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

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Vol. 21   No. 31

This issue is sponsored in loving memory of
our dear husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather
Aryeh Leib ben Avraham z"l on his first Yohrzeit
by Mrs. Baila Rubin and Shabsi & Leah Rubin and Family

Parshas Emor

The Seventh Day of Pesach

" you shall bring a fire-offering to Hashem for seven days; on the seventh day is a holy convocation (Mikro Kodesh), you shall not do any servile work" (23:8).

Although in Parshas Re'ei the Torah refers to the seventh day of Pesach as 'Atzeres', here it does not, says the Oznayim la'Torah. To explain the discrepancy, the author explains that really the seventh day is not called Atzeres, and in Parshas Re'ei, the Torah is using a borrowed term, which does not apply intrinsically to Pesach. A Yom-Tov in its own right it is - because it is the day on which the Egyptians were drowned in the Reed Sea. But 'Atzeres' it s not!


The Oznayim la'Torah offers two possible reasons as to why the seventh day of Pesach is not called 'Atzeres'.

1. Quoting Abarbanel, because, whereas on Succos, everyone had to remain in Yerushalayim to fulfil the Mitzvah of Linah (staying in Yerushalayim for the duration of Yom-Tov). On Pesach, they were allowed to go home already the next morning, as the Torah writes "And you shall turn around in the morning and return to your 'tents'. And since there were no crowds in Yerushalayim on the seventh day of Pesach, there was no reason to call it "Atzeres" (which means crowds of people).

2. Because it already has an Atzeres - Shavu'os, which falls fifty days later (clearly the period of time needed for the full effect of Shavu'us to be felt). Indeed, the Tanchuma explains, Shemini Atzeres (the Atzeres of Succos) ought to fall fifty days after Succos, and the reason that it doesn't is because that would turn out to be in the middle of winter, and G-d did not wish to inconvenience us by making us travel backwards and forwards to Yerushalayim in the rain and cold. So He fixed Shemini Atzeres immediately after Succos, and enabled us to benefit from its influence whilst we are still in Yerushalayim for Succos.


Nevertheless, the author points out, the Torah calls the seventh day of Pesach "a holy calling" on which work is forbidden, for two reasons.

1. Since it is the day on which the redemption, which began on the first day of Pesach, was finalized with the drowning of the Egyptians.

2. Based on the theory that every extended period that begins with a Yom-Tov, also ends with a Yom-Tov.


Note, the Da'as Zekeinim mi'Ba'alei Tosfos explains "Mikro Kodesh" as - to eat, to drink and to enjoy (with the exception of Yom Kipur, when eating and drinking are forbidden).

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Parshah Pearls

Why the Torah Calls it 'Chag ha'Matzos'

"And on the fifteenth day of this month is the Festival of Matzos " (23:6).

Considering that the Mitzvah of Matzah is secondary to that of Pesach - as is implied in Parshas Bo (12:8), why does the Torah refer to Pesach as Chag ha'Matzos and not Chag ha'Pesach, asks the Oznayim la'Torah.

A reason for this might well be because the Pesach was ac-tually brought on the fourteenth of Nisan, so to call the fif-teenth 'Pesach' would be confusing. The Oznayim la'Torah explains that whereas Pesach is an appropriate name in the era when the Beis-ha'Mikdash stood, it would be meaningless today, when the Korban Pesach is not brought. Indeed, the Torah there (Pasuk 18) obligates us to eat Matzos - independent of the Korban Pesach, precisely with reference to the Yom-Tov nowadays, when there is no Korban Pesach. So we see that even though, when the Beis-ha'Mikdash stood, Matzah was secondary to Pesach, nowadays it enjoys an importance of its own; and that is why the Torah calls it 'Chag ha'Matzos'.



All About the Korban Omer
Only in Eretz Yisrael

"When you come to the land then you shall bring the Omer, the first of your harvest (of barley) to the Kohen" (23:10).

The clause "when you come to the land", says the Oznayim la'Torah, is confined to the issues mentioned in this Parshah - The Korban Omer, the two Loaves on Shavu'os and the Korbanos that come with them. They alone apply only in Eretz Yisrael.

But the Isur of Chodosh (eating fresh crops), the Mitzvah of Shavu'os and counting the Omer (according to those who hold that it is min ha'Torah nowadays) applies both in Eretz Yisrael and in Chutz la'Arerz, both when the Beis-Hamikdash is standing and when it is destroyed.



Ibid. The Minchas ha'Omer differs from all other Menachos, in that it is brought into the Azarah still in its stalks, as op-posed to other Menachos, which arrive in the form of fine flour, with the exception of the Lechem ha'Panim (on Shabbos) and the Sh'tei ha'Lechem (on Shavu'os), which are already knead-ed and shaped beforehand.


The Oznayim la'Torah attributes this to the fact that, as is well-known, barley is considered animal-fodder (and the rea-son that we bring a barley-offering is because when we came out of Egypt, which we commemorate on Pesach, we had not yet received the Torah and were therefore like animals.

Indeed, in keeping with the obligation to feed our animals before feeding our families, as the Torah writes "And I will give grass in your fields for your animals, and (then) you will eat", G-d causes barley (animal fodder) to ripen before wheat (hu-man food).

Consequently, we bring the Omer on Pesach to thank G-d for giving grass in the fields for the animals. Granted, the Omer is brought on the Mizbe'ach after it has been processed and turned into flour, but it comes to the Azarah in its stalks, as animal fodder, by 'animals', to thank Hashem for providing us with food for our animals.


In contrast, on Shavu'os, when we commemorate Matan To-rah, which transformed us into human-beings, we bring the Sh'tei ha'Lechem from wheat, which is human food, to thank G-d for our sustenance. Consequently, we bring it in the form of loaves - which is human food.


The Wave-Offering

"And he (the Kohen) shall wave the Omer" (23:11).

The Oznayim la'Torah points out that, in the current Par-shah, the Torah stresses the aspect of waving over and over again - "The Kohen shall wave it", "On the day that you wave the Omer", "the Omer of the wave-offering", to mention some of the places.

Clearly, the essence of the Mitzvah is not just bringing the Omer before Hashem, but waving it in all six directions, to acknowledge that He is Master of all four directions, and Heaven and earth, and that all our sustenance, from animal fodder to human food, comes from Him.


The Day after Shabbos

And he shall wave the Omer the day after Shabbos" (Ibid.)

As is well-known, the Tzedokim accept the written Torah the way it is written, and reject its oral interpretation. Conse-quently, interpreting "the day after Shabbos" literally, they would begin counting the Omer on Sunday, and that is the day on which according to their way of thinking, the Korban Omer had to be brought and on which Chadash became permitted.

The Gemara in Menachos, Daf 65, cites a variety of ways of refuting their opinion. Interestingly, the Oznayim la'Torah, cit-ing the Rambam, brings one of his own, based on the Torah's prohibition against eating Chadash "until this very day" and the Pasuk in Yehoshua (Yehoshua, 5) "And they ate from the produce of the land the day after Pesach, Matzos and parched ears of corn" (which was Chadash) - "the day after Pesach", the Torah says.

Now it is possible that Pesach that year, fell on Shabbos, But the fact that the Navi presents the day on which they it as "the day after Pesach" clearly indicates that the Omer is brought the day after Yom-Tov which the Torah refers to as Shabbos (and not necessarily on Sunday).

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