March 18, 2015

This week we commence the Chumash of Vayikra ( Leviticus). Having completed the building and dedication of the Mishkan (Sanctuary) the Torah turns to the sacrifices to be offered.

In honour of my wife׳s recovery from a serious operation this week, I’d like to share with you the Netziv’s explanation of the custom of making a festive meal ( Seudat hodaah) to celebrate escaping from a dangerous situation or recovering from serious illness, which he claims is based on the laws of the korban Todah ( the thanksgiving offering).

The Netziv (Vayikra 7,13) explains that the source of the idea of a seudas hoda’ah is the korban todah in the Chumash itself. There are two types of korbonos that are eaten by the owner. One is the shlomim (peace offering) and the other is the todah (thanksgiving offering). The halachah is that the korbon shlomim can be eaten for two days and one night in between, while the korbon todah may be eaten only for one day and one night. There is more time available to eat the korbon shlomim than the korbon todah. It is interesting, however, that the korbon todah has much more food which needs to be eaten. When a person offers a korbon todah, he offers 40 loaves along with the animal- 30 loaves of matzah and 10 loaves of bread. No such obligation exists with the korbon shlomim. It is interesting that in comparison with the korbon shlomim, the korbon todah has much more food that needs to be eaten and less time allotted to eat the korbon. What is the idea behind these two details of the halachos of the korbon todah?

The Netziv explains the idea as follows. A person offers a korbon todah when he wants to thank Hashem for a particular miracle or saving act that Hashem did for the person. He saved him from tzaros, or from the dangers of a long journey, life threatening conditis etc…. The Netziv writes that when a person is thanking Hashem for a miracle, it is appropriate to thank Hashem in public and talk about it in front of other people. Publicize the miracle! Publicize the yeshua! Therefore, the Netziv explains that by adding more food and lessening the time limit for eating the food, the owner of the korbon will be forced to invite others to eat the meat of the korbon and the 40 loaves with him. There is a halacha of nosar, that one is not allowed to leave over any food from a korbon. The person who brings the korbon todah, in order to avoid the prohibition of nosar, will have to invite other people to the seudah. He is going to have two festive meals, one during the day and one at night. Each of those meals will have other people there. And at the seudos he will publicly thank Hashem for the miracles and yeshuos. So according to the Netziv, the korbon todah becomes the source from the Torah for a seudas hoda’ah, a seudah of thanksgiving. When a neis happens to a person, or when something special or miraculous happens to a person, it is appropriate to have a seudas hoda’ah. The Netziv here is pointing out the source in the Torah for seudas hoda’ah.

Wishing you all only good health and simchos

Good shabbes

Rabbi Wise


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