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

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Vol. 20   No. 29

This issue is sponsored
l'iluy Nishmas
R' Yehudah ben Aharon z"l

Parshas Acharei/Kedoshim

Why Specifically this Parshah Was Said Publicly

"Speak to the entire congregation of Yisrael and say to them 'You shall be holy, because I, Hashem your G-d, am Holy' "(19:2).

Rashi explains the command to gather all the people to the fact that 'most of the major issues in the Torah are connected with it'.

In similar vein, R. Bachye, citing R. Levi citing a Medrash, explains that each of the Ten Commandments is mentioned in the first paragraph of Kedoshim.

"Onochi Hashem Elokecho" ..

"I am Hashem your G-d"

"Lo yih'yeh l'cho" ...

"Do not make for yourself molten images (Pasuk 2).

"Lo sisso" ..

"Do not swear by My Name falsely" (Pasuk 12)

"Zochor es yom ha'Shabbos" ..

"You shall keep My Shabboses" (Pasuk 30).

"Kabeid es ovicha ve'es imecho" ..

"Each man among you shall respect his mother and father"(Pasuk 3).

"Lo Tirtach" ..

"Do not stand on the blood of your fellow-Jew (Pasuk 16).

"Lo tin'of" ..

"Do not defile your daughter" (Pasuk 29).

"Lo tignov" ..

"Do not steal (kidnap)" (Pasuk 11).

""Lo sa'aneh be're'acho" ..

"Do not go around slandering ... " (Pasuk 16).

"Lo Sachmod" ..

"Love your fellow-Jew like Yourself"(Pasuk 18).


The Chasam Sofer deals with Rashi's above-mentioned problem by referring to the Chovas ha'Levovos in his definition of the Mitzvah of P'rishus (abstention) - which, according to Rashi and the commentaries, is synonymous with "Kedoshim tih'yu". The idea of p'rishus, explains the Chovas ha'Levovos, is not to go and live like hermits in the desert or in the forest, to separate oneself from mankind and reflect on the wondrous deeds of Hashem and to elevate oneself spiritually.

On the contrary, G-d expects us to live with our fellow men, and by teaching them Torah, how to go in His ways - for "He did not create the world to remain empty, but rather did He form it so that one should inhabit it" (Yeshayah, 45:18), even if by doing so one minimizes one's own opportunities to grow in one's knowledge of Him. G-d Himself loves the people that He created, and He wants us to do likewise - 'to love His creatures and to bring them near to Torah' (Pirkei Avos, 1:12).

The p'rishus that is favourable in the Eyes of G-d is to abstain from excessive worldly pleasures even as one lives in close contact with one's fellow men and brings them closer to Torah.


And it is with this important lesson in mind that G-d commanded Moshe to gather all the people when he taught them the Mitzvah of Kedushah p'rishus. It was an object lesson that not only do p'rishus and functioning normally in a society not clash, but they go hand in hand!

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Parshah Pearls

Acharei Mos

The Sheidim (Demons)<

p> "And they shall not continue to sacrifice to the demons after which they go astray " (17:7).

Citing the Ramban, the Rosh defines the Sheidim as follows: They are formed from the two basic elements fire and wind. When the lifespan of these two elements expires (like the four elements that comprise a human- being), they die. The Gemara in Chagigah (16a) explains that they resemble human beings in three ways - they have children, they eat and drink (the wind dries up the liquids, and the fire consumes the solids), and they die, like human beings. And they resemble angels in three ways - they see but cannot be seen (due to the fine character of the two elements from which they are formed), they fly (due to the lightness of those elements) and they know the future (which they glean when they fly to distant places), like angels.



The Source of Yisrael's Sanctity

" you shall be holy, because I Hashem, am holy" (19:2).

Hakadosh-Baruch-Hu declared 'Before I created My world, the administering angels were already praising Me through Yisrael and were sanctifying on account of you, when they said "Blessed be Hashem the G-d of Yisrael, from this world to the next!" When Adam was created, they asked 'Master of the World, is this the one through whom we praise You? 'And G-d answered 'No! He is a thief!' (since he ate from the tree which I prohibited).

When No'ach was born, they asked the same question, and Avraham and Yitzchak. Each time, G-d answered 'No!' - No'ach, He explained, is a drunkard, whilst Avraham and Yitzchak love those whom I hate (Yishmael and Eisav, respectively).

Until, when Ya'akov was born, when G-d answered 'Yes!', as the Torah writes in Vayishlach (35:10). "And Your name will no longer be Ya'akov, but Yisrael will be your name" 'and He called his name Yisrael'. All of Yisrael will be called after him, as the Pasuk writes in Yeshayah, 'Yisrael, through you I will be glorified!'

So Hakadosh-Baruch-Hu said to Yisrael - 'Since you were sanctified by My Name even before the world was created, be holy like I am holy'.

This can be compared to a king who betrothed a woman and said to her 'Since you are betrothed/sanctified on my name, I will be king and you, queen.

So too, Hashem said to Moshe 'Go and sanctify the people'. Why? Because I am holy!" (Rosh citing the Medrash Tanchuma).


When a Child Begins to Learn Torah

In chapter 19, (Pesukim 23-25), the Torah forbids the fruit that grows during the first three years of the tree's growth (Orlah), permits it to be eaten in the fourth year (under certain conditions [Neta R'vai]) and thereafter permits it to be eaten freely ("so that it will increase its crop for you").

The Da'as Zekeinim mi'Ba'alei Tosfos explains that this hints at how one should initiate one's sons into the Mitzvah of Talmud-Torah:

Until the age of three he is 'stopped-up' (he is Patur from learning Torah, since he cannot yet speak). During his fourth year, one begins to learn Torah with him. And from then on, one should 'stuff him like a bull', as the Gemara explains in Bava Basra (21a).

And it is from here that the Mishnah in Pirkei Avos (5:21) 'At five years a child should study Chumash, and at ten, Mishnah'.

* * *

G-d's Sensitivity
(Adapted from Rabeinu Bachye)

Continued from last week

Only three times in the entire T'nach do we find that G-d's Name is mentioned in connection with a curse:

1. In connection with a meisis (an enticer: someone who talks his victim into going astray); 2. in connection with someone who (deliberately) transgresses a Mitzvah de'Rabbanan (who is Chayav Miysah); and 3. in connection with somebody who places his trust in a human being.

A meisis - This refers to the snake, about whom the Pasuk writes (in Bereishis 3:14) "And Hashem G-d said to the snake, because you did this you are cursed more than all the animals and the beasts ". This is because he en-ticed Chavah and said to her (3:14) "For G-d knows that on the day that you eat from it (the Tree of Knowledge) your eyes will be opened and you will be like Him" - 'Just as He builds worlds, so too, will you be able to build worlds, and all craftsmen hate their competitors!' And because he en-ticed her and spoke Lashon ha'Ra, G-d mentioned His Name in connection with his curse. Someone who (deliberately) transgresses a Mitzvah de'Rabbanan - as the Pasuk writes in Yirmiyah (31:3) "So says Hashem 'Cursed be the man who does not hearken to the words of this covenant !"

Somebody who places his trust in a human being, as the Pasuk writes in Yirmiyah (17:5) "So says Hashem 'Cursed be the man who places his trust in man and who makes flesh and blood his strength, should he turn his heart away from Hashem". When is he cursed? When he turns his heart away from Hashem.

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