SALT - Friday, Shushan Purim 15 Adar Bet 5779 - March 22, 2019

  • Rav David Silverberg
            Concluding its discussion of the mincha offering (which consisted of flour, as opposed to an animal), the Torah in Parashat Tzav (7:10) emphasizes that the offering is eaten by the kohanim regardless of whether it is “mixed with oil” or “dry.”  Once a handful of the mincha sacrifice is placed on the altar, the rest is given to the kohanim to eat, and the Torah found it necessary to stress that this is true of all mincha offerings – those which are offered together with oil, and those which are brought without oil.  As Rashi explains, mincha offerings which are brought voluntarily require oil – a requirement explicitly mentioned earlier (2:1) – whereas mincha offerings which the Torah obligates one to bring to atone for a misdeed are specifically not mixed with oil (5:11).  The Torah here clarifies that both types of sacrifices are given to the kohanim to eat (after a handful has been placed on the altar).
            Rav Shlomo of Radomsk, in Tiferet Shelomo, suggests that underlying this emphasis is a message to the kohanim about the nature of their role as the nation’s spiritual leaders.  The kohanim might have assumed that as they had been designated for the sacred, exclusive role of serving God in the Beit Ha-mikdash, they are to associate only with the righteous members of the nation.  Their exalted level of sanctity, they might have thought, requires selectivity in building their circle of influence and affiliation, and that they work only with those who are pure and devoted.  The Torah therefore emphasizes that all mincha offerings – even those that offered by sinners seeking atonement – are given to the kohanim to eat, just like the voluntary mincha offerings.  The kohanim are told not to draw any distinction between the different spiritual classes, to devote the same amount of time and effort to inspiring and associating with those on the lower religious rungs as they devote to the elite. 
            All of us are, in a sense, “kohanim,” in that we are all in a position to influence and impact upon other people, in one way or another, and to one degree or another.  The Tiferet Shelomo here instructs that in our role as “kohanim,” we must not limit ourselves to one group of people.  We should strive to help and influence anybody we can, and not restrict ourselves to only one certain type.  Anyone should be welcomed into our sphere of influence, and included in our effort to do what we can to make the world just a little bit better.