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Friday, March 23, 2012

Vayikra. A Guest Post from Rav Pinchas Freidman, Shvilei Pinchas

This post was translated and graciously provided to us by Dr. Baruch Fox.  If you want to get Rav Friedman's divrei Torah weekly, please write to Dr. Fox at  rebboruch at Yahoo

“And he shall scoop from there his full three fingers full of its fine flour and of its oil”

HKB”H the Supreme Heavenly Priest Takes the Best “Kometz” from
Our Torah Study and Fulfillment of Mitzvot

In this week’s parsha, parshat Vayikra, we learn about the “korban-minchah”--"קרבן מנחה לה'".  It differs from all of the other offerings which are brought primarily from animals; the korban-minchah is brought from vegetation—from fine flour to which oil and frankincense are added, as it is written (Vayikra 2, 1): 
"ונפש כי תקריב קרבן מנחה לה', סולת יהיה קרבנו ויצק עליה שמן ונתן עליה לבונה, והביאה אל בני אהרן הכהנים, וקמץ משם מלוא קמצו מסלתה ומשמנה על כל לבונתה, והקטיר הכהן את אזכרתה המזבחה אשה ריח ניחוח לה'"When a soul will bring a meal-offering (a korban-minchah) to Hashem, his offering shall be of fine flour; he shall pour oil on it and place frankincense on it.  He shall bring it to the sons of Aharon, the Kohanim, and he shall scoop from there his full three fingers full, of its fine flour and of its oil, as well as all its frankincense; and the Kohen shall cause its memorial portion to go up in smoke upon the altar—a fire-offering, a satisfactory aroma to Hashem. 
Rashi comments:  "ונפש כי תקריב, לא נאמר נפש בכל קרבנות נדבה אלא במנחה, מי דרכו להתנדב מנחה - עני, אמר הקב"ה מעלה אני עליו כאלו הקריב נפשו" “soul” was not used with reference to any voluntary offerings except for the meal-offering.  Whose practice is it to dedicate a meal-offering?  It is a poor person's.  HKB”H said:  I consider it on his behalf as if he offered his soul. 
Now that the Beit HaMikdash has been destroyed—due to our countless transgressions—and neither the Kohanim, Leviim or Yisroelim are able to perform their prescribed service, we are no longer able to actually bring a korban-minchah.  Nevertheless, we learn an important principle from the great author of the Bnei Yissaschar.  He writes in his Derech Pikudechah (Intro. 3, 5) that even if we are unable to actually perform a particular mitzvah today, we are still required to examine and study the reasons and implications associated with that mitzvah.  Thus, we can ascertain how to at least fulfill the mitzvah in thought; by doing so, it will be considered as if we actually fulfilled that particular mitzvah. 

In our current state, we, the holy Children of Yisroel, exist in exile as poor paupers who would ordinarily donate a korban-minchah to Hashem.  Therefore, it behooves us to seek the essential lesson inherent in the offering of the korban-minchah.  In this manner, we can at least bring Hashem a korban-minchah in thought and in an alternative form--which the Blessed One will treat as if we had actually brought a real korban-minchah. 

