In this week’s parsha we learn about the korban tamid. This korban was the first to be offered on the mizbayach every morning and the last to be brought every afternoon. Hashem refers to it as korbanei lchami, My bread.
How are we to understand the concept of Hakodush Baruch Hu having bread? There is another difficulty in the pesukim describing the korban tamid. The pasuk says this is the korban tamid that was brought at Har Sinai. The Gemara in Chagiga brings a machloket about whether the korban tamid was brought to Har Sinai. According to R’ Eliezer only the halachot were said at Har Sinai but the tamid wasn’t actually brought. R’ Akiva says, no, the korban was brought. According to either opinion we still require more clarity. Why mention Har Sinai by the korban tamid? It’s true that there are halachot learned from the mentioning of Har Sinai, however, there must be something more than that.
The mishna in Ta’anit lists five tragedies that befell the Jewish people on Shiva Asar b’Tammuz. Among them that Moshe Rabbeinu came down from Shamayim and witnessed cheit haeigel. We know that Moshe went up to Shamayim for forty days beginning on 6 Sivan, the date of kabbalat haTorah and Shavuot. Forty days later is the seventeenth of Tammuz. Many years later, on Shiva Asar b’Tammuz, the korban tamid wasn’t brought.
Another connection between Har Sinai and the korban tamid. What was at Har Sinai that was reflected by the korban tamid?
The giving of the Torah on Har Sinai is compared to a chuppah. Hashem gave us the Torah and we forged a connection with Him. The bond that existed after Har Sinai wasn’t temporary, it was tamid, constant. The bringing of the early morning and afternoon korban tamid was an actualization of this connection. The first thing and the last thing we did each day was renew our relationship with Hashem by bringing the korban tamid. They were the bookends for all other korbanot because the ultimate purpose of all korbanot is to grow closer to Hashem. Therefore the Torah includes Har Sinai by the korban tamid. The dveikot that began on Har Sinai continued every day with the korban tamid. Now we can appreciate why Hashem called the korban tamid His bread.
R’ Chaim of Volozhin explains the concept of lechem in his Sefer Nefesh HaChaim. Bread sustains us, without it we would lack the nourishment to stay alive. It also enables our soul to stay connected to our physical body. This world is only sustained because Hashem wants it to exist. The source of Hashem’s ratzon to uphold this world is His connection to Klal Yisrael. This connection is expressed in the bringing of the korban tamid. Just as bread allows us to continue the connection between our guf and neshama, so too, Hashem’s korban lachmi allows His presence to exist in this world. Hashem maintains this world because of His relationship to His chosen nation and it’s the korban tamid that sustains that connection.
We can now understand how the cheit haeigel led to the nullification of the korban tamid.
After the cheit haeigel the bond between Klal Yisrael and Hashem was weakened. Hashem told Moshe that He would no longer directly lead the Jewish people. Instead a malach would go in front of the nation. The bond between Hashem and Klal Yisrael still existed, but not on the same level. The stopping of the korban tamid was a continuation of the weakening of the bond.
Shiva Asar b’Tammuz is the beginning of the mourning period which culminates with Tisha b’Av and the churban of both Batei Mikdash. The source of all tragedy is the loosening of the bond between us and our Father. The tragedies of yud zayin Tammuz all revolve around our damaging our connection to Hashem. The more we maintain our connection, the more bracha we bring into our lives and chas v’shalom the opposite. At times there may be ups and downs in our ability to connect to our Creator, however, the relationship must remain a constant presence in our life. The first thing we do every day is to daven and talk to Hashem. Throughout the day this relationship needs to be present. If we are careful to do so, tamid, we will be zoche to see blessings in our lives.
May we be zoche to the day when once again we can express that love with the bringing of the korban tamid bimheira.