Keritot 28 - Which Sacrifice Is The Best?

Rabbi Shimon says, "The mention of lambs precedes that of goats everywhere that they are written together in the Torah. You might think that this is because lambs are superior - to dispel this notion, the Torah puts a she-goat before the lamb for a sin-offering, to tell you that they are equal."

"The Torah also mentions the father before the mother everywhere that they are written together. You might think that this is because the obligation to honor a father exceeds that of honoring a mother - to dispel this notion, the Torah said that one should revere his mother and his father, to tell you that they are equal."

The Temple Courtyard cried in anguish four times, the last one when Yissachar the High Priest performed service in silk gloves, putting his honor too high. What happened to him? Once King Yannai and his queen were talking; the king said that goat meat was better, the queen - that lamb meat was better. They asked Yissachar, who told them, "If a goat is better, let it be offered as a daily offering." As he was talking, he was gesturing arrogantly and irreverently toward the king with his hand, and the king commanded that his right hand be cut off. However, Yissachar gave a bribe, and they severed his left hand. When the king found out, he commanded to cut off his right hand as well.

Rav Yosef said, "Praised be God for cleaning Yissachar in this world, for his reward (Sachar) is coming to him in the World to Come."

Rav Ashi said, "Did he ever learn the rule of Rabbi Shimon that the goat and the lamb are equal?" Ravina said, "He did not even learn Torah, which states the same."

Torah scholars, on the other hand, increase peace in the world, as said by Isaiah, "And all your sons will be disciples of God, and abundant will be the peace of your sons."

Art: Sir David Wilkie - The Artist's Parents