“Fine flour mixed with oil” Combining Torah-study with Good Deeds
Let us begin our journey by introducing a statement of Chazal’s in the Midrash Tanchuma (Acharei Mot 10): 
"צפה הקב"ה שבית המקדש עתיד ליחרב, ואמר הקב"ה לישראל, כל זמן שבית המקדש קיים ואתם מקריבין קרבנות לתוכו מתכפר עליכם, ובזמן שאין בית המקדש קיים במה מתכפר עליכם, התעסקו בדברי תורה שהן משולין כקרבנות והן מתכפרין עליכם".
Anticipating the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash, HKB”H said to Yisroel:  “When the Beit HaMikdash no longer exists, how will you achieve atonement?  Occupy yourselves with words of Torah, which are analogous to sacrifices—they will atone for your sins.”
With this idea in mind, let us consider how words of Torah represent an alternative to a korban minchah.  We find in the Midrash that "סולת", fine flour, alludes to the Torah.  For, one must labor to refine one’s learning just like one refines coarse flour.  The Siftei Kohen in parshat Pinchas (Bamidbar 25, 5) provides us with a beautiful allusion.  When we spell out each letter of the Hebrew word for fine flour, סל"ת, we get the following:  סמ"ך למ"ד תי"ו.  The numerical sum of these letters plus one equals the numerical value of the word תור"ה, 611. 
Notwithstanding, to achieve the ideal state of perfection, Torah must be combined "בשמן", with oil—which represents good deeds.  This analogy is found in the Midrash (Bamidbar Rabbah 13, 15) which discusses the offerings brought by the heads of each tribe during the inauguration of the Mishkan. 
We see, therefore, that even during this bitter exile, when we no longer have the Beit HaMikdash, it is imperative that we bring a korban-minchah to Hashem in an alternative form in order to fulfill, in the best way possible, the words of the passuk:  "ונפש כי תקריב קרבן מנחה לה'"--when a soul will bring a meal-offering (a korban-minchah) to Hashem.  As we learned from Rashi:  " מי דרכו להתנדב מנחה - עני"—it is a pauper who brings a korban-minchah.  This alludes to times of exile, when we are truly paupers both physically and spiritually. 
Concerning periods of exile, we have learned (Berachot 8a):  "מיום שחרב בית המקדש אין לו להקב"ה בעולמו אלא ד' אמות של הלכה בלבד"—in the aftermath of the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash, the only thing remaining for HKB”H in His world is a mere four cubits of halachah.  Hence, during times of exile, we must continue to offer Hashem a form of the korban-minchah:  "סולת יהיה קרבנו"—an offering of finely, refined flour—by toiling in our Torah-study to clarify the true meaning of each and every halachah until it is as clear and pure as well-refined flour; "ויצק עליה שמן"—then we must combine what we have learned with good deeds, representing oil; "ונתן עליה לבונה"—and we must sanctify our thoughts, like pure frankincense, by devoting our Torah-study and good deeds exclusively to Hashem. 

