This Shabbos we read Parshas Vayikra. This is the beginning of the book of Leviticus, which deals with the sacrifices offered in the Temple. As the Torah introduces the concept of a sacrifice, the Torah says “Adam Ki yakriv Korbon LaHashem,… Takrivu es Korbanchem - A person who will bring from you an offering to Hashem… you (plural) shall bring your sacrifice.” (Leviticus 1:2) There is a switch in tense here, as the verse begins with a singular tense and then switches to a plural tense. Why does this happen?
The Shearis Menachem offers a beautiful thought. When a person brings a sacrifice, he is apt to think that he is doing a very special and nice thing. All sorts of feelings of pride and haughtiness can easily come to him. In truth, a person who has to stand on his own merit really has very little value. As great as a person may be, who can say that they themselves have enough merit to really deserve anything? Only when we stand connected to the kllal, to the entire Jewish people, do we have a chance of accomplishing and succeeding. This is the flow of the verse: Adam Ki Yakriv - If a person will want to come close to Hashem, to do things that he feels will bring him closer to Hashem, it must be Mikem – from the depths of his heart; it must be a Korbon LaHashem – a sacrifice being offered only for the sake of Hashem. No ulterior motives can be allowed to guide this person who is offering the sacrifices. If a person does do this, if he is Takrivu es Korbanchem – if he is really working in the plural, trying only to be part of the community and offer his sacrifice as part of them, then Hashem will accept the sacrifice.
The beautiful lesson taught to us here is so clear. Often we get an inspiration to help with a community project or a mitzvah. Yet, we get bogged down with all sorts of details and emotions, often with frustrations with others who are not doing things exactly as we see it. At these times we must pull back and remind ourselves what we are doing and why we are doing it. As long as we can stay focused on the goals we have and try to accomplish them, hopefully we won’t allow pettiness and silly things to detract from our accomplishments. The goal of doing something for the communities sake, not just for personal, self centered satisfaction, must remain with us constantly to enable us to truly succeed.