Please use the Search bar to access the archives instead of the Alphabetical / Chronological Archives as we are experiencing technical difficulties with those areas of the website. Thank you.

back to blog home | about Rabbi Buchwald |  back to main NJOP site

Vayikra Summaries

Vayikra 5778-2018

“The Sins of a Leader”

By implying that all leaders and princes will sin, is the Torah teaching that all systems of government are doomed to failure?

Link to full version

Vayikra 5777-2017

“רֵיחַ נִיחוֹחַ –A Sweet Savor unto the L-rd”

Does G-d really need to smell the “sweet savor” of the sacrifices in order to be appeased?

Link to full version

Vayikra 5776 -2016

“The Gifts of the Kohanim-the Priests”

One of the important lessons of animal sacrifices is that even “fundraising” expenses are holy and serve an important purpose.

Link to full version

Vayikra 5775-2015

“The Primacy of Independent Thinking”

From the example of the sin offering brought by the leaders of Israel who issue a mistaken ruling, we learn of the primacy of independent thinking in Jewish life.

Link to full version

Vayikra 5774-2014

“The Essence of Sacrifice”

Rabbi Ben-Zion Firer argues that the primary purpose of the rituals of animal sacrifice is to prevent future sinful actions, rather than atone for past trespasses.

Link to full version

Vayikra 5773-2013

“Achieving Spiritual Ascendance Through Sacrifice”

Why do Jewish children begin their study of Torah with the complicated laws of sacrifice? What is ultimately achieved by the bringing of animal sacrifices?

Link to full version

Vayikra 5772-2012

“Pass the Salt, Please!”

In parashat Vayikra we learn of the obligation of placing salt on all sacrificial offerings, including all animal, wheat and wine offerings. What is the purpose and function of this ritual?

Link to full version

Vayikra 5771-2011

“No Leaven or Honey on the Altar”

Once the Torah prescribes the procedures for the various fine flour offerings, Scripture warns that none of the offerings may be brought on the altar together with leaven or with honey. What is the reason for this odd prohibition?

Link to full version

Vayikra 5770-2010

“Do Leaders Corrupt, or are They Corrupted?”

The first sin offering that is recorded in parashat Vayikra is the offering of the anointed priest. Regarding this sacrifice, an unresolved dispute comes to the surface, raising the issue of whether it is the leaders who lead the people astray or whether leaders are corrupted by their followers.

Link to full version

Vayikra 5769-2009

Shlamim: Expressing Wholehearted Gratitude”

The Shlamim sacrifice, or Peace offering, plays a central role in the Jewish sacrificial rite. Although sacrifices are no longer offered today, their inherent symbolic meanings are still quite cogent. The ability to express gratitude for no particular reason, but merely because one is satisfied with one’s life, is a feeling that is vitally important for people to articulate.

Link to full version

Vayikra 5768-2008

“Infallibility in Judaism”

In parashat Vayikra we learn of the sin offerings of the High Priest and the King of Israel. These sin offerings imply the fallibility of the nation’s great leaders and serve as a message of hope for the common people, that while everyone is subject to sin, all can repent and repair themselves. It is a breathtakingly refreshing message.

Link to full version

Vayikra 5767-2007

“Balancing Heart and Mind”

There is almost nothing more exacting in Jewish law and life than the procedures that are required when offering sacrifices. And yet, the Torah emphasizes the need to give of one’s inner self, one’s heart, in order to properly complement the precision that is so vital to proper fulfillment of the sacrificial process.

Link to full version

Vayikra 5766-2006

“Eternal Lessons from Ancient Sacrifices ”

Is there anything meaningful or relevant that can be learned from the ancient rituals of animal sacrifice? A remarkable law found in the obscure details of a poor person’s burnt offering serves as a window to many similar lessons of sensitivity that proliferate throughout Jewish law and practice.

Link to full version

Vayikra 5765-2005

“The ‘Sacrifice’ That Lasts Forever ”

Much of the Book of Leviticus, especially parashat Vayikra, deals with the rites and rituals of animal sacrifice. Sacrifice, however, does not only mean the sacrifice of offerings in the Tabernacle, it also means the Jews preparedness to do everything that is necessary to guarantee that Jewish children are given proper Jewish educations, thus ensuring a bright Jewish future.

Link to full version

Vayikra 5764-2004

“Insights for the Contemporary Soul from Ancient ‘Primitive’ Rituals”

As we begin Vayikra, the book of the Torah pertaining to the priestly service and the Temple sacrifices, we see how relevant these ancient laws are to our lives, even in contemporary times. The mandatory sacrifice brought after an unintentional sin, demonstrates that the root to repentance is awakening from apathy.

Link to full version

Vayikra-Purim 5763-2003

“Parashat Zachor: ‘Hating as a Mitzvah?'”

The highly acclaimed young scholar, Rabbi Meir Y. Soloveichik penned an essay in the Christian theological journal, Present Tense, entitled The Virtue of Hate. Although Soloveichik’s arguments are technically correct, he fails to put these valid arguments within proper context. Judaism in fact does theological somersaults in order to find merit even for the hardcore wicked.

Link to full version

Vayikra 5762-2002

“The Lesson of the Mincha Offering–Giving with a Full Heart”

Among the many profound lessons that the Mincha offering teaches, is that Judaism is not the religion of the wealthy. In fact, Judaism provides venues of expression and of worship for all the people of Israel, rich and poor, young and old, male and female alike. The Mincha offering specifically teaches that one must give with a full heart.

Link to full version

Vayikra 5761- 2001

“Moses, the Leader with a Calling”

Moses’ commitment to serve as G-d’s messenger was thorough and complete. It was therefore no accident that G-d spoke to him, or through him. It was not a happening and not a coincidence. It was the very essence of Moses’ life and the ultimate purpose of his being. It was his calling.

Link to full version

Vayikra 5760 – 2000

“Thanking G-d for the Good”

For mortals, it’s not easy to maintain a sense of gratitude for the constant miracles that are part of our everyday existence. The Sh’lamim, the Peace Offering, enables us to express our gratitude to G-d at all times, and not just to cry out and denounce G-d when things are wrong or uncomfortable. It’s easy to complain about the bad; it’s far more difficult to say “Thank You” for the good.

Link to full version