This week, we begin Sefer Vayikra, a sefer dedicated to explaining all things holy. After finishing Sefer Shemos with the discussion of the holy structure, the Mishkan, Vayikra begins with a discussion of what will take place inside the building. Our parsha begins with the laws of korbanos, sacrifices, and the sefer continues with a discussion of the different degrees of holiness found in different physical states, as well as animals and days of the year.
While discussing the laws of korbanos, the pasuk lists an important requirement. “וְכָל־קָרְבַּ֣ן מִנְחָֽתְךָ֘ בַּמֶּ֣לַח תִּמְלָח֒ וְלֹ֣א תַשְׁבִּ֗ית מֶ֚לַח בְּרִ֣ית אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ מֵעַ֖ל מִנְחָתֶ֑ךָ עַ֥ל כָּל־קָרְבָּֽנְךָ֖ תַּקְרִ֥יב מֶֽלַח” “And you shall salt every one of your meal offering sacrifices with salt… You shall offer salt on all your sacrifices.” (Vayikra 2:13). There is an obligation to salt every single korban that is placed on the Mizbe’ach, even the ones not from meat.
This obligation began during Creation. Originally, there was no separation between the sky and the sea. In order to create the land, Hashem created the horizon to separate between the waters of the sea and the sky. The sea became upset that it was being separated from the kedushah of the heavens; therefore, Hashem promised that the “lower” waters would have a special kedushah as well. He required every korban to be covered with salt, which comes from the sea. Additionally, on Sukkos, there is a special ceremony called ניסוך המים, where water was poured next to the Mizbe’ach.
How come the promise was for salt to be placed on the korbanos? Why didn’t Hashem make it that water should be poured on the Mizbe’ach for every korban? There would be no problem of the fire being able to burn a wet korban, the fire on the Mizbe’ach came from heaven, and with the open-aired ceiling of the Mishkan and the Beis Hamikdash, there was always a possibility of rain. Yet, the fire was unaffected by it. So how come the promise was to use salt?
Rabbi Yaakov Kaminetzky explains that this way actually shows the prominence of the lower waters. Sea salt is made by gathering seawater on the beach, let it evaporate in the sun, and collect the salt crystals that remain behind. Looking at the sea, the salt isn’t visible, but by removing the upper portion (the water) you can then collect the lower portion (the salt).
This is how Hashem showed the sea that though He may have separated them from His place of Glory, they were still important. Not only did He decree that a portion of the sea should be placed on every korban, but this portion should come from the lowest part of the sea! The lowest of the low became an indispensable piece in the highest place on this world. We can use this in our lives as well. We see that spirituality does not just come from the high places, it can come from even the lowest places if given the chance.
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