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. 29


The opening paragraph in last week's main article ('Aharon's Privilege') ought to have read 'The Gemara in Yuma (70b) explains that the ram that was brought as an Olah (on behalf of the Tzibur) together with the bull of the Chatas is synonymous with the ram of the Musaf that is mentioned in Pinchas.

We sincerely apologize for the blatant error.

Parshas Emor

A Gentile's Korban
(Adapted from the Torah Temimah)

When G-d ordered No'ach to take 'from all living animals' ("u'mi'kol ha'chai" [6:19]), says the Gemara in Avodah-Zarah (5b), He meant that only animals with all limbs intact were permitted to enter No'ach's boat. And when, in the same Pasuk, He added 'to live with you' ("lehachayos itach"), He meant to preclude animals that fell under the category of T'reifah (i.e. that possessed one of seventy specific blemishes that rendered them unable to survive the year [Ibid. 6a]).

Just a few Pesukim later, the Torah draws a distinction between 'Tahor' animals (of which he was to allow seven pairs each into the boat) and 'Tamei' ones (a clear indication, says Rashi, that No'ach learned Torah). This was to enable him to bring Korbanos (from the former) when he was destined to leave the boat after the termination of the flood.


From this series of D'rashos, Chazal extrapolate that when a gentile brings Korbanos to G-d, he may only bring Kasher animals on the altar, and that those animals may neither be missing a limb nor may they be T'reifos (in the literal sense of the word, as we explained it above). On the other hand, they also extrapolate that he is permitted to sacrifice animals that possess a blemish (although *we* are forbidden to do so).


The Gemara in Menachos (73b), commenting on the Pasuk in Emor (22:18) 'Any man ("Ish ish") from the house of Yisrael and from the convert in Yisrael who brings his sacrifice in the form of a free-will gift which they bring to Hashem as an Olah (a burnt-offering)", extrapolates that a. gentiles are permitted to bring freewill offerings to be sacrificed on the Mizbei'ach in the Beis-Hamikdash, and b. that this privilege is restricted to Olos (they may not bring Shelamim [peace-offerings]).


When, with reference to the prohibition of bringing blemished animals on the Mizbei'ach, the Torah writes in this week's Parshah (22:25) "And from the hand of a gentile you shall not bring the bread of your G-d (i.e. Korbanos), it means that although a Nochri is permitted to bring a blemished animal on *his* Mizbei'ach, he may not do so on *ours*.

Whereas from the words *"the bread of your G-d"* the Toras Kohanim extrapolates that although he is permitted to bring a private Korban to Yerushalayim, he is precluded from sharing in the public Korbanos, in the form of the half-Shekel that every Jew had to give annually, and with which the public Korbanos are purchased.


The Toras Kohanim extrapolates from the Pasuk that we quoted in the previous paragraph "and from the Ger (convert)" - 'to include the wives of Geirim', "in Yisrael" - to include women and Avadim (Cana'anim). This, says the Torah Temimah, serves as the source for the Rambam, who rules in Hilchos Kobanos (3:2) that both men, women and slaves are subject to all the Korbanos (even though not all the details of the Korbanos pertain to the latter two). Indeed, he wonders at the Kesef Mishnah, who battles to find a source for the Rambam's ruling.


We cited the Gemara in Avodah-Zarah, forbidding a gentile to sacrifice an animal that is missing a limb or a T'reifah, based on the Pasuk in No'ach ("u'mi'kol ha'chai" [6:19]).

Tosfos there asks why this prohibition, which ostensibly carries with it the death-penalty, is not added to the seven Mitzvos of the Noahide code, bringing the number to seven. Tosfos themselves answer that this prohibition is really part of the obligation incumbent upon the gentile to fulfill his Neder (which we learn from "Ish Ish ", as we learned above). In other words, the Torah commands such a person to bring the Korban that he promised to bring, in the form of a complete animal, without any limbs missing- and that is a Mitzvas Asei, not a La'av for which he would be Chayav Miysah. This is very difficult however, seeing as the Mitzvah of Dinim, which is a Mitzvas Asei too, is also included in the seven Mitzvos. The Ritva explains that the La'av is not a personal one, pertaining to the gentile who transgresses it, but rather one that pertains to the object; a Korban that is missing a limb is disqualified, but the gentile who brings has not transgresses and is not guilty of the death sentence. This makes good sense, especially bearing in mind that neither is the owner obligated to bring a Korban (see Gilyon ha'Shas on Tosfos), nor is he (or anybody else obligated to bring it, in the way that a Kohen is).

