Parshas Vayikra: A Calling of Love

ויקרא אל משה וידבר ה' אליו

“And He called to Moshe, and Hashem spoke to him”

Chazal tell us that ויקרא — and He called — is a language that is used to demonstrate Hashem’s love for Moshe by first calling out to him. Whenever Hashem commanded, instructed or spoke to Moshe, He first called him, “Moshe, Moshe.” Moshe would then respond, הנני — “I am here.” The pasuk says that this ‘calling’ would come directly to Moshe. Of course, Hashem’s voice is strong enough to shatter trees and be heard all across the entire world, but it was His will that only Moshe should hear it. Furthermore, kriah is an expression that we find by the Malachei Hashareis: וקרא זה אל זה ואמר — and they called to each other saying, קדוש קדוש קדוש Holy, Holy, Holy (Rashi quoting the Sifra).

The Piaczesner Rebbe, Rav Klonemos Kalman Shapira Hy”d (in his sefer Aish Kodesh), asks that this idea of Hashem calling on Moshe as an expression of love could really have been mentioned in other places as well. For example, we find both by the sneh and prior to Matan Torah, Hashem called to Moshe from Har Sinai. So why does Rashi specifically mention this here as we are about to begin discussing the halachos of korbanos?

Over here, the Rebbe shared an insight into the world of korbanos and how it can apply to us all on a practical level. By עקידת יצחק the pasuk says: ויקח את האיל ויעלהו לעולה תחת בנו —Avraham took the ram, and sacrificed it as a korban in place of his son. This pasuk teaches us the foundation of all sacrifices: it is in place of the person. In our parshah, it says אדם כי יקריב מכם — when a man of you brings a korban. The word מכם once again emphasizes this point that it is being brought instead of you. Similarly, we find that when one fasts, the tefillah is that מיעוט חלבי ודמי יהא נחשב כקרבן — the fat and blood that we lose as a result of the fast should be considered and accepted like a korban on the mizbe’ach. Indeed, יסורין — suffering — that a person endures clear away his sins as well, because they diminish our strength which is a form of a korban. The same is true of all the sufferings of Klal Yisroel; they are all a korban to Hashem.

It is for this reason that Rashi in our parshah shares this idea of Hashem “calling” regarding animal sacrifices — to point out that whether it is an animal sacrifice or any other suffering one goes through, one must realize that it is Hashem “calling out” with love during that moment.

This means that when one goes through a hard day, or hears a bad tiding r”l, it is actually Hashem calling out to us with love, and when we accept it with love, He reciprocates as well. At that moment, by accepting it, we just offered a korban.

The Rebbe continued (and here we must open our hearts): there is a concept called dibbuk chaveirim, the strong bond that one Yid feels for another. This bond, the notion that we are there for one another, is not only when we dance at each other’s simchas, but especially in times of hardship and suffering. If Reuven is experiencing pain, Shimon has a tremendous opportunity. How do Yidden react? One Yid shows another Yid chizuk. This is not merely shown by opening a wallet (which Klal Yisroel do so generously all the time), but even when one has no material resources, it is still possible to share. By pouring out our broken hearts to Hashem on behalf of another, this too is a wonderful gift that one can give his fellow Jew: We receive the broken-heartedness and teshuvah, and they (the ones we daven for) receive the rachmanus and good deeds that we choose to do for them, as well as the tefillos we present to Hashem on their behalf. It is this “shared calling of love” that we do for each other that inspires the Malachim to call out to one another, וקרא זה אל זה ואמר… קדוש קדוש קדוש.

Finally, the Rebbe adds a powerful thought: there is a huge difference between our calling and that of the Malach. After all, has a Malach ever experienced pain and suffering? Was he ever beaten like a Yid? Was he ever harassed, taunted or made fun of? And yet, we respond to Hashem with our own קריאה של חיבה. Surely, a heartfelt tefillah such as that has the potential to reach far loftier heights.

Good Shabbos, מרדכי אפפעל