By: Rav Shalom Rosner
It is a burnt offering, a fire offering [with] a pleasing fragrance to Hashem (Vayikra 1:13)
The Torah refers to the acceptance of the korban using the phrase “rei’ach nicho’ach laShem”, a sweet-smelling aroma or fragrance to Hashem. What does this phrase rei’ach nicho’ach mean?
Rav Yaakov Tzvi Mecklenberg suggest a unique approach in his commentary, HaKesav VeHaKabbala: “Rei’ach nicho’ach” does not describe the scent of the korban, but rather it describes the person who offers it. A rei’ach nicho’ach is a nice fragrance; if one walks into a garden or one enters a home on Erev Shabbos, one can already smell that there is something tasty cooking. As he walks further into the house, the aroma becomes stronger and stronger, until he reaches the kitchen and lifts off the pot cover, finally discovering the source of the scent. The smell hit you immediately when you opened the door, and it informed you that there was something coming, that there was something tasty to anticipate. Similarly, if you walk into a garden and you immediately smell a flower – the scent informs you that there is a sweet-smelling flower in the vicinity. When we offer a korban, we offer a rei’ach nicho’ach. It is a sweet smelling “aroma” that we put out to Hashem, saying – Hashem, I am putting out a fine “scent” now, but I am going to improve even more. I am going to use this to lead me to change my actions for the better. Just like a smell precedes the item, so too, the korban is our rei’ach nicho’ach – we provide a good smell to HaKadosh Baruch Hu, as a foreshadowing of what is going to transpire in the future. Our actions have to mirror what we just did – we brought a rei’ach nicho’ach, so we need to make sure that our actions improve as well. Anything that is sensed in advance is called rei’ach, as Iyov states that he “smells war” (39:25). How can he smell war? Because he feels it beforehand. Therefore, anybody who offers a korban should contemplate teshuva to return and get closer to Hashem. We should appreciate that the korbanot we offer should lead us to further our connection to Hashem, placing our finer “fragrance” before Him.
Given the difficult situation that we are experiencing currently, may we all strengthen our study of Torah and acts of chesed and intensify our rei’ah niho’ah before Hashem so that we can experience his sympathy and merit yeshuos Hashem.
Republished with permission from Torah Tidbits
Shiur ID: 8877