Thoughts on the Weekly Parshah by HaRav Eliezer Chrysler
Formerly Rav of Mercaz Ahavat Torah, Johannesburg

For sponsorships and advertising opportunities, send e-mail to:

Back to This Week's Parsha Previous Issues

subscribe.gif (2332 bytes)

Vol. 13   No. 28

spomsored l'illuy Nishmas
Mordechai Meir Chaim ben Yaakov


Aharon's Privilege
Adapted from the P'ninim mi'Shulchan ha'G'ro

The Gemara in Yuma (70b) explains that the ram of the Olah, that was brought together with the bull of the Chatas on Yom-Kipur, is synonymous with the ram that is mentioned in Parshas Pinchas as part of the Musaf-offering.

Why, asks the G'ro, does the Pasuk single out the ram, ignoring the bull and the seven lambs that were no less an integral part of the Musaf than it, as the Pasuk in Pinchas explains?


To answer this question, he cites the Medrash Rabah. The Medrash, commenting on the Pasuk in Chukas " and he (Aharon) shall not enter the Kodesh at any time", explains that in answer to Moshe's concern that Aharon was only permitted to enter the Kodesh Kodshim once a year, G-d informed him that in fact, he was permitted to enter at any time, provided he followed the instructions issued by that Parshah.

This implies that other Kohanim were indeed prohibited from entering the Kodesh Kodshim at any time other than on Yom-Kipur, under any circumstances, and that the above concession was confined to Aharon alone.


According to this Medrash, the wording of the Parshah fits beautifully. To begin with, the Parshah initially mentions only Aharon ("With this Aharon shall come" "And Aharon shall bring " " And Aharon shall place .. "), until Pasuk 32, where, for the first time, the Torah makes reference to future Kohanim Gedolim other than Aharon, where it writes "And the Kohen who will be anointed to atone instead of his father". Consequently, when, two Pesukim later, the Torah writes "And it shall be for you (plural) for an everlasting statute to atone on behalf of Yisrael from all their sins once a year ", we may extrapolate from these words "for you", 'but not for Aharon, who is allowed access to the Kodesh Kodshim at any time.


Now our original problem is solved. The ram of the Musaf specifically is mentioned here together with the bull, because when Aharon entered the Kodesh Kodshim on any other day of the year, it was with a ram and a bull, but without the second bull and the additional seven lambs of the Musaf (which explains why the Torah omits them here).


With this explanation, says the P'nimim mi'Shulchan ha'G'ro, we can also understand why Pasuk 27 "And Aharon shall come to the Ohel Mo'ed and remove the (four) linen clothes which he wore when he entered the Kodesh (Kodshim), and leave them there", is written out of place, as the Gemara specifically states in Yuma (71a). Rashi, citing this Gemara, explains that it really belongs after the bringing of Aharon's Olah and the Olah of the people and after the burning of the limbs of both the bull and the goat, that were burned outside the Camp wearing the 'golden clothes' . Now why does the Torah insert this Pasuk here out of place, if it only belongs later, asks the G'ro?

The Ramban too, asked this question, but his answer, says the P'ninim mi'Shulchan ha'Gro, is a Dochek (pushed).


According to what we wrote above however, the answer is clear. The problem with the Pesukim as they stand lies in the fact that, seeing as each change of clothes required one Tevilah (in a Mikvah) and two Kidushin (washing the hands from the Basin), it only allows for three Tevilos and six Kidushin, clashing with the tradition that, on Yom Kipur, five Tevilos and ten Kidushin are required. And that is why the final removal of the Kohen Gadol's four 'white clothes' really belongs later, allowing for another two changes of clothing, including two Tevilos and four Kidushin. But that is only as far as Yom Kipur is concerned.

Our Pasuk however, refers equally to the whole year round, as we explained, where no such tradition exists. Consequently, bearing in mind that the bull and goat were not brought, the total of three Tevilos and six Kidushin that took place are perfectly acceptable.

* * *

Parshah Pearls

The Young Elders

" after the death of the two sons of Aharon" (16:1).

The Zohar explains that Nadav and Avihu are referred to as "B'nei Aharon" because they had not yet reached the age of twenty.

