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

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Vol. 8   No. 28

This issue is sponsored in honour of
the Bar Mitzvah of Yaakov Yitzchok Resnick n.y.
and the Bas Mitzvah of Na'ami Tziporah Resnick n.y.
by their parents

Parshas Emor

The Seven Connection

Many commentaries ask why the Torah juxtaposes the parshah of the Menorah and of the Shulchan next to that of Sukos and the Yomim-tovim.


The Ba'al ha'Turim writes that the Torah places the parshah of the olive-oil next to Sukos, to hint that, on Chanukah, we recite Hallel for eight days, like we do on Sukos. Others go still further. They cite the Ramban, who explains that the opening pesukim in Beha'aloscho serve as a hint that one day, they would celebrate a great Yom-tov, which would result in the kindling of the Menorah, and which would be initiated by the Kohanim of that time. That is why the Torah juxtaposes the parshah of the olive oil and the Menorah next to that of Sukos, to teach us that Sukos, the last Yom-tov (min ha'Torah) to take place in the year, would one day be followed by another Yom-tov - Chanukah.


The Ramban suggests that the command to bring fresh olive oil was issued here, simply because this is when they ran out of the original stock of oil, and this is also the approach adopted by the Seforno. The Or ha'Chayim however, comments that this theory needs to be proven, And besides, it will not explain why the Torah goes on to discuss the Shulchan and the Lechem ha'Ponim.

The Ibn Ezra seems to say that having discussed all the Korbenos Tzibur that Yisroel brought on Yom-tov, it is appropriate to cover the entire spectrum of the avodah, and to mention also the kindling of the Menorah and the placing of the Lechem ha'Ponim in their respective times.


To explain the connection between the Yomim-tovim and both the Menorah and the Shulchan, the Oznayim la'Torah quotes a B'raysa. The B'raysa describes how the Kohanim would tovel all the holy vessels in the Beis ha'Mikdash each Yom-tov, with the exception of the Shulchan and the Menorah, which could not be toveled because, by both, the Torah writes 'tomid'. Consequently, the Menorah could never be extinguished, and the breads on the Shulchan could never be removed, precluding the possibility of toveling them. Indeed, the Torah writes with regard to the Menorah "al ha'Menorah ha'Tehorah", and with regard to the Shulchan, and with regard to the Menorah, 'Al ha'Shulchan ha'Tahor', as a reminder to guard these two vessels in particular against becoming tomei. And this warning was especially relevant on Yom-tov, when all the Kohanim were in attendance, increasing the possibility of this happening.


But perhaps the most fascinating explanation of all is that of the Or ha'Chayim. The Or ha'Chayim points out how the thread that runs right through every issue with which the Torah dealt in the previous chapter, is the number seven. This connection is obvious when it comes to Shabbos, Pesach and Sukos. Shavu'os too, follows the Sefiras ho'Omer, which comprises the counting of seven times seven weeks, whereas Rosh Hashonoh and Yom Kipur take place in the seventh month.

And this explains why the Torah chooses to continue with the two remaining mitzvos that are based on the number seven; first with the parshah of the Menorah, with its seven branches. And then with the Shulchan, which contained two rows of six breads (like the six branches of the Menorah), and which (like the six branches, which were complemented by the middle stem - to make seven) were complemented by the Table on which they were placed (to make seven).


Nor does the sequence stop here. Because after concluding the parshah with an incident that occurred in connection with the Lechem ha'Ponim, the Torah continues with Sh'mitah and Yovel, all of which are based on the number seven. And then, after concluding the parshah with topics related to the Yovel, it goes on to Bechukosai, where again the Tochochoh, which takes up the major part of the Sedra, is based on punishments that come in groups of seven, as Rashi explains there.

Amazing as it may sound, some two and a half Sedras cover the gamut of Mitzvos and issues that are based on the number seven!


