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Vayikra 5767

Vayikra (Leviticus 1-5 )

by Kalman Packouz

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GOOD MORNING! The Seders are Monday night, April 2nd and Tuesday night, April 3rd. (My thanks to those who contacted me to correct my mistaken dates.)

___About two weeks until Pesach and counting ... It's time to give some thought to making the Seder more enjoyable and effective in creating a warm family experience. Most Jews would like their children to feel positively about being Jewish. You cannot transfer your feelings, but you can create the atmosphere and the experience which will engender positive feelings. Anyone I have ever met who loved being Jewish, fondly reminisced about their Zaideh (grandfather) presiding over the Shabbat table or their Bubbie (grandmother) lighting Shabbat candles ... and their Seder! You are a link in that chain!

___Please check out for some fresh ideas for your Seder - especially for the kids: games, questions, charades, marshmallow bingo, treasure hunt ... Also, and if you are aurally-inclined ! For tremendous understanding and intelligent insights for the Seder, call Talmudic University 305-534-7050 to get a free copy of Rabbi Yochanan Zweig's Pesach Seder Cards. Lastly, for Aish's Project Inspire Passover Questions and Joke cards - order by March 23rd to send them to family and friends!


___Remember that the Seder is for the kids, to transmit our history and understanding of life. You've got to make it interesting and intrigue them to ask questions. If a person asks a question, he'll be inclined to hear the answer! The only way to transmit your love and feeling for Judaism is through shared, positive experiences. You need to be excited about the Seder! Some ideas from Rabbi Shimon Apisdorf:

  1. Invest time before the Seder. Trade in your Maxwell House Haggadah for one with commentary. Then read it! See what intrigues you. Look at a commentary to get interesting insights to share with your family and guests.

    Look at the Passover Survival Kit Haggadah, Artscroll Haggadahs and Book of Our Heritage by Eliyahu Kitov. Available at your local Jewish bookstore, at or by calling toll-free to 877-758-3242. NO EXCUSES!

  2. Get Passover story books for the kids now! Read to them the stories before Pesach. Have them or help them make a little play to present at the Seder. Buy them Artscroll Children's Haggadah!

  3. Have quizzes and prizes. Ask questions and give 20 points for a right answer. 100 points and they get a prize! Start with the youngest and work up through the ages. If a child answers a question that's not his, he loses 20 points! Name the plagues, the 4 sons, the number of years in slavery -make your list of questions before the Seder. (You can even prep the kids before the Seder with the answers!)

  4. Plan out the Seder with little surprises and props. During the section on the plagues throw into the air plastic animals when you get to the Wild Beasts; use ping pong balls for the plague of Hail. Be creative. Give each child a brown paper bag filled with his props. Have fun! (you can also order the "Bag of Plagues" props available at your local Jewish bookstore, at or by calling toll-free to 877-758-3242).

  5. Have questions for discussion at the table! Passover marks the birth of the Jewish people. It's a time to reflect on the meaning, value and implications of being Jewish. Here are some questions to discuss:

    1. On a scale of 1-10, how important is being Jewish to you? Please explain.
    2. If your son, daughter, brother, sister, or best friend told you that they planned to raise their children without any Jewish education or identity, how would you react?
    3. If you thought the existence of Israel was in danger, would you risk your life to help save it?
    4. What do you like about being Jewish? What don't you like?
    5. Is it important to you or for your children to have mostly Jewish friends? Why?

For more on "The Passover Seder" go to!

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Torah Portion of the Week

___The book of Vayikra (Leviticus) primarily deals with what are commonly called "sacrifices" or "offerings." According to Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch: a "sacrifice" implies giving up something that is of value to oneself for the benefit of another. An "offering" implies a gift which satisfies the receiver. The Almighty does not need our gifts. He has no needs or desires. The Hebrew word is korban, which is best translated as a means of bringing oneself into a closer relationship with the Almighty. The offering of korbanot was only for our benefit to come close to the Almighty.

___Ramban, a noted Spanish rabbi, explains that through the vicarious experience of what happened to the animal korbanot, the transgressor realized the seriousness of his transgression. This aided him in the process of teshuva - correcting his erring ways.

___This week's portion includes the details of various types of korbanot: burnt, flour offering (proof that one does not need to offer "blood" to gain atonement), first grain, peace, sin (private and communal), guilt korbanot (varied upon one's ability to pay), korban for inadvertently expropriating something sacred to God, and also to help atone for dishonesty.

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Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

___The Torah states:

"Every meal offering that you offer to the Almighty do not make it chometz (leavened); for you shall burn no yeast, not any honey, in any offering of the Almighty made by fire. With all your offerings you shall offer salt." (Leviticus 2:11-13)

___Yeast and honey were not permitted in the offering on the altar. Yeast makes the dough rise higher, but it is an external additive. Honey makes things taste sweet, but it is also an external additive. Salt, on the other hand, brings out the flavor of the food, but only the flavor that is already there. This, says Rabbi Mordechai Gifter, symbolizes a basic principle in spiritual matters.

___When serving the Almighty you should follow the model of salt. That is, utilize all the abilities and talents that you have to serve Him. Do not be like yeast that causes distortion of what is there. Do not be like honey that is very sweet, but is something borrowed from the outside. Be yourself, but make every effort to be all that you can be.

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