Why is it that the person who brings a flour offering is called a “soul” while the one who brings an animal offering is merely a “person?” It might have to do with the effort.
By: Rabbi Ari Enkin, Rabbinic Director, United with Israel
This week’s Torah portion is “Vayikra” (Leviticus 1:1-5:21), and with it we begin reading the book of Leviticus.
The book of Leviticus in general, and this week’s Torah portion in particular, deal with the many different sacrifices that used to be offered in the Holy Temple. There were the daily sacrifices, sin offerings, Thanksgiving offerings and many more.
One of the many offerings was known as the Korban Mincha, which was a flour offering, not an animal offering. As the Torah says, “When a soul (nefesh) will bring a meal-offering to God, his offering shall be of fine flour; he shall pour oil on it and put frankincense on it.” Notice the wording here, with regard to the flour (meal) offering and the wording with regard to an animal offering: “When a person (adam) from among you will bring an offering to God from the animals…”
Why is it that the person who offers a flour offering is called a “soul” while the one who offers an animal offering is merely a “person?” Is there an underlying message?
It is explained that the flour offering is different from all others because it is the least expensive. By far. As such, the Torah calls the one offering it a “soul” because only a poor person would typically offer such an inexpensive offering. The cost would be insignificant for most people, but God will credit the poor man as if he had sacrificed “his soul,” namely, He will consider it as if the poor man had offered much more than a simple flour offering.
A rich person, on the other hand, can afford to purchase a nice, fat ox for his offering to God. While this is very commendable, the poor person is probably more financially burdened by his inexpensive offering than the rich man with his costly offering. The poor person will get even more credit for his offering than the rich man. It’s all a matter of proportion.
All donations are beloved before God. But a person who gives less, albeit a major portion of his wealth, will be given more credit than one who gives more when it is but a fraction of what he could afford.
We are all equal in God’s eyes. It’s the effort that counts!
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For more insights by Rabbi Enkin on this week’s Torah portion, click on the links below.