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Vayikra – Rishon
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G-d called to Moshe and gave him instructions about sacrifices. Sacrifices could only be brought from cattle, sheep and goats. A korban olah (burnt offering) taken from cattle must be a male without any defects. It must be brought voluntarily and the owner would place his hands on the animal’s head before handing it over […]
Vayikra – Sheini
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One could also bring a korban olah from a bird, specifically a pigeon or a dove. (The name “turtle dove” is actually derived not from turtles, but from the Hebrew word “tor,” as opposed to a regular dove, which is a “yonah.” We’ll just stick with the common, if less ornithologically precise, translation of “pigeons […]
Vayikra – Shlishi
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A mincha could also consist of flour and oil cooked in a pot. No matter how it was prepared, the kohein would first burn the appropriate portion, then the rest would belong to the kohanim. None of the flour offerings were allowed to be leavened or mixed with fruit juice. Dates and other produce are […]
Vayikra – R’vi’i
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A korban shlamim (“peace offering”) could be brought from either male or female cattle, so long as they were free of imperfections. The owner would place his hands on the animal’s head before giving it over to the kohanim for sacrificing. The parts burned included the stomach fat and other intestinal fats, the kidneys and […]
Vayikra – Chamishi
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There are certain sins for which the penalty is spiritual excision (“kareis”) if committed intentionally. If a person committed one of these acts inadvertently, he would bring a sin offering or “korban chatas.” If the High Priest committed such an act, he would have to bring a defect-free young bull as a sacrifice. He would […]
Vayikra – Shishi
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If just a regular person – not the king, High Priest or the community as a whole – committed an inadvertent sin, his chatas would consist of a defect-free female goat. He would place his hands on the goat’s head, the goat would be slaughtered, and the kohein would proceed as he did for the […]
Vayikra – Sh’vi’i
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If the two birds pose a financial hardship, the person could bring a flour offering. Because it’s being brought as a sin offering, it would not have oil or frankincense placed on it. Me’ilah is when someone took an item consecrated for use in the Temple (or the Tabernacle) and made personal use of it. […]
Vayikra – Haftarah
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This week’s haftarah calls our attention to the question of sacrifice, as did the Torah reading. Those who know the book of Isaiah at all are accustomed to his complaining about the Jewish people’s excessive focus on sacrifice, but our selection fits better with the Torah reading, avoiding negativity about sacrifice while drawing our attention […]
Pekudei – Rishon
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Aharon’s son Itamar kept the records of the materials donated for the building of the Mishkan. There were 29 talents and 730 shekels of gold. (A talent is 3,000 shekels. This is well over a ton of gold even by the more conservative estimates. More likely, it was around two tons of gold.) The silver […]
Pekudei – Sheini
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The craftsmen made the Ephod for the High Priest and set the engraved stones on the shoulder pieces, as G-d had directed. They made the breastplate and set the 12 engraved gems upon it. They made the gold cords and used them to attach the breastplate to the Ephod.