Parsha Vayikra 5772A: Happiness and Bringing or “Taking” an Offering to Hashem

by Moshe Burt

Rabbi Pliskin in “Growth Through Torah” (Perek 1, posuk 2, page 235) renders this translation and cites Rabbi Shimshon Rafael Hirsch regarding the posuk immediately following the opening posuk and the dialogue between Hashem and Moshe Rabbeinu regarding the small alef in “Vayikra”:

“When a person of you brings an offering to The Almighty…”

Rabbi Shimshon Rafael Hirsch commented on this verse: It is most regrettable that we have no word… [for] the idea which lies behind the expression “Korbon”. The unfortunate use of the term “sacrifice” implies the idea of giving something up that is of value to oneself for the benefit of another…. The idea of an offering presupposes a desire on the part of the one to whom it is brought which [who] is “satisfied by the “offering,” which is like a gift. But the idea of a “Korbon” is never used as a gift. It is used exclusively with reference to man’s relation with the Almighty, and it’s meaning can only be understood… [as] to approach, to come near and so to come into close relationship with somebody. The object and purpose… is the attainment of a higher sphere of life. The one bringing the Korbon desires that something of himself should come into close relationship to the Almighty.

It seems to this author that Rebbetzin Shira Smiles’ paradigm explanation in her sefer “Torah Tapestries” on Sefer Shemos (Perek 25, posukim 2 and 8, page 105, Parshat Terumah) regarding “taking” a donation would apply as well to R’ Pliskin’s commentary on an Offering, a Korbon to Hashem:

“Speak to the Children of Israel and they shall take for Me a donation. From every man whose heart volunteers him you shall take My donation.” (Perek 25, posuk 2)

“…They shall make me a Sanctuary [Mishkan] and I will dwell among them.” (Perek 25, posuk 8 )

Rebbetzin Smiles writes, on the wording of posuk 2; “they shall take for Me a donation”:

…A giver actually receives more than he gives. By donating to the Mishkan (Tabernacle [Sanctuary]), the Jewish people were in effect “taking” because they would benefit personally from their donations.

Rebbetzin Smiles writes defining “five conceptual components” which constitute true Torah giving (“Torah Tapestries” on Sefer Shemos, pages 106-122, Parshat Terumah), however, this Parshat HaShevua will focus on only one of these components, after all, “From every man whose heart volunteers him” — that’s ratzon (desire): true giving seems to come from one’s heart.

Rebbetzin Smiles “Torah Tapestries” on Sefer Shemos, pages 108-109) cites Rabbi Yitzchak Kreiser (Sefer Ish LeRei’eihu, page 370) who notes that the Chasam Sofer writes:

…Ratzon is the only part of ourselves that we can truly give.

Rebbetzin Smiles then questions:

Why is the desire of one’s heart a critical component of the giving? Are the gold and silver of more reluctant givers worthless?

This verse [“From every man whose heart volunteers him you shall take My donation”] teaches us that our heart’s desire to give is the only thing which is ours to offer! Not just gold and silver, but the entire physical world belongs to Hashem. Offering Hashem material things is merely giving what is already His. True giving, therefore, is dedicating our heart’s desire and our will to Hashem.

In short, it seems that both regarding the donations to the Mishkan (the Tabernacle) and in “offering of a Korbon”, as well as all chesed; one’s true desire is, as Rebbetzin Smiles cites the Chasam Sofer, ” the only part of ourselves that we can truly give” for all else truly belongs to Hashem and is only on loan to us. True happiness then seems linked with one’s true desire to do kindness, whether it is directly between man and Hashem, or between man and his brother, who is in essence a Shaliach Hashem.

May we, the B’nai Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole — restituted for all that was stolen from them at leftist-agendized, supreme court legalized gunpoint, that our dear brother Jonathan Pollard and the other MIAs be liberated alive returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem. May we have the courage, backbone and moral stength of conviction to prevent both the eviction of Jews from their homes in all of Eretz Yisrael and the handing of Jewish land over to enemies sworn to Israel’s and Judaism’s destruction and eradication. May we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nai Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha to see the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima — the Ultimate Redemption bim hay v’yameinu — speedily, in our time”, as Dov Shurin sings; “Ki Karov Yom Hashem V’Kol HaGoyim” — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!

Good Shabbos!

Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.