Torah Inspiration From Kornmehl Goat Farm, Israel from Rabbi Yonatan Parshat Vayikrah 5778
Shalom from Rabbi Yonatan. This week I chose to present you with a short video Torah thought rather than a long written blog. Merav, my beautiful and brilliant spouse, shot this at the Kornmehl Goat Farm near Sde Boker in the Negev desert of Israel. (I inadvertently said Sderot in the clip, but definitely meant Sde Boker!) This place is very special and you would have to know that it exists in order to find it! It barely has a sign on the road blending into the desert landscape and you have to do some off-road driving to make it up the hill to arrive at this quaint little spot. The highlight is the little restaurant and cheese/dairy shop on the extremely isolated desert hill. I recommend their incredible goat cheese pizza, which they make from their very own goats! (all of their dairy products are hormone and antibiotic-free)
Photo Gallery from the Kornmehl Goat Farm
|Say...(Goat) Cheeeezzzz Pizza!|
For those of you who enjoy my normal text study, I have included the Torah texts and commentaries that I mention or was inspired by in preparation for the making of this video. They are numbered below.
Hope you enjoyed your quick dose of Torah inspiration. See you next week!
(Inspirational Torah is published each Thursday.)
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The primary text comes from Vayikra/Leviticus Chapter 2, a discussion about the minchah sacrificial offering. The contemporary minchah service (usually described as afternoon prayer service) corresponds to the minchah sacrifice offered daily in ancient Israel.
Text #1 Vayikra (Leviticus) Chapter 2
1. And when any of you will offer a meal offering (minchah) to the Lord, his offering shall be of fine flour; and he shall pour oil upon it, and put frankincense on it; 2 And he shall bring it to the sons of Aaron the priests; and he shall take from it his handful of its flour, and of its oil, with all its frankincense; and the priest shall burn it upon the altar, to be an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor to the Lord; 3 And the remnant of the meal offering shall be Aaron’s and his sons’; it is a thing most holy of the offerings of the Lord made by fire. 4 And if you bring a sacrifice of a meal offering baked in the oven, it shall be unleavened cakes of fine flour mixed with oil, or unleavened wafers (MATZAH -- sounds like both the Tortilla and Laffa versions) anointed with oil. ... 11 No meal offering (Minchah), which you shall bring to the Lord, shall be made with leaven; for you shall burn no leaven... And every sacrifice of your meal offering shall you season with salt; nor shall you allow the salt of the covenant of your God to be lacking from your meal offering; with all your offerings you shall offer salt...
ויקרא פרק ב
א וְנֶפֶשׁ כִּי־תַקְרִיב קָרְבַּן מִנְחָה לַיהוָֹה סֹלֶת יִהְיֶה קָרְבָּנוֹ וְיָצַק עָלֶיהָ שֶׁמֶן וְנָתַן עָלֶיהָ לְבֹנָה: ב וֶהֱבִיאָהּ אֶל־בְּנֵי אַהֲרֹן הַכֹּהֲנִים וְקָמַץ מִשָּׁם מְלֹא קֻמְצוֹ מִסָּלְתָּהּ וּמִשַּׁמְנָהּ עַל כָּל־לְבֹנָתָהּ וְהִקְטִיר הַכֹּהֵן אֶת־אַזְכָּרָתָהּ הַמִּזְבֵּחָה אִשֵּׁה רֵיחַ נִיחֹחַ לַיהוָֹה: ג וְהַנּוֹתֶרֶת מִן־הַמִּנְחָה לְאַהֲרֹן וּלְבָנָיו קֹדֶשׁ קָדָשִׁים מֵאִשֵּׁי יְהוָֹה: ס ד וְכִי תַקְרִב קָרְבַּן מִנְחָה מַאֲפֵה תַנּוּר סֹלֶת חַלּוֹת מַצֹּת בְּלוּלֹת בַּשֶּׁמֶן וּרְקִיקֵי מַצּוֹת מְשֻׁחִים בַּשָּׁמֶן: ס יא כָּל־הַמִּנְחָה אֲשֶׁר תַּקְרִיבוּ לַיהֹוָה לֹא תֵעָשֶׂה חָמֵץ כִּי כָל־שְׂאֹר וְכָל־דְּבַשׁ לֹא־תַקְטִירוּ מִמֶּנּוּ אִשֶּׁה לַיהוָֹה: יב קָרְבַּן רֵאשִׁית תַּקְרִיבוּ אֹתָם לַיהוָֹה וְאֶל־הַמִּזְבֵּחַ לֹא־יַעֲלוּ לְרֵיחַ נִיחֹחַ: יג וְכָל־קָרְבַּן מִנְחָתְךָ בַּמֶּלַח תִּמְלָח וְלֹא תַשְׁבִּית מֶלַח בְּרִית אֱלֹהֶיךָ מֵעַל מִנְחָתֶךָ עַל כָּל־קָרְבָּנְךָ תַּקְרִיב מֶלַח: ס יד וְאִם־תַּקְרִיב מִנְחַת בִּכּוּרִים לַיהוָֹה אָבִיב קָלוּי בָּאֵשׁ גֶּרֶשׂ כַּרְמֶל תַּקְרִיב אֵת מִנְחַת בִּכּוּרֶיךָ: טו וְנָתַתָּ עָלֶיהָ שֶׁמֶן וְשַׂמְתָּ עָלֶיהָ לְבֹנָה מִנְחָה הִוא: טז וְהִקְטִיר הַכֹּהֵן אֶת־אַזְכָּרָתָהּ מִגִּרְשָׂהּ וּמִשַּׁמְנָהּ עַל כָּל־לְבֹנָתָהּ אִשֶּׁה לַיהוָֹה: פ