In that case, asks the D'rush ve'ha'Iyun, why were they punished, when it is well-known that someone under twenty who sins is not punishable at the Hands of G-d?

And he answers with the Gemara in B'rachos (31), which relates how Shmuel was Chayav Miysah (deserving of the death-sentence at the Hand of

G-d) for ruling in the presence of his Rebbe Eli, even though he was only two years old. It seems, says the Tz'lach there, that somebody who is particularly bright, is punishable even before he reaches the age of twenty (see the Agados Maharsha, who makes a similar statement), which is why Eli declared him Chayav Miysah.

And that is perhaps what the Pasuk hints at, the D'rush ve'ha'Iyun suggests, when it states " after the death of the sons of Aharon (And in case you will ask how this is possible, seeing as they were under-age, the answer is because), they came before Hashem (which demonstrates how great they were) and (that is why) they died".


Nadav & Avihu and the Me'il

Nadav and Avihu died, says the Medrash, because they entered the Kodesh Kodshim (the Heichal, according to others) without the Bigdei Kohen Gadol. And which garment were they missing? The Me'il (the cloak).

How strange, asks the Teshuvas ha'Rosh. Nadav and Avihu were ordinary Kohanim who were not meant to wear the Me'il in any case?

Nevertheless, he replies, if they allowed themselves to enter the Kodesh Kodshim with the Ketores, something which only a Kohen Gadol is permitted to do (since the prohibition of entering the Kodesh Kodshim with only four garments had not yet been said), they clearly considered themselves to be Kohanim Gedolim. In that case, according to their way of thinking, they ought to have worn the Me'il, nd they were Chayav Miysah for not doing so.


But why specifically the Me'il, asks the Yam ha'Talmud. He therefore cites the Medrash, which ascribes Nadav and Avihu's punishment to the incident where, walking behind Moshe, Nadav remarked to Avihu 'When will these two old men die, so that I and you will be able to take over the leadership of this nation'?

This is Lashon-ha'Ra pure and simple, and the Me'il, says the Gemara in Erchin, comes to atone for the sin of Lashon-ha'Ra. How right the Medrash is, he therefore concludes, when it says that Nadav and Avihu died because they were not wearing the Me'il, the one garment that might have atoned for their sin?


Performing a Mitzvah

"And when a man from B'nei Yisrael who traps a wild animal or a bird which may be eaten, and spills its blood, he shall cover it with earth" (17:13).

Kisuy he'Dam (covering the blood) is one of the Taryag Mitzvos, it is not one over which one tends to quake with awe, like one does for example, when blowing the Shofar.

Yet the Maharil Diskind, who made not the least distinction between 'big' Mitzvos and 'little' would quake with awe whilst performing it. He made a point of wearing his Shabbos clothes, and before commencing with the actual Mitzvah, he would shake his finger to sift the stones, to make sure that the actual Kisuy would be confined to soft earth, in accordance with the Torah's requirements. He recited the B'rachah 'al Kisuy ha'Dam' with great excitement, and his would light up as he performed the Mitzvah (Chochmas Chayim).


Of Course There's Reward

"You shall perform My judgements and keep My statutes, to go in them, I am Hashem your G-d. (18:4).

Keeping the Mitzvos is not for the reward, explains the Chasam Sofer, but in order to attain a higher purpose in life - 'to go in their ways. The reward of the Mitzvah is the second Mitzvah to which the first Mitzvah leads.

And it is in order to prevent the mistake that Tzadok and Baytus made, in believing that there is no reward (causing them to diverge from the path of Torah), that the Pasuk concludes "I am Hashem your G-d, implying that

G-d can be relied upon to reward those who go in His ways. He only asks us not to fulfill the Mitzvos for the reward, but that in no way implies that there is none!


It Is Certainly Attainable

Ibid "And you shall keep My statutes and you will live by them, I am Hashem" (18:4/5).

The Meshech Chochmah on the other hand, infers from the same words that one should not fall into the trap of believing that the Mitzvos of adultery and incest (which the current Parshah goes on to deal with) are beyond one's ability to observe (under the false premise that one cannot change human nature). That is why the Pasuk concludes "I am Hashem your G-d". He created us, and He attests to the fact that not only is it possible to keep them, but that we will not even suffer by doing so, and what's more 'You will live by them'(i.e. they will turn out to be a source of life for you).

