The Notion of a Tzibbur
הרב מרדכי גרינברג
The Ramban, in the beginning of Sefer Vayikra (1:2) distinguishes between two concepts: tzibbur (community) and shutfin (partners). He writes:
If many [people] contribute to bring an olah (burnt-offering) -- it is an olah of partners; what difference is there between two who join in a sacrifice and ten or a thousand who join in it? However, the keitz hamizbe'ach, which comes from the leftover [money], the court stipulates about them, and therefore it is an olah of the tzibbur.
A partnership is nothing more than the sum of all the parts of the partners. Not so a tzibbur -- it is far more than a collection of individuals. A community that is comprised of ten is not just nine Jews and one more. It goes far beyond this. A tzibbur is a living body, a cohesive organism of individuals that are connected, who complement one another and stimulate each other. On the Rambam's statement (Hil. Mamrim 2:4) that it is possible for Beit Din to neglect a mitzvah as a hora'at sha'a (tentative measure), "Just as the doctor amputates one's hand or foot so that the entire [person] will live," the Radbaz writes: "This analogy is only correct if we view all of Israel as if they are one body. Even though the bodies are distinct, since their souls are hewed from one place, they are like one body, since the soul is primary."
The principle of national unity exists only in Israel, as Rav Kook zt"l writes in Mishpat Kohen (#124):
Every nation, the main [purpose of its] gathering is in order to benefit the private individuals, but the group itself has no self-existence. Thus, the notion of a tzibbur for the nations is on the level of partners ... However, in truth, for Israel -- tzibbur and partners are two concepts ... because the tzibbur of Israel has a collective sanctity and existence ... and it stands above division. Therefore, the communal sacrifices have to be from the public [funds].
Similarly, the Ba'al Hatanya writes (ch. 34):
They all match, and all have one Father. Therefore, all of Israel are called brothers, literally, due to the source of their soul in One G-d; just that their bodies are separate.
The Maharal also writes (Netivot Olam, Netiv Hatochacha ch. 2):
All of Israel are guarantors for one another, because they are one nation. You do not find this in any [other] nation, who are not one nation like Israel, who are compared to one person. If there is a wound in one of his limbs, they all feel because they are one body. So, too, when one of Israel transgresses, all of Israel feel the sin, since they are like one person. So, too, they are one nation.
The Meshech Chochmah writes that when one of Israel violates a sin between man and G-d, it is considered a affront between man and his friend, on account of the damage that he causes his friend, due to their being bound and connected one to another.
The Maharal explains in this way the idea of the korban Pesach, which is all a symbol of unity: It is in its first year; it is roasted whole with its legs and innards; it is prohibited to take it apart by breaking a bone; it is cooked specifically by roasting, which causes it to shrink into one body, and not in water, which softens and breaks apart; it is eaten together by the entire house, and only in one house and not in two groups, and not in two places.
With this Rav Kook zt"l explains the argument between the Sadducees and the Perushim, whether an individual can dedicate and bring the daily sacrifice. The Sadducees did not understand the special kedusha that Klal Yisrael has, and thought that Israel is like all the other nations. The tzibbur is only many partners, and therefore even individuals can bring communal offerings. The Perushim emerged victorious, that there is a collective kedusha to the tzibbur. Therefore, a communal offering may come only from public funds.
קוד השיעור: 3720