Hadrash Ve-Haiyun
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by Efraim Levine

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HaGoan R' Aaron Levine zt"l
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Hadrash Ve-Haiyan


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You shall salt your every meal offering with salt. You may not discontinue the salt of your God’s covenant from upon your meal offering. On all your offerings shall you offer salt. (Vayikra 2:13)

The above posuk teaches us that every meal offering and animal sacrifice requires the accompaniment of salt. The requirement of salt for the meal offering is stated explicitly. Rashi explains that the requirement of salt for the animal sacrifice is derived from the concluding words “on all your offerings shall you offer salt.”

We may ask why is the instruction of salt emphasized only with regard to the meal offering. The emphasis is seen in the fact that the salt requirement for the meal offering is stated explicitly whereas the salt requirement for the animal sacrifices is only derived. Further, with regard to the meal offering the commandment is stated both in the positive and negative form whereas with regard to the animal sacrifice it is only stated in the positive. In addition, only with regard to the meal offering does the posuk used a double expression “salt you shall salt.”

Chazal teach us that salt serves two purposes. It can be used to give flavor and may be used as a preservative. When salt is used to give flavor, only a very precise amount may be used. Too much may ruin the food and too little will not enhance the foods flavor. However, when salt is used as a preservative, then a very large amount must be used and may not be removed during the preservation period.

There are two types of sacrificial offerings. One is the animal sacrifice and the second is the meal offering. The animal sacrifice is symbolic of serving Hashem by giving up one’s life. According to some commentators when one brings an animal sacrifice he is silently saying that he recognizes that it is he who deserves to die for his sins. However, Hashem, out of compassion allowed him to offer the animal instead.

The meal offering is symbolic of sanctifying Hashem’s name by living. Bread is the main staple of life. When one offers a meal offering, he silently declares that he accepts to live his life according to the Torah and thus sanctify Hashem through his existence.

With regard to the meal offering the posuk uses a double expression of salt. It then repeats the commandment in the negative form to warn us not to remove the salt. With regard to the meal offering the purpose of salt is preservation. The theme of the meal offering should be preserved. We are to sanctify Hashem by living.

However when offering an animal sacrifice, salt is just hinted to briefly. Here the purpose of salt is to provide flavor. If one is in a situation where he must give up his life for the name of Hashem it should not be done with complaint or bitterness rather with “flavor.” This will fully maximize the sanctification of Hashem’s name that will accompany his ultimate sacrifice. The contrast in the way the way the Torah describes the obligation of salt by the animal sacrifice to the meal offerings teaches us that this method is not the ideal way to serve Hashem. Hashem prefers that we “preserve” the method of sanctifying his name by living rather than dying.


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Efraim Levine 5761/2001