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

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Vol. 17   No. 29

This issue is sponsored
l'iluy Nishmas
Charles Segelbaum
Yaakov ben Eliezer z"l

Parshas Emor

The Miracle of The Lechem ha'Panim
(Part 1)

The last Mishnah in Chagigah states that the Kohanim used to Tovel all the Vessels in the Beis-Hamikdash, but that they would warn the people not to touch the Shulchan (so as not to render it Tamei).

The Gemara attributes the fact that the Shulchan was subject to Tum'ah to the Pasuk in Emor (24:6), which discusses 'the Lechem ha'Panim lying on the Tahor Shulchan', implying that it can become Tamei.

The reason for this, the Gemara explains (despite the fact that the Shulchan was a flat wooden object, which cannot normally become Tamei - min ha'Torah) is because on the Shabbos of each Yom-Tov, when the Azarah was full of people, they would lift up the Table and show them the ongoing, visible miracle that occurred with the twelve Loaves, before replacing them with the freshly-baked ones.

To explain the miracle, we need to bear in mind that the Loaves were baked on Friday and placed on the Shulchan on Shabbos, where they lay, to be removed only on the following Shabbos afternoon. So we are speaking about twelve Loaves that were eight days old, when the Table was lifted up to show the people; yet, incredibly, steam arose from them as if they had just come straight from the oven - to quote the Gemara 'They were removed as fresh and as hot as when they were arranged (on the Shulchan!').

Incidentally, it is interesting to note that lifting the Shulchan to show the people was not just a Minhag (mi'de'Rabanan), but actually min ha'Torah!


The question that now remains is why they needed to warn the people not to touch the Shulchan. Why could they not Tovel it just as they did all the other Holy Vessels?

The answer, the Gemara explains, is that they could not move the Shulchan from its place (to Tovel it), seeing as the Torah in the same Parshah states that the Lechem ha'Panim must be on the Table 'Tamid', implying that it must never be removed (indeed, when placing the fresh Loaves on the Table, they would gently push the old ones off simultaneously, so that the Shulchan should not be without Loaves even for one moment.

Granted, the Torah uses the same word "Tamid" in connection with the Menorah too, but, as Rashi explains, that "Tamid" does not mean day and night, but each night. Consequently to Tovel it in the day and then kindle it again before nightfall would not contravene the "Tamid" of the Menorah. Indeed, there is a B'raysa which includes the Menorah in the warning that they issued the people not to touch the Shulchan. But that is because the Pasuk in Terumah compares the Menorah to the Shulchan, and not on account of the word "Tamid". In any event, the Mishnah does not concur with that opinion.


R. Tzadok ha'Kohen asks why the Torah chose specifically the miracle of the hot Lechem ha'Panim to show the people when they came on Aliyas ha'Regel. Why not, for example, 'the Western lamp' on the Menorah that was the first to be lit each day, yet, day in, day out, it continued to burn long after all the other lamps had gone out - despite the fact that it contained exactly the same amount of oil as they did?

And he answers that the miracle of the Menorah, unlike that of the Shulchan, which was evident in the steam that rose from the loaves, was something that was not visible, and was only meaningful to someone who actually knew that it had been the first to be lit the previous day.

The problem with this answer is that, granted, one can see the steam rising from the bread. Nevertheless, there was nothing to indicate exactly when the Loaves were baked, and certainly not that they were baked eight days earlier. other than the fact that they had been told that it had. And conversely, if being told about the Loaves did not impede their conviction that a great miracle was taking place, then why would being told that the Ner ha'Ma'aravi was the first lamp to have been lit impede their conviction that a miracle had taken place with the Ner ha'Ma'aravi?

Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that the miracle of the Ner ha'Ma'aravi hinged on its daily recurrence; showing them once that the Ner ha'Ma'aravi outlasted the other lamps would not have sufficed to make an impact on the people; certainly not in the way steaming hot bread eight days after being baked, did.


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Parshah Pearls
(Adapted from Rabeinu Bachye)

Double Talk

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

Commenting on the double expression, R. Bachye, following in the footsteps of the Ibn Ezra, explains that the first "Say" refers to the previous Parshah with all its Mitzvos, which the Kohanim, in their capacity as teachers, were now being charged with passing on to the people; whereas the second "say" refers to this Parshah, which presents the Mitzvos that pertain to the Kohanim themselves.


Alternatively, he cites Rashi's interpretation of the Pasuk "Emor ve'omarto" - 'to warn the grown-up Kohanim concerning the children', on which he elaborates

The Gemara in Yevamos (114a) informs us that the Torah repeats the warning with regard to children by the Isur of drinking blood and of eating Sheratzim (rodents), and it extends to all Isurim (though it is unclear as to why this is not a case of three Pesukim which teach us the same thing, from which we cannot learn anything else).