“And he shall scoop from there his full ‘kometz’”
Following this lead, let us proceed to delve into the mitzvah of “kmitzah”—taking a scoopful of the “minchah” with a unique three finger procedure—that was an integral part of the korban minchah ritual:  "והביאה אל בני אהרן הכהנים, וקמץ משם מלוא קמצו מסלתה ומשמנה על כל לבונתה, והקטיר הכהן את אזכרתה המזבחה אשה ריח ניחוח לה'"—he shall bring it to the sons of Aharon, the Kohanim, and he shall scoop from there his full three fingers full, of its fine flour and of its oil, as well as all its frankincense; and the Kohen shall cause its memorial portion to go up in smoke upon the altar—a fire-offering, a satisfying aroma to Hashem.  It is important to understand the practical significance of this procedure.  Why does the Kohen take a mere three-finger scoop-- from the entire meal-offering brought by the pauper--to offer on the altar as a satisfying present to Hashem? 
Surely, this unique ritual possesses an underlying message of great significance relevant to a Jew’s service of Hashem.  Let us begin by examining a fascinating Midrash concerning the creation of man (B.R. 8, 5): 
"אמר רבי סימון, בשעה שבא הקב"ה לבראות את אדם הראשון, נעשו מלאכי השרת כיתים כיתים וחבורות, מהם אומרים אל יברא ומהם אומרים יברא, הדא הוא דכתיב (תהלים פה יא) חסד ואמת נפגשו צדק ושלום נשקו. חסד אומר יברא שהוא גומל חסדים, ואמת אומר אל יברא שכולו שקרים, צדק אומר יברא שהוא עושה צדקות, שלום אומר אל יברא דכוליה קטטא [שכולו מריבות].
מה עשה הקב"ה, נטל אמת והשליכו לארץ, הדא הוא דכתיב (דניאל ח יב) ותשלך אמת ארצה. אמרו מלאכי השרת לפני הקב"ה, רבון העולמים מה אתה מבזה תכסיס אלטיכסייה שלך, [רש"י: חותמו של הקב"ה אמת], תעלה אמת מן הארץ, הדא הוא דכתיב (תהלים פה יב) אמת מארץ תצמח".
When HKB”H decided to created the first man, Adam HaRishon, the ministering agents were not all in agreement with this decision.  Conflicting groups felt that man should be created, while others felt that he should not be created.  Chesed, Kindness, said that he should be created because of the acts of kindness he performs.  Emet, Truth, said that he should not be created—arguing that he is full of lies.  Tzedek, Righteousness, argued that he should be created, because of his righteous and charitable acts; while Shalom, Peace, felt that he should not be created, because he is extremely argumentative. 
In response, HKB”H took Emet and threw him down to earth, as the passuk states (Daniel 8, 12):  ותשלך אמת ארצה—and Emet was thrown down to earth.  The ministering agents said to HKB”H:  why are you abusing Your trademark in this fashion?  As Rashi explains, HKB”H’s trademark is truth. 
All of the commentaries are baffled by this Midrash.  Why did HKB”H choose to throw Emet down to earth.  Firstly, if HKB”H wished to create man despite Emet’s objections—that man is by nature a liar—no one could prevent Him from doing so—even without tossing Emet down to earth.  Secondly, if HKB”H intended to provide the angels with a response, what message did HKB”H send them by throwing Emet down to earth? 
The Yifeh Toar explains that Emet represents the Torah, as indicated by the formula of the berachah:  "אשר נתן לנו תורת אמת"—Who gave us the Torah of truth (emet).  Now, the angels forming the group of Shalom were also against the decision to create man.  They argued that he is prone to fights and disputes; his internal inclination, his yetzer, will persuade his body to battle and dispute his soul, causing him to sin.  Yet, HKB”H left Shalom alone and chose to take Emet—representing the Torah—and throw her down to earth.  This demonstrative act indicated that HKB”H ultimately planned to give Yisroel the Torah down on earth.  By occupying themselves with Torah study, they would have the ideal remedy to combat the yetzer.  As the Gemarah (Kiddushin 30b) explains, the Torah is the antidote for the yetzer hara. 
In this manner, he explains the ministering angels’ objection:  "רבון העולמים מה אתה מבזה תכסיס אלטיכסייה שלך, תעלה אמת מן הארץ"—Master of the Universe, why are you abusing your trademark; bring Emet back from earth.  This is quite similar to the angels’ argument at the time the Torah was given (Shabbat 88b):  "מה אנוש כי תזכרנו ובן אדם כי תפקדנו"—what is a mortal that You should remember him or the son of man that You should recall him?  They claimed that it would be an insult to the Torah to remain down on earth among such lowly, physical creatures.  Instead:  "תנה הודך על השמים"—bestow Your glory upon the heavens.  HKB”H replied that indeed the Torah would be glorified and honored by being given to Yisroel.  For, the passuk states:  "אמת מארץ תצמח"—Emet (truth) will sprout forth from the earth—only down on earth can the Torah be clarified properly. 
“Truth will sprout from the earth” Like a Fruit that Sprouts when the Debris Is Cleared away
Following his hallowed trail, I would like to propose an interpretation of our sages’ enigmatic portrayal of this heavenly dialogue between HKB”H and the groups of angels.  He tossed Emet down to earth so that:  "אמת מארץ תצמח"-- Emet (truth) will sprout forth from the earth.  How does this act constitute a decisive rebuttal of Emet’s original argument:  "אל יברא שכולו שקרים"—that man should not be created, because he is by nature a liar?  First, though, let us address Yisroel’s sweet psalmist’s words (Tehillim 88, 12):  "אמת מארץ תצמח".  Why is the clarification of Emet defined in terms of growth from the earth? 
It appears that with this particular phraseology:  "אמת מארץ תצמח", David HaMelech conveyed to us an essential fact concerning the refinement and revelation of truth in this world.  It is truly analogous to growth from the earth.  A fruit must be refined and revealed from within its husk and outer peel; wheat must be separated from the chaff.  We have learned in the Gemarah in the name of Rashbi (Berachot 55a):  "שאי אפשר לבר בלא תבן"—it is impossible to have wheat without chaff.  In the exact same manner, the truth must be revealed from within the depths and context of lies; it is necessary to separate out the illuminating elements of truth from the falsehood.  Since we have already learned that Torah is compared to fine flour, let us examine the process of how wheat is grown and ultimately processed into fine flour. 
To begin with, the earth must be plowed and the rocks must be removed so that the ground will be suitable to yield produce.  Next, the seeds of wheat are planted, the ground is fertilized and irrigated with water, and the process of growth begins from the depths of the earth.  The external shell of the seed decomposes underground, and the new growth sprouts forth from amidst the decomposition.  Thus the wheat sprouts forth, breaks through the surface of the earth and is revealed above the ground.  This, however, is not the end of the process.  The thorns and debris that surround the wheat and threaten to ruin the produce must be cleared away.  With these laborious steps the process is finally completed and wheat worthy for consumption is produced. 
After the wheat has been grown, a new process begins—transforming the wheat into fine flour.  First, the wheat must be refined and separated from the surrounding chaff.  Then it must be finely ground into thin flour.  This flour must be sifted to remove the impurities.  Only after all of these steps have been performed is the true “solet,” the desired end-product obtained.  Now, one is ready to bake bread from this fine flour.  It is not for naught that we bless and thank Hashem for the final product of this complicated process:  "ברוך אתה ה' אלקינו מלך העולם המוציא לחם מן הארץ"—Blessed art Thou, Hashem . . . Who brings forth bread from the earth. 