* * *

Parshah Pearls

A Gentile's Blemished Korban

"And from the hand of a gentile you shall not bring the bread of your G-d from all these (blemished animals), because their corruption is in them, a blemish is in them, they will not be accepted on your behalf" (22:25).

The Chochmas Chayim cites the question posed by R. Shlomoh Shpei'er as to why the Torah writes "on your behalf", and not 'on their behalf', seeing as it is talking about Korbanos brought by gentiles? Surely, it is on behalf of them (the gentiles) that the Korban either is, or is not, accepted, and not on behalf of Yisrael?

And he answered this with a Gemara in Menachos (73b), which rules that if a gentile designates a Korban, and then donates to a Yisrael, it is the Yisrael who eats it; should he donate it to a Kohen then it is the Kohen who eats it. Rava explains this to mean that the gentile specifies that the Yisrael or the Kohen should be atoned through his Korban. Rashi comments on this that Rava is referring to a case where the Yisrael or the Kohen is obligated to bring a Shelamim, and the gentile declares the animal a Shelamim in order that he should fulfill his obligation. In that case, the Yisrael or the Kohen becomes the owner of the Korban, and it is with regard to such a case that the Torah declares it invalid, adding "they will not be accepted on your behalf".


On principle, R. Yosef Chayim Sonenfeld agreed with the above explanation, only he considered the initial problem non-existent. Based on the fact that although gentile are permitted to bring blemished animals on their own altars (provided they are not missing a limb), they are not permitted to do so on our Mizbei'ach. And what the Torah is therefore saying here is that we are prohibited from bringing a gentile's blemished on the Mizbei'ach, and that if we do, our action (not the Korban, to which the Torah is not referring directly) will not be accepted.


R. Yosef Chayim, went on however, to interpret the Pasuk with regard to the story of Kamtza and bar Kamtza (cited in Gitin 55b). As the Gemara relates, the Chachamim were aware of the fact that the Emperor of Rome had sent the Korban complete, and that it was bar Kamtza who had caused the blemish. And they thought that it was permitted to sacrifice it for the sake of peace of the realm, and they referred to the words (in our Pasuk) "from the hand of a gentile" ('mi'yad ben Neichor' [whilst in that particular case, it was from the hand of a Jew that they were receiving it']).

But R. Zecharyah objected (as the Gemara explains). He pointed out that "mi'yad ben Neichor can also mean 'from the hand of a son who has gone astray', hinting at 'bar Kamtza' (as opposed to Kamtza, who was invited to the party). Yet the Torah concludes "Do not bring it", because G-d's honour over-rides that of any human king.


Big People, Little Sins

"Say to the Kohanim and say to them that they shall not render themselves Tamei for a dead person" (21:1).

"Say", "and say", comments Rashi; to warn the grown-ups about the children (i.e. that the grown-up Kohanim are forbidden to let their children render themselves Tamei Meis.

The No'am Elimelech, taking the Rashi slightly out of context, interprets his words to mean that the Torah is warning the Tzadikim not to transgress 'little' sins (see opening Rashi in Parshas Eikev).


All Jews Are Brothers

"He (the Kohen Gadol) shall not render himself Tamei for his father and mother" (21:11).

By equating a Kohen Gadol's parents and others in this regard, the Kotzker Rebbe explains, the Torah is teaching him that in his capacity as public figure no. 1, he has no more connections with his family than he has with anybody else (in other words, he must consider all Jews no less his family than his own mother and father).


