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

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Vol. 15   No. 29

This issue is sponsored
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Parshas Acharei-Mos
Shabbos ha'Gadol

Shabbos ha'Gadol
(Adapted from the B'nei Yisaschar)

Tana de'Bei Eliyahu teaches us that Eisav and Ya'akov divided the two worlds between them (see Rashi Toldos 25:22); Eisav, the oldest, took Olam ha'Zeh, whereas Ya'akov, chose Olam ha'Ba.

In that case, asks the B'nei Yisaschar, with what right do Ya'akov and his descendents partake of the pleasures of this world? They (we) ought to be restricted to bread and water, to keep body and Soul together, and to leave the rest to its rightful owners, Eisav and his descendents? Nor should this restriction be confined to 'r'shus' (matters that do not concern Mitzvos); it ought to extend to benefiting materially or physically, from the performing of Mitzvos as well?


And he cites the Maharash P'rimo, who answers the Kashya based on the Gemara in Shabbos (88a), which tells us how at the time of the Creation, G-d stipulated that the world's continued existence would depend on the sixth day, not of the week, but of Sivan. And the decision would lay in the hands of K'lal Yisrael, when they were offered the Torah at Har Sinai. If they would decide to accept the Torah, then the world would remain in existence; but if not, it would revert to null and void. It transpires, he explains, that on that fateful sixth of Sivan 2448, the entire world was in mortal danger of extinction, and it was thanks to the 'Na'aseh ve'Nishma' of K'lal Yisrael that it was not destroyed.

Now there is a Gemara in Bava Metzi'a which rules that someone who retrieves an article that is being swept away by a tidal wave or a fast-flowing river may keep the article. By the same token then, this world may well have been the exclusive property of Eisav. But all that changed at Har Sinai, when Yisrael proclaimed 'Na'aseh ve'Nishma', and saved it from extinction. From that moment on, the world became theirs.


And that explains, the B'nei Yisaschar adds, why Chazal say (Pesachim 68b) that even those who hold that one is permitted to fast on Yom-Tov, concede that on Shavu'os, one is obligated to eat. Indeed he does, in order to demonstrate that on Shavu'os, by virtue of having accepted the Torah, we acquired Olam ha'Zeh (as well as Olam ha'Bo).

And it is for the very same reason that the Gemara says the same about Shabbos, as we shall now explain.

The Or ha'Chayim, on the Pasuk in Yisro " for six days Hashem made the heaven and the Earth ", comments that the Torah does not write 'in six days ', but "six days". And he explains that this is because initially, G-d only created six days, followed by the Shabbos; and it was on account of the Shabbos, that the following six days were created. In other words, Shabbos, the Neshamah of the world, infused the world with another six days of existence until the next Shabbos. (At that stage, when there was nobody to keep the Shabbos, G-d in His mercy, recreated the word through His Chesed [as Chazal say in this connection 'Olam chesed yibaneh']. But once Yisrael were given the Shabbos, the recreation would take place each week by virtue of Yisrael's observance of the Shabbos.)

According to the Or ha'Chayim, it now transpires that were Yisrael to fail to observe one Shabbos, the world would come to an end. Conversely, it is because Yisrael observe Shabbos each week that the world continues to exist. So we see that, like the Shavu'os at Har Sinai, each Shabbos enables us to acquire the world, granting us the right to enjoy its fruits. And that explains as to why it is also unanimously agreed upon that we are obligated to eat on Shabbos too.

And that is why G-d ordered Yisrael to take a lamb on Shabbos the tenth of Nisan, prior to leaving Egypt, to eat the Korban Pesach like princes. He wanted them to partake of the best of this world, to teach them that this world would no longer be the exclusive property of Eisav, but by virtue of Shemiras Shabbos (which they were destined to accept only a short while later), it would now belong to them.

And that also explains why we commemorate, not the tenth of Nisan, but Shabbos ha'Gadol, so-called because on it we acquired the world that had hitherto been the property of Eisav, the older son.

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Parshah Pearls

Aharon's Pure Heart

"Speak to Aharon your brother and he shall not come to the Kodesh at any time, and he will not die".

'Speak to Aharon your brother' The Medrash, with reference to Moshe's appointment as leader, comments 'about whom I told you that he will see you and be happy in his heart'.

Moshe was worried it seems, that when he would pass on Hashem's message forbidding him to enter the Kodesh Kodshim at any time (from which the Toras Kohanim extrapolates 'Aharon may not enter at any time', but Moshe may), he might become dejected. So Hashem reminded Moshe of Aharon's pure-heartedness. If Aharon harbored not the least spark of jealousy when Moshe (who was three years his junior) was appointed to lead K'lal Yisrael (and for which he merited to wear the Choshen Mishpat on his heart), there was nothing to worry about now either (ha'D'rash ve'ha'Iyun).


