For an explanation of the methodology of this series, see the introduction.

"And to the children of Israel, you shall speak, saying, 'Take a he-goat as a sin offering; and a calf and a lamb, [both] in their first year and [both] unblemished, as a burnt offering" (Lev. 9:3)

Peshat (basic meaning):

There is no Rashi on this verse.

They had to bring a sheep to suppress the incident of the calf.

Remez (hinted meaning):

Baal HaTurim: "a calf and a sheep"
They had to bring a sheep to suppress the incident of the calf. [B.L: there is a play on words here the word Chaf-Beit-Shin can be voweled as either 'keves/sheep' or 'kivosh/suppress' as in "suppress our iniquities". Michah 7:19) Thus the phrase can be interpreted as "Take...a calf and suppress."]

Derash (interpretive meaning):

Ohr HaChayim: Why did Moses command Aaron to speak here instead of instructing Israel, as was his custom? Perhaps it was because of the golden calf when Aaron had invited all to bring him their gold. Moses now wanted to give him the opportunity to speak to the people and tell them to bring a male goat as a sin offering for atonement. That is why G‑d ordered Aaron to tell the people of this process. Furthermore, as Moses saw that Aaron had been elevated by G‑d to a high position, Moses told him it was important to communicate soothing messages to the Jewish people.

Lubavitcher Rebbe: Even though Moses received the Torah from its heavenly source and transmitted it to the people below, Aaron actually caused the Shechinah to come down to earth. So it is the approach of Aaron in these final moments of exile, to bring the Jewish people closer to observing Torah ("Be of the disciples of Aaron: Love Shalom and pursue Shalom; love the created beings and bring them close to Torah" (Avot 1:12)) which will bring the Shechinah back to earth once again. In this respect the approach of Aaron is even greater than that of Moses (i.e. Torah study).

Sod (esoteric, mystical meaning):

Zohar Shemini 38:
"And to the children of Israel you shall speak saying, 'Take a kid of the goats for a sin offering and a calf and a lamb.'"Why is it not written, 'a calf for a sin offering', as it is said of the priest? Israel were already punished, therefore it is not written: 'a calf for a sin offering', but "a calf for a burnt offering." The reason is that that all those who had sinned by it — by word, deed or by worshipping the idol — were punished. Even those who although did not actually worship it but desired in their hearts to worship it were punished as well, as it is written: "And made the children of Israel drink of it". (Ex. 32:20) All those who desired not to worship it, even though with only a semblance of desire, were purified. Therefore, they offered it as a burnt offering and not a sin offering,

All those who desired not to worship it...were purified.

BeRahamim LeHayyim:
You can come home again, and you can fix the past. How? Through Teshuvah. Return again, return again, return to the land of your soul. Return to WHO you are, return to WHAT you are, return to WHERE you are, born and reborn again. When do we do teshuvah? "The day before we die"...which (if we are intelligent) means: every day, every hour, every minute, every second. That is mindful living BIG TIME. And if we do it through love, we can take our blemishes and turn them into merit badges. Really!.

The Zohar above questions the type of animal and the type of offering and the type of Tikkun/healing. Seems like the sin of the Golden Calf was fixed. Which is why the harsh measure of killing 3000 and making others drink the gold-infused liquid was the right thing at the right time. For this was the low point of all time, how we who saw all the plagues, and especially the killing of Egyptian first born on the first night of Passover, and who saw the sea split on the seventh morn, and who stood at Sinai just some 5 weeks later, give all of our attention to a grass eating cow.

But this was fixed, and even though we lost our 2 crowns of "Na'aseh veNishma/we shall do and [then] we shall hear/understand", we can still regain them, at least on Shabbat.

During this Omer period we meditate on healing and transformation of our past blemishes into future merit badges. Blessings on filling up your sacred sash with them!

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