“And this stumbling-block will be under your control”
This, then is the meaning of the passuk:  "אמת מארץ תצמח"—the truth is only revealed after this painstaking process of growth from the earth.  For, it is impossible for a lowly, physical being to arrive at the truth of a matter without first removing all of the thorns surrounding the rose.  The veils of falsehood must first be removed to reveal the underlying truth, in the sense of (Tehillim 12, 9):  "סביב רשעים יתהלכון"—the wicked walk on every side. 
This process of clarifying the truth from the surrounding falsehood is ever so apparent in the study of Torah.  It is impossible to arrive at a true halachah, based on legitimate Torah precepts, without first considering all possible scenarios.  Initially, the truth is not apparent, yet with HKB”H’s assistance the path to the truth is eventually illuminated.  Based on the passuk in Yeshayah (3, 6), the Gemarah describes this phenomenon as follows (Gittin 43a):  "והמכשלה הזאת תחת ידיך - אין אדם עומד על דברי תורה אלא אם כן נכשל בהן"“and this stumbling-block is under your control,” a person does not arrive at the true meaning of words of Torah unless he has first stumbled in interpreting them. 
The process of refining the truth also applies to the issue of the performance of mitzvot.  It is impossible to serve Hashem with the perfect mindset and intent from the outset.  As we have learned in the Gemarah (Pesachim 50b):  "אמר רב יהודה אמר רב, לעולם יעסוק אדם בתורה ומצוות אף על פי שלא לשמה, שמתוך שלא לשמה בא לשמה"one should strive to engage in Torah study and the performance of mitzvot even if one’s intent and purpose are initially insincere or misguided; for, by performing mitzvot in this less than ideal manner, one will eventually come to perform mitzvot in the desired, ideal manner. 
In the introduction to the sefer Teshuot Chen, authored by Rabbi Gedalyahu of Linitz, zy”a, a pupil writes the following in his name: 
"כאשר שמעתי מפי הרב המחבר מורי ורבי ז"ל [בעל תשואות חן], שאמר במאמרם ז"ל (פסחים נ:) לעולם יעסוק אדם בתורה שלא לשמה, שהוא דוקא כמשמעות מלת 'לעולם', שאין להיפטר מזה בתחילת היכנסו לעבודת השם יתברך, וכמו שבלתי אפשר לעלות על שליבת הסולם העליונה, אם לא פסע תחילה על שליבה שלמטה ממנה, כן צריך להיות שלא לשמה קודם הלשמה".
He focuses on the word "לעולם", meaning always, in the phrase "לעולם יעסוק אדם".  From the use of the word "לעולם" he deduces that this is not only a recommendation for less than ideal circumstances but is actually an essential step in the process.  To achieve the truth regarding the performance of mitzvot and service of Hashem, it is necessary to initially perform mitzvot and serve Hashem with improper intent.  It is analogous to climbing up a ladder.  It is impossible to reach the upper rungs of the ladder, without first stepping on the lower rungs. 
This coincides beautifully with what the Maor Einayim (Likutim parshat Nitzavim) writes regarding Chazal’s statement in the Gemarah (Berachot 34b):  "מקום שבעלי תשובה עומדין, צדיקים גמורים אינם עומדין"—in the place that penitents stand, the thoroughly righteous do not stand.  After all, at some stage of their lives, penitents, “ba’alei teshuvah,” have sunk to the depths of falsehood and darkness.  In that state, they came to recognize the emptiness, meaninglessness and lies that permeate our lives.  Hence, when they step out of the darkness, they are able to appreciate the enlightenment of truth more so than a person who has never sunk to those depths.  This is the lesson conveyed by the wisest of all men (Kohelet 2, 13):  "וראיתי אני שיש יתרון לחכמה מן הסכלות כיתרון האור מן החושך"—and I perceived that wisdom exceeds folly as does the light exceed the darkness.  One cannot fully appreciate the light until one has been stuck in the darkness.  Similarly, the truth cannot be fully revealed until it is seen in relation to its opposite--falsehood and lies. 

