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

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Vol. 20   No. 30

This issue is sponsored
l'iluy Nishmas
Rus bas Shlomo z"l
whose Yohrzeit is 15th Iyar
by her son

Parshas Emor

The Ox, The Lamb and the Goat
(Adapted from Rabeinu Bachye)

"When an ox, a lamb or a goat is born, it shall be seven days with its mother and from the eighth day and onwards, it shall be accepted as a fire-offering before G-d" (22:27).

Quoting the Medrash Tanchuma, R. Bachye explains that G-d designated specifically these three animals as Korbanos on the merit of the three Avos. He designated the ox, on the merit of Avraham, by whom it is written (in Vayeira, 18:7) "And Avraham ran to the oxen" (to serve his three distinguished guests). He designated the lamb on the merit of Yitzchak, in connection with whom the Torah wrote (Ibid. 22:23) "And he (Avraham) saw, and behold there was a ram" (which he subsequently sacrificed) … instead of his son.

And He designated the goat on the merit of Ya'akov, as the Torah writes (in Toldos, 27:40), "Go now to the flock and take for me (Rivkah) from there two good kid-goats" - good for you, because it is through them that you will obtain the B'rachos, and good for your children, since through them (the goat for Hashem and the goat for Az'azel) , they will attain atonement on Yom Kipur.

Hence the Torah writes 'When an ox, a lamb or a goat is born …".


The Medrash Tanchuma, based on the Pasuk in Koheles (3:15) "What has been already exists, and what is going to be has already taken place; and G-d takes the part of the one who is being pursued", continues …"What is going to be has already taken place": If someone will ask you whether you really believe that, had Adam not sinned, he would have lived forever, tell him that Eliyahu did not sin and he is still alive today! And if he will ask you whether it is really true that Hakadosh-Baruch-Hu is going to revive the dead, tell him that He did that through the hand of Eliyahu, Elisha and Yechezkel!

"And G-d seeks the one who is being pursued": If a Tzadik pursues a Tzadik, a Rasha pursues a Rasha (or even if a Tzadik pursues a rasha - R. Bachya omits this from the quotation) - G-d will take the part of the one who is being pursued!"

And the Medrash proceeds to cite many examples…

Kayin pursued Hevel. And what does the Pasuk there say? "And G-d turned to Hevel and to his gift. But to Kayin and his gift He did not turn" (Bereishis 4:4/5) .

No'ach was pursued by his generation. "And the Torah writes " And No'ach found favour in the Eyes of G-d … And the entire establishment was blotted out!" (Bereishis 6:8 & No'ach 6:23)

Avraham was pursued by Nimrod. And the Torah says "You are the G-d who chose Avram!" (Nechemyah 9:6).

Yitzchak was pursued by the P'lishtim. What is written there? "We have seen that G-d is with you!" (Toldos 26:28).

Ya'akov was pursued by Eisav … "For G-d chose Ya'akov!" Tehilim 135:4).

Yosef was pursued by his brothers … "G-d was with Yosef, and he was successful!" (Mikeitz 39:2).

Moshe was pursued by Par'oh … " … had Moshe not stood in the breach!" (Tehilim 106:23)

Yisrael is pursued by the nations. And the Torah writes "And you G-d has chosen to be for Him a treasured nation!" (Re'ei 14:2)

Here too, the Medrash concludes, "An ox, a lamb or a goat" - the ox is pursued by the lion, the lamb by the wolf and the goat by the leopard. So Hakadosh-Baruch-Hu commanded - 'Bring before Me a Korban from those that are pursued, not from the pursuers!'

* * *

Parshah Pearls
(Adapted from the Da'as Zekeinim mi'Ba'alei Tosfos)

Not Even for a Kohen Gadol

"Lo yetamei ba'al be'amav lecheichalo" (21:4).

Rashi interprets this Pasuk with reference to the prohibition against a Kohen rendering himself Tamei to bury the wife that he married illegally.

