In the sichah that follows, the Rebbe analyzes Rashi’s commentary on the phrase, “a pleasing fragrance to G‑d,” which is mentioned numerous times in this Torah reading in connection with the sacrifices and the laws pertaining to them.

Regarding the first time that phrase is mentioned,1 Rashi comments, “pleasing: [It is as if G‑d is saying, ‘This sacrifice] brings Me satisfaction that I spoke and My will was fulfilled.’ ”

With this statement, Rashi explains his understanding of the rationale behind sacrificial offerings. On the surface, offering sacrifices is an act which defies logic. Why would a person slaughter an animal and have it or a portion of it be consumed by fire for no reason? He does not receive any benefit from the burning of the animal and, obviously, it cannot be said that G‑d derives pleasure from that act. Why then would He command a Jew to purposelessly destroy his resources?

Unlike other Rabbinic authorities who propose various reasons – spiritual and ethical – for these offerings, Rashi maintains that the motivation is straightforward, namely to carry out G‑d’s desire, that “I spoke and My will was fulfilled.”

According to Rashi, the intent is not that offering a sacrifice has a purpose – albeit one that man cannot fathom – and one should offer it with the belief that he is making possible the fulfillment of this Divine intent. Instead, the person offers a sacrifice for the sole reason that this is G‑d’s will.

The commitment that the offering of sacrifices reflects is thus even more encompassing than that of the chukim, mitzvos which do not have an apparent reason. The chukim bring the person fulfilling them a benefit, i.e., their observance engenders man’s acceptance of the yoke of G‑d’s kingship. By contrast, the sacrifices are not offered for man’s benefit at all; they are entirely brought for the sake of G‑d.

Physical Pleasure or Inner Satisfaction


The phrase, “a pleasing fragrance to G‑d,” is mentioned numerous times in connection with the sacrifices whose laws are discussed in this Torah reading. With regard to the first sacrifice mentioned in our Torah reading,2 a burnt offering of cattle, Rashibasing his comments on the common root shared by nichoach, translated as “pleasing,” and the expression nachas ruach, meaning, “satisfaction” or “serenity” – states, “pleasing: [It is as if G‑d is saying, ‘This sacrifice] brings Me satisfaction that I spoke and My will was fulfilled.’”3 Similarly, in Parshas Tetzaveh, with regard to the sacrifices brought during the Seven Days of Dedication, where it is said4 regarding the sacrifice of the rams,5 “a pleasing fragrance,”6 Rashi also comments, “a pleasing fragrance: ‘It brings Me satisfaction that I spoke and My will was fulfilled.’ ”


בְּכַמָּה וְכַמָּה מֵהַקָּרְבָּנוֹת שֶׁהִלְכוֹתֵיהֶם נִתְפָּרְשׁוּ בְּפַרְשָׁתֵנוּ נֶאֱמַר שֶׁהֵם "רֵיחַ נִיחוֹחַ לַה'", וּבַפַּעַם הָרִאשׁוֹנָה – בְּדִין עוֹלַת בָּקָר (הַקָּרְבָּן הָרִאשׁוֹן שֶׁבְּפַרְשָׁתֵנוּא) – פֵּרֵשׁ רַשִׁ"י "נִיחוֹחַ, נַחַת רוּחַ לְפָנַי שֶׁאָמַרְתִּי וְנַעֲשָׂה רְצוֹנִי"ב. וְכֵן לְעֵיל בְּפָרָשַׁת תְּצַוֶּה בְּקָרְבְּנוֹת שִׁבְעַת יְמֵי הַמִּלּוּאִים, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר שָׁםג (בְּהַקְרָבַת הָאֵילִיםד) "רֵיחַ נִיחוֹחַ"ה, פֵּרֵשׁ רַשִׁ"י "רֵיחַ נִיחוֹחַ, נַחַת רוּחַ לְפָנַי שֶׁאָמַרְתִּי וְנַעֲשָׂה רְצוֹנִי".

There are super commentaries7 which state that Rashi’s intent is to prevent a reader from erring in thinking that “the actual fragrance of the sacrifice brought serenity” to G‑d, for obviously that is not fitting to say about G‑d.8 Therefore, Rashi explains that “a pleasing fragrance” refers to “the satisfaction” that G‑d derives from “hav[ing] spoken and [His] will [being] fulfilled.”

וְכָתְבוּ מְפָרְשִׁיםו, שֶׁכַּוָּנַת רַשִׁ"י לִשְׁלוֹל טָעוּת, שֶׁהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא "יְקַבֵּל מְנוּחָה מֵרֵיחַ הַקָּרְבָּן", שֶׁזֶּה לֹא יִתָּכֵן כְּלַפֵּי שְׁמַיָּאז, וְלָכֵן פֵּרֵשׁ שֶׁ"רֵיחַ נִיחוֹחַ" הַיְנוּ "נַחַת רוּחַ", הַבָּאָה מִזֶּה שֶׁ"אָמַרְתִּי וְנַעֲשָׂה רְצוֹנִי".

However, their interpretation requires clarification: If one were to say that Rashi’s intent is to negate the possibility of making such an error, i.e., thinking that G‑d derived serenity from the actual fragrance of the sacrifice, Rashi should have offered this interpretation the first time the expression “a pleasing fragrance” was mentioned regarding sacrifices, the sacrifices brought by Noach after the Flood. At that time, Noach built an altar and sacrificed burnt offerings upon it,9 as the verse states,10 “G‑d smelled the pleasing fragrance.” There, Rashi does not offer any interpretation at all.11This is particularly problematic, because that verse states “G‑d smelled the pleasing fragrance” and seemingly, there would be a greater necessity to negate the anthropomorphic connotations that G‑d derived serenity from the actual fragrance of the sacrifice.12

אֲבָל פֵּרוּשָׁם צָרִיךְ עִיּוּן, דְּאִם תִּמְצֵי לוֹמַר שֶׁכַּוָּנַת רַשִׁ"י לִשְׁלוֹל טָעוּת זוֹ (שֶׁהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא "יְקַבֵּל מְנוּחָה מֵרֵיחַ הַקָּרְבָּן") – הֲוָה לֵיהּ לְפָרֵשׁ זֹאת בַּפַּעַם הָרִאשׁוֹנָה שֶׁמָּצִינוּ בִּקְרָא הַלָּשׁוֹן "רֵיחַ נִיחוֹחַ" גַּבֵּי קָרְבָּן, בְּקָרְבְּנוֹת נֹחַ, כִּמְסֻפָּר בִּקְרָאח שֶׁאַחֲרֵי הַמַּבּוּל בָּנָה נֹחַ מִזְבֵּחַ וְהֶעֱלָה עָלָיו עוֹלוֹת, "וַיָּרַח ה' אֶת רֵיחַ הַנִּיחוֹחַ"ט – וְשָׁם לֹא פֵרֵשׁ רַשִׁ"י כְּלוּםי. וְאַדְּרַבָּה: כֵּיוָן שֶׁשָּׁם מְפֹרָשׁ "וַיָּרַח ה' אֶת רֵיחַ הַנִּיחוֹחַ", הֲרֵי הַצֹּרֶךְ לִשְׁלוֹל טָעוּת זוֹ (שֶׁהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא "יְקַבֵּל מְנוּחָה מֵרֵיחַ הַקָּרְבָּן") הוּא גָדוֹל יוֹתֵריא.