Rabeinu Bachye, cites a Medrash. Commenting on the opening Pasuk in Shemini, "Moshe called to Aharon and his sons", the Medrash explains that this calling was for greatness, to appoint Aharon Kohen Gadol and his sons (Elazar & Iysamar) as Kohanim. But Aharon objected. Moshe worked so hard to oversee the construction of the Mishkan and then to erect it every morning and afternoon for the past seven days. Why should he (Aharon) become the Kohen Gadol (Interestingly, Moshe was originally destined to become Kohen Gadol, and he only lost it because he argued with Hashem for seven consecutive days at the burning bush).

But Moshe was quick to put his brother's mind at ease. If he was worried about his (Moshe's) Kavod, the latter reassured him that just as he (Aharon) was happy in his heart when Moshe was appointed as leader, so too, was he (Moshe) as happy at Aharon's appointment as if he himself had been appointed.

Indeed, the Pasuk in Tehilim (133:1) "Behold how good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony" - was said with specific reference to these wonderful brothers.


The Three Merits

"With this (be'Zos) Aharon will come to the Kodesh (ha'Kodoshim) " (16:3).

The threefold merits with which Yisrael negates evil decrees are Teshuvah, Tefilah and Tzedakah, which are equivalent to Tzom (fasting), Kol (a loud voice) and Mamon (money), each of which has the Gematriyah of a hundred and thirty-six. Now three times 136=408, the Gematriyah of "Zos". This in turn, hints that when the Kohen Gadol enters the Kodesh Kodshim on Yom Kipur, he is accompanied by the triple merits of K'lal Yisrael - Teshuvah, Tefilah and Tzedakah. And that is what will enable him to negate all evil decrees from K'lal Yisrael.


And, in exactly the same way, says the Nachal Kedumim, we can explain the Pasuk in Tehilim (27:3) "If an enemy encamps against me, in this (be'Zos) I trust" - in the merits of Teshuvah, Tefilah and Tzedakah; for they are the greatest weapon that we possess that will defeat all our enemies.


The Ten Merits


The Medrash lists ten merits which Yisrael has, and which the Torah refers to as "Zos" - Shabbos, Milah, Torah, Yerushalayim, the Twelve Tribes, Yehudah, Yisrael, Terumah, Ma'aser and Korbanos.

These, says the Avnei Nezer, correspond to the ten holy levels of location listed in the first Mishnah of Keilim. And it is these merits (hinted in the word "be'Zos", as we explained) that the Kohentook with him when he entered the Kodesh Kodshim on Yom Kipur.


The Difference between Right & Left

"And Aharon shall draw lots on the two goats; one lot for Hashem " (16:8).

Chazal teach us that it was a good sign if the lot for Hashem came out in the Kohen Gadol's right hand.

To explain this, the Avnei Nezer cites another Chazal, who say that the left hand should be the one to reject, and the right one to draw close.

Here too, he points out, the goat for Azazel was meant to reject the sins of K'lal Yisrael, whilst the goat for Hashem would draw them close to Hashem, exactly as Chazal prescribed.


Reward Even in this World

"And you shall observe the statutes and the judgements which man will make, and you shall live on account of them" (18:8).

It is written in Sefarim, says the No'am Megadim, that even according to R. Ya'akov (like whom we rule), who holds that the reward for Mitzvos will be paid in Olam ha'Ba, and not in this world, nevertheless, there is reward in this world for observing the Takanos and fences instituted by the Chachamim.

Look again and see how we translated the above Pasuk and you will see that what the Sefarim say is hinted there.


Nephews & Nieces

The nations of the world shame and mock us, says the Rosh, because we marry the daughters of our brothers and sisters (i.e. our blood relatives). But we have a good answer, in that G-d Himself commanded the daughters of Tz'lofchod to marry their cousins. And in Nevi'im too, we find that Kalev gave his daughter to his brother Osniel ben K'naz.

The question arises however, why the Torah warns a man against marrying his aunt, yet it permits him to marry his niece, even though the degree of relationship is exactly the same?

And he bases his answer on the fact that whereas a woman is meant to serve her husband (as the Pasuk testifies in Bereishis, by the creation of Chavah), a man is not meant to serve his wife.

Consequently, he explains, marrying one's aunt automatically degrades his father's honour, in that he is using his father or mother's sister to serve him. A woman who marries her uncle on the other hand, is in no way denigrating her father or mother by marrying their brother, since he does not serve her.