A short side note: In the Vayikra text above, I highlighted the section about the Covenant of Salt (Brit Hamelach) that required each unleavened bread offering to be salted, since so many have asked me about the origins of salting our Challah for Shabbat and Matzah on Passover (even though this is unrelated to the point of our Sefat Emet commentary)! But now on to the teaching of the Sefat Emet!
The following commentary is from a book entitled Sefat Emet (Language of Truth) by Yehudah Aryeh Leib Alter (1847-1905), a well-known Hassidic master, most often referred to by the name of his famous commentary. He discusses the fact that the minchah offering is equal to other animal sacrifices mentioned in this weekly portion, even though it is quite modest in comparison to the others (considering that it had to be unleavened bread!) This teaching is based on the Mishnah (#3-4 below). The following translation comes from Rabbi Art Green's book, The Language of Truth: The Torah Commentary of the Sefat Emet (JPS Books).
Text #2 Sefat Emet, Parshat Vayikra
The Rabbi of Przysucha answered this with a parable, a tale of two merchants who went on the same journey. One arrived quickly, while the other was prevented from doing so and got there only some time later. When asked what his delay was all about, he replied: "The point is that I am here. Whatever happened, happened." He did not comment further.
The meaning seems to be as follows: "As long as you direct your heart" - says that the final goal of your deeds should be that your heart be directed to God, whether this comes to you rather easily or takes a great deal of effort. Deeds are to help one to direct the heart.
Here this is said of the gift offering (minchah). Since one's offering is a coming near (korban=sacrifice/drawing near) to God, and that is the desired goal and the end of the matter, it makes no difference whether you give more or less. The end is one: coming near to God. This is the very meaning, in fact, of "direct your heart"-like the offering, you are drawn after your own root. This (root) is the life-force of divinity, which has been placed in every thing.
(The Language of Truth, Arthur Green, 148-149)
For the original Hebrew, click below:
The last two short texts are the basis for the Sefat Emet commentary above:
Texts #3-#4 Babylonian Talmud; Tractate Berachot [5:2]
We have learned: One who does more, and one who does less, as long as he directs his heart to heaven!
תלמוד בבלי מסכת ברכות דף ה עמוד ב
שנינו: אחד המרבה ואחד הממעיט ובלבד שיכוין לבו לשמים!
This is the text from the Mishnah that actually equates all of the sacrifices!
Mishnah Tractate Menachot Chapter 13:11
“An offering made by fire of pleasing odor” (Leviticus 1:9); and of the olah of birds, “An offering made by fire of pleasing odor (vs. 17); and of the grain offering, “An offering made by fire of pleasing odor” (Leviticus 2:2): to teach you that it is the same whether one offers much or little, so long as one directs one’s heart to heaven.
משנה מסכת מנחות פרק יג -משנה יא
[*] נאמר בעולת הבהמה אשה ריח ניחוח ובעולת העוף אשה ריח ניחוח ובמנחה אשה ריח ניחוח ללמד שאחד המרבה ואחד הממעיט ובלבד שיכוין אדם את דעתו לשמים:
I believe that studying these texts will help us absorb the message I began with in the video d'var; that is, that our intention is of utmost importance and it is our righteous intention that directs our actions, making them pure and holy to help us foster true closeness to God. This closeness to God is often manifested in concrete ways through our connections with others, all of whom are born with a holy spark of divinity within him or herself.