Keeping the Covenant of the Salt Alive Today
In Parshat Vayikra, Vayikra 2:13 we read about the Covenant of Salt (Melach Brit): “You shall salt your every meal-offering with salt; you may not discontinue the salt of your God’s covenant from upon your meal offering- on your every offering shall you offer salt.”

 

Rashi explains what the words “Melach Brit” mean:

 

A covenant was made for salt from the Six days of Creation (on the second day of creation, God created a division between the heavenly waters above the firmament and the earthly waters below) when the lower waters were promised to be brought on the Alter in the form of salt.

The Midrash Yalkut HaReuveni elaborates:

The world is one part wilderness, one part settled land, and one part sea. The sea said to God: "Master of the Universe! The Torah will be given in the wilderness; the Holy Temple will be built on settled land; and what about me?" God answered: "The people of Israel will offer your salt upon the Altar."

According to Ramban, salt has two properties. It is destructive, for it prevents plants from growing (and it can corrode most substances) and it is helpful as it can preserve food. The Covenant of Salt teaches us that if the Altar service is performed properly and sincerely, it will preserve Israel, but if it is neglected, it brings about destruction and exile.

Today, unfortunately we do not have the Beit HaMikdash and we do not bring Korbanot. However, when we say Hamotzi at the Shabbat table, we dip our Challa in salt to remember the Covenent of the Salt. Our table becomes a Mizbeach (Alter). The salt reminds us that we must maintain our relationship with God as we pray for the rebuilding Beit HaMikdash when we can once again offer Korbanot (with salt)!