Apparently quoting the Ramban, he explains that the gist of the warning cannot be to forbid a child to transgress these (and other Isurim), as that would negate the well-known principle which does not obligate such action. What the Torah must thereforemean is that it is forbidden to feed a child something that is forbidden to a grown-up.

Practically speaking, in our case that would prohibit sending a young Kohen into a house containing a corpse, but that he is under no obligation to stop the child from going in himself, or to send him out once he is inside, provided the grown-up is not the child's father, in which case the Halachah may well differ.


A Dual Yom-Tov

"Only on the fifteenth day of this seventh month is the festival of Succos" (23:39).

The question arises as to why, having already informed us in Pasuk 34 that Succos falls on the fifteenth of Tishri, the Torah sees fit to repeat it?

Initially, Rabeinu Bachye explains that it is common for the Torah to do this when the original subject-matter is lengthy, such as it is here (as if to say 'Let's get back to the point').

Alternatively, he says, the Torah is dealing here with two different topics, the earlier Pesukim deal with the more esoteric side of the Yom-Tov, the Korbanos which lie in the realm of Hakadosh-Baruch-Hu. That is why the Torah there refers to the first and the eighth days as "ikra Kodesh". Whilst the current Pesukim discuss the part of the Yom-Tov that pertains to K'lal Yisrael, that they should celebrate Succos for seven days during the ingathering season and that they take for themselves the four species .


Atoning for the Original Sin


In concluding the previous piece, R. Bachye writes ' that they should take on it the four species to atone for the sin of our first father (Adam ha'Rishon) that took place at this time of year - which is why the Torah writes "and you shall take for yourselves the Esrog " '.

No doubt, R. Bachye writes this according to the opinion that the tree from which Adam ate was the Esrog-tree.


Shabbos is a Mo'ed Too

" these are My Mo'adim Six days you shall do work, and on the seventh day is Shabbos " (23:2).

What does Shabbos have to do with the Mo'adim? See Rashi.

R. Bachye however, maintains that Shabbos is a Mo'ed too, since like the Yamim-Tovim, it has a fixed time.

He also comments on the following Pasuk, which ends with the words "Shabbos hi la'Hashem be'Chol moshvoseichem", omitting the words "Chukas olom le'doroseichem" that one finds in other places where "be'Chol moshvoseichem" is mentioned.

Had the Torah inserted it, he explains, it would have implied that the Isur Melachah takes effect everywhere (literally) at all times. But that is not the case, since the Torah wants to permit Melachah (with regard to the Avodah) in the Beis-Hamikdash. Consequently, it confined the wording to "be'chol moshvoseichem", from which we extrapolate that work is only forbidden in our private dwellings, but not in the Beis-Hamikdash.

* * *


The Ba'al ha'Turim gives three reasons for the juxtaposition of the Parshah of Emor el ha'Kohanim to that of Ov and Yid'oni: 1. because there is also warning not to render oneself Tamei by indulging in it; 2. because when a Kohen visits a Ba'al Ov, he makes himself Tamei by using the bone of a dead person, and 3. because if someone wishes to predict the future, he does not need to consult a Ba'al-Ov or Yid'oni, but should rather approach the Kohen who will consult the Urim ve'Tumim on his behalf.

More accurately, the Ba'al ha'Turim, citing the Medrash Tanchuma, interprets the last Pasuk in Kedoshim with regard to King Shaul and the Ba'alas-Ov, and the first Pasuk in Emor with regard to the Kohanim, and the Urim ve'Tumim (since the Urim ve'Tumim only answers the request of kings, and not of other individuals) See Parshah Pearls.


"Lo yikr'chu korchah be'roshom" (They shall not make a bald patch on their head, and the corner of their beard (u'pe'as zekonom) they shall not shave" (21:5).

The word "yikr'chu", says the Ba'al ha'Turim, ends with a 'Hey', a hint to the ruling cited in Makos, that if one makes five bald patches with one's five fingers dipped in a hair-remover, one is subject to five Malkos.

And the Gematriyah of "u'pe'as zekonom" is the same as that of 'Zeh be'Ta'ar' ('This is specifically with a razor') - see Rashi.


"And you shall sanctify him " (21:8).

There are three Kedushos in this Pasuk, the Ba'al ha'Turim points out. These correspond to the three special rights that are reserved for him (besides the twenty-four gifts of Kehunah) - to be called-up first to the Torah, to Bensch first after meals and to have the first right to choose his portion.


"And the (married) daughter of a Kohen who defiles her status (by committing adultery) shall be burned in fire" (21:9).

The reason that a bas Kohen is sentenced to death by fire, says the Ba'al ha'Turim, is because the job of the Kohanim entails constantly working in fire.


"And the Kohen who is superior to his brothers (ha'Godol me'echov) " (21:10).

