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Parshas Vayikra


When a person (אָדָם) shall bring an offering.



ויקרא פרק א פסוק ב
אָדָם כִּי יַקְרִיב...


Parshas v'yikra begins, "when a person will bring a korban...". The Torah could just as well have left out the word "person", and even if it did want a word there, the usual word would be "ish". The uncharacteristic use of the word "adam" prompts Rashi to comment:


רש"י ויקרא פרק א פסוק ב
למה נאמר, מה אדם הראשון לא הקריב מן הגזל, שהכל היה שלו, אף אתם לא תקריבו מן הגזל


"Just as the first person did not offer a korban from stolen property, because everything was 'shelo', so too you shall not bring an offering from stolen property." The word "shelo", of course, means "his"..... or "His"; that is "belongs to HaShem". If we translate "shelo" as "His", then we can understand the pasuk is telling us that just as Adam HaRishon had absolute clarity that everything was from HaShem, so too you should work to have clarity that everything really does belong to HaShem; and so it is obvious that there is no point in bringing an offering from stolen goods. After all, from whom are you really stealing? Can property acquired by stealing -- an action that essentially denies that HaShem owns everything -- possibly bring one closeness with HaShem?!?

On the other hand, this is certainly not the simple meaning of this statement; "shelo" b'pashtus means "his" -- property of Adam HaRishon. But Adam was alone; of course everything was his. What possible relevance can that have to later generations in a world filled with other people? But I believe that is precisely the point. Chazal tell us that a person must say "bishvili nivra ha'olam" [the world was created for me]. If so, everything really is for me! Not that I own it, for HaShem is "kone hakol" (the owner/creator) of everything. On the other hand, He only created it for me; for my use to achieve the perfection that will allow me to have an eternal and unfettered relationship with HaShem Yisbarach. Some things are for me to offer a korban, other things are here for me to m'kayam the mitzvah of "es HaShem Elokecha tira" -- by not stealing it! That is, bringing a korban from stolen property is not really possible now any more than it was for Adam HaRishon because of "bishvili nivra ha'olam"; but stealing to bring a korban is misusing an item that is already for me... I am only stealing from myself. Adam HaRishon could see that clearly. Our avoda, the pasuk tells us, is to correct our perspective to see reality with the clarity of Adam HaRishon.

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