Vayikra (Shabbat HaChodesh) ~ 5772 ~ (פרשת ויקרא (שבת החדש
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 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 was 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 not only of laymen but 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.
Holiday & Parsha Study Questions
1. How often do we take out three torahs? What is the mystical significance? Do we ever take out four torahs?
2. Why did we read the scriptural passage of “Rosh Chodesh” second and “Hachodesh” third?
3. Why was the sanctification of the moon the first commandment to the Jewish Nation?
4. How many different ways can flour become “chametz”?
5. Do you agree that Passover is the most difficult Jewish holiday?