1. Torah is eternal, given “forever and ever” — ”This Torah shall never change.” This applies not only to the mitzvos, but to all parts of the Torah; even its stories contain lessons, for “Torah” is cognate to the word “horoah,” meaning “instruction.”

Even a child knows that everything in Torah is relevant to actual deed. Rashi, on the first verse of Torah, comments: “The Torah should have commenced from the verse ‘This month shall be the first of the months for you’ [which is the first mitzvah]. Why then does it commence with [the account of] Bereishis.” Rashi is answering the unspoken question: Torah does not relate stories for their own sake. What, therefore, is the reason the Torah starts with the story of creation, and not with the first mitzvah? Rashi then answers: “Because [of the concept in the text] ‘He declared to the people the power of His works [the account of creation] in order to give them the heritage of the nations.’ For should the nations of the world say to Israel, ‘You are robbers, because you took by force the lands of the seven nations [of Canaan],’ Israel will reply to them: ‘The whole earth belongs to the Holy One blessed be He; He created it and gave it to whom He pleased. Of His own Will He gave it to them, and of His own will He took it from them and gave it to us.’“

Not only does the story of creation provide lessons, but they remain in force at all times, unlike the first mitzvah (“This month shall be the first of the months”) which is relevant only to a particular time of the year — Rosh Chodesh Nissan. The story of creation applies at all times, for nations of the world are constantly claiming Jews have “stolen” the land, and therefore there is a constant need to know what to answer — “He declared to His people the power of His works in order to give them the heritage of the nations.”

Indeed, the story of creation emphasizes the eternal nature of Torah more so than the first mitzvah of “This month shall be the first of the months.” The latter was relevant immediately when it was given, for its subject — (the sanctification of) the moon — existed already. But the lesson from the story of creation would not apply until the Jews entered Eretz Yisroel, for the claim of the gentiles that “You took by force the lands of the seven nations” is relevant only after the Jews actually conquered the land.

Yet the story of creation is the very beginning of Torah, before the mitzvah of “This month.” This emphasizes the eternal nature of Torah. Not only were mitzvos and directives given for their time, (and are also relevant to all times) but, as we see from the story of creation, were given in the first place for all times. They are eternal.

In similar vein, Tanya explains that Torah’s statement “The thing (fulfillment of Torah and mitzvos) is very near to you in your mouth and heart to do it” applies at all times — not just in Moshe’s time (when it was said), but in all generations. It thus also applies in the Messianic era, although then “I will remove the spirit of impurity from the earth,” and “The glory of G‑d will be revealed and all flesh will perceive it” — meaning, even non-Jews will openly see G‑d’s glory and majesty. Nevertheless, the lesson “It is very near to you” is still necessary in the Messianic era, for although it will not be necessary to battle evil, one will still need to rise higher in sanctity — and thus the lesson from “It is very near to you” will apply in its full force.

2. The eternal nature of Torah is emphasized most strongly in today’s “Chassidic parshah.” Corresponding to the regular parshah of the Torah, there is the “Chassidic parshah” — the ma’amarim of Chassidus in “Likkutei Torah and Torah Or” which are divided according to the parshas of the year.

In Likkutei Torah, concerning the opening words of parshas Vayikra “He called to Moshe,” it states: “The Torah is eternal, and these levels (the most lofty matters) apply also now.” The Alter Rebbe goes on to explain that there is an element of Moshe within every Jew, and, if not for the concealment of the animal soul, the idea of “He called to Moshe and the L‑rd spoke to him from the Ohel Moed saying” applies to this element of Moshe in each Jew — just as to Moshe himself!

We learn two things from this: The only difference in this respect between Moshe and the element of Moshe in every Jew is that in the latter it cannot be revealed because of the concealment of the animal soul — and besides this difference, they are equal. 2) This applies to all Jews, and, as the Alter Rebbe continues, eventually this concealment is overcome, and the idea of “He called to Moshe” is effected in every Jew.

The lesson from the Chassidic parshah, then, is that all the lofty levels of “He called to Moshe” apply also now, and therefore must be present in every Jew’s service. Because Torah is eternal, this applies at all times. When, however, we actually read parshas Vayikra — and publicly — this lesson is emphasized even more.

In practical terms: All the above must be expressed in actual deed. Moreover, it is not enough that a Jew applies it to himself, but he must influence others to do likewise — as stated: “G‑d spoke to him ... saying” — “saying” meaning to say to others.

