Thursday, March 26, 2020

DIN's Take .... Parshat Va'Yikrah

In this week's parsha .... Va'Yikrah will notice that the very first word Vayikra,  ויקרא is spelled with a small "alef" "א"

Many explanations have been given for this phenomenon. Most commentators see it as an expression of Moshe's humility. Although he reached the highest levels of sanctity and closeness to Hashem, he chose to downplay his role in the matter.

The Zohar Hakodosh, however, offers a completely different answer, one that puts the entire sefer Vayikra in perspective.

He sees the small alef as a sign of imperfection:

"Why is there a small alef? Because this "calling" was imperfect. 
Why so?
For it took place in the Mishkan and in a foreign land. 
[True] perfection can only be found in the Land of Israel"
(Tosafot HaZohar 1, quoted in Itturei Torah, vol 3 p.7)

Let us contemplate this Zohar for a moment...
There was probably never a period in Jewish history during which the Jewish people enjoyed a more intimate relationship with Hashem than the 40 year journey through the desert.
Heavenly clouds surrounded them on all sides, protecting them from the elements. Their clothes grew with them and never wore out.
Celestial food was delivered to them every day. They were led by the greatest prophet ever to live, and he was readily available to answer questions and give advice on religious matters. 

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And perhaps most importantly, they had a portable Bais HaMikdash which accompanied them throughout their journey.
There, they were able to offer karbanos to Hashem and draw spiritual inspiration whenever they needed.

Can there possibly be a more ideal situation than this?

Nevertheless, the Zohar teaches us that no matter how good it is in Chutz Laaretz, even from a spiritual standpoint, something is lacking, for true perfection can only be attained in Hashem's special land ..

the Jewish communities in Chutz Laaretz can boast many fine yeshivos, elaborate shiurim, glorious chesed organizations, stores and restaurants that adhere to the strictest standards of kashrut ....

Let us never forget, however, that the Jews in the desert had it even better, and yet their existence was considered imperfect, simple because it was in the wrong environment.

Let the little alef at the beginning of this parsha serve as a subtle reminder that we have yet to reach our ultimate goal...
to serve Hashem in utter perfection and protection in His Chosen Land!

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