Harsh Treatment

"And the land will not vomit you when you defile it, like it vomited the nation that was there before you" (18:28). Surely, it would have been more appropriate to write 'And the land will not vomit you when you do not defile it '? The Rosh therefore interprets the Pasuk to mean that the land (which does not tolerate the three cardinal sins) will not expel you, when you defile it, in the same docile manner as it did the nations which preceded you, but in a much harsher fashion. In other words, when Yisrael go into Galus, they will suffer considerably more than the other nations who suffered a similar fate before them. And this is because, unlike the other nations, they entered into a covenant with G-d, and having broken the covenant, their punishment is much greater.

* * *


"Because on this day He/it will atone for you and you shall confess your sins and you will be cleansed" (16:30).


"A young man and an old man from the families of Yisrael who Shechts a bull, a lamb or a goat in the camp or outside the camp (17:3).


"And a young man or an old man who traps a wild animal or a bird that is Kasher to eat, and he spills its blood when he Shechts it, provided it is not spoiled during the Shechitah (neveilah), he shall cover it with earth" (17:13).


"And any person who eats meat that has been thrown away because it was spoilt during the Shechitah or torn up shall wash his clothes and Tovel in forty Sa'ah of water . (17:15).

* * *

(Adapted from the Seifer ha'Chinuch)

Please bear in mind that the rulings in this article reflect the opinion of the Seifer ha'Chinuch and are not necessarily Halachah.

Mitzvah 90:
Not to Allow the Limbs of the Pesach to Become Pasul be'Linah

It is forbidden to leave the limbs of the Korban Pesach until the morning, without bringing them on the Mizbei'ach. By doing so one renders them invalid, and they become Nosar, as the Torah writes in Mishpatim(23:18) " and do not leave the fat of My festive-offering off the Mizbei'ach until the morning". This applies equally to other Eimurim (parts of the Korban that are burned on the Mizbei'ach) and to other Korbanos.

The Mechilta points out that this La'av is repeated in Ki Sissa (34:25), where the Torah writes " and do not leave overnight the sacrifice of the Pesach festival".

A reason for this Mitzvah It is Kavod for a Korban to be brought in the time that is designated for it. Someone who allows the time to elapse gives the impression that he has given up on the Mitzvah, and considers it insignificant. And he certainly does not give the Avodah the thought that it deserves. That is why it becomes Pasul once it has been left overnight.

*Some of the Dinim of the Mitzvah The Gemara in Pesachim (64b) that it is a Mitzvah to burn the Eimurim of each and every Korban independently The Gemara in Menachos (72a) also says that the Mitzvah is to burn them immediately after the Shechitah, but that, failing that, one may burn them all night up until dawn-break. That speaks however exclusively in a case where the fourteenth of Nisan falls on Shabbos, , since the Chalavim of Shabbos may be burnt on Yom-Tov, but not if it falls on a weekday, because one is not permitted to burn the Chalavim of a weekday Korban on Yom-Tov. This in turn, is because the Asei and Lo'Sa'aseh of Yom-Tov overrides the La'av of "Lo Yalin" and the remaining details are discussed in Pesachim (Ibid.).


This Mitzvah applies in the time of the Beis-Hamikdash to male Kohanim. Any Kohen who contravenes it and fails to bring the Eimurim on time is not subject to Malkos , since it is a La'av without an act.

Mitzvah 297:
To Desist from Working on the First Day of Pesach

It is a Mitzvah to desist from work on the first day of Pesach, as the Torah writes in Emor (23:7) "On the first day is a holy convocation", which our sages interpret to mean 'Sanctify it'. This in turn, means that one should not work on it, other than food-related tasks, as the Torah writes in Bo (12:16) "Only, whatever is eaten by any person that alone may be performed by you". And the proof that not working on Yom-Tov is considered a Mitzvas Asei, lies in the Gemara in Shabbos (25a), which specifically states that 'Shabboson' is an Asei (though it is not clear what 'Shabboson' has to do with the two Pesukim cited by the author, which seem to have connotations of Mitzvos Asei, whether the Torah writes "Shabboson" or not). Indeed, the Gemara often states that 'Yom-Tov is an Asei and a Lo Sa'aseh)'.

A reason for the Mitzvah is to encourage us to think about the miracles that occurred on this very same day, and to subsequently praise and glorify Hashem in our thoughts, for the miracles that He wrought at that time, something that we would not have time to do if we were tied up with our work. The author will elaborate further in the equivalent La'av on this subject.

This Mitzvah applies everywhere and at all times, to both men and women. Someone who contravenes this Mitzvah and indulges in work that is not related to the preparation of food, has negated it, besides having transgressed a Lo Sa'aseh, as the author will explain in due course.

The Dinim of the Mitzvah are explained in Maseches Beitzah (and in the eleventh chapter of Hilchos Yom-Tov in the Rambam).

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