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

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Vol. 10   No. 30

Parshas Kedoshim

Lo Sochlu al ha'Dam
(The Many-faceted Mitzvah)

The Gemara in Sanhedrin (63a) actually interprets the Pasuk "Lo sochlu al ha'Dam" (24:26) in no less than six different ways, all of them Halachah le'Ma'aseh.

Rashi cites two of these interpretations, the first, that one is forbidden to eat the meat of Kodshim before the blood has been sprinkled on the Mizbei'ach, which is also how Targum Yonasan explains the Pasuk.

The I'bn Ezra offers a similar explanation, only, in order to explain the juxtaposition of this Pasuk to the prohibition of eating the fruit of a tree before having brought some of the fruit to Hashem (Neta Revai), he deviates slightly from the Gemara's interpretation. In similar vein to Neta Revai, he explains, it is forbidden to eat the meat of an animal before having sprinkled the blood on the Mizbei'ach. As he himself writes, he is referring to someone who lives close the 'Makom ha'Kodesh' (Shiloh or Yerushalayim, depending on the period). The Torah, after all (in Parshas Re'ei), only permits eating meat, because it did not expect people who live far from Yerushalayim (once the Beis-Hamikdash was built) to travel all the way to Yerushalayim each time they wanted to eat meat. Therefore it clarifies here, that the concession to eat meat without bringing it as a Korban, which according to some opinions, came into effect only after they entered Eretz Yisrael, was confined to those who lived far from Yerushalayim. As far as those who lived close by were concerned, the prohibition remained in full force.


The Gemara also derives from this Pasuk -

that one may not eat from an animal before its soul has departed (based on the fact that the living soul of an animal lies in its blood). Rashi comments in Chulin (121b) that this interpretation of the Pasuk is merely an Asmachta (giving it the status of a de'Rabbanan), and presumably, the subsequent explanations are, too;

that one does not provide a Se'udas Havro'oh (the first meal after the burial) to the family of someone who was killed at the hand of Beis-Din (Rebbi Dosa);

that the Sanhedrin who sentence someone to death, are not allowed to eat all day (Rebbi Akiva);

that a twelve-year old boy should not eat in such a way that leads to his own death. This means that he should not eat large quantities of raw meat and drink large measures of undiluted wine, as these are some of the specifications that describe a ben Sorer u'Moreh (Rebbi Yochanan).

Before presenting Chazal's final interpretation, there is an additional explanation of the Rambam. He defines the Isur as that of arranging blood orgies together with demons in order to discover the future (see Parshah Pearls in last week's issue 'The Mitzvah of Kisuy ha'Dam').


Finally, Chazal learn from this Pasuk the prohibition of eating before one has Davened for one's life (which is synonymous with blood, seeing as the soul of life lies in the blood, as we explained earlier). And this is the second reason cited by Rashi. As a matter of fact, it is the only interpretation that applies practically nowadays. That makes it even more difficult to understand why many people treat what is after all, at least an Asmachta (which has a higher status than a pure de'Rabbanan), and maybe even an Isur min ha'Torah, with contempt, on the pretext that they are too weak to Daven on an empty stomach.

To be sure, a sick person and someone who is too weak to concentrate, are permitted to eat before Davening, and so too are non-alcoholic drinks permitted (such as water, tea and coffee, under certain circumstances). Yet it is inconceivable to make a principle of something which the Torah forbids, particularly when we consider what Chazal comment on the Pasuk in Melachim 1,14:9, "And Me you cast after your bodies!". G-d is complaining here precisely about people who boost their own ego by placing their own interests before His honour.

Parshah Pearls
(Adapted from the Ba'al ha'Turim and the Ma'ayanah shel Torah)

Hashem's Edge

"You shall be holy" (19:2).

'Perhaps you may think, holy like Me! Therefore the Torah writes "because I am holy, My sanctity is superior to yours' (says Hashem).

Interestingly, "Kedoshim tiheyu" is written without a 'Vav', whilst "ki Kadosh Ani ... " is written with one, a clear hint that Hashem's sanctity is complete, whereas ours is lacking.

The Orach le'Chayim explains the difference like this: A human being can only attain a level of sanctity once he abstains from Tum'ah as well as from sin. Indeed, Chazal list 'P'rishus' (abstention) as a prerequisite to Kedushah. Moreover, Rashi here, equates the two.

Hashem is different. He is even able to dwell among Yisrael when they are Tamei (see Acharei-Mos 16:16), and is totally unaffected by it.

In similar vein, the Arizal explains what we say in the Hagadah ' ''And I will pass through the land of Egypt", I and not an angel'.

