Friday, March 15, 2019

Parshas Vayikra 5779

Washing the Sacrifices?

The Torah writes (Leviticus 1:9):
Its entrails and legs shall be washed with water, and the priest shall turn the whole into smoke on the altar as a burnt offering, an offering by fire of pleasing odor to the LORD.
Bechor Shor (ibid) explains why:
Washing" for the innards is only written for the burnt offering. This is since the sin-offering and the guilt-offering are eaten by priests, and the wellbeing-offering is eaten by its owners -- if one wants to wash it they may! But this, the burnt-offering, comes to the table of the King, and one needs to prepare it in a respectful manner. But they are burnt outside.
Similarly in Daas Zekeinim (ibid):
seeing that these parts are going to be presented at the “King’s” Table, extreme care had to be taken that everything was meticulously clean and no trace of blood was visible. On the other hand, when writing of animals which were not served up on the “King’s” Table but were burned outside sacred grounds, the Torah lumps together “its insides and its excrement,” (Leviticus 4,11) as it does in Leviticus 1,16, and 27 where flesh, skin, and excrement are all being burned at the same time and place.
 Sifsei Chachamim (ibid) explains who does it:
This is done either by a kohen or by a Levite. Thus Scripture must specify that the kohen is the one who will kindle .

The Mitzva to Destroy Amalek

The Torah (Deuteronomy 25:17-19) writes:
Remember what Amalek did to you on your journey, after you left Egypt—how, undeterred by fear of God, he surprised you on the march, when you were famished and weary, and cut down all the stragglers in your rear. Therefore, when the LORD your God grants you safety from all your enemies around you, in the land that the LORD your God is giving you as a hereditary portion, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven. Do not forget!
Rashi (ibid) writes:
both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep (a quotation from I Samuel 15:3, stating how the Amalekites were to be destroyed), so that the name of Amalek should never again be mentioned even in connection with a beast, in that one could say: “This beast belonged to Amalek” (Pesikta Zutrata).
However, the Rambam (Hilchos Melachim 6:1-4) says that we ask for peace first:
War is not conducted against anyone in the world until they are first offered peace (and refuse it), whether this is a Discretionary War or a War of Mitzvoh, as it says, “when you come close to the city to fight with it, you shall call to it to make peace” (Deut. 20:10).
(see this article by R' Elchanan Samet that discusses the reasoning behind this)

The Value of PI

The Gra writes that it is possible to derive the value of PI from a ksav/kri in Melachim (Kings I 7:23):
Then he made the tank of cast metal, 10 cubits across from brim to brim, completely round; it was 5 cubits high, and it measured 30 cubits in circumference.
The Ksav/Kri is ״וקוה״/״וקו״ which is the gematria of 111 and 106. This results in:
(111/106) x 3 = 3.14150943
(see this article for additional details)