Posted by: R Jonathan Gewirtz | March 25, 2009

A Thought for Vayikra

When I was about to turn 14, my birthday came out on Parshas Vayikra. I turned to posuk 14, and got a fright.

It discussed sacrificing birds and said, “If one brings a sacrifice from birds, he shall bring from pigeons or “b’nai Yonah,” young doves, as his sacrifice.

Well, my father’s name is Jonah and I was SURE that I, as one of the “b’nai Yonah” was going to die. It was clearly written in the Torah! Didn’t I turn 14 on Parshas Vayikra, and the 14th posuk discussed sacrificing the “sons of Jonah”???

In tears, I called my father. He didn’t laugh, he didn’t criticize, he didn’t ridicule. He understood how emotionally charged I was.

Instead, (and I can still remember which payphone in Yeshiva I was talking on when I called him) he explained that the root of the word korban comes from “karov,” close. He explained that perhaps the Torah was pointing out that I had a special opportunity to come closer to HaShem.

I have never forgotten that moment, and I hope I never will.

I can only pray that I have the presence of mind to be that comforting to MY children when they are scared, and to guide them on the right path as my dad did that day.



  1. I am the jonah of your story…I thank you for recording the phone call which you and I shared..watching you all your life and being always proud of your dedication,devotion and sensitive awareness…I testify that you are a karov and a great makriv boruch Hasem. yes I know “klum adam mayeed al bno v’talmido..but facts are facts and realities are testimonies in their own right..May you always be a korban Mincha LaShem..and as a proud father may I add “zeh hakaton gadol hu…v’ruach chachamim nocheh haimenu “.
    May your Torah and machashava tzelula illumine forever..b’ahavah v’yikar..yonah av l’yonason michoel..alei v’chazak.

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