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Hirsch At Your Table

The Time to Bring a Korban

A brief Dvar Torah on the Parsha, based on R. Samson Raphael Hirsch’s Torah Commentary


Rabbi Matityahu Clark

צו את אהרן ואת בניו לאמר זאת תורת העולה היא העולה על מוקדה על המזבח כל הלילה עד הבוקר ואש המזבח תוקד בו: (Lv 6:2)
After describing the different types of קרבנות, God instructs Aharon and his sons regarding the rules governing how to bring a קרבן. The Torah begins this discussion with the קרבן עולה which is brought during the day and placed overnight on a small flame on the altar. Each morning the main fire of the altar was rekindled from this flame.

Whereas in previous chapters the Torah discussed the purposes of the respective קרבנות, the Torah here shifts to a discussion of the procedures in the מקדש and the role of the כהן in bringing the קרבנות.

In presenting these procedures, God tells Moshe to instruct (צו) the כהנים, since they will be responsible for actually performing the service in the מקדש.

The word צו is from the root צ-ו-ה which means "to delegate authority while retaining control". The word קרבן is from the root ק-ר-ב "to come close." The word עולה is from the root ע-ל-ה "to rise."

The discussion begins with the קרבן עולה. The time frame for bringing a קרבן עולה (as well as other קרבנות) is restricted to the daylight hours. Daytime (יום) is when the Jew is awake, seeing clearly, and in full cognizance of his actions. This is the time when he should bring his קרבן to the מקדש. Night (לילה) is a time of confusion, when darkness restricts man’s ability to serve his Maker. Additionally, קרבנות are brought during the day because daytime is when the Jews received the commandment to bring קרבנות at Sinai.

The word לילה is from the root ל-ו-ל which means "to blend together." It is a time when the lines and shapes of objects are indistinct. The word יום is from the root י-ו-ם "to ascend." Daytime is when man stands erect and is able to create and develop. A sister cognate is ק-ו-ם "to rise."

After all of the preparatory steps relating to bringing the קרבן have been completed during the day, the קרבן is then placed on the altar (מזבח). There the קרבן will rest all night on God’s hearth (מוקדה).

The words מוקדה, תוקד are from the root י-ק-ד which means "to burn". The word מזבח is from the root ז-ב-ח "to nourish and act for a higher purpose", usually for a קרבן recognizing God's bounty.

Three different fires burned on the altar. The main fire was kindled every morning for service throughout the day. A second fire burned at one of the altar’s corners. This was the fire that supplied the coals for the ,קטורת which was brought to the inner altar in the אוהל מועד. The third was a flame that was never allowed to go out, symbolizing the eternal fire of the altar.

The word קטורת is from the root ק-ט-ר "to screen out" with smoke. The word אוהל is from the root א-ה-ל which is a derivative of the root ה-ל-ל and means "to radiate." The spokes of a tent radiate outward and form a roof. The word מועד is from the root י-ע-ד "to arrange" a meeting.

Copyright © 2014, Matityahu Clark. All Rights Reserved. This is an excerpt from the forthcoming Hirsch At Your Table, a collection of brief divrei torah based on R. Samson Raphael Hirsch’s Torah Commentary.
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