The Da'as Zekeinim however, quoting the Rav B'shor Shor, by adding a 'Lamed' to the word "ba'al" (as if it was written "le'ba'al"), explains the Pasuk more simply: The Torah is coming to forbid a Kohen to render himself Tamei for a dead person, even if he is a Kohen Gadol (who is a master among his people), unless he is one of the listed relatives.


A Superfluous Command?

"Speak to Aharon … a man from among your offspring who will possess a blemish shall not come near to bring the bread of His G-d" (21:17).

The Da'as Zekeinim asks, in view of this Pasuk, why the Torah needs to write in Parshas Pinchas (25:12) "Behold I am giving him My covenant of peace", from which the Gemara in Kidushin (66b) learns that the covenant of priesthood made with Pinchas was only as long as he would be complete, but not when he would be blemished.


A Reason to Repeat.

"Only to the Poroches (the Holy Curtain) he (someone who has a blemish) shall not come, and the Mizbei'ach he shall not approach" (23:23)

Rashi refers to the Toras Kohanim, which explains why the Torah sees fit to mention both the Poroches and the Mizbei'ach; why one would not have sufficed. He does not however, inform us what the Toras Kohanim actually says.

The Da'as Zekeinim fills in the details (and the Chizkuni elaborates): Had the Torah only mentioned the Poroches, we would have thought that it is forbidden for a Kohen with a blemish to go to the Poroches, because it is inside the Kodesh (but not to the MIzbei'ach, which is only in the Azarah). Whereas if it had only mentioned the Mizbei'ach, we would have thought that he is forbidden to come to the Mizbei'ach, on which one performs that Avodah (but not to the Poroches, which is not subject to the Avodah).

* * *


" … then she shall return to her father's house like in her youth ("ki'n'urehoh" - when she is a 'na'arah'); she may eat from his bread (T'rumah) … " (22:13).

"Ki'n'urehah", the Ba'al ha'Turim points out, is written with a "Vav" in the middle. This is a hint, he explains, that exactly six months after the signs of na'arus (puberty) appear, she becomes a 'bogeres'.

Consequently, although a father's rights over his daughter remain intact as regards annulling her vows and marrying her off whilst she is a na'arah, this is no longer the case once she becomes a bogeres.


"An ox, a lamb or a goat … it shall be seven days with its mother, and from the eighth day and onwards it will be accepted as a fire-offering to G-d" (22:27).

If one Shechts it …

on the first day, says Hakadosh-Baruch-Hu, it will appear as if one is Shechting it in honour of the earth, which was created on the first day.

On the second day it will appear as if one is Shechting it in honour of the Heaven, which was created on the second day.

On the third day … in honour of the sea and the dry land.

On the fourth day … in honour of the luminaries.

On the fifth day … in honour of the vermin.

On the sixth day … in honour of human-beings (and animals).

Let them therefore wait until seven days have passed, so that they know that I created the world in six days and rested on the seventh, G-d concluded - then they will Shecht in honour of My Name.


"On the first day (of Pesach) there shall be for you a holy calling (mikro kodesh") 23:3.

The Gematriyah of "Mikro Kodesh", says the Ba'al ha'Turim, is equivalent to that of 1). Mishteh (feast - the Yom-Tov meal) and 2). Be'ma'achal, bi'k'sus nekiyoh (with food, with nice clothes).


"And he (Moshe) placed him (vayanichuhu) [the son of the Egyptian who cursed]) in jail … " (24:12).

We find the same word (vayanichuhu) in Parshas Vayeiro (19:16), when the angels took Lot and placed him outside S'dom. Just as there, they placed Lot outside S'dom to guard (protect) him, the Ba'al ha'Turim explains, so too, did they place the man who cursed in jail to guard him.

There is no such punishment as jail, according to Jewish law. On the few occasions that jail is mentioned, it is to guard the offender to prevent him from running away until the matter on hand is clarified.

And this makes good sense! If a person is guilty, his punishment is swift - Malkos (lashes or death). In the case of a murderer be'Shogeg, he is banished to a City of Refuge (to protect him against the next of kin of the man whom he murdered).

But incarcerating him does nothing to the sinner other than muster thoughts of revenge, as well as wasting the 'taxpayers' money.

* * *

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