Through our service in this idea, we shall speedily merit to see the idea of “He called to Moshe and spoke to him in the Ohel Moed” fulfilled literally — in the third Bais Hamikdosh.

3. In addition to the above lesson learned from parshas Vayikra, there is an additional lesson to be derived from the date of the month — - the fifth of Nissan.

From the first of Nissan until the twelfth, the princes of the tribes brought their sacrifices for the dedication of the Mishkan — “one prince for each day.” The prince who brought his sacrifice on the fifth day was the prince of the tribe of Shimon — “On the fifth day, the prince of Shimon, Shlumiel be Tzurishadai, brought his offering.”

The first and last day of the princes’ offerings talks of the general nature of the offering of all the princes. The difference is that on the first day, it talks of the offerings before they were actually brought on each day, whereas on the last day, it talks of the sum total of the princes’ sacrifices after they were brought.

In one respect, the first day also emphasizes the actual bringing of the princes’ offering (before their individual offering on each of the twelve days). For, in addition to the sacrifices, the princes together brought six wagons and twelve oxen for use in the service of the Mishkan. This was a group donation, given from the princes to Moshe as one donation.

In other words, the first day emphasizes the general idea of the princes’ offering before being divided into their individual, daily offering. The last day emphasizes the same general idea, but after the individual offering were brought — the sum total of the offerings.

In addition, there is a separate distinction in the individual offerings of each prince — and therefore G‑d told Moshe that they should not bring their offerings all on the same day, but each prince on a separate day (although each prince brought the identical offering). Thus, the particular day on which a prince brought his individual offering emphasizes the particular nature of the prince and tribe. As the Midrash states: “Although they all brought the same offering ... each one offered it according to his intentions.”

The Midrash continues to tell the intentions of the individual princes. In our case, the fifth day, it states: “The prince of [the tribe of] Shimon came, and offered according to the work of the Mishkan ... The one silver plate ... corresponded to the courtyard of the Mishkan ... Its weight of 130 [shekels correspond to the dimensions of the courtyard]. The length of the courtyard was 100 amah, and the length of the Mishkan within the courtyard was 30 amah — equals 130.” The Mishkan goes on to relate the other particulars of the offering to the “work of the Mishkan,” and concludes: “When G‑d saw that he offered according to the order of the Mishkan, He began to praise his offering ...”

We see, then, that the unique distinction of the fifth of Nissan, when the prince of Shimon brought his offerings, is the. “work of the Mishkan.” Thus, when the fifth of Nissan comes, the principal emphasis must be laid on the service to G‑d associated with the “work of the Mishkan” — the service which brings the revelation of the Mishkan as it will be revealed in the future redemption in the building of the third Bais Hamikdosh. That is, the reading on the fifth of Nissan, concerning the offering which corresponds to the “work of the Mishkan,” should inspire a Jew to do everything in his power to bring the revelation of the Mishkan (in the building of the third Bais Hamikdosh) in the future redemption.

After reciting the section of the offering, we say “May it be Your will, L‑rd my G‑d ... that if I, Your servant, am of the tribe of Shimon ... may there shine upon me all the holy ‘sparks’ and all the holy lights which are contained in the holiness of this tribe ...” That is, all those things associated with the tribe of Shimon — especially that he offered according to the “work of the Mishkan” — “shine” on each Jew.

In addition, the above (“May it be Your Will”) is a prayer, and G‑d surely fills a Jew’s requests — as stated: “You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.” If G‑d satisfies the desires of “every living thing,” He surely fulfills the desires of “My son, My first-born Israel.”

However, a Jew must make a “vessel” to accept and absorb the things granted to him, through his prayer, from G‑d. Thus, although today is an auspicious time for those things associated with the offering of the prince of Shimon — the “work of the Mishkan” — a Jew must still perform his service in those matters which are a “vessel” suitable to absorb the revelations of the “work of the mishkan” as they will be in the building of the third Bais Hamikdosh.

That “vessel” is our work in disseminating Chassidus, Judaism, and Torah and mitzvos. This is the service which brings Moshiach, who will build the third Bais Hamikdosh, where the “work of the Mishkan” will be physically revealed. First and foremost, this means greater efforts in the mitzvah campaigns: Love and unity of Jews, education of oneself and others, Torah, tefillin, mezuzah, tzedakah, house full of Jewish books, Shabbos and Yomtov lights, kashrus, family purity, and unity of all Jews through each one acquiring a letter in one of the general Sefer Torahs.

