Parshas Vayikra | Zachor

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By Rabbi Shloimie Lindenbaum

ואם לא תגיע ידו די שה והביא את אשמו…אחד לחטאת ואחד לעולה (פרק ה פסוק ז)

If one sins and is obligated to bring a קרבן עולה ויורד, their financial status determines what they need to bring as a קרבן. A wealthy individual brings a sheep as an אשם, a poor person brings two birds- one עולה and one חטאת, and a destitute person brings a מנחה. The אבן עזרא is bothered, why does a poor person have to bring two offerings while a wealthy person only brings one? He answers that the poor person brings a חטאת to atone for his sin, and he must also bring an עולה, which atones for improper thoughts, because he may have been jealous that he cannot bring the קרבן of a wealthy person. R’ Elya Baruch Finkel points out that this poor person may have been poor for a while- why only now are we concerned that he became jealous? R’ Finkel answers that we can trust a poor person to work on themselves in overcoming jealousy regarding worldly matters, but here they are looking to serve Hashem in a better way. We are nervous that they will be jealous of how the wealthy person can “give more” to Hashem in their service of Him. Even though their jealousy is in spiritual matters, this is still not the proper approach, and they must atone for this as well. Although we are instructed to utilize jealousy in רוחניות, this is only to push ourselves to work harder, but in the tools that we are given, that is totally from Hashem. One should not be jealous of others that they can serve Hashem with more money, brains, or other assets, because these are all gifts from Hashem. We should be satisfied with our lot and only use jealousy as an impetus to work harder in serving Him.

כי מחה אמחה את את זכר עמלק (פרשת זכור)

The Sfas Emes notes that when it comes to destroying עמלק and פורים, there are many examples of “doubles”. The double expression of “מחה אמחה”, the two days of פורים, two months of אדר, reading the מגילה twice, and other examples. He explains the significance of this based on the גמרא in מגילה that המן was not worried about the Jews being protected by their מצוות because they were “sleeping” in their מצוה observance. This implies that the Jews were doing the מצוות but their performance was in a lazy, uninterested approach. We find a similar concept before עמלק attacks in the מדבר that חז”ל tell us “רפו ידיהם מן התורה”, we “loosened our hands” in keeping the Torah. This is the way in which our enemies, especially עמלק, can be successful, when we take the excitement and emotion out of our Torah and מצוות. This is also referenced by the גמרא that says that after we were saved from המן there was “אורה ושמחה וששון ויקר”, which really refers to Torah, Yom Tov, Bris Milah, and tefillin. The מפרשים explain that the פסוק does not mention these מצוות explicitly because the Jews were always fulfilling the actual מצוות, just they were lacking in the feeling and enthusiasm in their performance. That is why the פסוק refers to it as “light, joy, elation, and glory”, because those are the aspects that returned to us. The Sfas Emes explains that when something is doubled, it is usually not as exciting the second time around. At that point it is old and can be performed by rote. This is why, specifically by אדר and פורים, when we are working on conquering עמלק, there are so many doubles, to prove that we can inject our service of Hashem with feeling and excitement even when it’s not new. This allows us to nip the power of עמלק in the bud and בעזה”י in this זכות we should all see the final גאולה together.  א פריילעכין פורים!!!!!!!

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