On the surface, it is possible to differentiate between the use of the expression, “the pleasing fragrance” in Parshas Noach and its use in our Torah reading and in Parshas Tetzaveh. It could be said that the expression, “the pleasing fragrance,” refers to Noach deriving satisfaction, for the verse there does not say, “a pleasing fragrance to G‑d.” One might infer that the phrase “the pleasing fragrance” indicates that the fragrance was pleasing to Noach; he derived satisfaction from the fragrance13 of his offerings.14 By contrast, in Parshas Tetzaveh and in our Torah reading, the verse states, “a pleasing fragrance to G‑d.” Therefore, it was necessary for Rashi to explain that the expression implies that the sacrifice “brings [G‑d] satisfaction that [He] spoke and [His] will was fulfilled.”

לִכְאוֹרָה יֵשׁ לְחַלֵּק בֵּין הַלָּשׁוֹן "רֵיחַ הַנִּיחוֹחַ" בְּפָרָשַׁת נֹחַ וְלָשׁוֹן זֶה שֶׁבְּפַרְשָׁתֵנוּ (וּפָרָשַׁת תְּצַוֶּה), כִּי מַה שֶּׁכָּתוּב שָׁם "(רֵיחַ) הַנִּיחוֹחַ" יֵשׁ מָקוֹם לְפָרֵשׁ דְּהַיְנוּ כְּלַפֵּי נֹחַ (שֶׁהֲרֵי לֹא נֶאֱמַר שָׁם "רֵיחַ נִיחוֹחַ לַה'"), וְהַפֵּרוּשׁ שֶׁל "רֵיחַ (נִיחוֹחַ)" הוּא שֶׁאֵצֶל נֹחַ הָיָה רֵיחַ קָרְבְּנוֹתָיויא* "רֵיחַ נִיחוֹחַ"יב; מַה שֶּׁאֵין כֵּן בְּפָרָשַׁת תְּצַוֶּה וּבְפַרְשָׁתֵנוּ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר "רֵיחַ נִיחוֹחַ לַה'", הֻצְרַךְ רַשִׁ"י לְפָרֵשׁ שֶׁ"רֵיחַ נִיחוֹחַ לַה'" הַיְנוּ "נַחַת רוּחַ לְפָנַי שֶׁאָמַרְתִּי וְנַעֲשָׂה רְצוֹנִי".

However, it is evident that this interpretation is not sufficient for the following reasons:

אֲבָל מוּבָן שֶׁבֵּאוּר זֶה אֵינוֹ מַסְפִּיק:

Selections from Likkutei Sichos (SIE)

Insights into the Weekly Parshah and festivals by the Lubavitcher Rebbe selected from the Likkutei Sichos series.

a) If the primary emphasis of Rashi here is that the expression “a pleasing fragrance to G‑d” is to negate the thought that G‑d “derived serenity from the fragrance of the sacrifice,” it would have been appropriate for Rashi to cite these words in the heading of his commentary. However, Rashi merely cites the word nichoach, “pleasing,” and not the words, rei’ach… laHaShem, “a fragrance to G‑d.”15

א) אִם עִקַּר דִּיּוּקוֹ שֶׁל רַשִׁ"י כַּאן הוּא מִמַּה שֶּׁנֶּאֱמַר "רֵיחַ נִיחוֹחַ לַה'" (כִּי לֹא יִתָּכֵן שֶׁהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא "יְקַבֵּל מְנוּחָה מֵרֵיחַ הַקָּרְבָּן"), הֲוָה לֵיהּ לְהַעְתִּיק תֵּבוֹת אֵלּוּ בְּהַדִּבּוּר־הַמַּתְחִיל, וְאִלּוּ רַשִׁ"י מַעְתִּיק רַק תֵּבַת "נִיחוֹחַ", וְלֹא הַתֵּבוֹת "רֵיחַ לַה'"יג!

b) On the contrary, in Parshas Noach, the verse explicitly states, “G‑d smelled the pleasing fragrance,” whose straightforward meaning is that the fragrance was pleasing to G‑d as well.16

ב) אַדְרַבָּה, שָׁם מְפֹרָשׁ (כַּנַּ"ל) "וַיָּרַח ה' אֶת רֵיחַ הַנִּיחוֹחַ", שֶׁפַּשְׁטוּת מַשְׁמָעוּת הַלָּשׁוֹן הִיאיג*, שֶׁ(גַּם) כְּלַפֵּי שְׁמַיָּא הָיָה זֶה "רֵיחַ נִיחוֹחַ".

c) In general, it is difficult to say that the expression, “a pleasing fragrance” refers to the physical fragrance of the sacrifice, because – as the commentaries17 to the verse here state, the fragrance of the sacrifices is “unpleasant…, for the meat is burnt together with the bones.” Not only is it not pleasing, but “a person’s soul is disgusted by it.”18 If so, it cannot be said that this fragrance would be pleasing to Noach.

ג) בִּכְלָל קָשֶׁה לְפָרֵשׁ שֶׁ"רֵיחַ נִיחוֹחַ" קָאֵי עַל הָרֵיחַ הַגַּשְׁמִי שֶׁל הַקָּרְבָּן, וּכְמוֹ שֶׁכָּתְבוּ הַמְפָרְשִׁים כַּאןיד, שֶׁרֵיחַ הַקָּרְבָּנוֹת "רֵיחַ רָע הוּא כְּשֶׁשּׂוֹרֵף הַבָּשָׂר עִם הָעֲצָמוֹת", וְלֹא רַק שֶׁאֵין בְּזֶה "רֵיחַ נִיחוֹחַ", אֶלָּא אַדְּרַבָּה, "נַפְשׁוֹ שֶׁל אָדָם קָצָה בּוֹ"טו, וְאִם כֵּן אֵין מָקוֹם לוֹמַר שֶׁ"רֵיחַ" זֶה הָיָה "נִיחוֹחַ" לְנֹחַ.

If so, the original question returns: Why did Rashi not interpret the phrase “a pleasing fragrance” as referring to “satisfaction” in Parshas Noach?

וְעַל פִּי כָּל זֶה – לָמָּה לֹא פֵרֵשׁ רַשִׁ"י בְּפָרָשַׁת נֹחַ שֶׁ"רֵיחַ נִיחוֹחַ" הַיְנוּ "נַחַת רוּחַ".

What Makes the Sacrifices Unique?


On this basis, it appears that Rashi’s intent should be explained as follows: It is evident that “the pleasing fragrance” does not refer to the sensory satisfaction derived from the actual fragrance of the sacrifice. Instead, his intent is to place the focus on the satisfaction and the pleasure G‑d derives from the offering of the sacrifice.


