In this Parsha we learn about the Korban Toda – a thanksgiving offering. This Korban is a type of Shlamim which is brought together with 40 breads – four types of bread, ten loafs each. Three of the kinds of breads are different types of matzos, and the last kind is chametz. Yet the amount of dough taken for chametz is the same as for all of matzo breads since each loaf of chametz is three times as big as a matzo. What is the significance of this unusual Korban and when was it brought?





As we mentioned more than once[1] the number “four” that appears in various laws of mitzvos is very significant. It corresponds to four general types of Divine Hanhagah and ultimately to the four letters of the Main Name of Hashem. This topic is very deep and we will just scratch the surface when describing the thanksgiving offering. The Talmud (Brochos 54b) tells us that four types of please have to thank Hashem: the ones that traveled in the sea, the ones that crossed deserts, the ones that were sick and got better and the ones that were imprisoned and released. These four are all described in the 107th Psalm and in the Temple times they brought Korban Todah[2], while in our day they pronounce a special blessing: “Blessed … Who grants good even upon guilty, and Who bestowed good upon me[3]”.


The GR”A[4] comments on the four people who were released from these four dangerous situations. The sea and the desert correspond to Eisav and Yishmoel[5]. Thus the first two kinds of people hint to the danger of the main two nations that include the others[6]. The remaining two people were imprisoned or sick. They did not travel far, one may have remained in the same city but was imprisoned, while the other was “imprisoned” in his own house – sick in bed. These two correspond to the two remaining bad influences: the erev rav (the mixed multitude among us who sway us away from Hashem) and the personal yetzer hara (evil inclination).


Throughout our history we were influenced by these four types of temptations. Three our external and one is internal[7]. Most of the Jews are exiled in two types of nations: the Christians and the Muslims. The Christians represent Eisav while the Muslims represent Yishmoel[8]. Also throughout history we had “bad converts” – the ones that did not accept Judaism for the right reasons and ultimately influenced our nation by their corrupt ways[9]. This started when Moshe accepted the erev rav hoping they were sincere after witnessing all the miracles Hashem did in Egypt[10]. Ultimately these people built the Golden Calf[11].


At last there are some Jews themselves that become imprisoned by their own desires and yetzer hara rules over them. They also have influence on the rest of our people. The Talmud[12] thus describes a prayer of one of the sages: “Master of the universe! It is well known before You that our wish is to do Your will! What stops us then? The leaven in the dough and the subjugations by hands of other nations”.  The two types of yetzer hara are described here in this concise and exact manner: the external rule of the nations and the internal leaven that makes our dough chametz. And this is also the four types of bread in Korban Todah – three that are matzah and one that is chametz[13]. And may it be the Will of Hashem that we break our internal yetzer hara to serve Him in purity and then we will deserve the final redemption from the subjugation by hands of the nations!



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[1] See our commentary to Parshiyos Vayerah, Bo, Truma and BeginningofShulchanAruch.htm in Appendix 2, (see also the GR”A on Shir Hashirim, Derech Sod 1:1 , GR”A to Agados Brochos, 54b, GR”A in Aderes Eliyahu, Bemidbar, 23:24, 5th version). We will also discuss another important group of “four” in the next Parsha.


[2] See Rashbam, Vayikra 7:12.


[3] See Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim, 219 and the commentators there regarding the detailed laws of this brocha.


[4] On Agados Brochos, 54b.


[5] It is well known that Eisav and Yishmoel have to do with the “right” and the “left” of the Sitra Achra – the other side. Yishmoel was a son of Avraham, who represented the quality of Chesed – kindness and love. Yishmoel also symbolizes Chesed, but misplaced one. It usually comes out in special love for women. This is why our sages teach that his descendants did not accept the Torah due to the commandment: “Don’t commit adultery”. Eisav was a son of Yitzchak who represented the Gevurah – strength and judgment. Thus Eisav also represents the quality of strength and fighting but from the unclean worlds. He thus “lives by his sword” and his descendants did not accept the Torah because of the mitzvah: “Don’t kill”. The dominion of Eisav is empty places like deserts. Yishmoel on the other hand has dominion over the seas, (water represents Chesed).


[6] See our words to Parshas Noach.

[7] See our words in the next Parsha regarding the three animals with the “external” kosher sign and one with internal.


[8] See our words in Parshas Noach. However not all Christians are physical descendants of Eisav, and not all Muslims are physical descendants of Yishmoel.


[9] See Talmud, Yevamos 47b.


[10] See Zohar 2:191a.


[11] See our words in Parshas Vayakhel.


[12] Brochos 17a.


[13] See also Zohar 3:12b.