Torah Bytes Parshat Vayikra: Your Very Best
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Vayikra(Leviticus 1-5)

Your Very Best

Parshat Vayikra discusses the "Oleh v'Yored" offering - literally the "up-and-down" offering - so called because it had three levels, based on one's financial ability: A wealthy person would bring a cow; a middle-class person brings a bird; and a poor person brings an offering of flour.

In fact, a wealthy person was not allowed to bring a lesser-quality offering. We see from here that God does not judge everyone by the same standards. Someone who has a greater natural ability is expected to do more. For why else would God have given him those resources?!

On the flip side, a poor person was not allowed to bring an expensive offering. This teaches that while we strive to improve, we must be sensitive to our own limitations, and not pressure ourselves unrealistically.

To highlight this idea, Leviticus 2:1 describes someone who brings a flour offering as a "soul." The Talmud explains that though the flour offering may be inexpensive, for the poor person it is quite significant - and God considers it as if he gave his very soul!

We must never look askance at another person's achievements, however small they may appear. Because whatever level we're on, God only expects us to be ... the best that we can be.

Published: March 25, 2006

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Visitor Comments: 4

(4) Anonymous, March 5, 2014 12:06 PM

Love this!

I love this! Thank you so much for posting it!

(3) Anonymous, March 23, 2009 7:57 AM

Fair expectations

Good article that reminds us how and what to expect of ourselves and others. Good reminder also of what a "soul" really is.

(2) Marcy, March 23, 2007 3:18 PM

How true.

Good point.
This definitely holds water.
Thanks for another wonderful peice.

-Marcy

(1) Scott Granowski, March 21, 2007 9:57 PM

Judging Others

As usual, your column provides insights. Here I am reminded of the silliness of thinking that I can assess the performance of others. Clearly these judgments are really misguided moments that I am trying to wear God's robes. Thank you.

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