Friday, December 13, 2013

homeschooling is teaching me

Usually I don't prepare for chumash.  We just open the chumash and go.  Ever since the Mishkan, I've needed English.  6:23 completely stumped me and even the English didn't help me; I had to open R' Hirsch.

"All Chatas (korbanos) that are brought from its blood to the ohel moed to atone in the kodesh shall not be eaten; it shall be burnt in fire."

Wha???  Is it the korbanos that shouldn't be eaten?  Is the blood not allowed in?  (I admit I have not been paying attention to where each korban is shechted and where the blood is sprinkled or poured or what.)  Rashi (even English Artscroll Rashi) wasn't any help.

R' Hirsch explained that in 4:12 and 4:21, where the chatas of the leaders is described, the entire korban is burnt.  Usually with a chatas, a portion is burnt on the mizbeach and a portion is designated to the kohanim.  This signifies (according to R' Hirsch) that once the blood and fats are on the mizbeach, the spiritual nature and inner desires have found their right place before Hashem.  Then every self-seeking action, such as enjoying a good meal, is raised to a priestly degree.

However, when our leaders sin, the one who represents the Jew who has achieved this Ideal is lacking in the nation.  So there is nobody who can represent this lesson (of elevating our ordinary actions) to the kohen or sanhedrin.  So all of the meat of the Chatas that is not burnt on the mizbeach is NOT eaten by a kohen, but rather burnt outside the camp in a makom tahor.
Those are called Chataos Penimiyos, inner korbanos chatas.

What does this have to do with pasuk 23?

Apparently the other Chatas's, of regular people, have the blood spilled only on the outer (copper) mizbeach.  The Chatas of the leaders have the blood spilled in the outer mizbeach and sprinkled on the paroches (the curtain dividing the kodesh and the kodesh kodashim) and on the horns of the inner (gold) mizbeach.  (I missed this nuance when I was doing this with Chana.)

So.  Any blood of a regular Chatas that is brought inside (when it's supposed to only be outside on the outer, copper mizbeach) renders the Chatas korban not to be eaten (by the kohanim) and it should be burnt.

This is an odd detail to me.  It would seem like this is exactly the kind of thing that could be left to torah she-baal peh.

But at least I think I understand the basic meaning of the pasuk.


  1. Stumbled upon your blog after last nights webinar through the JOH group. Do you list somewhere your favorite chumashim? It's been a while since I've cracked a Sefer and am looking for a good mikraos gedolos. Best recommendations appreciated? As an aspiring Jewish homeschoolers with unschooly leanings and young children I am at the beginning of this journey. Thank you for putting yourself out there as an example.

    1. We just use any chumash that is around. I have a basic chumash with rashi that the kids use. I personally like the classic mikraos gedolos. I have a few different sets, nothing especially unique about any of them.

      I always feel that if I would crack open a sefer any time I worried that my kids weren't learning enough Torah, the whole family would benefit! When I learn, I think about it more and talk about it more--and then they learn more, and very painlessly and naturally! Happy homeschool journey :-)