סדר צו

צו את אהרן ואת בניו לאמר זאת תורת העולה

Command Aaron and his sons thus: This is the law of the burnt offering:

Leviticus 6:1

Rashi comments:

The word “צו” (command) is an expression of exhortation. R. Shimon said an exhortation is especially necessary when there is the potential for an economic loss

See the Ramban who wrote that R. Shimon did not make his comment in reference to this verse, because under the law of the burnt-offering, the priest incurs no economic loss in bringing the sacrifice to the altar. On the contrary, the priest derives an economic benefit from bringing the sacrifice to the altar, because the hide becomes the possession of the priest.

However, our master says that the words of R. Shimon were indeed based on this verse and were based on a rational foundation, it being taught in the Midrash (Leviticus Rabbah )

This refers to what is written (Proverbs 10:12): “שנאה תעורר מדנים” (Hatred stirs up strife).

And the Midrash explains at length that the hatred that Aaron aroused (see Deuteronomy 9:21) by making the Golden Calf provoked many adverse judgments, and Aaron’s name was therefore not mentioned from the beginning of the book of Leviticus until this verse, except for verses referring to “Aaron’s sons, the priests.” Only the prayer of Moses succeeded in again drawing Aaron close to the Eternal. If so, it is appropriate that in the first commandment given to Aaron after being again brought close there should be a warning about the sin that he had committed. 

Our master has previously explained at length that the sin of the Calf occurred because the Israelites refused to listen to the voice of the Living God and they despised the study of the Torah, preferring perform commandments at the instruction of mortals to learning the commandments through the study of Torah. And Aaron, too, was of that opinion. Thus, after Moses prayed to the Eternal in behalf of Aaron, and God drew Aaron close to perform the priestly service before Him, God taught Aaron that although He henceforward would desire burnt-offerings and sacrifices, and those sacrifices would ascend in favor before Him, nevertheless “שפתי כהן ישמרו דעת” )the lips of the priest should guard wisdom).

So tt became Aaron’s responsibility to teach the people that obeying is better than any sacrifice, and acts of justice and charity are preferred by the Eternal to oxen and bullocks. The people would then learn to seek the Torah from his mouth and consequently would not bring numerous sacrifices in order to eat meat, for study, which leads one to perform good deeds, is greater than anything else. 

This is what was told to Aaron: “זאת תורת העולה” (This is the law of the burnt-offering) “היא העולה” (it is that [i.e., the law of the burnt-offering] which goes up). For the essence of עולה is the תורת העולה, as our Sages say, whoever studies the law of the burnt-offering is considered by the Scripture to have sacrificed the burnt-offering. And the law of the burnt-offering is more sublime than the burnt-offering itself as we have written at length in seder vayikra.

This warning therefore required an extra exhortation, because it implied an economic loss to the Priests. For if they teach the people to understand that the Eternal is asking for study not sacrifices, then the people, having understood that the essence of the burnt-offering is the law of the burnt-offering, will stop bringing sacrifices, and the Priests will then lack the חזה התנופה (breast of waving) and the שוק התרומה (thigh of heaving). (שביבי אש)

וחלב נבלה וחלב טרפה יעשה לכל מלאכה ואכל לא תאכלהו

The fat of animals that died or that were torn by beasts may be put to any use, but you may not eat it

Leviticus 7:24

In the Talmud, it is asked why it is written here “ואכל לא תאכלהו” (but you may not eat it). If it is prohibited to eat even the fat of a properly slaughtered animal, why was it necessary to mention that the fat of a נבלה (an animal that died) or a טרפה (an animal mauled by beasts)may not be eaten? The Talmudic Sages offered an explanation. But there is a further question: Why is it written “יעשה לכל מלאכה” (may be put to any use)? It should have said “יעשה בו מלאכה” )any service may be performed on it).

Our master explains that although the Torah made it permissible for work to be performed with prohibited fat or for the fat to be sold, if the hands of a person are constantly coming into contact with such fat, there is reason to suspect that he may come to ingest it. Consequently, if one engages in work that brings him into constant contact with prohibited fat, he must make it unfit for human consumption, so that there is no risk that he might eat it. Thus, in Pesahim 20, the Talmud states that they stored prohibited fat in a disgusting container. Thus, the verse “וחלב נבלה וחלב טרפה יעשה לכל מלאכה” means that one should render prohibited fat unfit to be eaten and fit only to for work to be performed on it, so that you will not, under any circumstances, come to ingest it. (שביבי אש)

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