וְלָכֵן נִרְאֶה לְבָאֵר כַּוָּנַת רַשִׁ"י, דְּזֶה מוּבָן שֶׁ"רֵיחַ נִיחוֹחַ" לֹא קָאֵי עַל הַהֲנָאָה מֵהָרֵיחַ הַגַּשְׁמִי שֶׁל הַקָּרְבָּן, אֶלָּא הַכַּוָּנָה הִיא לְהַהֲנָאָה ("נַחַת") וְתַעֲנוּג הַבָּאִים עַל יְדֵי הַקְרָבַת הַקָּרְבָּן,

Therefore, it is not necessary in Parshas Noach for Rashi to explain what satisfaction G‑d derived from Noach’s sacrifices. It is self-evident that when Noach left the Ark after the Flood in which all flesh was destroyed, he experienced great satisfaction at being saved. This was why he offered sacrifices after the Flood – to express his feelings of gratitude and satisfaction. As a result, “as water reflects a face,”19 so too, Noach’s expression of gratitude and recognition of G‑d’s graciousness aroused satisfaction Above – “G‑d smelled the pleasing fragrance” i.e., G‑d found it pleasing. Noach’s sacrifices generated satisfaction for G‑d, as it were, as the verse explicitly states, because “G‑d smelled the pleasing fragrance” and, in response, He promised, “I will no longer curse the earth….” Indeed, the verse repeats G‑d’s promise, indicating that He uttered it as an oath, as Rashi explains in his commentary there. Thus, Noach’s sacrifices brought about a reversal of the Divine anger that prevailed beforehand, during the Flood.

וְלָכֵן אֵין רַשִׁ"י צָרִיךְ לְפָרֵשׁ בְּפָרָשַׁת נֹחַ מַהִי הַ"נַּחַת רוּחַ" שֶׁל קָרְבְּנוֹת נֹחַ, כִּי מוּבָן בְּפַשְׁטוּת, שֶׁכַּאֲשֶׁר יָצָא נֹחַ מִן הַתֵּבָה לְאַחֲרֵי הַמַּבּוּל (שֶׁאָז שִׁחֵת ה' כָּל בָּשָׂר) הָיָה אֶצְלוֹ "נַחַת רוּחַ", וְזֶה הָיָה תֹּכֶן הַקְרָבַת קָרְבְּנוֹתָיו לְאַחֲרֵי הַמַּבּוּל, לְבַטֵּא רֶגֶשׁ תּוֹדָה וְ"נַחַת רוּחַ" שֶׁלּוֹ, וְ"כַמַּיִם הַפָּנִים לַפָּנִים" הֲרֵי הַבָּעַת הַתּוֹדָה וְהַכָּרַת הַטּוֹב דְּנֹחַ גָּרַם כִּבְיָכוֹל "נַחַת רוּחַ" לְמַעְלָה, שֶׁ"וַיָּרַח ה' אֶת רֵיחַ הַנִּיחוֹחַ", "נִיחוֹחַ" כְּלַפֵּי שְׁמַיָּא, שֶׁקָּרְבְּנוֹתָיו שֶׁל נֹחַ פָּעֲלוּ כִּבְיָכוֹל לְמַעְלָה "נַחַת רוּחַ" ("וַיָּרַח ה' אֶת רֵיחַ הַנִּיחוֹחַ"), וְעַד שֶׁכִּמְפֹרָשׁ בַּכָּתוּב, עַל יְדֵי שֶׁ"וַיָּרַח ה' אֶת רֵיחַ הַנִּיחוֹחַ" אָמַר ה' "לֹא אוֹסִיף לְקַלֵּל עוֹד אֶת הָאֲדָמָה גו'" (וְכָפַל הַדָּבָר לִשְׁבוּעָה, כְּפֵרוּשׁ רַשִׁ"י שָׁם) – הֵפֶךְ חֲרוֹן אַף שֶׁל מָקוֹם שֶׁהָיָה לִפְנֵי זֶה, בְּעֵת הַמַּבּוּל.

The present Torah reading, however, describes other types of sacrifices, explaining the mitzvos involved in bringing different offerings. Here, when the verse emphasizes that these sacrifices generated satisfaction, clarification is required: How are these sacrifices different from all the other mitzvos of the Torah20 so that only with regard to them is it explicitly stated that they bring satisfaction to G‑d?21 It is obvious that the satisfaction generated by the sacrifices is solely because through offering them the person serves his Creator.22 However, every mitzvah involves the service of G‑d. Why then is it not explicitly stated that their observance generates “a pleasing fragrance” or a similar expression denoting Divine satisfaction?

אֲבָל כַּאן בְּפָרָשַׁת קָרְבָּנוֹת, שֶׁבָּהּ נִתְפָּרְשׁוּ מִצְווֹת שֶׁל כַּמָּה קָרְבָּנוֹת, וְהַכָּתוּב מַדְגִּישׁ שֶׁקָּרְבָּנוֹת אֵלֶּה גּוֹרְמִים "נַחַת רוּחַ" לְמַעְלָה – אֵינוֹ מוּבָן: מַה נִּשְׁתַּנּוּ קָרְבָּנוֹת מִכָּל מִצְווֹת הַתּוֹרָהטז, שֶׁרַק אֶצְלָם מְפֹרָשׁ שֶׁגּוֹרְמִים נַחַת רוּחַ לְהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּאטז*? שֶׁהֲרֵי זֶה מוּבָן שֶׁהַנַּחַת רוּחַ שֶׁבַּקָּרְבָּנוֹת אֵינָהּ אֶלָּא מִזֶּה שֶׁבְּזֶה עוֹבֵד הָאָדָם אֶת בּוֹרְאוֹיז, וַהֲרֵי עֲבוֹדַת הַשֶּׁם יִתְבָּרֵךְ הִיא עַל יְדֵי כָּל הַמִּצְווֹת כֻּלָּן, וּמַדּוּעַ לֹא נִתְפָּרֵשׁ בִּשְׁאָר מִצְווֹת שֶׁקִּיּוּמָן גּוֹרֵם "(רֵיחַ) נִיחוֹחַ לַה'" (אוֹ כַּיּוֹצֵא בָזֶה)?

Rashi seeks to resolve this question through his interpretation of “pleasing”: “It brings Me satisfaction that I spoke and My will was fulfilled.” The unique satisfaction generated by the offering of sacrifices is that it involves a singular approach to the mitzvos, “I spoke and My will was fulfilled,” unlike that which characterizes other mitzvos, as will be explained.

