Dvar Torah Parshat Vayikra 5773 2013

In presenting the various laws that pertain to sacrifices the Torah has one very curious statement. כִּי כָל שְׂאֹר וְכָל דְּבַשׁ לֹא תַקְטִירוּ, “…for you must not turn into smoke any leaven or any honey…”. (Lev. 2,11) This means is that on the altar upon which sacrifices were offered, no leaven or honey was to be used. Why not?

Leaven or sourdough is a very sour product, a substance used to raise bread. An interesting explanation to the verse stresses that leaven is extremely sour and honey is extremely sweet. The Torah prohibits using these extreme products with sacrifices.

What the Torah implies is that one should not go to extremes in whatever one does. When bringing a sacrifice it is sufficient to follow the required laws of the sacrifice and there is no need to offer extreme products not called for.

This can serve as a good lesson for everything we do in life. The golden road, as Maimonides calls it, or the middle road, as we would call it, is the best course to follow. Our tradition is replete with laws for us to observe and there is no need to go beyond what is stipulated. One should not fall short of what is required but one should also not go beyond what is necessary.

There is a telling statement of our Sages: כל המוסיף גורע, “He who adds [to the word of Hashem] is really subtracting [from it].” (San. 29b)

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