Friday, April 7, 2017

Mussar Drosha: Tzav

Mussar Drosha: Tzav:

Parshas Vayikra, as we read, spoke a lot about Korbanos/offerings.  And now, as we head into Parshas Tzav, we find even more topics on Korbanos.  

In the third Aliyah, the Torah tells us ‘And if from the flesh of the sacrifice of his Peace-offering will be eaten on the third day….. it will be rejected….’ Rashi HaKadosh quotes from Toras Kohanim, which explains that this verse is referring to one who intended at the time of slaughter that it would be eaten on the third day.  This is called Piggul.  

But, let us ask; what really is a Korban?  True, as we know, it is when we offer something to Hashem, but what is the “deeper” significance of it?  

So, HaRav Shimshon Refoel Hirsch zt"l explains that the wordקרבּןcomes from the rootקרב”-- to come close, or near.  “It is קרבת אלקים, nearness to G-d” he says “which is striven for by a קרבן.”

Unfortunately though, as of right now, we cannot offer Korbanos nor do we have a Mizbeach/Altar to bring them on or perform the special services with (may Hashem, He is Blessed, restore it very, very swiftly in everyone's days, Amein).  However, in the stead of Korbanos, we have our Tefillos.  

Tefillos/Prayers are now (one of) our vehicle(s) to come closer to Hashem.  And they must be done properly -- just like a Korban must -- in order to truly bring us closer to Hashem.  You couldn’t just slaughter an animal and say it's an offering:  There are special directions to follow, things to do, etc.  So too with Davening, it is not just saying some words……
But now let us think again about the concept of Piggul:  If our Tefillos are supposed to be like Korbanos, and a Korban was rendered unfit because of improper intentions, then we must be very careful to concentrate on our Davening and have the proper intentions -- otherwise it could be unfit, Chas V’Shalom!  But how do we rid ourselves of the mundane thoughts that the Yetzer Hara keeps throwing into our minds, which could, Chas V’Shalom, mess up our Tefillah?
The Torah tells us at the beginning of this parsha ‘And the fire of the Altar shall burn on [lit. in] it.’  The Mizbeach can symbolize Davening (as Korbanos were offered on it):  So perhaps the above passuk/verse comes to teach us that we must have fire in Davening -- we must Daven with passion and warmth.  

And we might also add that this could be one of the lessons of the word 'בּוֹ' (which means ‘in it’ or ‘in him’):  A person must kindle the spark inside of themselves into a roaring blaze to Hashem and put it into the Tefillos.  And, partly based upon some Chassidishe Vorts that I heard (from HaRav Elyakim Rosenblatt shlita, on, perhaps we may suggest that this is what the words towards the beginning of the passuk are alluding to:זאת תּוֹרת העלה-- you want to know the secret to rising up high? (This gotten from the word Olah --which comes from the root of ascending).  You must Daven with fire and fervor!  Really say the holy words of Tefillah/Prayer with passion -- this will bring you closer to Hashem like a Korban (see above), and raise you up.
Alternatively,בּוֹcan mean 'in him'.  The passuk can then be rendered 'And the fire of the Mizbeach shall burn in him' -- which teaches us that if you want to Daven with fire and passion (or do anything else for that matter with it), it must come from within.  You must kindle an Aish Kodesh/Holy Fire inside of yourself.  (By Aish Kodesh, we of course mean a burning desire to come close to Hashem, and warmth and fervor).
Or perhaps we may suggest something different:  The Be'er Moshe zt"l (quoted in Nesivos Shalom) explains that בּוֹ ('in it') alludes to the strength of Torah.  And HaRav Shalom Rosner shlita (on explains this to mean that the Aish Kodesh is in the Torah.  Based upon this (and some on the Nesivos Shalom zt"l), we may perhaps suggest thatבּוֹ can be referring to the Davening.  In order to Daven with the proper passion, we must really concentrate on the words of Tefillah, for the Aish Kodesh is in them.
But how does all this answer our above question -- how to rid ourselves of mundane thoughts during Davening?  So, there is a mashal/parable quoted in the book Toras Avos:   
Imagine there is someone who wants to cut down an entire forest in order to be able to build a city there.  But, after cutting down tree after tree, he realizes that his days will be over before the trees will be gone!  So what did he do?  He lit a fire and it burned down the entire forest very quickly!  So too, explains Sefer Toras Avos, if a Jew wants to wage war with improper thoughts, you must light up a roaring Aish Kodesh, and it will burn away your improper thoughts. (Quoted in Nesivos Shalom).
Now we have the answer to our question!  If you want to Daven properly, and get rid of mundane thoughts which mess up your concentration, you must say the Tefillah with warmth, fervor and passion.  But don’t get discouraged if at first it is hard to have the proper fervor:  The Torah says in the second verse of this parshaהעלה על מוֹקדה על המזבּח (‘the Olah that burns upon the Altar’):  But in a Torah Scroll, the letterמof the wordמוֹקדה(‘burns’) is written small.  This comes to teach us that sometimes at first you might only “burn” a little while Davening -- i.e. you might only have a little passion.  But keep trying!  For if you do, with the Help of Hashem, your fervor will grow and grow until you have a roaring Aish Kodesh!
HaKadosh Baruch Hu, please send us Eliyahu HaNavi this Pesach, announcing the coming of Mashiach, son of Dovid, Your Anointed one, when You will rebuild the Beis HaMikdash and all its vessels, and we will once again be able to bring Korbanos to you!
A Gut Shabbos and a Chag Kasher V’Sameach to all!

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