The Rectification of Falsehood Occurs when It Is Used to Reveal the Truth
Let us present the thought-provoking, yet alarming, words of the Sefat Emet (Toldot 5633).  He writes that in the realm of falsehood, it is impossible to arrive at the point of truth without combating falsehood with devices of falsehood.  This, in fact, is the method by which falsehood is rectified.  This explains why Yaakov Avinu—who is associated with truth, as per the passuk (Michah 7, 20):  "תתן אמת ליעקב"—grant truth to Yaakov—employed trickery and deception in his dealings with the wicked Eisav in order to acquire the blessings.  He states that it is not considered a lie if the ultimate goal is to arrive at the truth.  Then the Sefat Emet adds: 
ובוודאי בעולם הזה שנקרא עלמא דשיקרא, היתה כוונת הקב"ה לבוא להאמת על ידי זה דוקא, ועל ידי נקודה אמיתית שבלב אדם יוכל לעמוד נגד חבילות של שקר, כי שקר אין לו רגלים ואין לו קיום באמת, לכך נקודה אמת מבטל הרבה שקר".
This world is referred to as “almah d’shikrah,” a world of lies.  It was certainly HKB”H’s design that the truth be revealed specifically in this manner.  Guided by a pure focus of truth in a man’s heart, he can overcome many elements of falsehood.  As we know, a lie has no legs to stand on; therefore, a single truth can eradicate a large body of lies. 
In this manner, we can comprehend the words of our sweet psalmist:  "אמת מארץ תצמח"—truth shall sprout from the earth.  Clarification of the truth by human beings on earth requires a process of growth and development.  The thorns and debris--representing the forces of falsehood that embrace and envelop the truth—must be removed.  The external coverings must be ground down and sifted out.  Eventually, the unadulterated truth is revealed in her full glory and majesty.
Now, let us return to our sages’ enigmatic words.  At the time of creation, HKB”H sought the ministering angels’ counsel, whether or not to create man.  Emet, representing truth, voted against the creation of man, on the grounds that:  "אל יברא שכולו שקרים"—he is full of lies by nature.  To supply a resounding response:  "מה עשה הקב"ה, נטל אמת והשליכו לארץ, הדא הוא דכתיב ותשלך אמת ארצה"—HKB”H took Emet and threw her down to earth.  This divine act was meant to demonstrate that truth can only be revealed by means of an arduous process; the layers of lies surrounding it must be cleared away.  As we learned from the Sefat Emet, this process serves to rectify the falsehood, as well, since it served as a means of arriving at the truth. 
The other angels, observing this divine act, were perplexed.  Not comprehending, they remarked:  "רבון העולמים מה אתה מבזה תכסיס אלטיכסייה שלך, תעלה אמת מן הארץ"—Master of the Universe, how can You abuse Your trademark in this fashion?  Bring Emet back up from earth.  To explain the significance of HKB”H’s response, the Midrash cites the passuk:  "אמת מארץ תצמח"—truth shall sprout forth from the earth.  In other words, the truth of Torah can only be revealed through a process of growth and development on earth.  It necessitates man’s laborious efforts to remove the thorns and debris until the polished halachah is arrived at—resembling pure, fine flour. 