Playing on the extra 'Hey' in the word "ha'Godol", the Ba'al ha'Turim presents the words "ve'ha'Kohen ha'Godol me'echov" to read 'And the Kohen who is superior to his brothers in five things - 'looks, strength, wealth, wisdom and years' (see Pirkei Avos (6:8).

* * *

(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 451:
To Shecht a Beheimah, a Chayah and a Bird Properly

Whoever wishes to eat the meat of a Beheimah, a Chayah or a bird must first Shecht it properly, otherwise he will not be permitted to eat it. It is in this regard that the Torah writes in Re'ei ( 12:21) "and you shall Shecht from your cattle and your sheep like I commanded you". The Sifri writes that just as Kodshim require Shechitah, so too, do Chulin. "Like I commanded you" - This teaches us that Moshe Rabeinu had already been commanded on (Shechting) the esophagus and the wind-pipe, on the majority of one pipe of a bird, and of the two pipes of an animal. Not that this is implied in any Pasuk, but that this is what he was traditionally handed down at Sinai, regarding the Shechitah, together with the other specifications that we know of, such as Shechting with a knife, and how much one needs to cut of the neck and the wind-pipe. Even though the Torah only mentions 'cattle and sheep', we know that "Beheimah" incorporates Chayah, since the Pasuk compares them when it writes in Re'ei (12:22) with regard to 'Pesulei ha'Mukadshin', "only like one eats a deer and a gazelle, so may one eat it". And a bird too, requires Shechitah, since it too, is compared to a Beheimah, when the Torah writes in Shemini (11:46) "This is the law of the animals and the birds". The Chachamim however, citing the traditional source which bears this out (i.e. that the Torah places the Din of birds in between animals, that require Shechitah , and fish, that don't - when it writes in Shemini [11:46] "This is the law of the animals, the birds and all living creatures that swarm in the water"), extrapolate from there that cutting one of the Simanim (the pipes) will suffice. And from where did they learn that fish do not require Shechitah? From the Pasuk in Beha'aloscha (11:22) "If they were to gather all the fish in the sea" - irrespective of whether they are alive or dead. And the same applies to locusts, about which the Pasuk writes in Yeshayah (33:4) " Your spoil will be gathered like locusts are gathered". Moreover, the Pasuk at the end of Shemini mentions them after the fish, when it writes "This is the law of the animals, the birds, all the living creatures that swarm in the water and all the living creatures that teem on the land" (alluding to locusts). Furthermore, they have scales on their body that resemble fish.

The author has already discussed at the end of Parshas Tzav (in connection with the Isur of blood) and at the beginning of Parshas Acharei-Mos (in connection with the Mitzvah of Kisuy ha'Dam) the reason that the Torah distances us from the blood of all living creatures. Here he suggests that the Mitzvah of Shechitah may well be based on the same reason that he presented there. For as is well-known, the blood flows more freely from the neck than from any other part of the body. And it is to prevent us from eating the 'Soul with the flesh' (the blood) that the Torah commands us to first Shecht the animal by the throat, to drain the majority of the blood before eating it.

Furthermore, it may well be that we Shecht the animal by its neck with a knife that has been examined for niches, in order to minimize the pain that Shechitah causes the animal as much as possible. This is because, if, due to man's superiority, the Torah allows him to sustain himself at the animal's expense, it does not allow him to cause it any unnecessary pain. And Chazal have already dealt with the Isur of 'Tza'ar Ba'alei-Chayim' (causing an animal pain) In Bava Metzi'a (32a) and in Shabbos (128b), including whether it is a Torah law, and the conclusion seems to be that it is.

Some of the Dinim of the Mitzvah Chazal list five things that invalidate the Shechitah, should they occur whilst the Shechitah is taking place. 'Shehiyah', 'D'rosoh', 'Chalodoh', 'Hagromoh' and 'Ikur', which we will now explain one by one. 'Shehiyah' is where, after having begun to cut the esophagus (but before having cut the majority of it) the Shochet stops cutting for the time it would take to Shecht the skin and the two Simanim (pipes) of another animal that is similar to the one he is Shechting; or in the case of a bird, the time it would take to Shecht a small-size animal. Another more stringent opinion however, gives the Shi'ur as the time it takes to Shecht the majority of the two Simanim in the case of an animal, and the majority of the one Siman in the case of a bird. If the Shochet Shechts with a blunt knife however, then as long as he does not stop, the Shechitah is Kasher even if it takes all day .

'D'rosoh' is where the Shochet presses the knife (vertically) during the Shechitah (as one would when cutting a radish), instead of moving the knife backwards and forwards (horizontally), as he is supposed to do.

'Chaladah' is where the Shochet Shechting one Siman, covers the knife either with the other one, or if he Shechts the Simanim whilst covering the knife with the animal's skin, or with its matted wool, or even with a cloth that is tightly tied to the animal - though if it is tied only loosely, the Shechitah is Kasher.

(to be cont.)

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