Rabbi Apelbaum – Tzav: Korban Toda, pirsumei nissa, and Leil Seder.
We find in this week’s parsha the halachos of bringing a korban toda. The korban toda was brought by someone who was saved from certain danger, as the gemara states in Berachos 54b, “four people have to give thanks, ocean goers, desert travelers, one who got healed from a sickness, and one who was freed from prison”. A korban toda has to be brought with 40 loaves of bread, and has to be eaten in one day and night. Other korbanos don’t require so many loaves, and can be eaten in two nights and one day. Why do so many loaves of bread have to be brought with it, and why does it have to be eaten in such a short time? The Netziv explains that the only way someone would be able to eat such a large amount of bread in such a short time would be by inviting a lot of people to eat with him.When one experiences a miracle, he has a mitzvah to publicize it in order to inspire others. Therefore, the Torah made it that that a person has to bring a lot of bread with his korban, and eat it in a short span of time, so that he’ll have to invite a lot of people to eat with him, which will publicize the kiddush Hashem.
This week we celebrated the bris of our grandson, Yaakov Chaim. The source in the Torah for making a seudas Bris is when Avraham avinu made a bris for Yitzchok, וַיַּעַשׂ אַבְרָהָם מִשְׁתֶּה גָדוֹל בְּיוֹם הִגָּמֵל אֶת יִצְחָק – וירא כא, ח. The word הִגָּמֵל is an acronym for ה–ג מל, which means he got his Bris on the eight day. What is the meaning of מִשְׁתֶּה גָדוֹל (great feast)? Rashi explains that all the gedolim were there, Shem, Aiver, and Avimelech. Shem and Aiver were truly gedolim, but why was Avimelech considered a gadol? The answer can be understood if we understand the purpose of making a seudah after a Bris Milah. The purpose of a seudas bris is to make known the great wonders of Hkb”h. The miracle of birth is so great that we make a great feast in order to thank Hashem and publicize the miracle. But we are supposed to make this meal even more important. The gemara says that when saying thanks for a miracle, it should be in front of two talmidei chachamim. It makes the proclamation of thanks that much more significant. It transforms a simple meal of thanks into an important and great feast. So making a seudas Bris with gedolim there, makes it a into great proclamation of Hashem’s wonders and miracles.
In parshas Toldos it says וְאֵלֶּה תּוֹלְדֹת יִצְחָק… אַבְרָהָם הוֹלִיד אֶת יִצְחָק. Rashi explains that when Yitzchok was born, the scoffers said that he couldn’t have been born from Avraham since he was so old, so they said he was born from Avimelech. So now Avraham made a seudas Bris for Yitzchok, and who came? None other than Avimelech himself! That was the greatest proof that Avraham was Yitzchoks real father, and not he, as the scoffers were saying. Avimelech’s coming to the great feast that Avraham made for the Bris publicized the miracle even more! Now we can understand why Avimelech is referred to as a gadol, because he made the miracle so much greater!
On Pesach night we have the mitzvah of Sippur Yetzias Mitzrayim, saying over the story of the exodus while the Matzoh is placed in front of us. The Brisker Rav learns that part of this mitzvah is a requirement to say it on the Matzos, just like we say Kiddush on wine. The reason for this can be that we are creating a seudah of thanks for the miracles done for us in Mitzrayim, so we have to speak about the miracles over the Matzos which were a part of the miracle! This can also be why we are supposed to invite people to the Seder, to publicize the miracle even more.
When someone experiences a miracle it’s incumbent on him to make it known to all, to spread the kiddush Hashem. This is a great source of inspiration for everyone who hears it, and especially for himself. When one constantly relates the miracles that happened to him he creates kiddush Hashem in the world, and he strengthens his own appreciation for Hashem’s kindness to him.