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

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Vol. 18   No. 29

This issue is sponsored
l'iluy Nishmas
Shlomo ben Esther z"l
whose Yohrzeit was 10 Nissan

Parshas Acharei-Mos


Rabeinu Bachye divides Kareis into three categories - a Kareis that affects the body only, a Kareis that affects the Soul, and a Kareis that affects both.

The first category entails dying prematurely, either in years or in days. Let us say that a Tzadik, who has more merits than sins, but who stumbled over a sin that is subject to Kareis. He will die before his time is up. And a good example of this is the story of a certain Talmid who slept in the same bed as his wife, fully clothed during her days of Libun (after she had Toveled). And although he had committed no other sin, the Gemara tells us in Shabbos (Daf 13), he died prematurely. That constitutes Kareis of years.

On the other hand, take an aged Tzadik who slips up on a Chiyuv Kareis, and who is no longer subject to Kareis of years, seeing as has already reached old age. Yet he too, will die prematurely. This is called a Kareis of days, as he will not reach the age that was designated for him. And it is in this regard that the Gemara at the end of Mo'ed Katan relates how, when Rav Yosef attained the age of sixty, he made a party for his colleagues, because, he declared, he had left the realm of Kareis. And when his star disciple Abaye asked him that, age-wise, he was still eligible for Kareis of days, he retorted that since he had left the realm of Kareis of years, that was reason enough to celebrate.

And because the Kareis of days, unlike that of years, is not well-known, Hakadosh-Baruch-Hu publicizes it. Hence Chazal have said, that if an old man dies following an illness lasting three days, it is a sign that he transgressed a Chiyuv Kareis. The Yerushalmi states that if an old man eats Cheilev or transgresses Shabbos, then death in one day is a sign of 'a death of fury'; after two days, it is a sign of 'a death of confusion', whereas after three days, it is a sign of a death of Kareis.

In connection with the current Kareis, the Torah writes "and that man shall be cut off from the midst of his people". His body dies, but his Soul leaves the body and merits to go to the world of Neshamos, to Techi'as ha'Meisim and to Olam ha'Bo that comes after it.


The second category of Kareis, 'Kareis of the Soul' affects someone who has performed more sins than Mitzvos, and those sins include a particularly stringent one, such as eating Chametz on Pesach, eating or working on Yom Kipur or indulging in adultery or incest. When he dies, his Neshamah leaves his body, it is cut off from the world of the Neshamos. About him the Torah will use the expression "And the Souls that sinned will be cut off" or "And that Soul will be cut off from its people" (and the like, always inserting the word "Soul" or "Souls"). It is possible that he is not subject to Kareis of the body, and that he will live out his life in tranquility in this world, as the Pasuk writes in Koheles "And there are some Resha'im who live long in their wickedness".


The third category of Kareis, where both the body and the Soul are subject to excision, is reserved for the most serious offence of all - that of idolatry and cursing G-d. Indeed, it is in connection with these two sins (as well as the denial of G-d and for complete Resha'im, which Chazal derive from the same Pasuk - See Footnote) exclusively, that the Torah uses the double expression "Hikareis Tikareis ", hinting at Kareis of both the body and the Soul - "Hikareis" ba'olom ha'zeh, "Tikareis lo'olom ha'bo".

What happens then to those Neshamos? R. Bachye citing the Ib'n Ezra and the Rambam, maintains that they simply die like animals, as is implied by the various expressions that the Torah uses in connection with this group of sinners - "Hikarfeis Tikareis" and "ve'nichr'sah ha'Nefesh ha'hi me'amehah" and "ve'nichr'sah ha'Nefesh ha'hi mi'Lefonai" ("and that Soul shall be cut off before Me") - and G-d is everywhere.


The author strongly opposes this theory however. Surely, he asks, it is for Resha'im such as these, who die without having done Teshuvah (see following paragraph), that Gehinom was created. And if their Souls die after death, it will not serve its purpose? Moreover, just as the Soul of the complete Tzadik merits everlasting pleasure in the World to Come, so too, is it befitting that the Soul of the complete Rasha should be sentenced to eternal suffering? And if, as the commentators explain, it simply disintegrates, where is the punishment that he so richly deserves? And besides, it is about Resha'im such as these that the Gemara writes in Rosh Hashanah (17a) that 'They suffer in Gehinom for generation after generation'. Clearly, then the Souls of the Resha'im do not simply disintegrate; They burn in Gehinom!


It is important to bear in mind that all of the above speak where the sinner died without doing Teshuvah. If he did, one should refer to the Gemara in Yuma, which presents four levels of sin, and how each one is affected by Teshuvah. In any event, Teshuvah opens the gate to the World to Come, irrespective of the sin!

* * *

Parshah Pearls
(Adapted from the Riva)

The Four Hundred and Ten Years

"With this (be'Zos) Aharon shall come to the Mibei'ach; with a bull for a sin-offering " (16:3).

Rashi explains that the Gematriyah of "be'Zos" is four hundred and ten, hinting at the number of years that the first Beis-Hamikdash stood.

