Vayikra-Worth Its Salt:Lust and Glory Forbidden, Kinah Is Given A Place of Honor

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    Classics and Beyond Vayikra-Worth Its Salt: While Lust and Glory Are Forbidden, Jealousy Is Given An Honored Place.
    כל המנחה אשר תקריבו לה’ לא תעשה חמץ כי כל שאר וכל דבש לא תקטירו ממנו אשה לה’: קרבן ראשית תקריבו אתם לה’ ואל המזבח לא יעלו לריח ניחח :וכל קרבן מנחתך במלח תמלח ולא תשבית מלח ברית אלקיך מעל מנחתך על כל קרבנך תקריב מלח
    Any meal-offering that you offer to Hashem shall not be prepared leavened, for you shall not cause to go up in smoke from any leavening or any honey as a fire-offering to Hashem. You shall offer them as a first-fruit offering to Hashem, but they may not go up upon the Mizbe’ach for a satisfying aroma. You shall salt your every meal-offering with salt; you shall not discontinue the salt of your G-d’s covenant from upon your meal-offering; on all your offerings shall you offer salt (Vayikra 2:11-13).
    Though it is prohibited to add leavening agents or sweeteners to any minchah offering or any korban, we do have a mitzvah to add salt not only to every minchah but also to every korban.
    In Pirkei Avos (4:28), Rabbi Elazar HaKappar states, “Hakinah ve’hataavah ve’hakavod motziin es ha’adam min ha’olam — Jealousy, lust, and glory remove a man from the world.” These three negative traits — jealousy, lust, and glory — correspond to salt, honey, and leavening.
    The Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah #117) writes that honey can represent lust, taavah, while leavening can symbolize glory, kavod. The intense and enticing sweetness of honey represents taavah, the alluring and tempting call of physical pleasure and indulgences. The rising agent in the dough resembles the rise of one’s sense of self-importance and power, how he seeks kavod and looks to elevate himself.
    The Chasam Sofer (Shaar Yosef edition: 5719, ad loc.) suggests that though lust and glory have absolutely no place in our lives, there is a time and a place for jealousy. And this characteristic, he explains, is symbolized by salt. On the second day of creation, Hashem created the firmament, thereby separating the upper waters from the lower waters (Bereishis 1:7). The lower waters were upset and jealous at having been relegated to a lower existence, far from Hashem. They complained and protested their banishment, whereupon, as Rashi (Vayikra 2:13) tells us, Hashem made a covenant with them, mandating that their salt would be placed on the Mizbe’ach with each minchah offering. Hence, salt symbolizes envy.
    In the spiritual model represented by the Mizbe’ach, there is no room for kavod or taavah, represented by leaven and honey, just as these traits are intolerable in a life devoted to spiritual development. Jealousy, however, as symbolized by the desire of the lower waters for spiritual elevation and closeness to Hashem, does have an honored place at the table.
    In one instance, jealousy is not only accepted but to some degree required. The Gemara (Bava Basra 21a) teaches, “Kinas sofrim tarbeh chochmah — Jealousy among scholars increases wisdom.” Scholarly competition is healthy for growth in both Torah, as well as most any other field of pursuit. As Shlomo HaMelech teaches (Koheles 4:4), “Ve’eis kol kishron hamaaseh ki hi kinas ish mei’rei’eihu — All skillful enterprise spring from man’s rivalry with his neighbor.”
    Kavod or taavah do not belong in our lives, so leaven and honey must be kept far from the Mizbe’ach. On the other hand, the green-eyed monster of jealousy can be the most positive of motivators for good. The lower waters were appropriately envious of the upper waters. We, as well, should feel kinah toward those who are elevated and closer to Hashem, as this can spur our own spiritual quest for elevation.
    With this in mind, we can better understand the concise explanation of the Daas Zekeinim MiBaalei HaTosafos on the prohibition of adding sweetener or leavening to korbanos. He says that the reason for the issur is that we have a mitzvah to put salt on our korbanos, and sweeteners and leavening agents do not mix with salt. It is true that they may not taste good together, but why can’t they be mixed on korbanos?
    The answer ties in nicely with the Chasam Sofer’s explanation. As we just learned, unlike honey and leavening, only salt has a redeeming factor in terms of avodas Hashem. Although what is placed on the Mizbe’ach is not actually eaten or tasted, the symbolic lesson — in terms of our service to Hashem — is the reason they cannot be mixed. The korbanos teach us that only righteous jealousy, as exhibited by the salt, has a place at Hashem’s table.
    Rav Zave Rudman posits that of course, we must make sure to utilize the trait of jealousy in a constructive way — as in kinas sofrim — unlike what took place when Kayin and Hevel offered their korbanos. Kayin was upset that Hevel’s offering was accepted and not his. Instead of channeling his envy constructively, he killed his brother. It is incumbent upon us to ensure that we not allow our korbanos to be the source of negative competition and strife.
    Rav Rudman then points out that while yeast and honey represent two negative traits, which, according to what we have been saying until now, cannot be channeled constructively, we can overcome them. For this reason, there are certain exceptions even to this rule. Honey — or fruit-derived sweetener — represents desire. When performing the mitzvah of bikkurim with our first fruits, we show our control and mastery over taavah. The orchard owner who sees the fruits starting to grow on his trees does not immediately enjoy his luscious produce. Rather, he subdues his craving and ties a string on the first fruit, designating it for the mitzvah of bikkurim. Thus, we have the capability to conquer our desires, as represented by the fruits of the bikkurim.
    Yeast, or chametz, which expands and represents gaavah, is used in the korban todah, in which we express our appreciation to Hashem for deliverance. Someone who has just experienced a miracle does not fall prey to haughtiness. Instead, he is overwhelmed with humility as he conveys his gratitude to Hashem, realizing that all he has comes from the One Above.
    As the Daas Zekeinim says, salt does not mix with honey and leavening agents. Still, we can learn how to work with these traits, as well. So we see that any middah can either be used constructively or at least overcome in our avodas Hashem, as long as we use the Torah as our guidepost.

    Reb Eliezer

    The famous statement interpretation of the Kli Yakar and others on בשמים ממעל ועל הארץ מתחת, when it comes to heavenly, spriritual things, you should look at people above yourself, to be envious of them and thereby try to follow them. Whereas, for earlthly, material things, look at people below you, to be satisfed for what you have by recognizing that others have less than what you have.

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