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  • Rav Moshe Weiss

Nahar U'Pashtei Parshas Vayikra

Love Born of Trust

Parshas Vayikra is full of different korbanos; offerings one can or must bring before Hashem. We have spent time in the past discussing the deep hashkafic lessons of one’s korban olah, and I would like to explain this offering from a second angle, strengthening its purpose. An olah is an animal that cost one money to procure, and most of the time produces money in the form of wool, milk, and other staples. When a person offers his animal as an olah it is completely burned on the Mizbei’ach, offering a yardstick to measure his bitachon. Seeing his animal seemingly wasted for this offering should cause one no angst at all, and he should be serene in fulfilling the will of his Creator. Hashem gives and Hashem takes, and everything is His. No possession that one may have is really his own and Hashem can and will give a person what he needs. This is the bitachon of an olah. Sometimes it can be a testament to one’s level; sometimes a test, and other times a push in the right direction. All these themes are essential to the growth of a eved Hashem. But what I would like to discuss further is that an olah presents an element of atonement for a person as well. The Torah says: and it shall be pleasing on his behalf to atone for him. Now, according to what we have presented there is seemingly no place in the olah offering for atonement! How do we reconcile the theme of atonement together with the closeness and clarity of bitachon we spoke of? The answer lies in the type of sins that the olah carries atonement for. The atonement of an olah is mainly for positive commandments that one failed to fulfill. Now, if we examine the difference between abstaining from negative commandments and fulfilling positive mitzvos, a stark contrast emerges. While it is relatively easier for a ben Torah to live as a person who does not cross the line into negative sin, fulfilling the mitzvos to their fullest requires a new medium of motivation. Negative commandments for the most part can be a black and white choice, while a drive to do the mitzvos as Hashem truly desires requires a cultivated desire. And what is it that varies from person to person that in a way measures this drive to do Hashem’s will? It is, of course, bitachon! Bitachon is not just trust, but it is our side of the relationship with Hashem! Those who believe in Hashem and trust in Him also live lives of this trust. Lives where the only thing that can ever matter is His will! It follows then, that they will run to do as He wants and delight in fulfilling the mitzvos! As such, when one is not on the level where he feels this drive to do mitzvos, and he lets some mitzvah slip him by, the olah comes to atone for him. The offering of bitachon serves to strengthen one’s trust, and atone for the trust missing within him. A gut Shabbos! A Project of the YSI Alumni Association Written by R’ Moshe Weiss

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