Vayikra / וַיִּקְרָא Parsha Overview: Growing Closer

וַיִּקְרָא / vayikra / Leviticus 6:1-8:36

This is a basic overview of the parsha story in a format adaptable for kids of any age. Sources include parsha text, commentaries and midrash, though when introducing midrash, I try to include the words “some people think” or something similar.  I have not been using the Q&A format of earlier parshiyos; I find this is more natural and less “scripted,” though I may return to it where it is more appropriate.

Please see the Vayeishev overview for how we use these narratives  in our homeschool.  There are also copywork sheets to go with the weekly parsha… enjoy!

image Did you ever make a mistake?

That’s a pretty silly question – every single person makes mistakes, all the time.

Sometimes, they’re big mistakes.  Sometimes, they’re small mistakes.

Sometimes, we even make “mistakes” on purpose – we secretly know we’re doing the wrong thing.

But sometimes, it happens by accident – oops!  We realized it too late, so how how can we fix it?


What were bnei Yisrael building in the last part of Chumash Shemos?

A large part of Chumash Shemos – the last few parshiyos – were all about building the… (Mishkan!)

So what was the Mishkan for?  We know it was so that Hashem could… (come and live with bnei Yisrael)

It was also one way that bnei Yisrael could fix their mistakes.

Mistakes make it harder for us to feel close to Hashem.  Mistakes make us feel alone, and we are never alone.

The way the Mishkan let bnei Yisrael fix mistakes was through korbanos.


In Parshas Tetzaveh, we learned that staying close to Hashem keeps our neshama healthy!

“Korban” is like the word “karov” – it means CLOSE.  Korbanos bring us closer to Hashem.

Korbanos are a little like medicine, because… (they “heal” and improve bnei Yisrael’s connection to Hashem)

There are two ways to use medicine… (healing a person who is already sick, and keeping a person healthy every day)

Korbanos were not ONLY for mistakes:

·         Some were brought every day, to keep… (bnei Yisrael “healthy”)

·         Some were brought on special days, like… (Yom Kippur, Pesach, Sukkos, Shavuos)

Today, we stay connected to Hashem with… (careful and regular tefillah, which is like a korban)image


What could a person bring for a korban?

People who had made mistakes brought korbanos to burn on the big mizbei’ach.

·                     They could bring a bull – a male cow.  These were very… (expensive!)

·                     They could bring a sheep or goat.  They cost less than a bull.

·                     They could bring a turtle-dove or a baby dove – small birds like pigeons.  These cost less than sheep or goats.

·                     They could bring a korban mincha – cakes made from flour and oil.  These were the least… (expensive.)

image Everybody brought a korban they could afford.  They brought it to the Mishkan and gave it to a kohen.

Whatever a person chose to bring, it had to be the best he had:  the best bull, sheep, bird, or the best oil and flour.

Did Hashem like the expensive bulls more than the simple mincha-cakes?  (No, He did not!)

Did Hashem forgive people only if they brought a more expensive korban?  (No, He did not!)


Of course, Hashem only forgave somebody if they also fixed what they had done wrong first!

If you stole somebody’s money or their things, you couldn’t fix it with just a korban!

First, you had to… (return what you took, or pay the person back)

You also had to be… (sorry that you did it), and honestly try… (not to do it anymore!).

Ordinary people, leaders, kohanim... this week’s parsha teaches us that everybody… (makes mistakes). 

Hashem forgives us for our mistakes if He sees that we are learning and trying hard to do the right thing.


Imagine you’re standing around and Shmuli comes along and slaps you on the back.  He’s being friendly, but OUCH – it hurts, and you dropped a handful of stones you’d collected!  “Ow!  That really hurt!”  “Oh… sorry,” Shmuli says, and runs off to meet Clarence.  Your stones are all over the place, your shoulder feels like it’s getting a bruise, but that’s not the only thing that hurts – why didn’t Shmuli care?  How could he just leave?  And you just know, if you caught up to him, he’d tell you, “I said I was sorry!”  There’s a difference between SAYING you’re sorry and SHOWING you’re sorry:  maybe Shmuli could have helped pick up your stones, or stayed to make sure you were okay.

That’s exactly like korbanos.  They weren’t a magic mistake-eraser!  They let bnei Yisrael show Hashem how sorry they were.  First, they fixed what they’d done wrong:  returned the stolen property, or paid for a doctor if someone was hurt.  Then, they brought their best korban to show Hashem they were ready to do teshuvah and behave better from now on.


A lot of sefer Vayikra is about different kinds of korbanos.  These days, when we have no Mishkan, some people say learning about korbanos is another way we can get closer to Hashem, almost like we are bringing them ourselves!


More great reading