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Monday, March 22, 2010

Tzav, Vayikra 7:12. Korban Todah: Man was created to struggle.

This post has two sections.  The first deals with the Korban Todah, and the feelings one should have when bringing a thanksgiving offering.  The second part was brought up in the comments when I first posted this, and discusses the meaning of 'Todah' as used in Korban Todah and in Shmone Esrei.

Part I

(Based in part on the Ksav Sofer, Beis Halevi, Tzidkas Hatzadik)

The Korban Todah (Todah meaning gratitude or acknowledgment) is an offering that one brings when he is saved from some imminent danger.  Chazal (Brachos 54) say, for example, that four events create an obligation to bring this korban: recovery from illness, release from prison, finishing a trip through the desert, and reaching land after a sea voyage.



Tehillim (50:23:
זֹבֵחַ תּוֹדָה יְכַבְּדָנְנִי  וְשָׂם דֶּרֶךְ אַרְאֶנּוּ בְּיֵשַׁע אֱלֹהִים.  
One who slaughters a Korban Todah honors Me, and [I will] prepare the way; I will show him the salvation of God."
The word 'yechabda'ne'ni' would normally be written 'yechabdeini'.  It seems to have a superfluous "nun". The Tanchuma (sort of like the Gemara Sanhedrin 43b) says that the double ‘nun’ tells us to double our appreciation, to offer “kavod achar kavod”  to hashem.  A person who is saved from a danger and brings a korban todah should recognize that even the tzaros were intended for his benefit; he should praise Hashem for both the tzaros and the yeshuos, the danger and the salvation.  This is why the end of the passuk says be’yesha Elokim”-- the salvation of Elokim.  But Elokim is midas hadin, the trait of strict judgment, not mercy!  The answer is that when the person looks at the gezeira of the midas hadin, and he is “sahm derech”--that is, that it makes a lasting impression on him and he is chozer beteshuva or it is memarek his aveiros, then he will see that the Elokim itself is part of his yeshua.


וישב יעקב. בקש יעקב לישב בשלוה קפץ עליו רגזו של יוסף. לא דיין לצדיקים שמתוקן להם העוה״ב אלא שרוצים לישב בשלוה בעוהיז.

The Medrash in Vayeisheiv (brought in Rashi there) says, Tzadikim should know that life is not about tranquility and peace.  Life is about conflict and tests, and we are expected to bravely face them and overcome them.  Not only are we expected to win our battles, but when we do win, we bring a korban today and thank the Ribono shel Olam for testing us.  Ke'sheim she'mevorchim....

What was the essential difference between Shaul Hamelech and David Hamelech?  Why did Shaul's reign die with him, while David began an eternal dynasty? 

In I Shmuel 16:11-12 David Hamelech is described as
 אַדְמוֹנִי, עִם יְפֵה עֵינַיִם וְטוֹב רֹאִי
rubicund, though with beautiful eyes and handsome appearance.
The Malbim there explains that there was an innate conflict in David's personality.  He was driven by very powerful human urges, but he was so spiritually strong that he not only overcame them, but he incorporated those carnal and aggressive forces into his service of Hashem.  When Shmuel came to Yishai to find the king that would replace Shaul, he first saw Eliav.  He saw in Eliav the same characteristics he saw in Shaul--  who is described as being head and shoulders higher than any other person (I Shmuel 9:2):
מִשִּׁכְמוֹ וָמַעְלָה, גָּבֹהַּ מִכָּל הָעָם.
The same words are used to describe Eliav:
יַּרְא אֶת אֱלִיאָב; וַיֹּאמֶר אַךְ נֶגֶד ה' מְשִׁיחוֹ.    וַיֹּאמֶר ה' אֶל שְׁמוּאֵל אַל תַּבֵּט אֶל מַרְאֵהוּ וְאֶל גְּבֹהַּ קוֹמָתוֹ כִּי מְאַסְתִּיהוּ  כִּי לֹא אֲשֶׁר יִרְאֶה הָאָדָם כִּי הָאָדָם יִרְאֶה לַעֵינַיִם וַיהוָה יִרְאֶה לַלֵּבָב
David was not like Eliav or Shaul.  He was not a perfect, tranquil, natural tzadik.  His life was constant battle against a roaring lion of a Yetzer Hara.  He won every single battle, but the war raged on almost his whole life.  This distinguished David from his brother Eliav and from his predecessor, Shaul.  It was precisely this trait, this weakness/strength, that Hashem wanted in His warrior-king. (It's interesting to think about the difference in perspective between the Greek trope of the hero's 'fatal flaw' that ultimately results in the protagonist's downfall, and the Torah idea of the 'enlivening flaw,' the flaw one strives to overcome, and, by doing so, makes himself a true hero.)

