Friday, March 19, 2010


This sedra is as dull as dishwater. Two points of minor interest follow:

:: Vayikra Rabba 5,3 discusses the priest who sins. The author of the midrash asks "and could the anointed priest sins?" Such a strange question. Of course the anointed priest might sin. That's why the Torah provides a remedy for such a case. What's the author of the midrash thinking? What does he mean? Can he imagine that its impossible for a human priest to sin? Of course not. So what's his point? (Oddly enough during Slifkin, some of our so-called gedolim suggested that it was impossible for fellow godol to make any sort of error, but I digress.)

:: The point is often made in Vayikra that the priests are the sons of Aaron, with the formula בְּנֵי אַהֲרֹן הַכֹּהֲנִים or הַכֹּהֲנִים בְּנֵי אַהֲרֹן. [See the first chapter where there are three such cases in the first 14 verses (or perhaps 4; three ancient texts have "the sons of Aaron the priests" where the MT has "the sons of Aaron the priest". )]

The theory of the critics (which I am sharing here, but DO NOT ENDORSE) is that Leviticus is the work of Aaronid priests who were protecting their prerogatives. They wanted it perfectly clear that they, and not anyone else, were the true priests. As noted by the critics, outside of the material attributed to the Aaronid priests (specifically Deuteronomy) the priests are often called הַכֹּהֲנִים הַלְוִיִּם, which say the critics, suggests some sort of rivalry between the Levites, or a family of Levites, who thought they were entitled to serve in the Temple and the Aronids who wanted it made clear that right belonged to them alone. (preceding shared for informational purposes only.)

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