Skip to main content

Today Is:

Mailing Address Only: 84 Senior Place Fairfield, CT 06825 | Phone: 203.583-9142 | Email:

Congregation Ahavath Achim logo Congregation Ahavath Achim

A Modern Orthodox Synagogue

Parashat Vayikra

Dear Friend,
As we begin to read, study, and learn a new Sefer together as part of our year-long Torah cycle, let's take a look at some of Rashi's comments to the opening verses of Sefer Vayikra.
The Book of Leviticus opens with the Almighty calling to Moshe Rabbeinu.  This Divine "calling" is the translation of the word "vayikra"- "to call".
The first passuk of Sefer Vayikra tells us that "He called to Moses, and Hashem spoke to him from the tent of the meeting..."
On the phrase "He called to Moses", Rashi explains, "the voice of God would go and reach Moses' ears, and all of Israel would not hear it."
On the subsequent phrase, "and Hashem spoke to him", Rashi explains that the phrase "to him" is meant to highlight the fact that only Moshe heard Hashem's message, "to the exclusion of Aharon", as Rashi puts it.  Later on in his comentary to this phrase, Rashi reiterates "that Moses would hear (God's voice) and all of Israel would not hear."
The final phrase of the passuk describes how God spoke to Moshe "from the Ohel Moed", the Tent of Meeting.
Rashi explains the import of this phrase:
"This teaches us that the sound of the voice would be cut off and would not go outside the tent".  The booming voice of the Almighty would communicate loud and clear to Moshe from the Ohel Moed.  However, once the voice reached the outer courtyard, presumably where the multitudes were assembled, the sound would be cut off, in a seemingly miraculous fashion.
Parasha point to ponder: Why does Rashi begin his commentary to Sefer Vayikra by highlighting the exclusivity of Hashem's communicating with Moshe?  "Vayikra" means to call out, the imagery is that of Hashem "calling out" his message of the Torah.   The Torah is the inheritance of the Jewish people, why doesn't Hashem "call out" His message to the masses?  Why does Rashi go out of his way, more than once, to emphasize that Moshe Rabbeinu alone heard the Almighty's message, as He "called out" the mitzvahs and directives that comprise Parashat Vayikra?
I look forward to studying more about this question, and all of Parashat Vayikra, as we go on a journey for the next few months studying the Book of Leviticus together...
All the best,
Rabbi Peretz Robinson