As Reb Tzadok says in his Tzidkas Hatzadik #244, (a chapter very much worth reading in the entirety)
כל מלחמותיו הי׳ בניצוח היצר.   כפי מה שנצח ליצר, כך נצח לאומות שהכל אחד
All David's battles were to vanquish his yetzer hara, and concommitant with winning that battle he vanquished other nations in war, for all is one.
(Thank you to R' Moshe Eisemann in his "Music Made in Heaven" for the mareh makom.)

We find anecdotal examples of this happening all around us. Chazal pointed out the tragic irony of how holy geirim, who have voluntarily chosen to take on the obligations and burdens dangers of Judaism, so often face terrible and unending challenges-מפני מה גרים בזמן הזה מעונין ויסורין  באין עליהן.  We see this happen to Ba'alei Teshuva as well. You would think that they would be rewarded with some peace and quiet, that they earned a period of tranquility during which they could fortify and deepen new spiritual circumstances. But nebach, most often they are beset with hard times- physical, financial, and personal.

So the passuk in Iyov (5:7), כִּי אָדָם לְעָמָל יוּלָּד וּבְנֵי רֶשֶׁף יַגְבִּיהוּ עוּף, is not a curse; it is Hashem's will that we overcome challenges and win battles.  Our name itself proclaims this purpose: Yisrael-- ki sarisa- vatuchal.  Having faced the challenge, and having overcome it, we thank Hashem for both, "al hamilchamos ve'al hayeshu'os."  (Beis Halevi on Az Yashir Moshe.)

~
Reb N.G. wrote about a closely related idea, and its connection to Pesach, here.
 ~

I can't help but to put in a story about George Orwell on this topic.  Its relevance will become apparent.


Finally, eight or nine days after leaving the front, I had my wound examined. In the surgery where newly-arrived cases were examined, doctors with huge pairs of shears were hacking away the breast-plates of plaster in which men with smashed ribs, collar-bones, and so forth had been cased at the dressingstations behind the line; out of the neck-hole of the huge clumsy breast-plate you would see protruding an anxious, dirty face, scrubby with a week's beard. The doctor, a brisk, handsome man of about thirty, sat me down in a chair, grasped my tongue with a piece of rough gauze, pulled it out as far as it would go, thrust a dentist's mirror down my throat, and told me to say ‘Eh!’ After doing this till my tongue was bleeding and my eyes running with water, he told me that one vocal cord was paralysed. ‘When shall I get my voice back?’ I said. ‘Your voice? Oh, you'll never get your voice back,’ he said cheerfully. However, he was wrong, as it turned out. For about two months I could not speak much above a whisper, but after that my voice became normal rather suddenly, the other vocal cord having ‘compensated’. The pain in my arm was due to the bullet having pierced a bunch of nerves at the back of the neck. It was a shooting pain like neuralgia, and it went on hurting continuously for about a month, especially at night, so that I did not get much sleep. The fingers of my right hand were also semi-paralysed. Even now, five months afterwards, my forefinger is still numb — a queer effect for a neck wound to have.
The wound was a curiosity in a small way and various doctors examined it with much clicking of tongues and ‘Que suerte! Qye suerte!’ One of them told me with an air of authority that the bullet had missed the artery by ‘about a millimetre’. I don't know how he knew. No one I met at this time — doctors, nurses, practicantes, or fellow-patients — failed to assure me that a man who is hit through the neck and survives it is the luckiest creature alive. I could not help thinking that it would be even luckier not to be hit at all.
- George Orwell, from "Homage to Catalonia", where he describes his hospital stay after being shot in the neck.
~

Part II

What does the word "Todah" mean in, as used in Korban Todah and in Modim in Shemoneh Esrei?

UPDATE, DECEMBER 2011:
I found that the Oneg Yomtov, in his Hakdama, brings a very relevant Maharit, and comments on it, and says many of the things we discussed here, and adds to them as well.  It's worth seeing!!!)