Why, asks the Riva, does the Torah confine the hint to the first Beis-Hamikdash, seeing as there were Kohanim Gedolim in the second Beis-Hamikdash, too?

Citing Rabeinu Tam from Orleans, he answers that the Kohanim Gedolim in the second Beis-Hamikdash were not like Aharon (who is mentioned in the current Pasuk), in that they were not anointed with the anointing oil, as were all the Kohanim Gedolim in the first Beis-Hamikdash.


Why the Ketores Interrupts

"Then he shall take a pan-full of fire-coals from on the Mizbei'ach and both handfuls of Ketores " (16:12).

The previous Pasuk just instructed the Kohen Gadol to Shecht his bull (the Par ha'Chatas). Why, asks the Riva, does the Torah now interrupt the Avodah of his Par ([bull], which it will resume in Pasuk 14), to tell him about the Avodah of the Ketores? Surely this is a contravention of the principle not to bypass a Mitzvah ('Ein Ma'avirin al ha'Mitzvos')!

The answer, he says, is that it explains why the Torah issues a strict warning here (in Pasuk 13) that one enters the Holy of Holies before the cloud that emerges from the pan containing the Ketores, fills the entire chamber on pain of death. Consequently, the Ketores had to precede taking the blood of the Par and Sa'ir (la'Hashem) into the Holy of Holies and sprinkling them towards the lid, and the Pasuk is merely following the chronologic order that had to be followed. Moreover, he quotes R. Moshe from Pontaishe as saying, by desisting from entering the Holy of Holies until it was filled by the Cloud of smoke, the Kohen Gadol avoided conveying the impression that he derived benefit from the Shechinah, which appeared on the lid of the Aron. From the fact that he is Chayav Miysah if he enters earlier however, it would appear that seeing the Shechinah is strictly prohibitted, and not forbidden merely due to an impression that he may convey.


And in the name of ha'Rav Rav Yosef, he answers that had the Kohen Gadol gone on to sprinkle the blood of the Par and the Sa'ir, he would have to then leave the Kodesh Kodshim to continue with the various Avodos concerning the two sets of blood, that had still to be performed in the Heichal (the Kodesh), and then to return to the Kodesh Kodshim, to perform the Avodah of the Ketores. This procedure would have entailed two additional Tevilos and four washings of the hands and feet. That is why it made more sense for the Kohen Gadol to perform all the Avodos in the Kodesh Kodshim first (i.e. those that pertained to the Ketores and to the Par and Sa'ir), before Toveling and washing his hands and feet and proceeding to the Heichal to complete the Avodos of the Par and the Sa'ir.


How Could the Kohen Gadol Serve
on Yom Kipur in the Beis-Hamikdash During the Era of the
Second Beis-Hamikdash

" and he shall sprinkle it (the blood of the two sin-offerings) on the lid " (16:15).

The question is asked, says the Riva, as to how they were able to perform the Avodah on Yom Kipur during the era of the second Beis-Hamikdash, bearing in mind that there was no Aron and no Lid, and the Torah writes in connection with the Avodah on Yom Kipur "Chukah", which denotes that everything must be done exactly as prescribed?

Quoting R. Moshe from Coucy, the Riva explains that based on the above Pasuk "With this Aron shall come to the Kodesh", the Toras Kohanim learns where there is no lid, one sprinkles the blood all the same, and it is considered as if he had sprinkled it on the lid.


The Land Won't Disgorge You
Or Perhaps it Will

"And the land will not disgorge you (ve'Lo Soki ) when you contaminate it" (18:28).

What the Pasuk means, the Riva, citing the Ram from Coucy, explains, is that it will not suffice for the land to exile you, should you follow in the footsteps of the nations that preceded you (and who were driven out of the land for their sins), but you will be punished by excision.

Alternatively, he cites Rebbi Elyakim, who translates "ve'Lo" as 'Pen' - ('lest'). Connecting it with Pasuk 26, he therefore translates the Pasuk like this "Keep all My statutes and do not perform any of these abominations Lest the land disgorge you".

(I do not understand why one cannot translate the Pasuk even more simply "Keep all My statutes and do not perform any of these abominations then the land will not disgorge you', which is how Unklus translates it.)

And as a third alternative, he quotes others who explain that if Yisrael are guilty of the sins listed in the Parshah, then the land will not disgorge them as it did the nations that preceded them, but in a far more painful manner - because whoever commits them is subject to Kareis (consequently, when they are punished collectively, they stand to suffer more harshly).

* * *


" one lot for Hashem and one lot for Az'azel" (16:8).

The I'bn Ezra explains that 'When you reach 'thirty-three' you will understand it'.

The Da'as Zekeinim M.T. explains the Ib'n Ezra as follows: 'When you get to the word "Gal'ed" (in Vayeitzei 31:47), you will understand the word "Az'azel".

What he means is that, just as "Gal'ed" is really a corruption of two words "Gal Eid" (This pile [of stones] is a witness), so here too, is "Az'azel" a corruption of two words - 'Az Azal" - 'It goes to a strong place.' This refers to Sa'ir la'Azazel, which is a strong rock.