The Tum'ah in Egypt was so powerful, he explains, that even angels would have been affected by it (and we have a precedent for this with Shamchaza'i and Aza'el at the time of the flood - see Targum Yonason Bereishis 6:4). Hashem, and Hashem alone, who is described as a 'fire that consumes fire', and whose Kedushah is the highest and the deepest of all Kedushos, was able to enter Mitzrayim without being the least affected by its Tum'ah.

Bear in mind also, that Hashem's Kedushah is triple, as we say in Kedushah "Kodosh, Kodosh, Kodosh Hashem Tzevo'kos ... ", adding another dimension to G-d's sanctity over and above our own.


Kedushah and the Community

"Kedoshim Tiheyu ... "

This Mitzvah was said communally, explains Rashi.

The Torah does not believe in the concept of living a holy life hermit style, says the Toras Moshe. Quite to the contrary, G-d deliberately instructed Moshe to assemble Yisrael before telling them "Kedoshim Tiheyu" . In this way, the message would be clearly spelt out, that Kedushah comes by living together with others in a holy manner, by being 'Porush' from worldly matters, but not 'Porush' from the community.

Perhaps one can go one step further, and add that it is only a person who strives to serve Hashem together with the community who is able to become a Kadosh.

The Alshich however, citing the Binyan Ariel, learns exactly the opposite. A communal gathering such as this, including men, women and children, he explains, often leads to lightheadedness and frivolity. Again, he says, there is a precedent for this, in the women's gallery that Chazal instituted in the Beis-Hamikdash during the Simchas beis Hasho'eivah on Succos (and which the Gemara refers to as a major Takanah). Consequently, he says, it is specifically when Yisrael were gathered together, to teach them the vast cross-section of Mitzvos contained in this Parshah, that Hashem found it necessary to warn them to make special safeguards against sinning.


Not Only a Child!

"A man shall fear (respect) his father" (19:3).

It is not only a child who constantly needs his parents, who is obligated to honor and fear his parents. Even when he is a man (who is perhaps married and has children of his own, and) who no longer has much direct contact with his parents, his obligation to honour and respect them remains unchanged.


A Wage Dispute

"Do not hold back your friend's wages and do not steal. Do not let your employee's wages remain with you overnight" (19:13).

Should a dispute arise between an employer and an employee as to whether the former paid the latter or not, then the Din is - on the day that he completes his work, the employee is believed that he has not yet been paid, provided he substantiates his claim with an oath. By the next day, however, he no longer has this right. From then on, it is the employer who is believed when he claims that he has paid.

That is why the Torah warns the employer not to hold back his employee's wages and the employee not to steal (by claiming a second time on the same day, when he is still believed). It then adds a warning to the employer not to hold his employee's wages overnight (even if he thinks that he paid him) to deprive him of his right to claim and win the case.


Incorporating Everything

"And you shall love your friend like yourself" (19:18).

'Whatever you do not like, don't do to somebody else. This is the entire Torah; the rest is but explanation. Go and learn!', Hillel told the potential convert, in Shabbos (31a).

How could Hillel consider this Mitzvah the entire Torah? As important as it is, there are, after all, another six hundred and twelve Mitzvos?

The Yam ha'Talmud, in the name of his father, explains that if a person would really observe this Mitzvah to the full, he would never sin. Why is that? Because whenever a person sins, innocent people, who derive no benefit from his sin, stand to suffer a substantial loss (due to the principle that all Jews are responsible for one another).

Now he would certainly not like to suffer for the sins performed by others, where he stands to gain nothing. Consequently, he would make sure that he refrains from sinning in order that others should have to suffer for his sins.

How right Hillel therefore was when he said to the gentile that this mitzvah incorporates the entire Torah.


Eretz Yisrael Lacks Nothing

"And when you come to the Land, and plant all (kinds of) fruit-trees [kol eitz ma'achal])" 19:23.

These three words, explains the Ba'al ha'Turim, have the same numerical value as 'zehu pilpelin' (this is pepper).

Indeed, the Gemara in B'rachos (36b) infers from these very words, that the Pasuk is coming to incorporate in the laws of Orlah, a fruit which tastes like the tree, and that this is a pepper. To demonstrate, the Gemara concludes, that Eretz Yisrael lacks nothing, because even pepper grows there.


Never on a Shabbos

"Observe My Shabbosos and fear My Mikdash ... Do not turn to Ov and Yid'oni (two specific kinds of magicians)" 19:30/31.

The Torah places Ov and Yid'oni next to Shabbos, the Ba'al ha'Turim observes, because it is a fact that someone who consults either of them on Shabbos, will not receive an answer.

The Ba'al ha'Turim's vort will fit even more smoothly if Ov and Yid'oni will not answer in the Beis-Hamikdash either.