In similar vein, the Besht once said that as long as the love for his son exceeds that of any other Jew, he still has a long way to go with regard to the Midah of Ahavas Yisrael.


The story is told that, as R, Elimelech (I think it was) entered his hometown following his self-imposed exiled, he heard a scream. His immediate reaction was to pray that it was not one of his children who had screamed. But he immediately regretted having harbored such a thought. If he was capable of making a distinction between his own children and the children of other Jews, then his exile had not achieved its purpose. Without more ado, he turned round and headed the way he had come for another round of exile.


That Too, Is a Kidush Hashem

"And you shall not desecrate My Holy Name, and I shall be sanctified in the midst of the B'nei Yisrael" (22:32).

Based on the Gemara in Makos (23b) that whoever sits and does not perform a sin (when he is tempted to do so), receives reward as if he has performed a Mitzvah, the Chasam Sofer suggests that one might translate the Pasuk like this 'And if you will not desecrate My Holy Name, then I will be sanctified in the midst of the B'nei Yisrael'. Yes, someone who declines to desecrate G-d's Holy Name when the opportunity presents itself has actually sanctified it!


Shabbos for Hashem, Too

"And on the seventh day is Shabbas Shabboson " (23:3).

The Dubner Maggid explains the double expression in the following way;

There are some people who enjoy Shabbos as a day of rest, but their Shabbos, as far as Hashem is concerned, is a day of unrest. How come?

As the Pasuk says in Malachi (2:17) "You tired Me with your words". This refers to those people who spend Shabbos meeting in groups (perhaps even in Shul) to speak about anything and everything (including Lashon ha'Ra). They may well enjoy Shabbos, but Hashem does not. That is why the Torah refers to Shabbos Shabbason - Shabbos for you, and Shabbos for Hashem.


The Mitzvah Makes it Yours

"And you shall reap its harvest and bring the Omer, the first of your harvest to the Kohen" (23:10).

First the Torah calls it "its harvest", and then "your harvest", the Be'er Yitzchak observes.

Yes indeed, he explains. Before you perform the Mitzvah of Omer, the harvest belongs to the land, and it is only once you have that it becomes yours. Just like the Gemara in B'rachos says with regard to the food that we eat 'Before the B'rachah it belongs to G-d; after the B'rachah, it becomes yours'.


Why the Word "Ach"?

"*Only* (ach) on the tenth of this seventh month is a day of atonement for you "(23:27). "*Only* on the fifteenth day of the seventh month Then you shall take for yourselves on the first day an Esrog " (23:40/41).

Why, asks the Meshech Chochmah, does the Torah opt to use the word "Ach", particularly with regard to Yom Kipur and Succos?

It may well be connected he replies, to the fact that the Torah deliberately places the blowing of the Shofar on Rosh Hashanah before Yom Kipur as a wake up call to begin the Teshuvah process that ends on Yom Kipur. Consequently, it would be feasible to presume that somebody who, for some reason or other, did not blow the Shofar on Rosh Hashanah, is exempt from fasting on Yom-Kipur.

Likewise, the juxtaposition of Succos to Yom-Kipur, is due to the joy that someone who has gone through the Teshuvah process feels at being cleansed from sin. Perhaps then, a person who for whatever reason, failed to do Teshuvah on Yom Kipur, is precluded from rejoicing with the Lulav and Esrog on Succos.

The Torah therefore inserts the "Ach" to obligate the performance of these two Mitzvos come what may. They are independent Mitzvos that every Jew is obligated to perform, irrespective of other Mitzvos that he my not have observed before.

