Parshat Vayikra – Eitan Feifel

Posted on March 23, 2015

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‘Started from Leviticus now we’re here’

This week’s Parsha, Parshat Vayikra, begins with G-d calling Moshe into the Tent of Meeting. G-d explains to Moshe the laws of the Korbanot. He was told of the Korban Olah, the Korban Mincha (meal offering), the Shelamim (peace offering), the Chatat (sin offering) and the Asham (guilt offering). The parsha then goes on explaining each of these korbanot.

Parshat Vayikra is the first chapter in the book of Vayikra. When a child first begins learning Torah, the first Parsha they start with is Vayikra. This is very odd. This would obviously make someone wonder why it is that the children start with Vayikra and not Bresheit. Rav Assi asks this exact question. The simple explanation states that the karbanot are pure, and the children are pure, so therefor they start at Vayikra and let the pure come to deal with the pure. But, what does this really mean?

Korbanot are considered pure for two reasons: one is because you need to be pure in order to go through the process of giving Korbanot, and second, the process of giving a Korban makes one pure. Children are considered pure because they have not sinned, and they have not yet been able to taste this sinful world. The concept of purity is harder to teach to some who is tempted to sin and is impure, so when teaching children, the concepts are better understood. This also gives children a better fundamental and initial understanding of G-d, causing less confusion and questioning when learning Beresheit and creation. Lastly, Karbanot are the essence of avodah (Service to G-d), so when children are taught this it sets them up to live pure and to serve Hashem.