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Student Spotlight: Ben Lachman

Tasting Purity

Parshas Vayikra

In Parshas Vayikra we find that the first word of Vayikra is written with a small aleph. What is the reason for this small letter to start out the new chumash? The small details in life often can make the biggest differences. So what important thing is this small alep coming to teach? The Midrash teaches us that the little aleph teaches us that little children should start learning Chumash with Parshas Vayikra. This is pretty weird. Why would little kids start learning Chumash with the most difficult of all the five Chumashim? Why would a small kid learn about korbanos and all the difficult laws of the animals and how to offer them. The Kli Yakar explains that little children are the purest, so that's why they should learn about Korbanos. What does being pure have anything to do with learning about korbanos? The important idea we can learn from this is that through being pure, a person can come to understand the difficult parts of the Torah and Hashem's ways.

Purim is all about establishing a connection with G-d. It's a very special day and everyone can feel it and connect to each other. The mitzvah of drinking wine on Purim is supposed to help us reach a level where we can connect to Hashem and our friends around us. The Sages teach us when we drink wine our inner selves come out. In other words, it helps us reach purity. The mitzvos of Purim and the special connection of the day all help to allow us become more pure. On Purim, our true selves can come out and we can daven and connect to Hashem without worrying about what anyone else might think about us or about how others might look at us.

Just like in Vayikra, purity of children allows them to start learning about korbanos before any other parts of the Chumash. Little children are so pure that Hashem tells them to start with learning some of the most difficult laws in the entire Judaism and He helps them. The purity enables them to deal with the difficulties of korbanos. The same thing is true on Purim, just like the little aleph of Vayikra - we focus in on the small details and the good things that Hashem given us. Through the mitzvos of the day with Megillah, giving tzedakah, shalach manos, and drinking wine - we can reach a high level of purity, just like a young child, that allows us to connect to G-d and understand those difficult and confusing details of our lives that we normally can't on any other day of the year. On Purim, all the "korbanos" become the simplest things in the world to us, because all we care about is connecting to G-d and nothing else really matters.

~ Ben Lachman is a first-year student in Yeshivas Lev Zion, and is from Lakewood, NJ.

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