This week’s parsha-post is dedicated as a refuah shleima for Yisroel Aryeh Leib ben Zahavah, a young yeshiva student who was critically injured in an accident in Israel.
This week, we are excited (and shocked at how time flies!), because we are beginning Sefer Vayikra, the third book of the Torah! A main focus of this sefer, are laws of korbanos (offerings). Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and imagine the splendor and kedusha that permeated the atmosphere, as Kohanim busily prepared all kinds of korbanos, with precision and love… A small way in which we could honor and repay Hashem. One thing we could do, to delight Avinu Shebashamayim (our Father in Heaven), with the bounty He has given us on this earth.
5 different meal-offerings are listed in perek 2 of Vayikra.
1.) The minchat-solet– the fine-flour meal-offering. It is the only mincha that is not cooked or baked in any way. The ingredients are simply mixed, measured out by one of the Kohanim, and then divided between the mizbeiach, for burning, and the Kohanim, as their share.
2.) The oven-baked offering, described in pasuk daled: “V’chi takriv karban mincha ma’afay tanus solet chalotz matot m’shuchim bashemen – When you present an offering of meal baked in the oven (it shall be) choice flour– unleavened cakes mixed with oil, or wafers spread with oil.”
3.) The korban cooked in a griddle, called a “machbat”. The cooking process is illustrated in pasuk hei: “V’im mincha al hamachbat karbanecha solet b’lula shemen matza tihiyeh – If your offering is a meal-offering on a griddle, it shall be of choice flour with oil mixed in, unleavened.” Our instruction for this korban continues into the next verse.
4.) The ‘deep fried’ offering, which is discussed in pasuk zayin: “V’im mincha marcheshet karbanecha solet bashemen tayaseh – If our offering is a meal-offering in a pan, it shall be made of choice flour in oil.”
5.) And lastly, the korban-mincha comprised of oil, lavon (frankincense), and flour ground up from your first barley grains, taken from your Omer harvest.
Ralbag, also knows as Gersonides, points out one poignant likeness between these 3 recipes. They are all made from the same ingredients!
The doughs were all very similar. We differentiate between the offerings, by the manner in which they were cooked.
Ralbag continues, further highlighting the difference between the latter two offerings, which are both cooked in some sort of utensil. In the “machbat”, loosely translated as frying pan or griddle, the dough was cooked thinner– almost like a crepe. In the deeper “marcheshet”, which was more like a pot, the dough was formed into a thicker, harder loaf, requiring more oil to cook evenly.
A thought of my own:
We in a way are similar to those bread-like korbanos. We, as a colorful and unique but collective people, bound together by what we have in common…
We are all truly made the same. Hashem created us all lovingly, with our amazing faculties and talents, like combining the fine flour and oil. The flour, made of grain, can represent the work of our hands and bodies, and the ‘bread we earn’– what we accomplish, and acquire for ourselves in this world. The oil can perhaps symbolize our soul-powers and talents, what the flame of our Neshama burns on. Combined, Hashem has made a product– us, filled with so much potential to grow, and be a delight to Him and the world around us.
Hashem made all people of flesh and blood, and most importantly, has invested a pure Neshama, part of Himself, in each and every one of his creations.
But we do have our differences. Hashem delivers unique challenges and successes to each person. Our personal lives and experiences shape and ‘cook’ us differently.
Despite any of our differences though, we can all work towards one higher goal, by making each and every part of ourselves a pleasing offering in our service to Hashem.
We can know for sure, the Master Baker is always keeping His watchful eye on us.
The Messenger Bird
A note about the photo for this post– The scrumptious bread was made by my dear grandfather, who is a talented bread-baker, and I want to thank him so much for it, and for all that he does to bring his family together with love.