Let My Soul Be like Dust to All
Let us expand on the subject of why HKB”H threw Emet down to earth.  The Zera Kodesh, authored by the holy Rabbi of Rophshitz, zy”a, (Ha’azinu), provides us with a wonderful interpretation of the verse that appears toward the end of Shemoneh Esreh:  "ונפשי כעפר לכל תהיה"—and let my soul be like dust to all.  Here are his illuminating words: 
"והנה אנו מתפללין, ונפשי כעפר לכל תהיה... הפירוש הוא כך, דהנה אנו רואים בארץ ועפר, שמצמיח לנו כל מיני טובות שבעולם, ועוד הפלא ופלא מצינו בארץ, שכל מה שמוסיפים עליה זבל היא מצמחת יותר, אף שהזבל הוא דבר מאוס מאד, וכן כל מה שהזבל מטונף בטינופת יותר מצמיח עוד יותר.
והענין הוא, שהארץ מבררת אף קצת מהקצת טוב עדיין שבטינופת, ונוטלת מזה הטוב כוח הצמיחה, עד שפועלת שמזה הטינופת בא גם כן איזה דבר שבקדושה שפועל כוח הצמיחה, ואחר כך מברכים עליה המוציא לחם מן הארץ וכל ברכת הנהנין, וזהו שאומרים ונפשי כעפר לכל תהיה, שמכל דבר אף מה שנראה לעין שאין בו טוב כלל כנ"ל, גם כן נפשי תוציא מזה ניצוצי קדושה והטוב שבו כעפר".
He remarks on the phenomenon of growth from the earth.  We see that although the earth is composed of dust and dirt, all sorts of bounty and good things grow from the earth.  Remarkably, the more fertilizer that is added, the more and better things grow.  This occurs despite the fact that fertilizer is disgusting.  In fact, the dirtier and more decomposed the better. 
The secret, however, is that the earth finds the minute good that still remains within the manure.  From that tiny positive, good element it extracts the potential for growth.  Consequently, some element of kedushah results from this refuse.  Subsequently, we are able to recite the blessing of “He Who brought forth bread from the earth”-- המוציא לחם מן הארץ—and all of the other blessings that we recite over things that we derive pleasure and benefit from.  This is also the message conveyed by the words "ונפשי כעפר לכל תהיה"-- and let my soul be like dust to all.  From all things, even those things that appear to be devoid of any good, such as dust, let my soul find sparks of kedushah to extract. 
Let us embellish his sacred idea with a small idea of our own.  We know that man’s body was formed from the dust of the earth, as it is written (Bereishit 2, 7):  "וייצר ה' אלקים את האדם עפר מן האדמה"—and Hashem G-d formed the man of dust from the earth.  So, just like HKB”H created the earth with the unique power to refine sparks of kedushah—even from manure—so too man, who was created from the earth, possesses this same potential.  Man has the ability to refine the sparks of kedushah wherever they may be found in this world.  This is the meaning of our prayer:  "ונפשי כעפר לכל תהיה"-- and let my soul be like dust to all.  We are praying that we may manifest the very same potential that HKB”H implanted in the dust of the earth—from which man was created. 
For this reason, HKB”H threw Emet down to earth in response to Emet’s claim that it would be preferable if man was not created.   HKB”H indicated that just the opposite was true.  For, the earth has the potential to reveal sparks of kedushah even from manure and thereby to produce vegetation such as wheat.  Similarly, man who was created from the earth, has the potential to clarify and reveal the truth from within the shrouds of falsehood--"אמת מארץ תצמח"—truth shall sprout forth from the earth. 

HKB”H Chooses the Finest Scoopful
Continuing on along this exalted path, let us proceed to explain the deeper significance of the mitzvah of “kmitzah” associated with the korban-minchah:  "והביאה אל בני אהרן הכהנים, וקמץ משם מלוא קמצו מסלתה ומשמנה על כל לבונתה, והקטיר הכהן את אזכרתה המזבחה אשה ריח ניחוח לה'"-- He shall bring it to the sons of Aharon, the Kohanim, and he shall scoop from there his full three fingers full, of its fine flour and of its oil, as well as all its frankincense; and the Kohen shall cause its memorial portion to go up in smoke upon the altar—a fire-offering, a satisfactory aroma to Hashem.  The Gemarah (Yoma 19a) states:  "הני כהני שלוחא דרחמנא נינהו"—the Kohanim are the agents of HKB”H. 
HKB”H designed this mitzvah to teach us a vital lesson.  It is incumbent upon every Jew to bring a poor man’s offering to HKB”H—a “minchat-ani.”  He accomplishes this obligation by engaging and toiling in Torah study to the best of his ability—to clarify the true meaning and purpose of each halachah until it resembles pure, refined flour.  Then, he must combine it with oil—mitzvot and good deeds—and, lastly, add frankincense to the mixture—indicating that he is acting with the purest of intentions. 
Once this ritual has been completed, HKB”H, the supreme Kohen, proceeds to perform the act of “kmitzah,” as it were:  "וקמץ משם מלוא קמצו מסלתה ומשמנה על כל לבונתה"-- and he shall scoop from there his full three fingers full, of its fine flour and of its oil, as well as all its frankincense—from all of our Torah-study and performance of mitzvot, HKB”H takes, as it were, the best scoopful, representing the pure frankincense.  "והקטיר הכהן את אזכרתה המזבחה אשה ריח ניחוח לה'"-- and the Kohen shall cause its memorial portion to go up in smoke upon the altar—a fire-offering, a satisfactory aroma to Hashem.  For this choice three-finger scoopful is what provides Hashem with true satisfaction. 
In summary, we have learned that the purpose of our service to Hashem is to diligently study Torah and perform mitzvot until the ultimate truth is revealed—fulfilling the potential instilled in us of:  "אמת מארץ תצמח"—truth shall sprout forth from the earth.  Once we have fulfilled this obligation and have presented the supreme Kohen, HKB”H, with our poor man’s minchah offering, we can request that He fulfill the mitzvah of “kmitzah” on our behalf. 