וְקֹשִׁי זֶה בָּא רַשִׁ"י לְיַשֵּׁב בְּפֵרוּשׁוֹ עַל "נִיחוֹחַ", "נַחַת רוּחַ לְפָנַי שֶׁאָמַרְתִּי וְנַעֲשָׂה רְצוֹנִי" – שֶׁהַ"נִּיחוֹחַ" ("נַחַת רוּחַ לְפָנַי") הַמְיֻחָד בְּקָרְבָּנוֹת הוּא בְּזֶה שֶׁיֵּשׁ כַּאן אֹפֶן מְיֻחָד בְּקִיּוּם הַמִּצְווֹת, "שֶׁאָמַרְתִּי וְנַעֲשָׂה רְצוֹנִי" (שֶׁעִנְיָן זֶה לֹא מָצִינוּ בִּשְׁאָר מִצְווֹת), כְּדִלְקַמָּן.

Why Offer a Sacrifice?


The resolution to the above issue can be understood by first explaining a general concept concerning sacrifices. Many commentaries, including those that explain the simple meaning of Scripture,23 elaborate upon the reason and the benefit brought about by the sacrifices, clarifying the reason for a person to bring an animal and offering it, either a portion of it or the entire animal, on the altar. Nevertheless, seemingly, Rashi does not offer any explanation regarding the nature of these mitzvos.


וְיוּבַן זֶה בְּהֶקְדֵּם תְּמִיָּה כְּלָלִית בְּעִנְיַן הַקָּרְבָּנוֹת, שֶׁהַרְבֵּה מְפָרְשִׁים (כּוֹלֵל פַּשְׁטָנִיםיח) מְבָאֲרִים מַהוּ הַטַּעַם וְהַתּוֹעֶלֶת בְּעִנְיַן הַקָּרְבָּנוֹת, שֶׁהָאָדָם מֵבִיא בְּהֵמָה וּמַקְרִיבָהּ (חֶלְקָהּ אוֹ כֻּלָּהּ) עַל גַּבֵּי הַמִּזְבֵּחַ, וְאִלּוּ בְּפֵרוּשׁ רַשִׁ"י לֹא מָצִינוּ לִכְאוֹרָה בֵּאוּר בְּמַהוּת מִצְוָה זוֹ.

True, generally, in his commentary on the Torah, Rashi does not explain the motivating rationale for mitzvos, because his commentary is not dedicated to that purpose but rather to providing a straightforward understanding of the words of Scripture. Nevertheless, in this instance, an explanation would appear to be warranted. First, there is not only one or even several mitzvos that involve offering sacrifices; many mitzvos do. Furthermore, qualitatively as well, with regard to the unique spiritual service involved, the offering of sacrifices constituted an all-encompassing undertaking, comprising the fundamental dimension of the service in the Sanctuary and the Beis HaMikdash, the place where the Divine Presence rested.

Furthermore, explanation appears necessary regarding the sacrifices, for the question is not only, “What is the reason for this mitzvah?but, “What is its inherent value?” On the surface, it is an act which defies logic. Why would a person have an entire animal or a portion of it be consumed by fire for no reason? The person does not receive any benefit from burning the animal and, obviously, it cannot be said that G‑d derives pleasure from the burning of the sacrificial animals. Why then would He command a Jew to purposelessly destroy his resources?24

וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁרַשִׁ"י בְּפֵרוּשׁוֹ עַל הַתּוֹרָה אֵין דַּרְכּוֹ (עַל דֶּרֶךְ הָרָגִיל) לְבָאֵר טַעֲמֵי הַמִּצְווֹת (כִּי אֵין פֵּרוּשׁ רַשִׁ"י סֵפֶר שֶׁל טַעֲמֵי הַמִּצְווֹת, אֶלָּא בָּא רַק לְיַשֵּׁב פְּשׁוּטֵי הַמִּקְרָאוֹת) – הֲרֵי נוֹסָף עַל זֶה שֶׁקָּרְבָּנוֹת אֵינָם מִצְוָה פְּרָטִית אַחַת אוֹ אֲחָדוֹת אֶלָּא כּוֹלְלִים מִצְווֹת רַבּוֹת, וְגַם בְּאֵיכוּת, קָרְבָּנוֹת הֵם עִנְיָן כְּלָלִי בְּיוֹתֵר, שֶׁזּוֹהִי הָעֲבוֹדָה בְּמִשְׁכָּן וּמִקְדָּשׁ (מְקוֹם הַשְׁרָאַת הַשְּׁכִינָה) – הִנֵּה עוֹד זֹאת בַּנּוֹגֵעַ לַקָּרְבָּנוֹת, שֶׁאֵין הַשְּׁאֵלָה רַק "מַה טַּעַם" לְמִצְוָה זוֹ, אֶלָּא שֶׁלִּכְאוֹרָה הוּא עִנְיַן הֵפֶךְ הַטַּעַם (וְנֶגֶד הַשֵּׂכֶל), שֶׁשּׂוֹרְפִים בְּהֵמָה (אוֹ חֶלְקָהּ) לְלֹא תוֹעֶלֶת – שֶׁהֲרֵי אֵין לְהָאָדָם כְּלוּם מִשְּׂרֵפָה זוֹ, וּפְשִׁיטָא שֶׁאֵין שַׁיָּךְ לוֹמַר שֶׁהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא נֶהֱנֶה מִשְּׂרֵפַת הַקָּרְבָּנוֹת, וְתָמוּהַּ לְאַבֵּד מָמוֹנָם שֶׁל יִשְׂרָאֵל לְלֹא תוֹעֶלֶתיט.

It is possible to explain that this is the meaning of Rashi’s words, “It brings Me satisfaction that I spoke and My will was fulfilled.” The person is offering a sacrifice for the sole reason that this is G‑d’s will; there is no other goal. This is the entire Divine intent in commanding an offering that otherwise appears to be purposeless. It is not that offering a sacrifice has a purpose – albeit one that man cannot fathom25 – and one should offer it with the belief that he is making possible the fulfillment of this Divine intent. Indeed, the sole purpose of offering a sacrifice is to fulfill G‑d’s will.

וְיֵשׁ לוֹמַר שֶׁזּוֹהִי כַּוָּנַת רַשִׁ"י בְּמַה שֶּׁכָּתַב "נַחַת רוּחַ לְפָנַי שֶׁאָמַרְתִּי וְנַעֲשָׂה רְצוֹנִי", שֶׁאָכֵן זוֹהִי כָּל הַכַּוָּנָה בְּעִנְיַן הַקָּרְבָּנוֹת (שֶׁלֹּא נִרְאֶה בְּזֶה שׁוּם תּוֹעֶלֶת), שֶׁהָאָדָם יַקְרִיב אֶת הַקָּרְבָּן אַךְ וְרַק מִפְּנֵי שֶׁזֶּהוּ רְצוֹנוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ, וְתוּ לֹא. כְּלוֹמַר: אֵין הַפֵּרוּשׁ שֶׁיֵּשׁ בְּזֶה תּוֹעֶלֶת אֶלָּא שֶׁהָאָדָם אֵינוֹ יוֹדֵעַ מַהִי, וּכְשֶׁמַּקְרִיב קָרְבָּן מַאֲמִין שֶׁיֵּשׁ תּוֹעֶלֶת בְּזֶה, אֶלָּא שֶׁכָּל הַתּוֹעֶלֶת בְּהַקְרָבַת הַקָּרְבָּן הוּא רַק זֶה שֶׁעוֹשֶׂה רְצוֹנוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ.

