Parshas Vayikra - A Fresh New Start

By R' Shaya Gross, z'l

Posted on 03/16/18

[Ed. Note] Out of the respect and recognition of the impact made by longtime BJL friend and contributor, Reb Shaya Gross, z’l, we will maintain a living memoriam to Shaya through the sweet words and thoughtful insights of  his Divrei Torah. BJL readers will remember his weekly column on the Parsha and on various Torah ideas and concepts. These meaningful words will help us remember this special young man who will be sorely missed and for those who did not merit to know him, this will be the most appropriate way for them to become familiar with who he was.

As we began to read Sefer Vayikra this week, it is crucial that we understand the laws discussed in this sefer. Sefer Vayikra discusses the laws of purity, Korbanos, as well as other Kohein-related topics. One of the fundamental requirements of the purification process is to immerse in a Mikva.

What is the meaning and depth to immersing in the Mikva waters? 
The Chinuch suggests that the concept of Mikva is as follows: At the beginning of creation, before Adam was created, the world was an ocean of water. Immersing ourselves completely in the water of the Mikva is a symbolic act to remind us that we can now get off to a fresh start, as if it is the beginning of the pure pristine world that once was.
I would like to suggest an additional point to this Chinuch: As we discussed several weeks ago, water is associated with the Mida of Chesed. Many of the ritual  impurities are related to sensual behavior or are byproducts of the sin of Adam and Chava, which contained many sensual components to it. The Seforim teach us that sensual lusts and acts are the force of chesed gone awry and channeled improperly. Hence, perhaps we have to surround ourselves with water-the mida of chesed, life, and vibrancy- to remind us to redirect our chesed and our dynamic energy towards the proper outlets and venues. 

May we all take this lesson to heart; to always know we can get off to a fresh new start in Avodas Hashem, and to remind ourselves to not abuse our passionate energy, but rather, to channel it towards its proper medium. 

{Editor's note: A short thought to think about as we enter into Sefer VaYikra, which discusses the offering of Sacrifices: In essence, during the times of the Beis Hamikdash (as well as today), a person who sinned should have really been put to death. Hashem, in his Infinite Mercy, said that instead of facing the death penalty, a sinner would be able to sacrifice an animal in his place (similar to our "schlugging kapparos" on Erev Yom Kippur, where we say that the chicken's death should atone for any sins). But without Hashem's mercy on us, a person would have been obligated to 'sacrifice' himself to Hashem. Now that we don't have a Beis Hamikdash, we must look in our lives to see if there is something that we can 'sacrifice' from our lives in place of an animal offering.}