Parshah Pearls

(adapted from the Ba'al ha'Turim)
Five in One Go

"Lo yikrechu korchah be'roshom" ('They shall not make a bald patch on their heads ([as a sign of mourning for someone who died])' 21:5.

The Gemoro in Makos (20a.) explains that if someone makes five bald patches on his head as a sign of mourning for a dead person, then he will receive five sets of malkos. This speaks, the Gemoro concludes, when he dipped his five fingers into a powerful hair-remover and placed them on his head simultaneously.

This, explains the Ba'al ha'Turim, is hinted in the Torah in the above posuk, where the word "Lo yikrechu", is written with a 'hey' (representing the number five) instead of with a 'vov'.


Three Kedushos

"ve'kidashto ... kodosh yihyeh lach ... ki kodosh hu le'Elokov" (21:8).

'Kodosh' appears three times in this posuk, hinting at the three areas that are covered by the Kohen's sanctity, as the Gemoro says in Gitin (59b.) 'to speak first, to be called up to the Torah first and to have the first choice of portion.


And Five Again

"ve'ha'Kohen ha'Godol me'Echav" (21:10).

The extra 'hey' in "ha'Godol" can be read as 'hey Godol' (great in five things). This hints at the five requirements that had to be met when choosing a Kohen Gadol, explains the Ba'al ha'Turim. He must be the greatest of all his peers in looks, in strength, in wealth, in knowledge and in years.


Sometimes It Can't be Helped

"Only, he (a Kohen with a blemish) shall not come to the Holy Curtain (to sprinkle the blood on Yom Kipur)" 22:23.

The word 'only' ("Ach") always implies that there is an exception to the rule.

The exception here, explains the Ba'al ha'Turim, is clearly written in Chazal, who say that if there are no Kohanim, then the Levi'im must enter, if there are no tohor Kohanim, then tomei Kohanim must enter, and if there are no tomei Kohanim, then Kohanim who are blemished must enter.


No Terumah for Them!

"Toshav Kohen ve'sochir lo yochal bo" (22"10).

Chazal learn that "toshav" refers to a Jewish servant who has had his ear pierced and who is now working for his master until the Yovel year, whereas "sochir" refers to one who is serving his initial six-year period. The Torah is teaching us here that neither may eat T'rumah, because neither is considered the Kohen's property (in the way that a gentile slave is).

This is hinted in the very words of the posuk, because the numerical value of "Toshav Kohen ve'sochir" is the same as that of 'Konuy kinyan olom ve'konuy kinyan shonim' (the exact description used by Chazal to describe the two kinds of Jewish servants).


Sukos on the Fifteenth of Tishri
(Adapted from the P'ninim mi'Shulchan ha'G'ro)

"You shall dwell in Sukos for seven days ... in order that your generations will know that I settled the B'nei Yisroel in Sukos when I took them out of the land of Egypt" (23:42/43).

It is not at first clear why Hashem chose to fix Sukos on the fifteenth of Tishri. At first glance, there does not seem to be any particular significance in that day to connect it either to the concept of the physical huts, or to the Clouds of Glory, according to whichever interpretation we lend to Sukos. As a matter of fact, points out the G'ro, it would appear to have been more appropriate to fix Sukos in Nisan, when they enjoyed their first taste of the Sukos, according to both explanations.


The G'ro however, resolves the problem, based on the fact that the fundamental concept of Sukah lies in G-d's wish to rest His Shechinah with K'lal Yisroel. And this concept is borne out by many of the deeper explanations of Sukah (not least of which is the numerical value of 'Sukah' - 91, which is equivalent to that of 'ho'Elokim' which in turn, is equal to that of the two Names of Hashem 'Havayah and Adnus).

This was His wish from the time of the Creation until the Torah was given at Har Sinai, and then, when they sinned at the Eigel ha'Zohov, until Yisroel constructed the Mishkon. Then, at long last, Hashem was able (Kevayochol) to send His Shechinah down to this earth to replace the angel who was intended to lead Yisroel in the desert. From that moment on, the Shechinah would never leave Yisroel, and they would always bask in its shade.