This is the unique dimension of the sacrifices and the reason why the expression “a pleasant fragrance to G‑d” is mentioned regarding them and not other mitzvos. It is only the offering of sacrifices that generates a special satisfaction and pleasure for G‑d, as it were, in that the mitzvos are being performed solely because “[He] spoke,” i.e., this was His desire.

וְזֶהוּ גַם הָעִנְיָן הַמְיֻחָד שֶׁבַּקָּרְבָּנוֹת, שֶׁרַק בָּהֶם נֶאֱמַר "רֵיחַ נִיחוֹחַ לַה'", וְלֹא בִּשְׁאָר הַמִּצְווֹת, כִּי רַק בְּקָרְבָּנוֹת יֵשׁ "נַחַת רוּחַ" וַ"הֲנָאָה" מְיֻחֶדֶת לְמַעְלָה מִזֶּה שֶׁקִּיּוּם הַמִּצְווֹת הוּא אַךְ וְרַק מִפְּנֵי זֶה שֶׁ"אָמַרְתִּי".

The Difference Between the Sacrifices and Chukim, Divine Decrees


The above explanation is, nevertheless, not entirely sufficient because this positive dimension – that the mitzvah is being fulfilled solely to carry out G‑d’s will – also applies with regard to the other mitzvos that are categorized as chukim, which Rashi defines26 as “matters that are solely decrees of the King, without any reason.”27


אֶלָּא שֶׁעֲדַיִן אֵין זֶה בֵּאוּר מַסְפִּיק, כִּי לִכְאוֹרָה מַעֲלָה זוֹ, עֲשִׂיַּת מִצְוָה רַק כְּדֵי לְקַיֵּם רְצוֹנוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ, יֶשְׁנָהּ גַּם בִּשְׁאָר מִצְווֹת הַנִּקְרָאוֹת "חֻקִּים", כְּפֵרוּשׁ רַשִׁ"יכ שֶׁחֻקִּים הֵם "דְּבָרִים שֶׁאֵינָן אֶלָּא גְּזֵרַת מֶלֶךְ בְּלֹא שׁוּם טַעַם"כא.

A resolution could be proposed based on Ramban’s explanation of the chukim:28

The intent is not that they are all decrees of the King of kings without any reason…. Instead, the chukim are decrees of the King enacted in His kingdom without revealing their purpose… and they are accepted out of the fear of the King.… However, there is an appropriate reason and a comprehensive purpose for all of them.

Based on this explanation, it is possible to differentiate between the chukim and the sacrifices. The Jews fulfill the chukim solely “out of fear of the King” without knowing the reason and purpose for them. Nevertheless, from G‑d’s perspective, there is a purpose and a benefit behind every chok. By contrast, the sole purpose of the sacrifices is to fulfill the will of G‑d, as He said, “I spoke and My will was fulfilled.” That alone is their intent, as explained above.

לִכְאוֹרָה אֶפְשָׁר לוֹמַר, עַל פִּי מַה שֶּׁכָּתַב הָרַמְבַּ"ןכב בַּנּוֹגֵעַ לְחֻקִּים, שֶׁ"אֵין הַכַּוָּנָה בָּהֶם שֶׁתִּהְיֶה גְּזֵרַת מֶלֶךְ מַלְכֵי הַמְּלָכִים בְּשׁוּם מָקוֹם בְּלֹא טַעַם . . רַק הַחֻקִּים הֵם גְּזֵרוֹת הַמֶּלֶךְ אֲשֶׁר יָחֹק בְּמַלְכוּתוֹ בְּלִי שֶׁיְּגַלֶּה תּוֹעַלְתָּם . . וּמְקַבְּלִים אוֹתָם לְיִרְאַת הַמַּלְכוּת . . אֲבָל כֻּלָּם בְּטַעַם נָכוֹן וְתוֹעֶלֶת שְׁלֵמָה", וְעַל פִּי זֶה יֵשׁ לוֹמַר שֶׁזֶּהוּ הַחִלּוּק בֵּין חֻקִּים לְקָרְבָּנוֹת, שֶׁבְּחֻקִּים, אַף שֶׁקִּיּוּמָם עַל יְדֵי בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל הוּא רַק "לְיִרְאַת הַמַּלְכוּת", שֶׁמְּקַיְּמִים גְּזֵרָתוֹ שֶׁל הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מִבְּלִי לֵידַע הַטַּעַם וְהַתּוֹעֶלֶת שֶׁבְּזֶה, מִכָּל מָקוֹם מִצַּד הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא יֵשׁ תּוֹעֶלֶת בְּכָל חֹק, מַה שֶּׁאֵין כֵּן בְּקָרְבָּנוֹת שֶׁכָּל עִנְיָנָם הוּא רַק "שֶׁאָמַרְתִּי וְנַעֲשָׂה רְצוֹנִי", הַיְנוּ שֶׁכָּל תֹּכְנָם הוּא "שֶׁאָמַרְתִּי וְנַעֲשָׂה רְצוֹנִי" וְתוּ לֹא, כַּנַּ"ל.

However, this rationale cannot explain Rashi’s words because the straightforward meaning of Rashi’s29 statement is that chukim were given “without any reason,” and in other sources30 he writes that “there is no reason for the matter,” not “their reason is not known”31 or the like. The implication is that according to Rashi’s approach, there is no motivating reason at all for the chukim, not that there is a reason for them; it is just unknown to us. Accordingly, the original question remains relevant: How are the sacrifices so different from all the other chukim of the Torah that the phrase, “a pleasant fragrance to G‑d,” is used only with regard to them?

אֲבָל – אֵין לְפָרֵשׁ כֵּן בְּפֵרוּשׁ רַשִׁ"י, כִּי מִפַּשְׁטוּת לְשׁוֹן רַשִׁ"י הַנַּ"ל בַּנּוֹגֵעַ לְחֻקִּים "בְּלֹא שׁוּם טַעַם" (וּבְמָקוֹם אַחֵרכג כָּתַב עַל חֻקִּים "שֶׁאֵין טַעַם בְּדָבָר") – וְלֹא "שֶׁאֵין טַעְמָן יָדוּעַ"כג* וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָזֶה – מַשְׁמַע, שֶׁלְּשִׁיטָתוֹ אֵין טַעַם כְּלָל לְחֻקִּים (וְלֹא רַק שֶׁאֵין אָנוּ יוֹדְעִים הַטַּעַם שֶׁבָּהֶם), וְאִם כֵּן שׁוּב קָשֶׁה, מַה נִּשְׁתַּנּוּ קָרְבָּנוֹת מִכָּל חֻקֵּי הַתּוֹרָה, שֶׁרַק בָּהֶם נֶאֱמַר "רֵיחַ נִיחוֹחַ לַה'"?

