Thursday, March 14, 2013

Chasam Sofer explains the small aleph of Vayikra

He writes:
"Vayikra, with a small aleph. There is to explain the matter, that the measure of a small letter, this is that it is 1/4 smaller than a regular letter {?} in that particular sefer, and the large letter are a measure of four times the size of a regular letter in that sefer, as is known. 
And behold, the Torah is interpreted in four different ways, namely PaRDeS, which is Peshat, Remez, Derush and Sod. And behold, the different in Peshat between Vayikra and Vayikar is that Vayikar does not allude to such greatness and glory as does Vayikra. However, according to Derush, Vayikar is a language of keri [happenstance?] and impurity while Vayikra is a language of endearment and calling from the ministering angels. As Vekara Zeh el Zeh we translate into Aramaic 'and they received, this one from that one'. And so too according to Remez and according to Sod. And see the Zohar in this parasha the remazim and sodot of this aleph.
And Moshe Rabbeinu, in accordance with his great humility, only wished for the peshat meaning. Therefore he wrote it with a small aleph, missing the other thre facets, so that one would only understand from it the peshat explanation."
There is something subversive about this explanation, I think...


yaak said...

I'm not sure about the alef being 1/4 of a normal letter or a big letter being 4 times a normal letter, but if that is true in some way, perhaps symbolically, I like this explanation.

Embrace the Pardes!

BTW, I believe וקריאת מה"ש is וקריאת מלאכי השרת and are the first words of the next sentence.

joshwaxman said...


thanks. bli neder, i'll correct.

alas, i don't think it possible to write a sefer torah which is always 1/2 the size (for peshat and derash), since these are relative sizes.



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