This week’s parsha continues with the laws concerning sacrifices, including the Korban Todah, the thanksgiving offering. Rashi explains that the Korban Todah was made voluntarily when a person experienced one of the following miraculous salvations: crossing a sea; crossing a desert; being released from prison; healing from illness. With the exception of the Korban Todah, all of the second-tier sacrifices could be eaten for two days and one night. “The flesh of his thanksgiving offering shall be eaten on the day it is offered up; he shall not leave any of it over until morning.”
What is the connection between the Todah’s single-day consumption and the fact that it is brought to show appreciation for experiencing a miracle?
To answer, first we must understand the purpose of miracles – why G-d makes them and what we are supposed to learn from experiencing them. HaRav Moshe Reiss suggests that miracles are like cardiac defibrillators. Writes Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann on torah.org: “After they [defibrillators] accomplish their task, all they have done is given the heart a one-time jolt back into reality; from there on in, the heart must regain its ability to function independent of external stimulation.”
The function of a miracle is a wake-up call. It is, so to speak, the defibrillator of the soul. Writes Rabbi Hoffmann: “Sometimes we take things for granted; we forget to be grateful for life’s daily miracles. When we experience something extraordinary, we are shocked; we experience extreme gratefulness and appreciation. The point [says the Imrei Emes] is not simply to remember that amazing event; the point is to integrate that appreciation into our daily lives.”
The Imrei Emes explains that the Korban Todah is only eaten for one day to remind us not to dwell on the miracle too long, for each day contains its own miracles and wonders. Writes Rabbi Hoffmann: “The function of the human body, with its countless millions of chemical reactions and electrical stimuli occurring each and every second completely unbeknownst to us, is a miracle of untold and unexplored proportions.” By experiencing a miraculous salvation, we have seen how precious life is, but we should not over-think this one-time experience. Instead, we should use it as an impetus to appreciating all of life’s myriad miracles.
Becoming a parent is a miracle, as are the many milestones children reach. What goes on in between, from moment to moment, also is nothing short of miraculous. May we learn to appreciate the countless miracles of daily life, and never need a “defibrillator” for our souls.
Excerpted from an article by Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann. Read the article in its entirety at: http://torah.org/learning/olas-shabbos/5763/tzav.html