This “vessel” certainly includes the prayers of Jews that “we hope for Your salvation every day,” and “May our eyes behold Your return to Zion in mercy.” Through this we hasten and bring closer the true and complete redemption through our righteous Moshiach.

This then is the lesson from the offering of the prince of the tribe of Shimon on the fifth of Nissan. Since Torah is eternal, and “all these levels apply also now” (as above), special strength is given each Jew on this day to do everything possible to reveal the “work of the mishkan” in the future redemption — through the dissemination of Judaism and Chassidus. And because this year the fifth of Nissan is on Shabbos, the above service should be done with delight (ta’anug) — for Shabbos is the idea of “You shall call Shabbos ‘delight’.”

4. The first verse of our parshah states (Vayikra 1:1) “He called to Moshe and the L‑rd spoke to him from the Ohel Moed saying.” A simple question arises: Who does the “He” in “He called to Moshe” refer to? That is, does it refer to “the L‑rd” or to “ G‑d.” Rashi, the commentator par excellence on Scripture, always clarifies anything obscure in Scripture. Yet he makes no comment on this point.

The question is reinforced by Rashi’s comment on this verse. Rashi explains that before all instances of G‑d speaking or commanding, the word “call” is used, it being a term of endearment. In contrast to this, the term used when G‑d appears to the gentile prophets is “ G‑d happened to meet Bilaam.” We see from this that it could be both “ G‑d” or L‑rd” who called to Moshe. Why then does not Rashi explain who called in our case — G‑d or the L‑rd. [The difference between “ G‑d” and “L‑rd” is a difference in level of manifestation of G‑dliness.]

We cannot answer that the reason it is not stated clearly who is speaking is because the “He called” is a continuation of the end of the previous parshah. It states there (Shemos 40:35): “Moshe was unable to enter the Ohel Moed because the cloud rested there, and the glory of the L‑rd filled the Mishkan.” We could have thought that the opening words of the following parshah, “He called to Moshe,” are a connection of this — that the “He called” refers to “the L‑rd” in the earlier verse. However, we cannot say this is the plain interpretation, for there are several difficulties involved.

First of all, Vayikra is the beginning of one of the Five Books of Moshe, and it is difficult to say that the beginning of one book is a direct continuation of the end of the previous book (Shemos).

Second of all, and most important, the earlier verse does not speak of “the L‑rd,” but of the “glory of the L‑rd.” “The glory of the L‑rd” is not G‑d’s Name (as is “L‑rd” or “ G‑d”), but is the revelation of G‑d’s glory. Thus “He called” cannot refer to G‑d’s glory, for such a term is applicable only when referring to “filling the Mishkan” and not to “calling” or “speaking” — i.e. it makes no sense to say that the glory of the L‑rd “called” — “the L‑rd” can call, “ G‑d” can call, but His “glory” cannot.

The explanation:

When the Jews were instructed to build the Mishkan, in parshas Terumah, it states (Shemos 25:8): “The L‑rd spoke to Moshe ... Make a sanctuary for Me.” This clearly indicates that the making of the Mishkan (sanctuary) was for the L‑rd. It states further (25:22): “And I will meet with you there, and I will speak with you from above the capores (ark-cover) ...” This shows that the one who comes to speak to Moshe in the Mishkan is “the L‑rd.” Thus, when in our parshah it states “He called to Moshe ... from the Ohel Moed,” there is no need to state explicitly who called, for it has already been explained in parshas Terumah that it is the L‑rd who will “meet with you there” and “will speak with you” in the Mishkan.

But then the question is shifted to the second part of our verse, which states “and the L‑rd spoke to him from the Ohel Moed.” If we clearly know that it is the “L‑rd” who speaks to Moshe from the Ohel Moed, why it is necessary to say so again explicitly?

However, we find it normal practice in Torah that, because of the precious nature of something, Torah repeats it a number of times. For example, Rashi (Bereishis 24:42) explains that the section in Torah relating Eliezer’s narrative of his efforts to find a suitable wife for Yitzchok is “repeated in Torah” because “the conversation of the servants of the Patriarchs is pleasing before G‑d.” In our case, then, the reason why it states again “the L‑rd spoke to him” (although we already know it is the L‑rd from parshas Terumah) is because things which are precious and pleasing are repeated.

In other words: There is no problem as to who “called,” because this has been explained previously. On the other hand, there is no problem why it states “the L‑rd spoke,” for it is repeated because of its precious nature.