1.  Great Unknown pointed out that in the Gemara in Sanhedrin, which is similar to the Tanchuma, the Gemara uses the double nun to mean that one who shechts his yetzer hara honors Hashem in both this world and the next; there, Rashi explains "todah" to mean "confession."  However, I said that the Tanchuma is very different than the Gemara in Sanhedrin.  (As you will see, it turns out that the difference between the Gemara and the Tanchuma is a big and widespread machlokes.)

2.  Eli told us that there are many sources that indicate that one who brings a korban Todah must say "vidui," though exactly what the viduy contains is unclear. (I believe that the organizing principle for Eli's mekoros is the machlokes that will become clear in a moment.)

Taanis 23, re: Hony Hame'agel. הביאו לי פר הודאה and Rashi says להתודות עליו (however, it seems from Rashi there that it was Shlamim, not Toda; see Gevuras Ari and Maharsha there). See also Mitzpe-Eytan there.

Rashi Iyov 33:27 -- יעשה שורות של אנשים כשניצול מחליו ויתודה ליוצרו

Rashi Divrey-Hayamim 2:33:16 "ויזבח עליו זבחי שלמים ותודה" - שהביא קרבן תודה והתוודה להקב"ה שהשיבו לירושלים ולמלכותו

Rashi Hulin 12 says that אשר כופר בהם refers to Shlamim. Same in Hulin 130 and Erchin 21. All say that even Shlamim has an aspect of Kapara, thus probably requiring Viduy (compare with Rambam Maase-Hakorbanot 3:15)

So, it seems Toda requires Viduy also. This could go either way: Viduy might just mean "to acknowledge", like in Viduy Maaser, which is a strange kind of Viduy, saying לא אשמתי, לא בגדתי. So the Viduy in Toda is just acknowledging the טובה coming from Hashem. Or we could say that there is an aspect of Kapara in Shlamim, and maybe in Toda too, unlike the the Tanchuma. At least be-derech drush one could argue that the two are not that far away: being thankful requires acknowledgement of not being worthy of what you got. That's why we say "הגומל לחייבים", not just out of Anava, but this is actually part of giving thanks.

Nafka-Mina to this drush is that the Viduy of תודה, even if we accpet it's a Viduy על חטא, does not require תשובה.

3.  I said that...
It is certainly clear in the context of the Modim in Shmoneh Esrei that the word means acknowledgment, just as 'appreciate' means to recognize and to be grateful. מודִים אֲנַחְנוּ לָךְ. שָׁאַתָּה הוּא ה' , and then

נודֶה לְּךָ וּנְסַפֵּר תְּהִלָּתֶךָ עַל חַיֵּינוּ הַמְּסוּרִים בְּיָדֶךָ. and וְעַל נִסֶּיךָ שֶׁבְּכָל יום עִמָּנוּ. And of course, the expression is to be "מכיר טוב".

I wonder, though, if someone recognizes that he got a valuable gift from someone, but doesn't feel or exhibit gratitude. He is technically מכיר טוב, but in the real sense, he is a כפוי טוב.

4. Then, great unknown said...

I rather thought that if i gave you enough time, you would back into the gemora in megilla: i.e., the limud that modim comes after avoda from zoveach todah. in fact, there rashi says: אחר זביחה תן הודאה

an extensive study of the connection between vidui and hoda'ah can be found in r mattis wienberg's patterns in time on chanukah, based primarily, iirc, on the sefas emes. i however do not have either available to me to verify that.


5.  Then I said...
I wish I thought of the Gemara in Megilla, on 18a. The Gemara is talking about the order of the brachos in Shmone Esrei, and it goes like this:

וכיון שבאת עבודה באתה תודה שנאמר (תהילים נ) זובח תודה יכבדנני ומה ראו לומר ברכת כהנים אחר הודאה דכתיב (ויקרא ט) וישא אהרן את ידיו אל העם ויברכם וירד מעשות החטאת והעולה והשלמים אימא קודם עבודה לא ס"ד דכתיב וירד מעשות החטאת וגו' מי כתיב לעשות מעשות כתיב ולימרה אחר העבודה לא ס"ד דכתיב זובח תודה מאי חזית דסמכת אהאי סמוך אהאי מסתברא עבודה והודאה חדא מילתא היא

Rashi there:

זובח תודה. אחר זביחה תן הודאה: חדא מילתא היא. אף הודאה עבודה של מקום הוא

6. I said....
Eli, I just read your comment more carefully. I agree. A sense of entitlement is incompatible with hakaras hatov. A craftsman is not makir tov for being paid for his work, and a malveh is not makir tov for being repaid. Actually, a malveh probably is.