" And the goat (ha'Sa'ir) shall carry 'on its shoulders' all their sins (avonosam) to a barren land (16:22).

The goat, says the Rosh, represents Eisav, to whom Ya'akov referred as "Ish Sa'ir" (and his land too, is called 'Har Se'ir'), whereas "Avonosam" is the acronym of 'Avonos Tam', meaning the sins of the Ish Tam (Ya'akov Avinu). Perhaps this is connected with Galus Edom, which has taken up over half the years of our history. Not only has Edom caused us constant physical anguish, but they have also caused us to sin, and so they must bear the brunt of the punishment.

The Chizkuni explains Az'azel represents Sama'el (the Angel of Eisav [alias the Satan]), and it is to prevent him from negating our Korbanos on Yom Kipur (by presenting G-d with a list of our sins) that we offer him a bribe, by sending him a goat (the animal after which he is named, to his personal domain, the desert).

Ya'akov Avinu initiated Eisav in the art of bribery, when he sent him numerous gifts before their confrontation after his return from Lavan. And from then, Eisav and his descendants became susceptible to bribery (as the Ramban explains in Vayishlach).

It seems that this trait extended to Eisav's Angel too!

* * *

(Adapted from ther 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 189:
The Mitzvah of Removing the Ashes from the Mizbei'ach (cont.)

How is the Mitzvah performed? The Kohen on whom the lot fell to perform it Tovels, dons the necessary Begadim and washes his hands and feet from the basin, tough not before his fellow-Kohanim issue him with a stern warning not to touch any of the Holy Vessels before having washed. He then takes the silver pan from its location in the corner on the west side of the ramp, between the ramp and the Mizbei'ach. Ascending the ramp to the top of the Mizbei'ach, he clears away the burning coals, leaving the spent coals in the centre of the 'Ma'arachah' (where the Korbanos are burned), from which he takes a shovelful. He then descends the ramp, goes to its eastern tip and turns northwards, where he proceeds approximately ten Amos before placing the shovel-full of coals in a pile at a distance of three Tefachim from the ramp - at the same spot where the crop of the bird-offering and the ashes of the inner Mizbei'ach and of the Menorah are placed (each day). And it is taking this shovelful of ashes from the Mizbei'ach down to its place beside the ramp that constitutes the daily Mitzvah of T'rumas ha'Deshen The moment the Kohen reaches the foot of the ramp with the shovelful of ashes, the other Kohanim (who are due to serve that day) run to the Kiyor and quickly wash their hands and feet. They then take the shovels and the (large) forks and proceed to the top of the Mizbei'ach, where they shovel the ashes from the sides of the Mizbei'ach and form a pile on the 'Tapu'ach' - a section of the Mizbei'ach called by that name (because the pile of ashes that it housed resembles an apple). When the Tapu'ach reaches substantial proportions, they take some of the ashes down using a large vessel that holds a Lesech (half a Kur [which is thirty Sa'ah]), which is called a 'P'sachter', in which he transports the ashes to a location outside the Camp all other details are to be found in the Masechtos Tamid and Maseches Yuma. This Mitzvah applies in the time of the Beis-Hamikdash to male Kohanim only. Any Kohen who transgresses it and fails to remove the ashes in the prescribed manner, has negated it.


Mitzvah 485:
Not to Eat Chametz on Erev Pesach After Midday

One is not permitted to eat Chametz after midday on the fourteenth of Nisan. And it is in this connection that the Torah writes in Re'ei (16:3) "Do not eat Chametz with it" . The Rambam explains that the word "on it" refers back to the lamb of the Pesach that one is obligated to bring in the afternoon of the fourteenth; and Chazal said explained that 'from the time that its Shechitah falls due one may not eat Chametz. Furthermore the Gemara in Pesachim (4b) cites this Pasuk as the source for the Lo Sa'aseh of not eating Chametz after six hours on Erev Pesach. In any event, the Gemara comments there, it is unanimously agreed that Chametz after midday is Asur mi'd'Oraysa (according to all the reliable texts). And the Gemara there ascribes the prohibition of eating Chametz during the sixth hour to a Rabbinical decree, to avoid transgressing an Isur d'Oraysa. And the Gemara concludes that someone who eats Chametz after mid-day is subject to Malkos.

A reason for the Mitzvah is based on the fact that the Isur Chametz is an extremely severe one; it is fundamental due to the importance of Yetzi'as Mitzrayim, which in turn, is a sign and a proof for the creation of the world - the great pillar which supports all the other facets of Torah, as the author has explained many times. That is why any Mitzvah that commemorates the Exodus is viewed more stringently and is dearer to our hearts. And it is due to this stringency that the Torah commands us to begin observing it already six hours before the actual time to commemorate that great miracle (nightfall of the fifteenth) falls due. And all this is to prompt us to take to heart the stringency of the Mitzvah and the importance of its teachings, when we see that the Torah has built a 'fence' around it (to stop us from sinning).

(to be cont.)

* * *

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