* * *



"Do not hate your brother in your heart; rebuke your friend and you will not bear on him a sin" (19:17).

"How I hate those who hate you, Hashem, and I will quarrel with those who arise against you! I hate them 'with a vengeance', they became my enemies!" David ha'Melech writes in Tehilim (139).

R. Yosef Chayim Zonnenfeld once explained his feelings towards secular Zionists He loved them, he explained, for the work and effort that they expend developing the land and building up its ruins, but he hated deeply for having thrown off the yoke of Torah and Mitzvos and for having severed their connections with Sinai, as the sweet singer of Israel said "I hate them 'with a vengeance ".


Two Kinds of Hatred


During a meeting that took place between Rabbanim and Moslem clerics, one of whom turned to R. Yosef Chayim, and remarked that the Chareidim oppose the secular Zionists, and that they fight them and even hate them. In that regard at least, he observed, they had something in common with the Moslems.

'True', replied R. Chayim Zonnenfeld 'Only there is a vast difference between the two hatreds. We hate the Zionists because they behave like Goyim, whilst you hate them because they are Jews!'


Retaining Kil'ayim

"You shall not sow your field Kil'ayim" (19:19).

The Gemara in Mo'ed Katan (2b) teaches that not only is planting Kil'ayim forbidden, but so is maintaining what has already been planted, and it learns this by inverting the words "Sodcho lo sizra Kil'ayim" to read 'Kil'ayim sodcho lo '.

What prompts Chazal to make such a strange D'rashah, asks the G'ro? Perhaps the words should be read as they stand, which forbids planting Kil'ayim, but not maintaining it?


It seems, says the G'ro, that the Gemara has a problem with the word "Sodcho". The prohibition, after all, incorporates planting Kil'ayim in anybody's field, and not specifically in one's own. What the Torah ought therefore to have written is not "Sodcho", but 'Sodeh'. Moreover, it would have been more appropriate to invert the order of the words and to write 'Lo sizra sodcho Kil'ayim'.

From the combination of these two irregularitiess, Chazal understood that the Torah deliberately juxtaposes the opening word "Sodcho" next to the last word in the previous Pasuk "Kil'ayim", to forbid maintaining Kil'ayim in one's own field.


Without Wisdom, You Have Nothing

""Arise before an old man, and honour a 'Zakein' " (19:32).

The Gemara in Kidushin (32b), citing a B'raisa, concludes that in spite of the first phrase in the Pasuk, it is not necessary to arise before a wicked old man, and it bases this on the second phrase, as "Zakein" means a man who has acquired wisdom (a sage). And Rashi adds to this that 'Zakein' is the acronym of 'Zeh she'KoNoh chochmah' (someone who has acquired wisdom).


The question remains however, that 'Zakein' may well hint at 'Zeh she'KoNoh', but where does 'chochmah' come into. To be sure, a Zakein has acquired something; but how do Chazal know that that something refers specifically to wisdom?


When this question was put to R. Yosef Chayim, he answered without a moment's hesitation with the Gemara in Nedarim (41a) 'If someone possesses knowledge, he lacks nothing. If he does not possess knowledge, what does he have' (on which Rashi comments 'If he has not acquired knowledge, what has he acquired)?

Clearly then, the only real acquisition is knowledge. In any event, if he has not acquired knowledge, he has not acquired. When the Torah therefore hints at someone who acquires something, it can only be referring to knowledge. Consequently, Chazal were perfectly justified in giving the acronym of 'Zakein' as 'Zeh she'KoNoh chochmah'.

* * *

The Mitzvos and Their Meaning

Mitzvah 166:
Tum'as Yoledes (cont.)

Some of the Dinim of the Mitzvah Chazal have said that all woman who gives birth are Tamei, even if she did not see blood, because it is impossible to give birth without there being blood nor does it make a difference whether she gives birth to a live baby, to a dead one or even to one that is premature (provided it is fully formed) and even if she gives birth to a sh'fir (sac of the fetus) or a shilya (placenta), she must assume that she gave birth to a baby, since there is no such thing as a placenta without a baby (and one therefore assumes that the baby dissolved inside the placenta). Consequently, she must keep fourteen days of Tum'ah (in case the baby was a girl [and not the seven of a boy]) and thirty-three days of Taharah (and not the sixty-six of a girl [in case it was a boy]). This is because, since it is a Safek min ha'Torah, we adopt the stringent ruling at both ends. But that is only if at least forty days have passed since the conception. But a woman who gives birth to a shilya or a sh'fir within forty days (even on the fourtieth day) of the conception does not need to assume that there was a baby too. She is however, considered a Nidah, as in any event, there must have been blood.

