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Parshas Vayikra - Holy Slaughter, Batman

By Reb Eliezer Bulka

Posted on 03/16/18

This Sunday, 2 Nissan, marks the yahrtzeit of my Bubbie. This week's shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmasah, Yehudis bas Reuven Pinchas.


In pasuk 3:1 we are introduced to the concept of the korban shelamim. Rashi explains the meaning of the word shelamim as coming from the word shalom, peace, that it puts peace between Man and his Master. However, the wording chosen by Targum Onkelos for shelamim is rather intriguing. In all instances it is referred to as nichsas kudshaya, meaning holy slaughtering, which clearly does not follow the simple translation. Why?


One sefer on Targum Yonasan ben Uziel suggests that it was to show that shelamim is excluded from the laws of kodshei kadashim and is therefore only referred to as kodesh


However, a friend of mine offered what I believe is a more insightful answer. In 17:1-5 we are taught that in the desert, slaughtering an animal for one's own pleasure as we do today, was forbidden. Rather, anyone who wanted to eat an animal was required to bring it as a korban shelamim. The purpose of this is clearly stated in 17:5 "So that B'nei Yisrael may bring their sacrifices, which they offer in the open field, that they may bring them to HaShem..." The very essence of the shelamim was an animal that would otherwise have been slaughtered and eaten by its owner without any sanctification, but instead was brought to the mizbei'ach and made holy by being offered as a korban. This is in contrast with other sacrifices brought out of necessity. Since the shelamim represents the sanctification of what would otherwise have been mundane it is given the name nichsas kudshaya, holy slaughtering.