
8:11pm - Havdalah, Saturday.
These times are for Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Eruv Status: TBA
Shabbat Shalom! 

Please click here to view the Yeshivah Shule Tzetel for Shabbos Parshas Vayikra.
Please click here to view the PDFs of the Weekly Publications distributed in Shule each Shabbos.

G‑d calls to Moses from the Tent of Meeting, and communicates to him the laws of the korbanot, the animal and meal offerings brought in the Sanctuary. These include:

• The "ascending offering" (olah) that is wholly raised to G‑d by the fire atop the altar;

• Five varieties of "meal offering" (minchah) prepared with fine flour, olive oil and frankincense;

• The "peace offering" (shelamim), whose meat was eaten by the one bringing the offering, after parts are burned on the altar and parts are given to the kohanim (priests);

• The different types of "sin offering" (chatat) brought to atone for transgressions committed erroneously by the high priest, the entire community, the king or the ordinary Jew;

• The "guilt offering" (asham) brought by one who has misappropriated property of the Sanctuary, who is in doubt as to whether he transgressed a divine prohibition, or who has committed a "betrayal against G‑d" by swearing falsely to defraud a fellow man.

Isaiah 43:21-44:23.

This week's haftorah starts with a rebuke to the Israelites for abandoning the Temple's sacrificial service. Sacrifices are the dominant topic of the week's Torah reading, too.

The prophet Isaiah rebukes the Israelites for turning away from G‑d and refraining from offering sacrifices, turning to idolatry instead. G‑d exhorts the people to return to Him, promising to forgive their transgressions, as is His wont.

The prophet then mentions the futility of serving empty idols which may be crafted by artisans but "neither see nor hear nor do they know…" The haftorah concludes with G‑d's enjoinder to always remember Him and to return to Him.


Vayikra (Leviticus 1:1)

Said Rav Assi: Why do young children begin [the study of Torah] with the book of Leviticus, and not with Genesis? Surely it is because young children are pure, and the korbanot are pure; so let the pure come and engage in the study of the pure.

(Midrash Rabbah)

Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Lubavitch (who later became the third Rebbe of Chabad) entered cheder on the day after Yom Kippur of the year 1792, eleven days after his third birthday. The child's grandfather, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, instructed Reb Avraham the melamed to begin the first lesson with the opening verses of Vayikra.

Following the lesson, the child asked: "Why is the word vayikra written with a little aleph?"

For a long while Rabbi Schneur Zalman sat in a deep meditative trance. Then he explained:

"The first man, Adam, was 'the handiwork of G‑d,' and G‑d attested that his wisdom was greater than that of the angels. Adam was aware of his own greatness, and this awareness caused him to overestimate himself and led to his downfall in the sin of the Tree of Knowledge.

"Moses, who possessed a soul deriving from chochmah of atzilut (the highest manifestation of Divine wisdom), was also aware of his own greatness. But this did not lead him toward self-aggrandizement. On the contrary, it evoked in him a broken and anguished heart, and made him extremely humble in his own eyes, thinking to himself that if someone else had been blessed with the gifts with which he, Moses, had been blessed, that other person would surely have achieved far more than himself. Thus G‑d testifies in the Torah that 'Moses was the most humble man upon the face of the earth.'

"In the letters of the Torah, which G‑d gave at Sinai, there are three sizes: intermediate letters, oversized letters and miniature letters. As a rule, the Torah is written with intermediate letters, signifying that a person should strive for the level of 'the intermediate man' (a concept that Rabbi Schneur Zalman puts forth in his Tanya). Adam's name is spelled with an oversize aleph (in I Chronicles 1:1), because his self-awareness led to his downfall. On the other hand, Moses, through his sense of insufficiency, attained the highest level of humility, expressed by the miniature aleph of Vayikra."

(From the talks of the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneerson)



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