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In Vayikra (Lev. 24:7) , the term אזכרה is used. It seems to mean "remembrance" (gleaning that from Rash"i's translation.) However, another word used to mean remembrance is זכרון .

I ran a word search on אזכרה and related forms to see where this appears in Tana"ch. Indeed, it is rare. It seems that it occurs mainly in the book of Vayikra:

2:2, 2:9, 2:16, 5:12, 6:8, 24:7 (just mentioned)

and once in Bemidbar 5:26.

The commonality with all these verses, is that they are discussing something about some form of מנחה a "gift" sacrifice.

Why is the term אזכרה reserved for this situation instead of זכרון ?

  • I'm having trouble tagging, here. I figure it's parshanut, but it's not specific to one parsha. – DanF May 12 '17 at 19:21
  • There's also פקד if you really want to get technical. – DonielF May 14 '17 at 13:07
  • It's not just a grammatical issue, that אזכרה is the female form of זכרון, to match up with the female word מנחה? – DonielF May 14 '17 at 13:07
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    @DonielF Do you know for a fact that אזכרה is the female form of זכרון? I don't know what the fem. form is. – DanF May 15 '17 at 1:42
  • Not sure either. Just spitballing here - that's why I didn't post it as an answer. – DonielF May 15 '17 at 1:43
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In his commentary on Leviticus 2:2, R' Samson Raphael Hirsch notes, as you do, the strong association in the Torah between the term אזכרה and the Mincha offering of flour, oil, and spices. In fact, he says that the concept of אזכרה is the whole purpose of the Mincha offering.

Note that the term אזכרה refers, in this verse, specifically to the handful of the offering that is to be burnt on the Altar. As the אזכרה, the handful stands in as the representative of the whole offering. From the way the verse is phrased, R' Hirsch infers (in a way I don't quite follow) that the whole offering is in the same way an אזכרה - a small subset that symbolically stands in for something larger. In particular, the flour, oil, and spice of the offering represent all of the material resources we need and have for, respectively, survival, comfort, and satisfaction.

The אזכרה function this offering performs is to get God to "remember" or apply "special care and attention" to that which it represents. That is, by offering the Mincha, we are praying to God to pay special attention to our physical needs. In so doing, we are acknowledging that for everything we need on every level, we are utterly dependent on God.

Based on all this, I think we can understand אזכרה as something like "a representative portion of a whole, which is used to pray for special attention to be payed to the whole." The remembrance/attention aspect is also present in the term זכרון. (Indeed, in this comment, R' Hirsch calls the אזכרה a "זכרון לפני ה".) However, I think the aspect of a part that stands in for the whole for this memorial purpose is unique to אזכרה.

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