Motzei Shabbos: parashas Vayikra 5781
“If one’s offering [korban] is an elevation offering [olah]” – Leviticus 1:3
The Hebrew word korban, meaning “offering,” is derived from the shoresh (root word) KRV, meaning “to draw near.” Thus it is implied that an offering serves “to bring us closer to G-d as well as to elevate us” (R’ Hirsch). The olah (elevation offering) has the potential to raise the spiritual level of the person who brings that offering. R’ Hirsch further comments that the offering’s name reflects its purpose, which is to raise its owner from the status of a sinner and bring him to a state of spiritual elevation. Additionally, the olah is brought by someone who seeks to repent of sinful thoughts that have not actually been enacted. The olah offering may serve as an atonement for those negative thoughts, that seem to involuntary present themselves at times in a person’s mind. This would include the imagination; especially, if one permits the imagination to entertain these negative thoughts.
It is interesting to note that the righteous Iyov (Job; Ezekiel 14:20, Job 1:1), “would rise early in the morning, and offer burnt offerings [pl., olot, from olah]” for his children, because he said to himself, “it may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed G-d in their hearts” (Job 1:5, Tanach). Iyov made olah offerings for his children, on a continual basis, always after the days of their feasting (see Job 1:4-5). How much more so, should we in our own lives ask forgiveness of G-d for the sinful thoughts in our hearts.