This week is
Candelighting 3/21/08 - 6:51 PM (DST New York City)
Wishing all a
Representing G-d's Torah
Chapter 6, Verses 3-4) “He, (Kohen – Priest) shall raise the
ashes of the Olah offering that was consumed by the fire on the
altar, and place them next to the Alter... he shall remove the
ashes to the outside of the camp, to a pure place.”
The remains of
the Olah sacrifice were to be burned completely all through the
night. [An “Olah” was a voluntary sacrifice, brought to forgive
violations of positive commandments (Nachmanidies, Leviticus
1:4)]. In the morning the Kohen would clean the remaining ashes
off the Alter and dispose of them properly.
Halevavos (Gate of Humility – Chapter 6) explains, the Torah
obligated the Kohen to clean the Alter everyday in order that he
remove all feelings of haughtiness and humble himself to the
services of G-d. The Merapeh Lenefesh, commenting on the Chovos
Halevavos, makes the point that in the service to G-d there is
no room for self praise.
The action of
cleaning the Alter reminds the Kohen of what his motives should
be. Not all of G-ds work is glorifying and just as there is no
glory in cleaning the Alter, so to one should not conduct his
service to G-d for personal gain or glory.
It is clear
from the services in the Tabernacle that the Kohanim were
representing the entire Jewish nation in the service to G-d. The
Kohanim had the moral obligation to conduct their work with the
utmost dignity and NOT use G-d's work to exalt themselves.
This is a true
lesson for all who represent the banner of G-d; to conduct
ourselves with pure intentions, for the sole purpose of doing
the right thing.
Rabbi Chaim Lobel is the
Rabbi of Young Israel of Aberdeen, Congregation Bet Tefilah,