Parshas Bechukosai

Parshas Bechukosai

By Rabbi Shmuel Gluck

This Parsha discusses the laws of Temurah, exchanging an animal previously dedicated as a Korbon for another animal. The Torah restricts any exchange, whether the exchange is with the intent of replacing it with a less, or more, valuable Korbon. It’s understandable why one shouldn’t exchange the existing Korbon for an animal of lesser value, but why doesn’t the Torah allow, and even promote, exchanging it for an animal of greater value?

The Rambam, at the end of Hilchos Temurah, explains that even when people are sincere, they can’t avoid rationalizing. Therefore, even if they believed that their exchange enhanced their Korbon, it is possible that they were making the exchange for personal gain.

People can “turn” anything they want into a Mitzvoh or Aveiroh. Therefore, the Torah restricts any changes, once the Korbon has been designated.

It’s possible to “place a spin” on almost anything. People can explain why waking up earlier is better (even if they will be tired all day), or why waking up later is better (even though they probably won’t be able to finish all of their responsibilities in a shorter time). People can “turn” anything they want into a Mitzvoh or Aveiroh. Therefore, the Torah restricts any changes, once the Korbon has been designated.

The inability to avoid rationalization was highlighted to me when I was learning Sefer Melochim. In discussing the rule of Rechovom, Shlomo Hamelech’s son, it mentions Shlomo Hamelech’s advisors. I wondered why Shlomo Hamelech would need advisors, since he was certainly the smartest man who ever lived. The answer is that Shlomo Hamelech may have been smarter, but it doesn’t mean that he could escape being subjective. Even he required people to whom he could “bounce” ideas.

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