Taking Oneself Out of the Picture


It is possible to offer an answer based on a precise analysis of the wording Rashi uses, “It brings Me satisfaction that I spoke and My will was fulfilled.”


וְיֵשׁ לוֹמַר בְּזֶה, עַל פִּי דִּיּוּק לְשׁוֹן רַשִׁ"י "(נַחַת רוּחַ לְפָנַי) שֶׁאָמַרְתִּי וְנַעֲשָׂה רְצוֹנִי", שֶׁלִּכְאוֹרָה:

On the surface, that expression raises a number of questions:

a) Seemingly, G‑d’s satisfactioncomes from a person fulfilling and carrying out His will. If so, Rashi should have said, “that I spoke and you fulfilled My will,” or the like. Why does he use wording that refers to that which was accomplished rather than to the individuals who accomplished it?

א) נַחַת רוּחוֹ שֶׁל הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא הִיא לִכְאוֹרָה מִזֶּה שֶׁהָאָדָם קִיֵּם וְעָשָׂה רְצוֹנוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ, וַהֲוָה לֵיהּ לְמֵימַר "שֶׁאָמַרְתִּי וַעֲשִׂיתֶם רְצוֹנִי" (וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָזֶה) – וְלֹא "וְנַעֲשָׂה", שֶׁהוּא לָשׁוֹן הַמּוֹרֶה עַל הַ"נִּפְעָל" וְלֹא עַל הַ"פּוֹעֵל"?

b) Since the emphasis is on G‑d’s will being fulfilled, why does Rashi use the expression, “that I spoke” and not expressions that put a greater focus on the connection to His will like “I commanded” or “I decreed”?

ב) כֵּיוָן שֶׁעִקַּר הַהַדְגָּשָׁה הִיא "וְנַעֲשָׂה רְצוֹנִי", לָמָּה נָקַט רַשִׁ"י בִּתְחִלַּת לְשׁוֹנוֹ "שֶׁאָמַרְתִּי", וְלֹא לָשׁוֹן שֶׁל צִוּוּי אוֹ גְּזֵרָה – "שֶׁצִּוִּיתִי", "שֶׁגָּזַרְתִּי" וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָזֶה?

True, it could be said that those expressions are not appropriate in this Torah reading because it concerns free-will offerings,32 voluntary sacrifices which a person brings on his own initiative. Thus, we find that on the phrase,33 “When a man will offer…,” Rashi comments, “The matter concerns voluntary offerings.” However, although that resolution could apply here, Rashi also employs the expression “that I spoke…” in Parshas Tetz­aveh which speaks about obligatory offerings, sacrifices that Moshe was commanded to bring during the seven days of the Sanctuary’s dedication. Similarly, later on, in Parshas Pinchas, when explaining the phrase, “a pleasing fragrance” used in reference to the obligatory daily offering, Rashi writes,34 “that I spoke and My will was fulfilled.”35 Therefore, it appears that with the choice of this precise expression, Rashi intended to explain the unique dimension reflected by the sacrifices in relation to all the other mitzvos, even the chukim.

[וְאֵין לְתָרֵץ שֶׁזֶּהוּ מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהַמְדֻבָּר כַּאן (בְּפַרְשָׁתֵנוּ) בְּקָרְבְּנוֹת נְדָבָהכד (כְּפֵרוּשׁ רַשִׁ"י עַל הַפָּסוּקכה "כִּי יַקְרִיב" – "בְּקָרְבְּנוֹת נְדָבָה דִּבֶּר הָעִנְיָן"), שֶׁהֲרֵי לְעֵיל בְּפָרָשַׁת תְּצַוֶּה שָׁם מְדֻבָּר בְּקָרְבְּנוֹת חוֹבָה (שֶׁנִּצְטַוָּה מֹשֶׁה לְהַקְרִיב בְּשִׁבְעַת יְמֵי הַמִּלּוּאִים) וּמִכָּל מָקוֹם כָּתַב רַשִׁ"י שָׁם "שֶׁאָמַרְתִּי". וְכֵן לְקַמָּן בְּפָרָשַׁת פִּינְחָסכו, בְּ"רֵיחַ נִיחוֹחַ" שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר גַּבֵּי קָרְבַּן תָּמִיד, כּוֹתֵב רַשִׁ"י "שֶׁאָמַרְתִּי וְנַעֲשָׂה רְצוֹנִי"כז].

וְנִרְאֶה לוֹמַר, שֶׁבְּדִיּוּק לָשׁוֹן זֶה כַּוָּנַת רַשִׁ"י לְבָאֵר הַחִדּוּשׁ שֶׁבְּקָרְבָּנוֹת לְגַבֵּי כָּל הַמִּצְווֹת, אֲפִלּוּ הַחֻקִּים:

The intent of the chukim which do not have an apparent reason is to ingrain “the fear of the King” in the Jewish people – that they observe these mitzvos only because they are the King’s decrees. Thus, their fulfillment brings the person fulfilling them a benefit, i.e., it engenders his acceptance of the yoke of G‑d’s kingship. By contrast, the sacrifices are not offered for man’s benefit at all, they are entirely brought for the sake of G‑d, as the verse implies, “a fire offering [generating] a pleasant fragrance for G‑d.” Indeed, Scripture36 refers to the sacrifices as G‑d’s “food.” Therefore, Rashi explains that the intent in offering a sacrifice should be only to satisfy G‑d, as He said, “I spoke and My will was fulfilled.” The emphasis is not on man’s acceptance of the yoke of G‑d’s kingship and commandments and his acting to fulfill the King’s decree, but rather solely that G‑d’s will be carried out. Moreover, the wording of the expression, “My will was fulfilled,” implies that His will was fulfilled on its own, as it were, as if there was no person who fulfilled the mitzvah, but as if the sacrifice was brought on its own. Thisemphasizesthe idea that the sacrifice was brought for G‑d’s sake, “My will was fulfilled,” not for the sake of the person.37 This also is the unique characteristic of the satisfaction generated by sacrifices that does not exist with regard to other mitzvos of the Torah – that they are brought solely because G‑d desired them, i.e., “I spoke and My will was fulfilled.”

