Thought of the Week: Vayikra - 5778


In the beginning of Pareshat Vayikra, the Torah describes the procedure of bringing an Elevation Offering - the Olah.

After the animal is slaughtered, cut and skinned, the Torah notes that “The sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire on the altar and arrange wood on the fire.” 

The next Pasuk continues, “Aaron’s sons, the priests, shall arrange the pieces, the head, and the fat, on the wood that is on the fire that is on the altar.”

Commentators wonder why the Torah needs to tell us in the second Pasuk that wood was on the fire.  Is this information not already known to us from the previous Pasuk?

To serve Hashem, two essential components are necessary:

1.  An emotional desire to connect to Hashem

2. A guiding system that instructs humans to live an ethical life. 

The emotion of relating to the Higher Being is analogous to fire; upwardly moving, flickering and at times uncontrollable.  The ethical system can be compared to wood, as we declare every Shabbat that the Torah is an “Eitz Chaim,” a tree of life.

Thus the reason the Torah repeats the requirement of wood and fire on the altar is to remind us of both crucial elements needed in our service of Hashem.

Shabbat Shalom