And this process began on the fifteenth of Tishri in the first year of Yisroel's journey in the desert. It was on Yom Kipur (the tenth of Tishri) that Moshe descended Har Sinai with the second Luchos, with the information that he was to construct the Mishkon, and that, once Hashem would enter it, He would never again leave Yisroel, as the Torah intimates when it writes "who dwells with them even when they are impure" (Acharei-Mos 16:16). On the following day (the eleventh) he commanded them to donate towards the building fund of the Mishkon, and on the twelfth and thirteenth, they brought their donations (as the Torah testifies). On the fourteenth, Moshe announced that all donations must cease, and it was on the fifteenth that they actually began with the construction. And that is the day that the Shechinah descended, to remain with K'lal Yisroel forever.


And that explains why Hashem fixed Sukos on the fifteenth of Tishri, to commemorate the day on which we merited to dwell under the Wings of the Shechinah once and forever. And this is what the Torah is referring to when it writes "because in Sukos I settled Yisroel when I took them out from the the Land of Egypt".


Adapted from 'Mitvos ha'T'luyos bo'Oretz' by R' Kalman Kahana z.l., based on the rulings of the Chazon Ish

101. Produce and legumes that grew to a third of their growth in the Sh'mitah, are considered Sh'mitah produce. The laws of s'fichim pertain to them even though they continued to grow in the eighth year.


102. Fruit of a tree that ripened in the Sh'mitah is considered Sh'mitah fruit, even though the majority of its growth took place in the eighth year.

An Esrog that ripened in the Sh'mitah and continued to grow in the eighth year is considered a Sh'mitah fruit and is exempt from T'rumos and Ma'asros, even if it is picked in the eighth year. If it ripened in the eighth year, it is considered an eighth year fruit. And the same applies to other citrus fruits.


103. It transpires from the previous halochos that on Sukos in the Sh'mitah year, one should use an esrog that was picked before Rosh Hashonoh of the Sh'mitah. Whereas on Sukos of the eighth year, one should either buy one from a gentile or from a 'chover' (who is particular about the dinim of Sh'mitah).


104. Vegetables and rice which grew fully in the Sh'mitah are forbidden because of s'fichim, and continue to be prohibited until such time as comparable produce becomes available in the eighth year. Upon reaching that stage, those that grew in the Sh'mitah but completed their growth in the eighth year are no longer subject to s'fichim and do not have kedushas Shevi'is. If they reached the stage of Ma'asros in the Sh'mitah, they are exempt from T'rumas Ma'aser, whereas if they reached this stage in the eighth year, they are obligated.


105. Even if the fruit was picked before the new crops reached this stage, they become permitted the moment they do. They also become permitted via the growth of fruit that grew early in the eighth year (even though most of that year's crop has not yet grown). In any event, after Chanukah of the eighth year, the prohibition of s'fichim no longer applies, even if the new crops have not yet grown.


106. Once the new crops have grown, one may buy fruit from anyone, without having to suspect that it was perhaps picked in the Sh'mitah. Any species that has already been imported from Chutz lo'Oretz, is permitted immediately on Motza'ei Shevi'is, and one does not suspect that what one is purchasing was perhaps picked in the Sh'mitah.


Assisting Someone Who is Suspect on Sh'mitah

106. It is forbidden to rent, lend or sell any farming implements etc. that are generally designated for tasks that are forbidden in the Sh'mitah to a Jew who is suspected of contravening the dinim of Shevi'is. However, if there is as fifty-fifty chance that he will use them for a task that is permitted, one may.


107. With regard to household articles, which people tend to lend each other, and by which a refusal to lend will create ill feeling, the din is slightly more lenient. There, one is permitted to lend them to him, even on the slightest off-chance that he will use them in a way that is permitted (such as using a sieve to count money).


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