הַכַּוָּנָה בְּחֻקִּים שֶׁאֵין לָהֶם טַעַם הִיא, כְּדֵי לְהַשְׁרִישׁ בִּבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל "יִרְאַת הַמַּלְכוּת", שֶׁמְּקַיְּמִים מִצְווֹת אֵלּוּ רַק לִהְיוֹתָן גְּזֵרַת הַמֶּלֶךְ. וְאִם כֵּן יֵשׁ בְּזֶה "תּוֹעֶלֶת" לָאָדָם, שֶׁתִּהְיֶה בּוֹ קַבָּלַת עֹל מַלְכוּתוֹ. מַה שֶּׁאֵין כֵּן בְּקָרְבָּנוֹת מֻדְגָּשׁ שֶׁהֵם כִּבְיָכוֹל צֹרֶךְ גָּבוֹהַּ, "אִשֵּׁה רֵיחַ נִיחוֹחַ לַה'" (וְעַד שֶׁנִּקְרָאִים בַּכָּתוּבכח "לַחְמוֹ" שֶׁל הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא), וְלָכֵן פֵּרֵשׁ רַשִׁ"י שֶׁהַכַּוָּנָה בְּקָרְבָּנוֹת צְרִיכָה לִהְיוֹת רַק "שֶׁאָמַרְתִּי וְנַעֲשָׂה רְצוֹנִי", הַיְנוּ לֹא זֶה שֶׁהָאָדָם מְקַבֵּל עָלָיו עֹל מַלְכוּתוֹ וּמִצְווֹתָיו וּמְקַיֵּם גְּזֵרָתוֹ שֶׁל מֶלֶךְ, אֶלָּא רַק שֶׁרְצוֹנוֹ שֶׁל הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא יִתְקַיֵּם, "נַעֲשָׂה רְצוֹנִי" מֵאֵלָיו, כְּאִלּוּ אֵין כַּאן גַּבְרָא עוֹשֶׂה הַמִּצְוָה אֶלָּא הַקָּרְבָּן נַעֲשֶׂה מֵאֵלָיו וּמֵעַצְמוֹ, וְזֶה מַדְגִּישׁ שֶׁהַקָּרְבָּן הוּא צֹרֶךְ גָּבוֹהַּ ("נַעֲשָׂה רְצוֹנִי") וְלֹא בִּשְׁבִיל הָאָדָםכט. וְזוֹהִי גַּם הַ"נַּחַת רוּחַ" הַמְיֻחֶדֶת בְּקָרְבָּנוֹת, שֶׁאֵינָהּ בִּשְׁאָר מִצְווֹת הַתּוֹרָה, "שֶׁאָמַרְתִּי וְנַעֲשָׂה רְצוֹנִי".

For this very reason, Rashi uses the verb “I spoke” and not “I decreed” or the like. “I decreed” would imply a commandment incumbent on man, thus underscoring that there is a virtue in a person’s carrying out ofthe Divine decree even though he does not know the reason for it. With regard to sacrifices, however, the emphasis is that a person perform them – not because he must fulfill G‑d’s will – but in order for G‑d’s will to be fulfilled. It does not matter to him whether it is classified as a decree or a statement. The intent is that because it is G‑d’s will, the person desires that G‑d’s will be carried out.

וּמִטַּעַם זֶה גּוּפָא אוֹמֵר רַשִׁ"י "שֶׁאָמַרְתִּי", וְלֹא "שֶׁגָּזַרְתִּי" וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָזֶה, כִּי לְשׁוֹן "שֶׁגָּזַרְתִּי" מוֹרֶה עַל צִוּוּי אֶל הָאָדָם, וּמַדְגִּישׁ שֶׁיֵּשׁ כַּאן מַעֲלָה בְּזֶה שֶׁהָאָדָם מְקַיֵּם גְּזֵרָה שֶׁלְּמַעְלָה אַף שֶׁאֵינוֹ יוֹדֵעַ טַעְמָהּ; אֲבָל כַּאן הַדִּיּוּק הוּא שֶׁהָאָדָם עוֹשֶׂה הַדָּבָר (לֹא מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא צָרִיךְ לְקַיֵּם רְצוֹנוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ, אֶלָּא) כְּדֵי שֶׁרְצוֹנוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ יִתְקַיֵּם, וְאֵין נַפְקָא־מִנָּה לוֹ אִם זֶהוּ בְּגֶדֶר "גְּזֵרָה" אוֹ "אֲמִירָה" וכו', וְהַתֹּכֶן הוּא רַק שֶׁכֵּיוָן שֶׁזֶּהוּ רְצוֹנוֹ, לָכֵן רוֹצֶה הָאָדָם שֶׁרְצוֹנוֹ יֵעָשֶׂה.

Why Only Certain Sacrifices Generate a “Pleasing Fragrance”


On this basis, it is possible to add further explanation why in our Torah reading, the phrase, “a pleasing fragrance,” was only mentioned regarding burnt offerings,38 meal offerings,39 and peace offerings,40 but not regarding guilt offerings and sin offerings – with the exception of the sin offering brought by an individual.41


עַל פִּי זֶה יֵשׁ לְהוֹסִיף בֵּאוּר בְּזֶה שֶׁלֹּא נֶאֱמַר בְּפַרְשָׁתֵנוּ הַלָּשׁוֹן "רֵיחַ נִיחוֹחַ" אֶלָּא בְּקָרְבְּנוֹת עוֹלָהל מִנְחָהלא וּשְׁלָמִיםלב, אֲבָל לֹא אֵצֶל חַטָּאוֹת (מִלְּבַד חַטַּאת הַיָּחִידלג) וַאֲשָׁמוֹת.

It is possible to offer a straightforward reason for the above: Since the sin offerings and guilt offerings are brought to atone for sin, it is not appropriate for them to be associated with Divine satisfaction. True, a burnt offering also atones for the failure to perform a positive commandment and the violation of a prohibition that can be corrected by the performance of a positive commandment42 and, furthermore, the phrase, “a pleasing fragrance,” is also mentioned regarding a sin offering brought by an individual.43 However, it is patently obvious that a distinction can be made between sacrifices that come to atone for lesser sins – regarding which it can be said that the fact that a person desires to bring a sacrifice to G‑d to atone for his misconduct arouses Divine favor – and more severe transgressions.44 In the latter instance, even when atonement is achieved through a sacrifice, it cannot be said that this causes “a pleasing fragrance to G‑d,” generating satisfaction for Him, because of the serious nature of the transgression for which atonement is being granted.

בְּפַשְׁטוּת יֵשׁ לוֹמַר הַטַּעַם, דְּכֵיוָן שֶׁהַחַטָּאוֹת וַאֲשָׁמוֹת בָּאִים לְכַפֵּר עַל חֵטְא, אֵין לוֹמַר שֶׁזֶּהוּ קָשׁוּר עִם "נַחַת רוּחַ לְפָנַי". וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁגַּם עוֹלָה מְכַפֶּרֶת עַל עֲשֵׂה וְלַאו הַנִּתָּק לַעֲשֵׂהלד, וְעוֹד זֹאת, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר "רֵיחַ נִיחוֹחַ" גַּם בְּחַטַּאת הַיָּחִיד – הֲרֵי מוּבָן בְּפַשְׁטוּת, שֶׁיֵּשׁ לְחַלֵּק בֵּין הַקָּרְבָּנוֹת הַבָּאִים לְכַפֵּר עַל דְּבָרִים קַלִּים, שֶׁבָּהֶם אֶפְשָׁר לוֹמַר דְּזֶה שֶׁהָאָדָם רוֹצֶה לְהָבִיא קָרְבָּן לַה' לְהִתְכַּפֵּר הֲרֵי זֶה גוֹרֵם "נַחַת רוּחַ לְפָנַי", מַה שֶּׁאֵין כֵּן בַּעֲוֹנוֹת חֲמוּרִים יוֹתֵרלה, שֶׁאָז גַּם כַּאֲשֶׁר נַעֲשֵׂית כַּפָּרָה עַל יְדֵי קָרְבָּן, אֵין לוֹמַר שֶׁזֶּהוּ עִנְיָן הַגּוֹרֵם "רֵיחַ נִיחוֹחַ לַה'" ("נַחַת רוּחַ לְפָנַי") מִפְּנֵי חֹמֶר הָעִנְיָן שֶׁעָלָיו מְכַפֵּר הֶעָוֹן.

