Photo Credit: Asher Schwartz

כָּל-הַמִּנְחָה, אֲשֶׁר תַּקְרִיבוּ לַיהוָה–לֹא תֵעָשֶׂה, חָמֵץ: כִּי כָל-שְׂאֹר וְכָל-דְּבַשׁ, לֹא-תַקְטִירוּ מִמֶּנּוּ אִשֶּׁה לַיהוָה. קָרְבַּן רֵאשִׁית תַּקְרִיבוּ אֹתָם, לַיהוָה; וְאֶל-הַמִּזְבֵּחַ לֹא-יַעֲלוּ, לְרֵיחַ נִיחֹחַ. (ב:י”א)

In the midst of our annual bout with chametz, in this week’s Parshat, the Torah forbids us from sacrificing any leaven (שאר), or honey on the holy altar. They are to be used as “Korban Reishit”, referring to the 2 loaves of Shavuot, and the Bikurim, first fruits, which is offered starting from Shavuot. (Rashi) Neither makes its way to the Mizbeach.


Interestingly, it is specifically Shavuot when we use these items. Why?

It is often explained that leaven represents “ga’ava”, while d’vash represents worldly pleasure. Both are to be avoided in Avoda.

Shavuot is unique. It is the holiday of Matan Torah. Perhaps one could suggest, that in order to succeed in Torah one needs a certain degree of confidence.

He certainly needs to enjoy the endeavor, as King David declares:

לולא תורתך שעשועי אז עבדתי בעניי (תהילים קיט)

“Were your teaching not my delight, I would have perished in my affliction”
(sounds better in the original).

Shabbat Shalom


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Rav Korn is a senior Rabbi at Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh