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Mar 25, 2012

VaYikra: The Greatness Of The Sin Offering

I don't normally post divrei torah here on Life in Israel. That is usually, or used to be, reserved for a different blog (that has been dormant for a while). I decided to share a thought I had that is relevant to both this past Shabbat's parsha along with the upcoming parshiyot. Bear with me and let me know what you think.

It must have been very difficult for a person to bring a korban - specifically any of the variety of sin offerings. By doing so, by appearing in the Beit HaMikdash with a sin offering in hand, he was publicly announcing that he had done something wrong - committed a sin.

Perhaps for the nondescript, fairly anonymous, average person maybe it was not such a big deal. Or maybe it was. People from his community, or relatives and friends from elsewhere, might see him or know where he was going and what he was doing. Especially, though, someone "important", "popular", well-known, was risking a lot by going to bring his or her sin offering.

I can imagine the crowds of people milling about in the Mikdash, suddenly see a famous politician appear, an important rabbi or community leader, to bring a sin offering. Immediately the rumors start spreading, as people  start whispering and passing the information along.. "Do you know who i saw bringing a sin offering?" You know who I heard brought a sin offering? I wonder what he did wrong..", "you know I heard that so and so doesn't really keep Shabbos and had to bring a sin offering", etc. Maybe the kohen who serviced this fellow and facilitated the korban went home and bragged who he helped that day and what the fellow had done. The rumors started, it made the newspapers, the bloggers picked up on it. Suddenly, this poor guy who wanted a kapara for his mistake is famous for what he did and probably more for all sorts of things he never even thought of doing.

Can you imagine someone who just decided to bring a korban for something he had done wrong - he is thinking to himself, man, I really think I need to bring this korban, but everybody is going to be talking about what I did. They are going to make up stories about me. How am I going to live that down. I am going to lose my job, nobody will respect me, my kids are almost in shidduchim, etc.

Yet this fellow, because he was serious about his growth and repentance, decided anyway, knowing that he was "going public", to bring his korban.

The sin offerings show us how great a person is who is seeking repentance. How much he has to overcome to do it right. How serious he is about it. A person who does this, who brings his korban because that is what is necessary despite all the stuff around it, is a true person of growth. And that shows us that we must do what is right, despite the knowledge that some chips might fall, rightly or wrongly, because of it.

And perhaps that is why the sin offerings have the status of kodshei kadashim rather than kodshe kalim - offerings of greater sanctity rather than offerings of lesser sanctity. Because he had to overcome so much to bring the sin offering, the korban is granted so much more holiness and importance.

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7 comments:

  1. Speaking of korbanot, this is what came to my mind in relation to this past Shabbos Parsha,

    A Mother Calls Out

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  2. It seems this is only true if he brings a goat, although by rights he may bring a lamb and avoid embarrassment.

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  3. Isn't there a korban that is brought for good reasons that looks just like a sin offering that saves anyone from such embarassment?

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  4. whats it called?
    Anyways, it might not be completely public, but he still has to tell the kohen that it is a sin offering. and once one person knows...

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  5. It's certainly a good incentive to make sure you don't do that sin again

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  6. I thought a Chatat only atones for UNintentional sins? Well, in that case, nothing to be ashamed about.

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  7. The kids answered your question. NO ONE would talk about it- because they would be afraid of getting tzara'as. :)

    ReplyDelete

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