This week’s parasha takes place in the final camp of בני ישראל, in ערבות מואב, and focuses on the planning for the division of ארץ ישראל:
But then the last third is all about the קרבנות מוספים:
This all belongs in ספר ויקרא, along with all the other קרבנות. But it’s here, and clearly meant to be part of the narrative:
Why relate the laws now, 39 years after the משכן was built? Last year we discussed Rashi’s approach to the question. This year I want to focus on Ramban. He starts by noting that the laws of the ימים טובים are detailed back in פרשת אמור:
But that discussion leaves something out. It just mentions that there is an אִשֶׁה, a burnt offering, for each holiday, but doesn’t give any details:
He then notes that there are a series of laws of קרבנות that are explicitly meant for ארץ ישראל, that were not offered in the wilderness:
And Ramban says that’s what’s going on here:
Now that’s a radical idea: that the מוספים were not offered at all in the wilderness. We’ll have to understand that. And it seems to contradict a mishna:
According to רבי שמעון, none the sacrifices of פרשת אמור were not offered in the wilderness; I would assume that the rituals were not done either (they didn’t have matzah or lulavim, and were living in sukkot). But the מוספים were offered. The Artscroll Talmud says the reason is that פרשת אמור explicitly mentions כי תבאו אל הארץ for some of the laws, and that is extended to all of them, but there’s no limitation in פנחס. It also mentions that Ramban’s understanding contradicts this mishna, and says “the Acharonim deal with this” but I can’t find any sources. We could say that Ramban doesn’t hold like רבי שמעון, and that רבי עקיבא would say that none of the holiday sacrifices were offered:
And there’s another gemara that supports this:
What does העשיה בהר סיני mean? The question the gemara asks is, did בני ישראל bring a קרבן תמיד every day in the wilderness, or just at moments of גלוי שכינה, like מעמד הר סיני?
The problem is a common theme in נביא:
רבי אלעזר says that not only were the מוספים not brought, but even the תמיד was not. The only קרבנות in the משכן were on special, specified occasions. רבי עקיבא says at least the תמיד was brought everyday, but it didn’t represent the offering of the people as a whole, just the priestly caste. That changes with our parasha:
Why should coming to ארץ ישראל start the regular ritual of קרבנות? I think that for the Ramban, it relates to his opinion about the משכן. There is a famous מחלקת between Rashi and Ramban on when the משכן was commanded. Rashi says that even though it is recorded before חטא העגל, it really was given after, as a response to that sin:
Now, it is clear that building a בית המקדש was intended from the moment they left Egypt:
But there was no plan to build a mishkan. Only after חטא העגל, when it became clear that the people needed a physical symbol of ה׳'s presence, was it commanded as a temporary mikdash, until they got to Israel to build the real one.
Ramban disagrees. He feels that the משכן was commanded as a follow-up to מעמד הר סיני, as a way of preserving the connection that בני ישארל had with ה׳:
The בית המקדש is different. It is meant to be a place of עבודה:
Though it will incorporate the function of משכן as well:
They are different. The משכן is where G-d talks to Man; the מקדש is where Man talks to G-d.
We’ve discussed before the idea that קדושה is created by human action, especially the קדושה of יום טוב, which is why the ברכה of מוסף יום טוב is מקדש ישראל והזמנים.
In the wilderness they couldn’t really do that; בני ישראל were carried by ה׳. They ate מן, lived in ענני הכבוד. They would only start to be partners in the purpose of creation (call it תיקון עולם) when they established their own society in ארץ ישראל. And then they could start “talking back” to G-d, with the מוספים of יום טוב.