"And he should lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering (olah), and it will be pleasing before Him, and he will be attoned for." (Leviticus 1:4)
This verse should have been written after the laws of how to perform the offering, like with all the other offerings.  Perhaps we could explain this in accordance with the Talmud's teaching that the burnt offering is brought to attone for the thoughts of the heart.  The main tikkun of one's thoughts is that a person's every movement should be under the realm of G-d, that every slight movement should be directed to serving G-d.  In the prayer of our Holy Master, the Rebbe R' Elimelech of Lizensk, z"l, zy"a, it says that all of our movements and feelings should be unified toward G-d.  It is taught in the sefarim that our Holy Master, the Seer of Lublin, zy"a, would only lift his eyelids if he had in mind some unification (yichud) of G-d's Blessed Name.  He explained that this is the meaning of "and you should tie them as an 'os' on your hand"  (Deuteronomy 6).  The word "os" can mean either "sign" or "letter".  He taught that this verse means that the holy letters of the Hebrew alphabet should be upon your hands.  Just as one can make unifications of Holy Names through the arrangement of the Hebrew alphabet, so should be upon one's hands, meaning that a Jew can make unifications (yichudim) with simply moving his hands.  This is how the letters should be upon your hands.  With every slight movement one should be arranging unifications, revealing the Oneness of G-d in the world, serving G-d with every movement.  This is the main attonement attained by the burnt offering, "and he sould lay his hand on the head", meaning that one should not even make a hand movement, whether great or small, without thinking carefully with one's head and heart as to how he can serve G-d through this movement, even by thinking about G-d and associating the movement with this holy thought.  This is the main reason for the burnt offering, and if one does this, then "it will be pleasing before Him (G-d), and he (the person bringing the offering) will be attoned for."
(Divrei Binah - Parshas Vayikra p. 18)

Go back to Torah index.

"You should bring salt with all of your offerings. You should not discontinue to bring the salt of the covenant of your G-d from your offering. With all of your sacrifices you should bring salt" (Leviticus 2:13)

When eating a meal, there is a custom to dip the bread in salt after blessing the bread. One should make sure to dip the piece of bread into the salt three times specifically. This is because it is known that the word "melach", which means "salt", is equal in Gematria to the number 78, which is three times 26. The number 26 is the Gematria of the Holy Name of G-d, the Name Hashem or HaVaYaH. By dipping the bread three times, we have a total of nine times the Gematria of HaVaYaH. We bring the nine times the Name of G-d, representing the first nine Sefiros, into our mouth, which represents the tenth Sefirah, which is Malchus, because it is known that the mouth represents the Sefirah of Malchus (see the introduction to Tikkunei Zohar, where it says "Malchus is the mouth"). Therefore, by uniting the nine higher Sefiros with the tenth Sefirah of Malchus, we have the complete unification of G-d's Presence in this world.

(Divrei Binah, from the first Biala Rebbe, on Pirkei Avos 6:4, in the name of his father, the Rebbe from Shidlovtza, zt"l, in the name of his grandfather, the Holy Jew, zy"a)

One's conduct during a meal... There should be a table cloth on the table. There should be salt on the table... One should dip the piece of bread upon which he recites "hamotzi" in salt three times. He should have in mind by doing so to push away the evil forces of the "sitra achara".

(Seder HaYom, from the third Biala Rebbe, Day 19, paragraphs 119-123)

"And he shall slaughter it on the northern side of the altar before HASHEM" (Leviticus 1:11)

It is known what Elijah the prophet, may he be remembered for good, said, "That when the Jewish people recite the verse, 'And he shall slaughter it on the side of the altar, on the north, before the LORD.' (Leviticus 1:11) that the Holy One Blessed Be He remembers the merit of Akedas Yitzchak, the binding of Isaac." (Tanna DeVei Eliyahu 86) I see that many people mumble and go quickly when reciting this verse (which is recited after karban hatamid). Therefore, I see to it, to awaken people that this verse should be recited slowly and with intention, like it says in Totzaos Chaim, from the author of Reshish Chachmah. These are his words, "For Isaac is the manisfestation of din (strict justice), was bound by Abraham, the man of chesed (loving kindness). North is the place of din, as it says 'and the evil will open up from the north' (Jeremiah 1:14). And the verse says 'before HaShem (the LORD)', which is the divine Name of Mercy. Thus we see the slaughtering "on the north before the LORD", is just the same as the Akedah (binding of Isaac), for the attribute of din is slaughtered and conquered under the attribute of mercy." Until here are his words.

And there is another intent here, also mentioned in Tanna DeVei Eliyahu, like it says, "'on the northern side, before the LORD', alludes to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who are hidden (tzfunim, hidden, shares etymology with tzfonah, north) before Hashem," (Tanna DeVei Eliyahu chapter 10) and the concept alluded to here is, that Hashem should remember the merits of the Patriarchs. And the Kedushas Levi, zt"l, from Berditchev writes (Parshas Shemini), that when reciting this verse one must accept mesirus nefesh (self-sacrifice) upon himself.

(Seder HaYom, Day 10, paragraph 55)

Go back to Torah index.