As far as the issue of Choni Hame'agel's korban that Eli brought from the Gemara in Taanis 23a, Eli also brought the Gvuras Ari on that Gemara. Here's someone who brings the whole Gevuras Ari and the Rambam:

http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=7160&st=&pgnum=29&hilite=

He holds the Todah was a simple Todah, that Choni was saying "Ribono shel Olam, thank you for the fine rain You sent. We've had enough."

Reb Yosef Engel says the same thing in Rosh Hashanna 30a.

7.  Then, I remembered that R' Chaim Brown had written about a very similar matter some months ago at Divrei Chaim.  The bottom line of the discussion there is that there's a machlokes Bavli and Yerushalmi whether Mizmor LeSoda is about the Korban Todah or just about the concept of Vidui by other korbanos, or viduy in general.  He brought Yerushalim Shevuos 6b in the Vilna print that says it refers to the vidui of Korban Chatas, and he connected this Yerushalmi to a Magen Avraham in OC 51:10.  I brought the Bavli in Shevu'os 16b that it was sung when a person brought a personal Korban Todah.

8.  Then R' David Guttman of the Yediah blog brought the Yalkut Shimoni in Tehillim 100 that says that the word Todah means admission, and the Otzar Hatefillos on Modim that says that because Modim means 'admit,' that's why the next word is vocalized "sha'ata" (meaning 'that') instead of 'she'ata' (meaning 'because'.)  I think that even though the Abudraham clearly agrees with that, it's wrong anyway.

The Abudraham: says that you have to say modim yourself, you can't be yotzei with a shliach, because it's kabalas ol malchus shamayim, and KOMS can't be done with shlichus.  If it was thanks, it would have no connection with KOMS.  He must hold it's not Thanks, but rather acknowledgment.

But I think he's wrong.  It means Thanks.  My proof is from Sotah 40a, where it says Modim....ahl.  Ahl means 'for.'  Modim for....doesn't make sense if it means acknowledgment, but it makes sense if it means thank you for....

9.  I later saw that the pirush on the side of the Yerushalmi there, the Tzion vi'yerushalayim, in Shavu'os brings that this is indeed a machlokes what Mizmor LeSodah refers to, and he brings from a sefer Magen Giborim that it's a pervasive machlokes (Radak and Rashi in Tehillim, the Tur and the Beis Yosef in OC 281, and so on) whether it refers to the Korban Todah or the concept of Viduy, and the mefareish says Ha, he didn't remember this Yerushalmi.  But I say, Ha on the Tzion vi'rushalayim, because he should have realized that the Tanchuma also says like the Bavli in Shavu'os, and he should have brought the Gemara in Sanhedrin that is like the Yerushalmi.

10.  I sent a letter to Eli, saying the following:
Although the introduction of prakim in Tehillim doesn't always have a lot to do with the content, here it says "de'u ki Hashem...."  I think it's a little unusual, the word "de'u."  But if Todah means acknowledgment, then "de'u" makes perfect sense.  Realize.  Don't live just out of habit.  Don't walk around without an awareness of what you owe and to whom you owe it.  Then the perek ends by saying "hodu lo," now that you remember who made you and what you owe him, you will naturally be grateful for what he's done for you.

11.  So: If you hold like the Yerushalmi in Shavuos and the Bavli in Sanhedrin, you can go ahead and say Mizmor Le'Sodah on Pesach.  According to them, it has nothing to do with the Korban Todah, it's just about the concept of Viduy.  It might be hard to agree with, but you can't argue with the Gemara.


And so that's the mussar haskeil of this piece.  Astonish your friends and neighbors, say Mizmor LeSodah aloud on Pesach, and tell people it's because you hold like the Yerushalmi in Shavuos and the Bavli in Sanhedrin, and that the Tanchuma has no halachic status.  It's wrong le'halacha, but it's no worse than saying "she'hotzi lechem min ha'aretz" (Brachos 38a).

12.  An interesting addition: when we make a birkas hagomel, we say "hagomel lechayavim tovos shegmalani kol tov."  After knowing the above, the odd insertion of lechayavim makes wonderful sense. Vidui and Hoda'ah.

13.  And here's the prize.  Thanks to Eli who noticed it right before the Tanchuma I brought down:
http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=14123&st=&pgnum=291
Second to last line.

שאין תשובה לפני הקב״ת יותר מן הודייה

13 comments:

Nonymous said...