I have omitted many other Dinim cited by the author.

The Din that a Yoledes becomes Tamei and is forbidden to her husband applies everywhere and at all times. A man who transgresses and has relations with her be'meizid, during the period that she is forbidden (up to the time that she Tovels in a Mikvah) has contravened this Mitzvah. He has also contravened the same La'av as someone who has relations with a Nidah (as the Torah writes in Pasuk 2 " she shall be Tamei like the days when she is a Nidah"), for which he is Chayav Kareis. If he transgresses be'shogeg, he is obligated to bring a Chatas (when the Beis-Hamikdash is standing).


Mitzvah 167:
A Tamei Person May Not Eat Kodshim

A Tamei person is forbidden to eat Kodshim until he has Toveled and waited for nightfall. And if he still requires a Korban as an atonement, then the prohibition extends up to the time that he has brought his Korban, as the Torah writes in Tazri'a (12:4) "She may neither touch any Kodesh not enter the Mikdash until her days of Taharah are complete". The Sifra extrapolates that somebody who eats Kodshim be'Tum'ah, just like somebody who enters the Mikdash be'Tum'ah, is Chatav Kareis. Whilst the Gemara in Makos (4b) learns that 'touching Kodesh' in this context, refers to eating it, as is explained there.

One of the reasons for the Mitzvah is, as the author already discussed earlier, to fix in our minds the deep respect of the Mikdash and the Kodshim that is inherent in it. That is why anyone who is Tamei is forbidden to eat Kodshim, since Taharah is a great asset and honour for a person, as is well-known.

Some of the Dinim of the Mitzvah The Gemara in Zevachim (33b) explains that the Pasuk is talking about a person whose Tum'ah is min ha'Torah In the event that he eats Kodshim, he is only Chayav Kareis if he does so after the Matirin (the Eimurin - the fat-pieces that go on the Mizbei'ach) have been brought, since that is what permits the remainder of the animal to be eaten, but not before And it is at that stage too, that the Dinim of Pigul, Nosar and Tum'ah come into effect. There where there are no Matirin, then the above Dinim take effect as soon as the Kodshim become sanctified in a K'li Shareis and the remainder of the Dinim, are to be found in the thirteenth chapter of Zevachim (Rambam, Hilchos Pesulei ha'Mukdashin Perek 18).

This Mitzvah applies in the time when the Beis-Hamikdash is standing, both to men and to women. Anybody who contravenes it and eats a k'Zayis of Tahor Kodshim or the flesh of Tamei Kodshim whilst he himself is still Tamei (and has not Toveled in a Mikvah), be'Meizid - is Chayav Kareis; be'Shogeg, is obligated to bring a Korban Oleh ve'Yoreid (depending on his financial situation). Should he do so after having Toveled, but before nightfall, or , assuming he is a Mechusar Kipurim (a Yoledes, a Zav, a Zavah or a Metzora), before he has brought his Korban, he receives Malkos (and not Kareis). This is because the Pasuk, in connection with Kareis, writes "ve'Tum'aso Olov", from which Chazal extrapolate 'that he is only Chayav Kareis if all his Tum'ah is on him' (precluding a T'vul-Yom and a Mechusar Kipurim). Whereas if his Tum'ah is only mi'de'Rabbanan, then he is not even subject to Malkos min ha'Torah, although he does receive 'Makas Mardus' (mi'de'Rabbanan).

* * *

For sponsorships and adverts call 651 9502

Back to This Week's Parsha | Previous Issues

This article is provided as part of Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Permission is granted to redistribute electronically or on paper,
provided that this notice is included intact.

Shema Yisrael Torah Network
For information on subscriptions, archives, and
other Shema Yisrael Classes,
send mail to
Jerusalem, Israel