Vayikra 5777


Parshas Vayikra discusses the many Korbanos, sacrifices, which are brought on the Mizbeach. Some are obligatory, while others can be brought on a volunteer basis. The Steipler wonders about the purpose of a voluntary Korban. If a Korban is something we need for our Ruchnius, spirituality, then the Torah would command us to bring it. Since the Torah does not, what is gained by the volunteer Korban?
The Steipler answers this question based on the Mesilas Yesharim. In the chapter discussing the Middah of Zerizus, alacrity, the Mesilas Yesharim asks what one should do if he has no drive to serve Hashem with Zerizus. He says one should push himself to serve Hashem with Zerizus and try to go through the motions anyway, even if he doesn’t feel it. By doing so, he will hopefully start to feel the drive to serve Hashem with Simcha.
The same logic applies to Korbanos. When a person wants to come closer to Hashem because he is not feeling the connection, he should go ahead and bring a voluntary Korban. This will wake him up from his spiritual slumber and hopefully rekindle his connection to Hashem. When he brings a Korban that is obligated to be brought, it doesn’t necessarily show his love for the Creator. He is doing it because the Torah says he has to. By contrast, when a person brings a voluntary Korban, something that wasn’t required of him, yet he went ahead and did it anyway, that act will hopefully get him back on the correct spiritual track.
On a similar note, I heard from my Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Elefant, that when a person feels down and depressed, especially after doing an Aveira, all he wants to do is bury himself in his pillow and forget about “real life.” Rabbi Elefant would always say that the best way to pull through is to keep to one’s regular routine and go through the motions, and soon enough, he will recover. If he does not do this and totally falls, it will be much harder to pull himself back up.
Regarding the process of bringing a Korban, the Torah (Vayikra 1:4) says, “He shall lean his hands on the head of the elevation offering…and it shall atone for him.” The Midrash says that this act of leaning the hands does not apply to an elevation offering that is a bird. Only if the Korban is a more important animal, like a bull, sheep or a goat, will he lean. Why is this so?
The Oznayim LeTorah explains that when a wealthy man brings an offering fit for a wealthy man, a bull, goat or sheep, he starts to feel good about himself; he has overcome his love for money and brought an expensive Korban. When a person starts to feel this pride, his offering becomes undesirable to Hashem. It is a result of his erroneous belief that all his wealth and animals are a result of his own hard work and effort. He forgets that Hashem gave him everything he has. Therefore, the rich man is commanded to lean his hands on the animal, as if to say that without Hashem’s help, he could not have accomplished anything more than the animal’s head he is leaning on. When he starts to put this into perspective, he will be able to do Teshuva and gain repentance.
However, this is not a concern for a poor person who brings a bird or a flour offering. A poor person knows that his Aveira is greater than his Korban. Because of his financial situation, he can only bring a simple offering. He is already down and depressed because of his state of poverty; therefore, leaning isn’t necessary to put him in the right state of mind when bringing his Korban.


ואכלו את הבשר בלילה הזה צלי אש ומצות על מררים יאכלהו (שמות יב:ח)

The Halacha requires one to eat Maror on the Seder night. The Rosh, commenting on a Braisa (Pesachim 115a), points out that the amount of Maror to be consumed is a כזית, the equivalent volume of an olive. The reason for this, explains the Rosh, is that the Bracha recited over Maror is על אכילת מרור, “on the eating of Maror.” In Halachic terminology, the word אכילה, “eating,” always refers to a כזית.
This Rosh seems perplexing. It would appear from the Rosh that if not for the text of the Bracha, one would not be required to consume a כזית. This means that in and of itself, the actual requirement to eat Maror does not demand a כזית; rather, it is only the text of the Bracha instituted by Chazal that creates this requirement!
The Sha’agas Aryeh (100) takes issue with the Rosh. He suggests that if the obligation itself to eat Maror does not require eating a כזית, and this amount is only based upon the text of the Bracha, Chazal should have worded the Bracha without using the term “eating.”
Further, the above Pasuk mentions eating Maror using the word אכילה, seemingly referring to the Maror. If so, then from a Biblical standpoint there is a requirement to eat a כזית of Maror, not just to fulfill the Rabbinically ordained wording.
Possibly, admits the Sha’agas Aryeh, the “eating” requirement in the Pasuk does not refer to the Maror, but it is reflexive on the first half of the Pasuk regarding the Korban Pesach. The Torah is not commanding the “eating” of Maror; rather, it is teaching that the eating of the Korban Pesach should be performed together with Maror. Accordingly, the Pasuk does not mention eating in regard to Maror.
Still, asks the Sha’agas Aryeh, there are laws that compare the Korban Pesach to the Matzo and Maror. This is based upon the principle ofהיקש , juxtaposition. When the Torah puts two different laws together, the purpose is to infer one from the other. Here as well, the Torah lists the Maror and Matzo along with the Pesach, so that we can infer that the laws of one pertain to the other. The Pesach certainly requires consumption of a כזית, as the Torah clearly stated “eating” regarding it. Through the principle of היקש, we should infer that consumption of a כזית is required of Matzo and Maror as well.
The argument between the Rosh and the Sha’agas Aryeh applies only to the reasoning behind the law to eat a כזית of Maror. Both still agree that a כזית must be eaten. However, their argument will result in a difference regarding the Korech. At Korech, Matzo is taken together with Maror. Does one need to use a כזית of Maror for the Korech? According to the Sha’agas Aryeh, the answer is surely yes, as the Korech is fulfilling the Maror obligation in a fashion similar to the opinion of Hillel, in sandwich form. Hillel certainly ate a כזית of Maror, since that is the basic obligation, and we should do the same. But according to the Rosh, the entire need for a כזית of Maror is only due to the Bracha. Since we do not recite a Bracha on the Korech, we should not require a כזית either!
There are indeed Acharonim who rule that Korech does not require a כזית, based upon this opinion of the Rosh.
One may argue that Korech does indeed have a Bracha – the Brachos of the Matzo and the Maror eaten separately. The Shulchan Aruch rules that one should not interrupt from the time he eats the Matzo until after the Korech, so that the Brachos of the Matzo and Maror can also be applied to the Korech. If so, since Korech does have a Bracha, it should therefore require a כזית.
In addition, Hillel had only one portion of Maror, which he ate together with the Matzo after reciting the Brachos of Matzo and Maror, so he certainly consumed a כזית of Maror. If we are trying to create a remembrance of that opinion, we should perform it the way it was done regardless.
The Chasam Sofer (O.C. 140) resolves the Sha’agas Aryeh’s questions, explaining that the Rosh agrees to all the points he had mentioned. Certainly there is aהיקש between the Maror and the Matzo with the Pesach, and this should Biblically require a כזית for the Maror obligation. The Rosh was merely proving this fact. Since there is no specific Gemara explicitly identifying such a היקש, the Rosh proves that there must be one, based on the fact that Chazal versed the Bracha on the Maror with the language of “eating.” This proves that they understood the nature of the Biblical obligation of Maror to be a כזית. In other words, the Sha’agas Aryeh understood the Rosh’s use of the Bracha’s text as a סיבה, a cause, for a כזית, whereas the Chasam Sofer explains it as aסימן , a proof, for the כזית.
Consequently, according to the Chasam Sofer, even the Rosh would require a כזית for Korech.