* * *

The Mitzvos

Mitzvah 283:
Not to Eat Tevel

It is a Mitzvah not to eat Tevel (produce from which T'rumos and Ma'asros have not been taken), irrespective of whether one is a Yisrael or a Kohen, as the Pasuk writes in Emor (22:15) "And you shall not desecrate the Kodshim of B'nei Yisrael, that what they will separate for Hashem". The Gemara in Sanhedrin (83a) interprets this with reference to someone who eats Kodshim (which sometimes refers to Terumah) whilst it is still mixed with Chulin (i.e. Terumah that has not yet been separated). This explains why the Torah uses the future tense ("will separate"), rather than the past. And the Gemara there learns that the punishment for this is Miysah at the Hand of Hashem, from a 'Gezeirah-Shavah' "Chilul" "Chilul" from Terumah, by which the Torah writes (in Bamidbar 18:32) "And the Kodshim of B'nei Yisrael you shall not desecrate and you will not die", and the actual punishment is learned from the Pasuk here (22:9) here (with reference to somebody who eats Terumah) "And they shall die on account of it when they desecrate it", which is followed by the Pasuk "And every non-Kohen shall not eat Kodesh" (i.e. Terumah).

Furthermore, the Gemara in Makos (16b) adds that one is Chayav for eating, not only Tevel from which nothing has been separated, but also Tevel from which Terumah Gedolah has been separated, but not T'rumas Ma'aser (which is normally taken from Ma'aser Rishon by the Levi), Ma'aser Rishon or Ma'aser Sheini; or even if all of these have been separated, but not Ma'aser Ani (which is in any event Chulin). And it derives this from the Pasuk in Re'ei (12:17) "You are not permitted to eat *within your gates* ", and in Parshas Ki-Savo (26:12), the Torah writes " and they will eat *within your gates* and be satisfied". And from this 'Gezeirah-Shavah' the Gemara extrapolates that, just as the latter Pasuk refers to Ma'aser Ani, the former Pasuk too, incorporates Ma'aser Ani, and the former Pasuk writes "You are not permitted".

This Chiyuv however, pertains specifically to Malkos; Miysah is confined to Tevel before Terumah Gedolah has been separated, or to Ma'aser Rishon before Terumas Ma'aser has been separated. And it is in connection with the latter case that the Torah writes (at the end of Parshas Korach) "And the Kodshim of the B'nei Yisrael do not desecrate and you will not die". This is the source for the prohibition of eating Ma'aser Rishon when it is still Tevel (i.e. whilst it still contains T'rumas Ma'aser). And this is why the Levi (or anybody else) is Chayav Miysah bi'Yedei Shamayim if he does eat it, as we find in the Mishnah in D'mai.

In a nutshell, someone who eats Tevel from which either Terumah Gedolah or Terumas Ma'aser have not been taken, is Chayav Miysah (bi'Yedei Shamayim). Whereas if he eats from Tevel after these two have been taken, but not Ma'aser Rishon (where the owner separated T'rumas Ma'aser before Ma'aser Rishon) and either Ma'aser Sheini or Ma'aser Ani (depending on the year of Sh'mitah-cycle), he is Chayav Malkos, but not Miysah. The warning for the latter is the Pasuk in Re'ei (12:17), that we quoted earlier "You are not permitted to eat within you gates the Ma'aser of your corn ", as the author will explain there.


The author has already given a reason for the Mitzvah* earlier in the prohibition of a Tamei Kohen eating Terumah (Mitzvah 279).

Some of the Dinim of the Mitzvah Chazal have said that the smallest amount of Tevel that falls into Chulin renders the entire mixture forbidden; it does not become Bateil. All other Isurim, with the exception of Yayin Nesech and Chametz on Pesach, become Bateil (usually in sixty). The reason that they give for this is because 'Its Isur is like its Heter' (just as Tevel becomes permitted (min ha'Torah) by separating one grain (as the Gemara explains in Chulin, where it states that Terumah has no Shi'ur min ha'Torah) so too, does one grain forbid the entire pot. Consequently, if even a small amount of grain became mixed up in a lot of Chulin, the entire mixture becomes forbidden In Seider Zera'im, in Maseches T'rumos, Ma'aser Sheini and Ma'asros, it will be explained exactly what is subject to T'rumos and Ma'asros, and which renders the fruits Tevel, and which, and what is not; and what is subject min ha'Torah and what, only mi'de'Rabbanan and the other Dinim of Tevel, are explained there and in other places in Maseches D'mai (and in Yoreh Dei'ah Si'man 321).

* * *

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