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Beit Midrash Torah Portion and Tanach Vayikra

Parashat vaYikra

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Parashat vaYikra begins the Torah's presentation of the laws of korbanot.

In his commentary on Chumash, Rabbi Shimshon Refael Hirsch stresses the
inaccuracy of the translation of korban as sacrifice, since that implies the idea of giving something up that is of value to oneself for the benefit of another, or of having to do without something of value, ideas which are diametrically opposed to the real meaning of korban. Rabbi Hirsch notes that the root word of korban is karov, to come near, and understands its meaning to be coming into a closer relationship with God. In Rabbi Hirschs words: it is nearness to God which is striven for by a korban.

This understanding of korban explains the connection between korbanot and Eretz Yisrael.

The Holy Alshikh quotes our Sages comment that of all the lands of the world, only the Holy Land is supervised in a direct personal manner by God, while all other lands are entrusted to a ministering angel. Thus, Alshikh explains that a Jew can connect to God and to his own spiritual roots in the Holy Land more easily than in other land.

May we achieve this connection with the Creator speedily in our days, with the rebuilding of the Bet haMikdash.
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