Some further clarification is still necessary because a similar distinction is found later on, in Parshas Tzav. The phrase, “a pleasant fragrance,” is used only with regard to a meal offering and not with regard to sin offerings or guilt offerings. However, that phrase is also not used with regard to a thanksgiving offering45 which is not brought to atone for sin but rather as an expression of thanks for the miracle performed on behalf of the person bringing it.46 This requires further clarification.47

אֶלָּא שֶׁעֲדַיִן צָרִיךְ בֵּאוּר (קְצָת), שֶׁהֲרֵי לְקַמָּן בְּפָרָשַׁת צַו שׁוּב מָצִינוּ חִלּוּק כָּזֶה. שֶׁרַק בְּקָרְבַּן מִנְחָהלו נֶאֱמַר "רֵיחַ נִיחוֹחַ", מַה שֶּׁאֵין כֵּן בְּחַטָּאת וְאָשָׁם – אֲבָל שָׁם גַּם בְּקָרְבַּן תּוֹדָהלז, שֶׁלֹּא בָּא עַל חֵטְא אֶלָּא לְהוֹדוֹת עַל נֵס שֶׁנַּעֲשָׂה לוֹלח, לֹא נֶאֱמַר "רֵיחַ נִיחוֹחַ". וְטַעְמָא בָּעֵילט.

Based on the above, an additional explanation can be given why the phrase, “a pleasing fragrance,” is not mentioned regarding sin offerings and guilt offerings. When a person brings an offering to atone for his undesirable conduct, it is fundamentally not being brought for G‑d’s sake – not because “I spoke and My will was fulfilled.” Instead, it is being brought the sake of the person himself,48 so that atonement be granted for his sin.49

וְעַל פִּי הַנַּ"ל יֵשׁ לוֹמַר טַעַם נוֹסָף לְכָךְ שֶׁלֹא נֶאֱמַר "רֵיחַ נִיחוֹחַ" בְּחַטָּאוֹת וַאֲשָׁמוֹת, כִּי בְּקָרְבָּנוֹת אֵלּוּ שֶׁבָּאִים לְכַפֵּר עַל הָאָדָם הֲרֵי עִקַּר הֲבָאָתָם אֵינוֹ צֹרֶךְ גָּבוֹהַּ, "שֶׁאָמַרְתִּי וְנַעֲשָׂה רְצוֹנִי", אֶלָּא בִּשְׁבִיל הָאָדָם עַצְמוֹמ, שֶׁיִּתְכַּפֵּר לוֹ עֲוֹנוֹמא.

For a similar reason, the phrase, “a pleasing fragrance,” is not mentioned regarding thanksgiving offerings. Such offerings are brought as an expression of thanks for a miracle that was performed for a person – i.e., he found himself in a situation where he required a miracle and the miracle was performed on his behalf. If so, offering this sacrifice is connected with his own benefit: Since G‑d wrought a miracle on his behalf, it is understood that the person should offer thanks for this. Thus, offering this sacrifice does not emphasize that it is being offered to bring about “a pleasing fragrance for G‑d,” as He said, “It brings Me satisfaction that I spoke and My will was fulfilled.”

וְלָכֵן לֹא נֶאֱמַר "רֵיחַ נִיחוֹחַ" בְּקָרְבַּן תּוֹדָה, כֵּיוָן שֶׁהוּא הוֹדָאָה עַל נֵס שֶׁהֻצְרַךְ לְנֵס וְנַעֲשָׂה לוֹ, אִם כֵּן הַקְרָבָה זוֹ שַׁיֶּכֶת לְתוֹעֶלֶת שֶׁלּוֹ, דְּמֵאַחַר שֶׁהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא עָשָׂה לוֹ נֵס, הֲרֵי מוּבָן, שֶׁהָאָדָם צָרִיךְ לְהוֹדוֹת עַל זֶה, וְאִם כֵּן אֵין מֻדְגָּשׁ בְּקָרְבָּן זֶה שֶׁהוּא בָּא לִפְעוֹל "רֵיחַ נִיחוֹחַ לַה'", "נַחַת רוּחַ לְפָנַי שֶׁאָמַרְתִּי וְנַעֲשָׂה רְצוֹנִי".

The fundamental expression of the concept that a sacrifice brings about “a pleasing fragrance” – underscoring the meaning of the statement, “It brings Me satisfaction that I spoke and My will was fulfilled” – is found50 regarding voluntary offerings, the subject mentioned at the beginning of this Torah reading.51 By bringing these offerings, a person shows that he desires to give something he owns to G‑d, i.e., he is not thinking of his own benefit, but only of G‑d. Therefore, it is specifically these sacrifices that generate the Divine response, “It brings Me satisfaction that I spoke and My will was fulfilled.”

וְעִקַּר הַדְגָּשַׁת הָעִנְיָן דְּ"רֵיחַ נִיחוֹחַ", "נַחַת רוּחַ לְפָנַי שֶׁאָמַרְתִּי וְנַעֲשָׂה רְצוֹנִי" הוּא בְּקָרְבְּנוֹת נְדָבָהמב, שֶׁבְּזֶה מְדֻבָּר בְּרֵישׁ פַּרְשָׁתֵנוּמג, שֶׁעַל יָדָם מַרְאֶה הָאָדָם שֶׁרוֹצֶה לְנַדֵּב מִשֶּׁלּוֹ לְהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, וְהַיְנוּ שֶׁאֵינוֹ חוֹשֵׁב אוֹדוֹת תּוֹעֶלֶת שֶׁלּוֹ, אֶלָּא רַק עַל־דְּבַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא. וְלָכֵן קָרְבָּנוֹת אֵלּוּ גּוֹרְמִים "נַחַת רוּחַ לְפָנַי שֶׁאָמַרְתִּי וְנַעֲשָׂה רְצוֹנִי".

Likkutei Sichos, Volume 32, p. 1ff.
Adapted from sichos delivered on Shabbos Parshas Vayikra and Shabbos Parshas Tzav, 5742 [1982] and Shabbos Parshas Shelach, 5728 [1968]

(משיחות ש״פ ויקרא וש״פ צו תשמ״ב; ש״פ שלח תשכ״ח)
לקוטי שיחות חלק לב ויקרא א