Due to the Purim holiday, R' Frand did not give a shiur tonight. Rather than go without a parsha vort, I have reproduced a vort on the parsha from R' Mansour, which I heard on www.learntorah.com . Same rules as usual apply. I have attempted to reproduce this vort to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.
The parsha begins with a discussion of the laws of the Olah sacrifice. The Olah was brought twice daily, every day of the year. The Torah writes that the mizbayach was burning all night - it was never extinguished.
The Sefer Hachinuch explains that the miracle that the mizbayach burned all night was not an open miracle. The Kohen was commanded to put some pieces of wood on the mizbayach, even though they were not needed.
R' Mansour explained that this teaches us a lesson about how Hashem conducts the world. Very seldom are miracles truly open. When Hashem makes a miracle, He involves a natural component so that the skeptic can choose not to believe that it comes from Hashem. R' Mansour gave the example of the Krias Yam Suf. The night before the Jews crossed the Yam Suf, the Torah explains that there were strong easterly winds blowing - abnormal winds. The next day when the Jews crossed, Pharaoh said - its a natural phenomenon. In so doing, he disregarded the fact that the sea split into twelve corridors (one for each tribe) and that the floor of the seabed was marble. Would this have happened from wind?
Similarly, Hashem made a miracle that the mizbayach was lit constantly. The skeptic could look at it and say - the mizbayach is lit because its being fed by the Kohen. But if he paid close enough attention, he would realize that the fires were being fed by an independent source.
The gemara notes that when it rained on the mizbayach, the fires would not be extingiuished. But the question can be asked, why couldn't Hashem just make a miracle that the rain would never fall on the mizbayach?
R' Mansour answered the question by analogizing the mizbayach to the Jews. The Jews do mitzvos because each one of them has a motivating spark to do the right thing. However, there are many cynics who would like to pour water and drown out the excitement. These are the symbolic waters which are trying to extinguish the fires of the mizbayach. We can draw inspiration from Hashem's promise about the mizbayach -it will never be extinguished, even if rain falls on it. The lesson to us is that the symbolic water should not extinguish the fires in our neshamos.
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