Forethoughts and Afterthoughts.
Commentary on the weekly Torah reading.
In memory of Father, Yosef Ben Zelig.
March 25th 1911 - May 2nd 2008
In memory of Mother, Nechama Bas Tzvi Hirsh.
June 9th 1925 - April 16th 2003
In memory of Uncle, Moshe Binyamin Ben Tzvi Hirsh.
December 12 1929 - February 2nd 2010
In Loving Memory of Moreinu Horav Shmuel Yaakov Weinberg, Rosh HaYeshiva Ner Yisroel
Vayikra (Leviticus 1-5)
1:3 If one's Olah sacrifice is from the cattle then the person shall bring it (from) unblemished males. He shall bring it to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, voluntarily before G-D.
Some offerings are voluntary and others are mandatory. Similarly, some commandments are voluntary and others are mandatory.
Given that G-D created the world exclusively for our benefit, given that He is the source of all resources, and He is both aware and manages everything, including all of our needs, what function do voluntary commandments provide?
Clearly, when it comes to giving charity, it is the donor we who stands to gain when done properly and whose loss will have the greatest significance, for G-D has many ways to satisfy the needs of the impoverished.
But how do we understand voluntary sacrifices, especially the Olah that is consumed totally on the altar? Although the officiating priests benefit from the hides, G-D has many other ways to compensate them.
The following insight is provided by the Birchas Peretz, according to my understanding.
The Torah mandates that we love G-D (Deuteronomy 6:5).
How can love be mandated?
We must say that if Torah mandates this love then it is within our ability to grow it. This must all be part of how G-D designed us all.
The Rambam describes one way for a person to achieve this love: What is the method of coming to love and respect G-D? When a person reflects upon His great and wondrous acts and creations and when the person realizes from them G-Dís unlimited and unparalleled wisdom then he will immediately come to love and praise Him. Furthermore, he will feel a great desire to know more about G-D (Yad Hachazaka - Madah - Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah 2:2).
The Sefer Hachinuch writes that over time, a personís activity can create an internal and personal transformation (Commandment 16).
The Mesilas Yesharim (Chapter 7) write that just as enthusiasm brings one act energetically, so can acting energetically eventually bring one to feel enthusiastic.
Love comes in many ways.
I say from experience that purchasing a gift for a loved one, such as a spouse, child, or grandchild is a very pleasurable experience. If itís appropriate and we can afford it then out comes the credit card.
Therefore, suggests the Birchas Peretz, as we extend ourselves and perform voluntary commandments with the intent to honor G-D, we will bring ourselves closer to connect with Him and to love Him.