Beit Midrash

  • Torah Portion and Tanach
  • Vayikra
To dedicate this lesson

The Torah study is dedicated to the full recovery of

Asher Ishaayahu Ben Rivka

Parshat Vayikra

New Mitzvot


Rabbi Yaakov Yosef Iskowitz

Adar B, 5763
Sefer Vayikra is saturated with Mitzvot ha-Teluyot ba’Aretz (commandments dependent on Eretz Yisrael), from laws dealing with sacrifices, the Temple, and the Kohanim, through those concerning the Land itself, such as Shemittah and Yovel. Unfortunately, as pointed out in our Yom Tov liturgy, "Because of our sins we have been exiled from our Land," the Temple has been destroyed, and we cannot perform many of those Mitzvot today. In fact, the Ramban (Devarim 11:18) states that a reason why any Mitzvot are "practiced" in exile is "so that they not seem novel when you return" to Eretz Yisrael. This underscores the centrality of our Land to fulfilling the commandments.

Our Sages tell us that "the All-Merciful One desires the heart." This means that whether we can afford – or are otherwise able – to do more, or less, the important thing is that we intend it for the sake of heaven (Berachot 5b). This is seen clearly from the fact that a Korban Olah (burnt-offering; Vayikra, Chapter 1) could be, for example, a bull, a goat, or a dove, depending on one’s means.

As Purim approaches, we are reminded of the Jew’s precariousness, especially in the Diaspora. The antidote, the Megillah tells us (Esther 9:27), is that the Jews "re-accepted" the Torah in the days of Achashverosh (Shabbat 88a). In other words, they rededicated themselves to it. Whether in the Diaspora, or here in Eretz Yisrael, let us do the same today. And in this merit may Hashem find us worthy of "bringing us up in gladness to our land... where we will offer the sacrifices" in the rebuilt Holy Temple, and properly perform all the other Mitzvot, speedily in our days!

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