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Vayikra ~ 5775 ~ ויקרא
These verses outline the rituals and requirements for an Israelite bringing an offering to G-d of his own volition. This included the “placing of hands”, the actual slaughtering, dashing of blood on the Altar and the burning of the actual pieces. In the second Aliyah, the details of the sacrifice of fowls are given, as well as the method of bringing a “meal offering” (flour, wheat or barley).
A cooked, meal-cake offering was partially burnt on the Altar but the remainder was given to the Priest. This offering could never be made of Chametz; first fruits could be brought but not burned. All meat offerings had to be “salted.” First fruit offerings of corn were offered “parched” on the ear.
The peace offering is brought out of gratitude on occasions of joy. Unlike the burnt offering, the animal could be male or female and it was only partially burnt up on the Altar. The Priests receive a portion of the offering and the rest is eaten by the offerer at an appropriate feast. The “Sin Offering” was brought as atonement for sins of both the laymen and the High Priest; by the community or by a secular leader. The Priest ritually dashed the blood about the Altar and then burnt the sacrifice.
A commoner brings only female sin sacrifices. People who saw a crime but did not testify, one who failed to comply with the laws of defilement and purification, one who didn’t fulfill a vow would confess their guilt and bring this sacrifice. The Guilt Offering was brought for transgressions that require restitution, which had to be done before the sacrifice could be offered. Two specific situations are given:
a)the accidental withholding of ‘Holy Things of the L-rd’ (i.e. tithers or dues of the Priests)
b) falsely retaining a fellow’s property.
In each case, the transgressor, after confessing their guilt, must restore the property to its rightful owner with an additional 20% fine. Then and only then, can atonement be made via the sacrifice.
MAFTIR Rosh Chodesh: 12:1 – 20 ~ page 253 – 257
HAFTORAH Rosh Chodesh 45:16 – 46:18 ~ page 1001
(read on the Shabbat before or on the first of Nisan)
In the new Temple conceived by the prophet, the Prince of the nation was to be responsible for the supply of sacrifices, bought from public contributions, at the appointed seasons. Among the festival sacrifices, were the offerings to be brought on the Passover.
Parashah Study Questions
- Why are animal innards offered on the altar, while bird innards are not (1:16)? How does this Halacha affect a charity’s scrutiny of donations?
- Why does the Torah describe both the animal and bird offerings as a “satisfying aroma” (1:17)?
- Why is the term “nefesh” used regarding the flour offering (2:1)?
- For most offerings, the Kohen may use a service vessel to apply the blood on the altar. For which korban must he apply the blood using only his finger (3:8)? Why?
- Is there any permissible way for an Ashkenazi Jew to eat kitniyot on Passover?