Posted in Vayikra on Monday, 27 June 2011.

Left over Sacrificial meat (19:6,8)

If, when sacrificing a peace-offering, a person has the intention of leaving over some of its meat past the prescribed time, then the entire sacrifice will not be “accepted favorably” by God (v. 6).

If however a person slaughtered the sacrifice with the intention of eating the meat within the correct time, but then he actually eats it after the time limit had elapsed, then while he has indeed “profaned what is holy to God” (v. 8), his sin does not invalidate the entire sacrifice.

At first glance, this appears to be illogical. For if he merely intends to eat part of its meat past the correct time, it invalidates the whole sacrifice; whereas if he actually did so, only the part of the sacrifice that was left over becomes invalid.

Surely, the act of leaving over sacrificial meat should be more severe than the mere intention to do so?

The explanation here is that thought is a general faculty which pervades all the activities that follow in its wake; whereas an action is more specific, limited to one deed in particular. An incorrect intention when offering a sacrifice is thus a general disqualification of the entire sacrifice; whereas the actual leaving over of sacrificial meat is a particular disqualification, which does not have the power to invalidate the earlier procedures which were carried out correctly.

In our daily lives, this teaches us the importance of faith, which is a general aspect of Judaism. A flaw in a person’s faith will negatively affect the observance of all the mitzvos he performs; whereas a flaw, for example, in the strings of a person’s tzitzis will not compromise his ability to observe the mitzvah of tefilin properly.

(Based on Sichas Shabbos Parshas Vayeilech 5746)

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