Good stuff, thanks for sharing. I wrote a related post about Pesach and Toda http://geshmacktorah.blogspot.com/2010/03/chametz-and-matza.html

Barzilai said...

Good. The Pesach connection is helpful; I'll put it into the post.

Anonymous said...

Here is a great Question I just heard What happens if you sell real Chametz and it burns on Pesach can ou collect the Insurance can you daven for the Warehouse not to burn down you a Roitzeh Bikumo?

great unknown said...

derech not so agav, notice that Rashi there indicates that todah is milashon vidui. this complicates the gemarah in megillah somewhat.

Barzilai said...

The Gemara in Sanhedrin uses it for shechting your yetzer hara, so Rashi says it means vidui. But the Tanchuma is different.
The Tanchuma is here:
http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=14123&st=&pgnum=292&hilite=
Anyway, that part is from the Ksav Sofer. What I can't defend, I attribute.
What Gemara in Megilla?

Barzilai said...

Nonymous- hatzlacha in your new website, gtorah. How did you develop it? I have a website I never used- parshashashavua.com- but I don't know how to build it without hiring someone.

Eli said...

It seems that Shitas Rashi is that Korban Toda requires Viduy. Here are few examples (beki'us not mine, I once saw it collected):

Taanis 23, re: Hony Hame'agel. הביאו לי פר הודאה and Rashi says להתודות עליו (however, it seems from Rashi there that it was Shlamim, not Toda; see Gevuras Ari and Maharsha there). See also Mitzpe-Eytan there.

Rashi Iyov 33:27 -- יעשה שורות של אנשים כשניצול מחליו ויתודה ליוצרו

Rashi Divrey-Hayamim 2:33:16 "ויזבח עליו זבחי שלמים ותודה" - שהביא קרבן תודה והתוודה להקב"ה שהשיבו לירושלים ולמלכותו

Rashi Hulin 12 says that אשר כופר בהם refers to Shlamim. Same in Hulin 130 and Erchin 21. All say that even Shlamim has an aspect of Kapara, thus probably requiring Viduy (compare with Rambam Maase-Hakorbanot 3:15)

So, it seems Toda requires Viduy also. This could go either way: Viduy might just mean "to acknowledge", like in Viduy Maaser, which is a strange kind of Viduy, saying לא אשמתי, לא בגדתי. So the Viduy in Toda is just acknowledging the טובה coming from Hashem. Or we could say that there is an aspect of Kapara in Shlamim, and maybe in Toda too, unlike the the Tanchuma. At least be-derech drush one could argue that the two are not that far away: being thankful requires acknowledgement of not being worthy of what you got. That's why we say "הגומל לחייבים", not just out of Anava, but this is actually part of giving thanks.

Nafka-Mina to this drush is that the Viduy of תודה, even if we accpet it's a Viduy על חטא, does not require תשובה.

Barzilai said...

It is certainly clear in the context of the Modim in Shmoneh Esrei that the word means acknowledgment, just as 'appreciate' means to recognize and to be grateful. מודִים אֲנַחְנוּ לָךְ. שָׁאַתָּה הוּא ה' , and then
נודֶה לְּךָ וּנְסַפֵּר תְּהִלָּתֶךָ עַל חַיֵּינוּ הַמְּסוּרִים בְּיָדֶךָ. and וְעַל נִסֶּיךָ שֶׁבְּכָל יום עִמָּנוּ. And of course, the expression is to be "מכיר טוב".
I wonder, though, if someone recognizes that he got a valuable gift from someone, but doesn't feel or exhibit gratitude. He is technically מכיר טוב, but in the real sense, he is a כפוי טוב.

great unknown said...

i rather thought that if i gave you enough time, you would back into the gemora in megilla: i.e., the limud that modim comes after avoda from zoveach todah. in fact, there rashi says: אחר זביחה תן הודאה

an extensive study of the connection between vidui and hoda'ah can be found in r mattis wienberg's patterns in time on chanukah, based primarily, iirc, on the sefas emes. i however do not have either available to me to verify that.

Barzilai said...

