Parashat Vayikra: Midrash

Midrash מִדְרָשׁ

וְכָל קָרְבַּן מִנְחָתְךָ בַּמֶּלַח תִּמְלָח
וְלֹא תַשְׁבִּית מֶלַח בְּרִית אֱלֹקֶיךָ מֵעַל מִנְחָתֶךָ
עַל כָּל קָרְבָּנְךָ תַּקְרִיב מֶלַח:
Every korban minhah must be salted with salt.
Do not withhold the salt of the covenant of God from your minhah.
On all your korbanot, offer salt.
Salt sounds pretty important in this pasuk! But the meaning of the bolded phrase isn’t totally clear. What’s the relationship between salt and a בְּרִית (brit, covenant) with God?
שֶׁהַבְּרִית כְּרוּתָה לַמֶּלַח מִשֵּׁשֶׁת יְמֵי בְּרֵאשִׁית, שֶׁהֻבְטְחוּ מַיִם תַּחְתּוֹנִים לִקָּרֵב לַמִּזְבֵּחַ.
A brit about salt was made back at the time of the six days of Creation. The lower waters were promised that they would eventually be offered on the mizbe’ah (altar) through their salt.
Rashi is quoting a midrash that, when God divided the waters above from the waters below at the time of creation (Bereishit 1:7), the lower waters—aka the oceans—became jealous. They wanted to be closer to God like the waters above! So God promised that salt from ocean water would eventually be elevated by being offered with korbanot on the mizbe’ah.
  • What can we learn from the water? Why was it so important to be "elevated," or close to God?
  • What does this teach us about the mizbe’ah? How does it help the salt, the water, and us get closer to God?
  • Because of this pasuk, there's a custom to keep salt on our tables, and this is why we have salt with our hallah on Shabbat! What does this teach us about the places we eat in our own homes? How can those places bring us closer to God?