Parashat Vayikra

By Rabbi Moshe Vosoghi:

Parshat Vayikra brings with it the laws of the various korbanot people would bring to the Mishkan and Bet HaMikdash. The chatat, the asham and the minchah are all mentioned in this week’s parsha. However, there is a very intriguing korban called the oleh v’yored that has a particular feature not found in the other korbanot. This korban is known as an ‘adjustable’ sin offering, as the type of korban brought depends on the bearer. A person of means must bring a ewe or goat, but one who is of meager earnings may bring a bird or even flour.

Fascinatingly, the Sefer HaChinuch asserts that if a pauper brings a ewe or goat, they did not fulfill their mitzvah, and must bring a bird or flour as their sacrifice. This is difficult to understand. Why would the Torah disallow one from bringing a great gift to the Bet HaMikdash? If one wants to stretch their means in their service of Hashem, isn’t that to be lauded? Why, then, does the Torah reject the pauper’s korban? The Sefer HaChinuch explains that there is an important lesson to be learned in this seemingly arbitrary law. Once Hashem has allowed the pauper to bring an acceptable korban from a less-expensive item, it is not proper to bring something beyond one’s means.

From this, says the Sefer HaChinuch, one should take heed not to spend beyond one’s abilities. If, in the service of Hashem, one is cautioned to be prudent with one’s spending, certainly one should not be frivolous in other areas! One’s wealth is a gift from Hashem and should be treated with the care it deserves.

Shabbat Shalom