Classics and Beyond Vayikra – Worth Its Salt:
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March 10, 2022 7:03 pm at 7:03 pm #2068258abukspanParticipant
Vayikra – Worth Its Salt:
וכל קרבן מנחתך במלח תמלח ולא תשבית מלח ברית אלקיך מעל מנחתך על כל קרבנך תקריב מלח
You shall salt all your meal-offerings with salt and you shall not omit salt, the covenant of your G-d from upon your meal-offerings. You shall bring salt on every one of your offerings (Vayikra 2:13).
The Torah commands us to add salt to every korban minchah, flour-offering. This obligation is described as a bris, a covenant. Rashi says that a covenant has been made with salt since the six days of Creation. Hashem promised the lower waters that they would be poured on the Mizbe’ach on Succos, and they would be offered in the form of salt, which is added to every korban minchah.
Rabbeinu Bachya explains that on the second day of Creation, when Hashem separated the lower waters from the upper waters, the lower waters complained. They were upset that they had not remained with Hashem in the heavens like the upper waters. Hashem appeased the lower waters by making a bris and promising them that they would be brought on the Mizbe’ach – through the water used as the libation on Succos and the salt added to every minchah.
My father suggested a way to understand this homiletically. Just like the waters that were sent down to earth, the human soul first resides in heaven and is sent down to This World at the time of birth. And just as those waters long to reconnect to their celestial counterparts, the soul wants to go home, to return to its heavenly abode. Leaving the radiance of the Al-mighty can be viewed as a drastic step down.
The waters can indeed find their way back. By means of the Mizbe’ach, the lower waters can reconnect to the higher waters. By using the water and salt as part of the korban, these items are re-tasked for a higher purpose: the service of Hashem. Through devotion and sacrifice, they reunite with the Divine. Their new role is no less vital than that of the waters that remained above.
In the same manner, the soul, while relegated to This World, can still have a heavenly existence. By living a life of devotion and sacrifice to Hashem and His mitzvos, as opposed to a life of physical gratification, it can create a “heaven on earth.” Living in This World is not relegation to a second-class existence, but an opportunity for unlimited growth, which can lead to the soul’s ultimate reunion with the Al-mighty in the World to Come.
The Maharal and Sifsei Chachamim ask: If Hashem was trying to appease the lower waters, why is the bris made with the salt and not with the water? Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky (Emes Le’Yaakov on Vayikra) explains that Hashem demonstrated that the waters below are no less holy than those found above.
By using salt on every flour sacrifice, we are elevating a commodity that is of this earth, one that never rises. Salt remains after evaporation. The lowly salt is seemingly relegated to an existence devoid of kedushah. However, by directing us to sprinkle salt on each minchah, Hashem is showing His preference; He chose to make use of the lowest part of the waters – that which never ascends – the salt. Thus, the lower waters were appeased since it is precisely the lowest part that can be used for kedushah.
Even things that appear to have no possibility of ascending to heaven can still reach Hashem. Kedushah pertains to an earthly life, where religious observance governs all areas, even those that seem – like the salt in the ocean – confined to the mundane.
Our challenge is to suffuse the ordinary with spirituality, to take the “salt,” the lower parts of human existence, and discover how to place them on the Mizbe’ach as an offering to Hashem.March 10, 2022 9:30 pm at 9:30 pm #2068295Reb EliezerParticipant
We should remember that salt water is like tears and salt softens the meat as pain softens the sins but too much salt destroys the meat.March 11, 2022 1:30 pm at 1:30 pm #2068439Reb EliezerParticipant
Salt indicates also not to be stingy as Lot’s wife turned into a pillar of salt because of not providing salt to the poor. We don’t appreciate salt as we should but when take it away, we come to realize what we are missing.
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