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The Crown of Halacha

Tetzaveh 5777 – Give Hashem Your Elevation Offering

This entry is part 8 of 9 in the series Shemos

Tetzaveh 5777

Give Hashem Your Elevation Offering

“You shall cause the entire ram to go up in smoke upon the Alter – it is an elevation offering (korban olah) to Hashem; it is a satisfying aroma, a fire offering to Hashem” (29:18).

The Olah was no Bar-B-Que

The Sifsai Chachamim points out that burning flesh and bone actually have a repugnant smell. The elevation offering did not smell like a bar-b-que. The carcass was burned in its entirety, including the hide, bones, and blood.Therefore, it seems odd that the Torah would describe this odor as pleasant– a raiach nichoach. We must look deeper into the Torah’s description of the smell emanating from this korban.

A Good Deed Smells Good!

Rash explains: it is a satisfying aroma: It is a satisfaction to Me that I commanded and My will was performed. [Zev. 46b] We see from here that a good deed actually smells good!

But doesn’t the concept that“Hashem’s will was carried out”refer to every korban?  What is special about an elevation offering that can turn even the foulest smell into a pleasant odor for Hashem?

Spiritual Alchemy: Turning a Foul Odor to Perfume

The answer is that the elevation offering is symbolic of a unique relationship that a person can establish with Hashem. Through this type of offering, where the entire animal is consumed on the mizbaiach, we can express our complete and selfless dedication to serving HaKodesh Baruch Hu.

All other offerings are shared; part is burned on the mizbaiach and part is eaten by man. Only in the case of the elevation offering can we be assured of serving Hashem for its own sake.  This is the highest level of service and it is a raiach nichoach to Hashem, even if the mitzvah itself is less than aesthetic.

Creating SpiritualityThrough Personal Sacrifices

Today, because the Bais Hamikdash has been destroyed, we do not have the ability to bring elevation offerings. However, we can create a raiach nichoach by performing Hashem’s commandments wholeheartedly, without anticipating anything in return. Everyone has the ability to create the sweet fragrance of a personal sacrifice. Whether it is giving tzedaka, counseling a friend, or staying late in the bais midrash, our “sacrifices” can turn even the simplest mitzvah into the highest offering by bringing great pleasure and satisfaction to Hashem.


Series Navigation<< T’Ruma 5777 – Sticks and StonesKi Sisa 5777 – Keeping Shabbos: Emunah in Action >>
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