This issue is sponsored l'iluy Nishmos
Vol. 22 No. 28
Zehava Lurie a"h, Boris Glassman z"l, Shimmy Schwartz z"l,
Pauline & Issy Chernick z"l
From the Glassman, Schwartz, Chernick Families
of Jerusalem, Efrat, Netanya, Johannesburg,
Toronto, Perth, New York, Harare
Grown-Ups and Childrenp>
" … G-d said to Moshe 'Say (emor) to the Kohanim the sons of Aharon, and say (ve'omarto) to them that (t)he(y) shall not render himself (themselves) Tamei over a dead body' " (21:1).
The double expression "Emor" "ve'omarto", Rashi explains, comes to teach us that grown-ups are prohibited from assisting young Kohanim in making contact with a corpse.
The Ramban adds that we find the same prohibition in connection with the Isur of drinking blood and with that of eating Sheratzim (rodents), and he adds that in fact, it extends to all Isurim in the Torah.
On the other hand, he points out, based on the principle 'If Beis-Din (or anybody else) sees a child eating Neveilos, they are not obligated to stop him', with the possible exception of the child's father, whom Chazal issued with the Mitzvah of Chinuch (educating his children in the performance of Mitzvos).
Ha'Rav Chaval, in his notes on the Ramban, cites the Tur, who maintains that the latter leniency does not pertain to the current case, and that Beis-Din are obligated to prevent a minor Kohen from rendering himself Tamei Meis.
Notwithstanding the above Drashah, the Ramban, as he often tends to do, presents the simple interpretation of the double expression "Emor ve'omarto". Citing a number of precedents, he translates it as "Speak to the B'nei Yisrael and say to them, as if it had written "Daber ve'omarto", an expression that the Torah uses with reference to matters of great importance.
And he adds that according to many commentaries, "Speak to … " implies that Moshe should assemble them before addressing them.
"They shall be holy to their G-d …" (21:6).
Referring to his well-known explanation of the opening Pasuk in 'Kedoshim', the Ramban interprets the concept of being holy as 'withdrawing from mundane activities that are basically permitted'. Hence the Torah bids the Kohanim to refrain from Tum'as Meis and from marrying certain women, both of which are permitted to non-Kohanim. And he attributes this to the Kohanim's elevated status, which the Torah expresses when, in the Pasuk that we discussed earlier, it refers to Aharon and his sons by their title 'Kohanim'. This is something that it does not do when it speaks about Korbanos, where it refers to them exclusively by name "Aharon and his sons", without mentioning their title; this is because there the stress is on the status of the Korbanos and not on the people who are sacrificing them.
And it is based on the same context (of the superior status of the Kohanim) that the author deviates from Rashi's translation of Pasuk 4 "Lo yitamei ba'al be'amov le'heichalo". According to him, the Pasuk refers to the general prohibition pertaining to a Kohen against rendering himself Tamei Meis for anyone other than his closest relatives, and translates as "The master of his people (a Kohen) shall not make himself Tamei for a dead person, thereby defiling himself". In contrast, Rashi interprets the Pasuk with reference to a Kohen rendering himself Tamei for a wife whom he ought not to have married.
* * *
(Adapted from the Ramban)
The Festivals of Hashem
" … the festivals of Hashem (Mo'adei Hashem) which you shall call 'Holy convocations (Mikro'ei Kodesh)'; these are My festivals. Six days shall work be done … These are the festivals of Hashem …" (23: 2-4).
Rashi already teaches us that Shabbos is not included in the 'festivals of Hashem' when he asks 'What is Shabbos doing in the Parshah of the festivals?'
The Ramban too in his final explanation, agrees with Rashi in this point. And he explains that this is because, "Mo'adei Hashem" is confined to the festivals on which 'Ochel Nefesh' (work that entails preparation of food) is permitted, which is not of course the case on Shabbos. In fact, he explains, the Torah inserts Shabbos here, even though "These are My festivals" in Pasuk two, does not pertain to it but to the festivals mentioned later, starting with Pesach in Pasuk four, precisely to teach us that all work even Ochel Nefesh, is forbidden on Shabbos, even when Yom-Tov falls on it, because Simchas Yom-Tov does not override Shabbos.
And it is because Shabbos is not classified as a Yom-Tov that the Torah sees fit to begin Pasuk four with the words "These are the festivals of Hashem", repeating what it already wrote in Pasuk two, because it interrupted the Parshah of Mo'adim with Shabbos.
This is how the Ramban defines "Mikro'ei Kodesh": Days on which everyone is called to assemble to sanctify them. It is a Mitzvah incumbent upon Yisrael to gather in the House of G-d on a festival to sanctify it publicly with Tefilah and praises to G-d, with nice clean clothes and to make it a day of festivity, with food and drink - as the Pasuk writes in Nechemyah (8:10) "Go eat rich foods, drink sweet drinks, and send gifts to those who have nothing prepared; do not be sad … for the joy of Hashem is your strength!".
* * *
In Parshah Pearls, Parshas Tzav, we wrote that the Torah men-tions only the two garments (the shirt and the pants) because of the two Dinim that it wants to add - that do not apply to the other two Bigdei Kehunah (the hat and the belt). 1). That they should be exactly the right size of the Kohen and 2). That nothing may interrupt between the garment and the Kohen's body.
This is correct with regard to the first statement, as the 'size' did not pertain to the Kohen's belt and hat, which was a form of turban that was wound around his head, as the Ramban ex-plains.
It is not correct with regard to an interruption between them and the flesh, which invalidated the Avodah no less than an in-terruption between the shirt or the pants and the flesh - a ruling with which the Ramban concurs.
* * *