That Reward is Different

"And honour a Talmid-Chacham, and fear your G-d" (19:32).

The Medrash explains that someone who honours Talmidei-Chachamim will be rewarded with Yir'as-Shamayim (a slight twist from the simple explanation of our Pasuk).

The Gemara (B'rachos 28) tells the story of Rebbi Zeira, who feeling a little weak, once sat outside the Beis-Hamedrash, with the intention of standing up whenever a Talmid-Chacham would pass. For, he figured, he would receive a substantial reward.

The question arises however, in light of the Mishnah in Pirkei Avos, which warns against performing Mitzvos for the reward, how he could do this?

A certain Gadol however, pointed out that the reward in this case, was Yir'as Shamayim, one reward towards which one is certainly permitted to work.



History of the World (Parshas Tazri'a), should have begun with

'From Hillel (3728) to Hillel (4118)'.

We apologize for the error.



The Amidah
(based mainly on the Siddur "Otzar ha'Tefillos")

Ya'aleh ve'Yovo' (cont.)

Ya'aleh ve'Yovo ...

The Iyun Tefilah, based on the Machzor Vitri, equates the eight 'Z'chiros (from 'ya'aleh' to 've'yipakeid') on the eight major rememberances that a Jew needs to bear in mind in order to strengthen his faith in G-d -

'Ya'aleh' corresponds to Yerushalayim,
've'yovo', to Mashi'ach,
've'yagi'a' to Techi'as ha'Meisim, and ...
've'yei'ra'eh' to the Akeidas Yitzchak.
've'yeiratzei' corresponds tothe 'Korbanos',
've'yishama' to Torah-study,
've'yipakeid' to the redemption from Egypt, and
've'yizocher' to the first covenant that Hashem made with Yisrael.


le'Tovoh, le'Chein, u'le'Chesed ...
for mercy, for life and for peace ...

Six things are mentioned here, says the Eitz Yosef quoting the G'ro. They correspond to the six b'rochos in 'Sim Shalom' - 'a love of chesed, tzedakah, b'rachah, mercy, life and peace'. And these in turn, correspond to the six B'rachos in Birchas Kohanim
'Sholom' coresponds to "ve'yosem lecho Shalom",
'tovoh' to "yo'er Hashem" (as the Pasuk writes in Bereishis "va'Yar Elokim es ho'or ki tov"),
'B'rachah' to "Yevorech'cho Hashem".
'chein' corresponds to "vi'yechuneka",
'chesed' to "ve'yishmerecho" (as the Pasuk writes at the beginning of Eikev "ve'Shomar Hashem ... lecho es ha'chesed"), and 'rachamim' to "yiso Hashem Panav eilecha" (because He favours us with His Divine mercy).


(Adapted from the Rambam Ma'aseh ha'Korbanos Chapter 13)

The Korban Minchah
(Part 4)

28. This is how the Korban Minchah was brought.

The owner would bring the flour from home in a basket made of silver or gold, or of any other metal that was fit to be used as a 'K'li Shareis.' If it was a Minchas So'les, then he would place it in a 'K'li Shareis' and sanctify it there. Whereas if it was one of the Menachos that were baked, he would bake it there in the Azarah and break it up, in the way that we explained earlier. Then he would place the pieces in a K'li Shareis, add its quota of oil and Levonah (frankincense) and take it to the Kohen.


29. The Kohen in turn, would take the Minchah to the south-western corner of the Mizbei'ach to the spot directly underneath the Keren.

He would then move all the Levonah to one spot, and perform the Kemitzah from an area where there was a lot of oil, as the Torah writes "from its flour and its oil". He would place the Kometz into a K'li Shareis and, after gathering all the Levonah, which he placed on top of the Kometz inside the vessel, he would take it up onto the Mizbei'ach, salt it, and pour it on to the fire.


30. The Minchah of a Kohen did not require Kemitzah. After salting, it was poured on the Mizbei'ach in its entirety.


31. This is how the Kemitzah was performed.

The Kohen stretched his fingers to cover the entire palm of his hand and performed the Kemitzah (palm upwards). In the event that he performed the Kemitzah with the tips of his fingers or from the side (palms downward on top of the flour, or from the side of the vessel and not the middle), he would not burn it on the Mizbei'ach. If he did however, the Minchah was kosher. If on the other hand, he added to the Kometz, by parting his fingers when performing the Kemitzah, it was Pasul (and had to be burned in the Azarah).


32. A Kometz may not comprise less than two ke'Zeisim (olive-volumes). If even one small part of the Kometz is not brought on the Mizbei'ach, the Minchah is Pasul. In the same way, the Kometz and the Levonah prevent each other from being effective, as do the flour and the oil, and even a small quantity of the remainder of the oil.


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