Three Fingers Represent Three “Vav”s
According to what we have learned, we can now provide an explanation for the significance of the three finger “kmitzah” procedure.  As Rashi explains (Vayikra 2, 2):  "מלוא קמצו - יכול מבורץ - מבצבץ ויוצא לכל צד, תלמוד לומר במקום אחר (שם שם ו) והרים ממנו בקמצו, לא יהא כשר אלא מה שבתוך הקומץ, אי בקמצו יכול חסר, תלמוד לומר מלוא, הא כיצד, חופה ג' אצבעותיו על פס ידו, וזהו קומץ במשמע לשון העברית".  The three finger scoop is not to be overflowing, nor is it to be deficient; it is to be precisely what is contained between his three middle fingers and his palm; this is the definition of a “kometz.” 
Let us now present an idea from the great Rabbi David of Leluv’s, zy”a, commentary on the piyut Atkinu Seudata--which was composed by the Arizal and is recited on Friday night.  In the piyut we find the phrase "בווין תתקטר".  These words can be translated very literally as stating that the “vav”s should be bound together.  Now, the Zohar hakadosh states (Acharei 73a):  "ג' דרגין אינון מתקשרן דא בדא, קוב"ה אורייתא וישראל"—the three entities of HKB”H, the Torah and Yisroel are intimately connected with one another.  We can suggest that each of these sacred entities is represented by the letter “vav.”  For, the letter “vav” can be represented by three different spellings:  וא"ו or וי"ו or ו"ו.  Each of these spellings is referred to as a “milui” of the letter “vav”—i.e. the full spelling of the name of the letter.
The first milui, וא"ו, has a numerical value of thirteen—the same as the word אח"ד, meaning one and alluding to HKB”H, the one and only One.  The second milui, וי"ו, has a numerical value of twenty-two and alludes to the Torah that is composed of the twenty-two letters of the aleph-bet.  The third milui, ו"ו, has a numerical value of twelve and represents the twelve tribes, which make up the congregation of Yisroel.  It is the connection of these three “vav”s that the Arizal is alluding to with his poetic words:  "בווין תתקטר"—HKB”H, the Torah and Yisroel must unite as one, for they are meant to be inseparable.  This was the idea from Rabbi David of Leluv, zy”a. 
Finally, we have learned in the Mishnah (Avot 6, 11):  כל מה שברא הקב"ה בעולמו לא ברא אלא לכבודו"—everything HKB”H created in His world, He only created solely for His own glory.  In fact, every good deed should be aimed at enhancing and fortifying the tri-fold unit made up of the glory of HKB”H, the glory of the Torah and the glory of Yisroel.  In this light, we can better appreciate the significance of the ritual of “kmitzah,” which was performed with the three middle fingers.  Those three fingers symbolically represent three “vav”s.  This teaches us that the supreme, heavenly Kohen, HKB”H, selectively takes a scoopful, equivalent  to His three-finger “kmitzah,” from all of our Torah and mitzvot.  He chooses only that portion that serves to enhance the glory of the triple entity formed by the Torah, HKB”H and Yisroel. 

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