…אָדָם כִּי יַקְרִיב מִכֶּם קָרְבָּן, לַה׳ מִן הַבְּהֵמָה, מִן הַבָּקָר וּמִן הַצֹּאן, תַּקְרִיבוּ, אֶת קָרְבַּנְכֶם. (ויקרא א:ב)
The Torah begins this pasuk in the singular (ki yakriv) and finishes off the thought in the plural (takrivu es korbanchem). Why did the Torah switch number when speaking about just one topic?
Based on the Alshich, I would like to suggest the following approach. A person standing alone is apt to sin. Through the korbon which is brought in a communal environment, he will automatically correct himself and his mindset. While this is a beautiful thought, we must understand why a lone Jew is apt to sin, whereas a Jew united with others has a built in safeguard against sinning.
It seems to me that a person—as great as he is—can only see things from his own perspective. He interprets what he sees and executes his actions from that narrow vantage point. This, coupled with the frailty of human nature, may lead him off course without him even realizing it. Within the larger community there are automatic checks and balances. Being with others, hearing new thoughts, and seeing different approaches causes a person to reassess his personal perspective – and improve upon it. This, together with the consciousness of people around him, protects the person from sinning.
When a lone Jew brings a korbon to the Beis Hamikdash, he will inevitably meet up with a community of kohanim, which he interacts with and thus making him part of a tzibbur. This will bring about teshuva—returning to square one to reassess that which he has done and that which he was supposed to have done. Let us hope that when we associate with other members of our community, we will also allow the “checks and balances” to keep us on the straight path of Torah.