I wish I thought of the Gemara in Megilla, on 18a. The Gemara is talking about the order of the brachos in Shmone Esrei, and it goes like this:
וכיון שבאת עבודה באתה תודה שנאמר (תהילים נ) זובח תודה יכבדנני ומה ראו לומר ברכת כהנים אחר הודאה דכתיב (ויקרא ט) וישא אהרן את ידיו אל העם ויברכם וירד מעשות החטאת והעולה והשלמים אימא קודם עבודה לא ס"ד דכתיב וירד מעשות החטאת וגו' מי כתיב לעשות מעשות כתיב ולימרה אחר העבודה לא ס"ד דכתיב זובח תודה מאי חזית דסמכת אהאי סמוך אהאי מסתברא עבודה והודאה חדא מילתא היא
Rashi there:
זובח תודה. אחר זביחה תן הודאה: חדא מילתא היא. אף הודאה עבודה של מקום הוא

Barzilai said...

Eli, I just read your comment more carefully. I agree. A sense of entitlement is incompatible with hakaras hatov. A craftsman is not makir tov for being paid for his work, and a malveh is not makir tov for being repaid. Actually, a malveh probably is.

As far as the issue of Choni Hame'agel's korban that Eli brought from the Gemara in Taanis 23a, Eli also brought the Gvuras Ari on that Gemara. Here's someone who brings the whole Gevuras Ari and the Rambam:
http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=7160&st=&pgnum=29&hilite=

He holds the Todah was a simple Todah, that Choni was saying "Ribono shel Olam, thank you for the fine rain You sent. We've had enough."

Reb Yosef Engel says the same thing in Rosh Hashanna 30a.

Barzilai said...

Reb Oizer Alport, a yungerman in Novarodok-Brooklyn, in his Parsha Potpourri, posted the same idea from the Meiam Loez, and I'm copying it to here.

Parshas Tzav contains the laws governing the Korban Todah (Thanksgiving-Offering). In expounding upon this section, the Medrash quotes a verse in Tehillim (50:23) זבח תודה יכבדנני – A person who brings a Korban Todah honors Me. The Medrash notes that the word יכבדנני is peculiarly spelled with a double “נ” in lieu of the usual one. The Medrash cryptically explains that this anomaly teaches that a person who brings a Korban Todah doubly honors Hashem, כבוד אחר כבוד. What is the additional respect shown by a person who was saved from potential danger and offers a sacrifice to express his gratitude?
An insight into resolving this perplexing Medrash may be derived from a fascinating story recounted by the Me’am Loez. The Ramban had a student who became deathly ill. Upon visiting his student, the Ramban quickly realized that there was unfortunately no hope for him. Realizing that his student’s time was near, the Ramban asked him to do him a favor.
The Ramban explained that there were a number of questions which had been troubling him regarding Hashem’s conduct toward the Jewish people, who were suffering greatly at that time. As he was deeply versed in the secrets of Jewish mysticism, he wrote for his student a kamea (amulet) containing Divine names. After his death, the student would be able, with this kamea, to ascend to a very high level of Heaven where he could ask these questions and return in a dream to tell his teacher the answers.
Shortly after the student’s death, he appeared to the Ramban and explained that everywhere he arrived, he simply showed the kamea and was permitted to continue his ascent. However, when he finally reached his destination and began to ask the questions that he had prepared, everything became so crystal clear to him that there were no longer any difficulties that needed resolution. With his newfound insight, it was immediately clear that any apparent suffering was, in the big picture, actually for the good.
With the lesson of this story, we can now understand an explanation given by the K’sav Sofer for our cryptic Medrash. After a person is miraculously saved from peril, it is human nature to express gratitude to Hashem for watching over us and rescuing us from danger. However, we certainly don’t feel
appreciation for having been placed in the situation to begin with, as we would clearly prefer to have never been placed in the line of danger than to have been exposed to death and rescued from it.
To counter this attitude, the Medrash teaches us that the Torah’s philosophy is that a person who brings a Korban Todah is required to express double gratitude – not only for his salvation, but also for being exposed to the perilous situation from which he was rescued. Although it may not have been clear to him at the time, he is nevertheless expected to recognize that the suffering itself was ultimately for his benefit. Suffering can effect atonement for misdeeds or bring in its wake unexpected good.
Even if we aren’t yet able to see the benefit in a given situation, the knowledge that it is there and that we will eventually recognize it can give us the strength to persevere with faith and trust until the goodness is ultimately revealed.

Eli said...

Revisiting this post today, I found some more evidence to the תודה-וידוי linkage:

In addition to וידוי-מעשר mentioned above, מקרא ביכורים is also called וידוי (see Mishna Bikurim 2:2).

Second, the Tanchuma (a few lines above the piece brought in the post) says "שאין תשובה לפני הקב"ה יותר מן הודיה", which fits nicely with the above.