Thursday, May 3, 2012

319 - Vayikra

The Ramban (Vayikra 1, 9) in his explanation of the commandment to bring korbanos cites chapter 50 in Tehillim that discusses korbanos. The first pasuk states, "The Almighty G-d, Hashem spoke and called to the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting." The Ramban writes that the pasuk mentions, "the complete Name on a complete world."

Rav Wolbe (Da'as Shlomo) enlightens us to the meaning behind the Ramban's words. Korbanos are a means of creating a complete world which thereby allows for the complete Name of Hashem to rest upon it. They bridge the huge chasm that divides the body and the soul: the division between the physical world and The Creator. When one consecrates an animal he has effected kedusha upon the animal which not only gives it specific laws, it also allows the animal to be brought on the mizbeiach. He has taken the basest creature and transformed it into something appropriate to be offered to the Creator Himself. 

These korbanos were offered to Hashem in the Mishkan, a veritable spiritual haven in a turbulent world. It was there that the physical was transformed into the spiritual, and therefore, the Mishkan was deemed a "complete world." Consequently, it was there that the Shechina, "the complete Name," resided.

Rav Wolbe continues that despite the fact that we lack the ability to offer korbanos, nevertheless, the lesson of the korbanos still rings true. We must make an effort to transform our physical bodies into spiritual beings. A person's body should be part and parcel of his avodas Hashem along with the thoughts and intentions that accompany the mitzvah. When one succeeds in this endeavor, he has created a "complete world" that allows for "the complete Name" to reside therein.

As Pesach approaches, this is an idea that one should bear in mind. For the duration of the Yom Tov our bodies avoid any chametz, and we eat matzah - unleavened bread, a more spiritual food. We feed the physical body spiritual food. A human body unchecked parallels that of an animal. However, when it is guided properly, it can reach the zenith of spirituality and become an abode for the Creator!

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