Thursday, April 2, 2009

170 - Tzav

Rav Wolbe (Da'as Shlomo) makes an interesting observation. Although both Parshas Vayikra and Parshas Tzav mention the korbanos, only in Tzav does the Torah preface the description of each of the korbanos with, "This is the Torah of the olah, [shelamim, minchah]." He explains the difference between the two parshios with a Gemara in Sanhedrin (26b). "Says Rav Chanan, 'Why is the Torah referred to as "Toshia" - because it weakens (mateshes) a person's strength.'"

The wisdom of Torah is unique in that which it focuses not so much on the general rules as it does on the details. The primary goal of Torah study is to dissect each mitzvah into the myriads of practical halachos and middos that are encapsulated within each mitzvah. The importance the Torah lends to detail is apparent in a halacha of the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 211, 7). If one sits down to a meal and is served two kinds of food, one she'hakol and one borei pri ha'etz, the food which is borei pri ha'etz takes precedence because this bracha is recited on only one category of food (fruit). The Mishna Berura explains that borei pri ha'etz is more specific and therefore is a more important bracha than she'hakol which is a general bracha that includes many types of food. It is the attention to detail that is important in the eyes of the Torah.

Rav Wolbe writes that it is specifically the Torah study which focuses on the details that weakens a person i.e. detracts from the vitality of the yetzer hara. Reb Yisroel Salanter writes that if one is overcome by his yetzer hara, he should "drag him to its Beis Hamedrosh" (see Kiddushin 30b). In other words he should study in depth, the laws and many details that have to do with the specific area in which he is deficient. It is this form of Torah study that has the ability to "smash the yetzer hara to smithereens" (ibid). 

In Parsha Tzav, the Torah describes the korbanos in greater detail, and therefore prefaces its description with, "This is the Torah of. . ." It is the details which are referred to as Torah, and it is they which gives us the needed strength to battle our yetzer hara.

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