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

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Vol. 15   No. 21

This issue is sponsored
in memory of the 11th Yahrzeit of
Amram Hillel Feldman
Amram Hillel z"l ben HaRav Menachem
by his loving family.
ϊδι πτωε φψεψδ αφψεψ δηιιν

Parshas Ki Sissa

The Ultimate Reward

When Moshe asked Hashem to show him His glory, says the K'li Yakar citing the Yalkut Shimoni, he wanted to catch a glimpse of the reward that is reserved for the fulfillment of Mitzvos in the World to Come. This is referred to as 'Kavod', as the Pasuk says in Mishlei "Kovod Chachamim yincholu" (They will inherit the Kavod of the wise).

To which G-d replied "I will pass all of My goodness before you", with reference to the reward for Mitzvos in Olom ha'Zeh, but as far as the reward in Olam ha'Bo is concerned, this is not conceivable to a person as long as he is in human form. The Pasuk refers to the reward in the World to Come as Hashem's Face, and the reward in this world, His Back. That is why the Pasuk goes on to inform us how, even as these visions would pass before Moshe, G-d would place His Hand (Kevayachol) in the crack, so that he would not see His Face, but that He would remove it after He had passed, enabling Moshe to see His Back. The Gemara in B'rachos (7a) equates what Moshe saw with the knot of Hashem's Tefilin.

The K'li Yakar explains that just as the back of a person is secondary to his front, so too is any reward that one receives in this world secondary to the reward in Olam ha'Bo, where Tzadikim behold the Face of the Shechinah, a pleasure indescribable in human terms (as the Pasuk in Yeshayah [64:3] teaches us).


Elaborating on the Mashal of Tefilin, he refers to the Name 'Shakay' that appears on the Tefilin, 'Shin' in the front of the Tefilin shel Rosh, 'Yud' on the Tefilin shel Yad, and 'Daled' at the back of the Tefilin shel Rosh. He points out that the letters 'Shin' & 'Yud' (which spell 'Yesh') appear in front of the Tefilin, whilst the 'Daled' appears at the back. Most appropriate, he says, since 'Yesh' hints at the reward in the World to Come, as the Pasuk says in Mishlei (8:21) "lehanchil ohavai yesh" (see also last Mishnah in Uktzin), and the 'Daled', at the reward in this world (which encompasses the four directions), as the Torah writes in Vayeitzei (28:14) "And you shall spread out westwards and eastwards, northwards and southwards".

And so G-d told Moshe (Va'eschanan 3:27) "Ascend to the top of the cliff and raise your eyes westwards and eastwards … "; a hint that his sight was restricted to this world. And this concept is repeated when Chazal comment on the Pasuk in Ve'zos Habrachah (34:1) " … and Hashem showed him the entire land until the last sea", which the Sifri interprets as 'the last day' … i.e. the day of Techi'as ha'Meisim - which Hashem did not show him.


And this is also the basis of the large 'Ayin' and the large 'Daled' in the Pasuk of Sh'ma Yisrael, implying that with one's eye, one can only see the 'Daled', representing the reward in this world, but not the reward in the next.


The idea that the back is secondary whilst the front is the mainstay is also inherent in the Gemara in Eiruvin, where Rebbi informs us that what made him sharper than all his peers was the fact that he had seen R. Meir from the back, and that had he seen him from the front, he would have been sharper still. What he meant was, explains the K'li Yakar, that he only merited learning from him secondary concepts, that people tend to cast behind them, but that had he merited to learn from him major issues, he would have reached higher levels still.


The Medrash relates how, when the Shechinah appeared at the Yam-Suf, even the feeding babies abruptly left their mother's milk and pointing a finger towards the Shechinah, cried out "Zeh Keili ve'anveihu!"

Yes, they recognized the Shechinah from when they were born, when their mothers were forced to abandon them in the fields, and Hashem Himself lovingly fed them with milk and anointed them with oil (a unique experience suited to a unique situation).

Chazal use the Mashal of a baby feeding at its mother's breast as the supreme example of the pleasures of this world. Yet the innocent babies clearly considered seeing the Shechinah an experience that far outweighs any pleasurable experience that this world has to offer. And Chazal have taught us that Tzadikim in the World to Come will sit … and derive pleasure from the Presence of the Shechinah. As we explained earlier, as we are in this world, we cannot possibly conceive the true meaning of reward in the World to Come. We can however, take our cue from the babies at K'riy'as Yam-Suf, and absorb the fact that the minimal reward there exceeds by far, any reward that we could possibly hope for in this world.

* * *

Parsha Pearls
(Adapted from the Rosh and the Da'as Zekeinum M.T.)

An Extra Soul

"U'va'yom ha'shevi'i shovas va'yinofash" (and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed [31:17]).

Take the last letters of these four words, the Rosh observes, and they spell 'sh'tayim' (two), hinting at the Neshamah yeseirah (the extra Neshamah) with which one is blessed on Shabbos.


Yisrael Meant Well

"Arise and make for us a god/a judge, who will go before us" (32:1).

Their intention was not to worship idols, chalilah, says the Rosh, but for a judge to judge them in place of Moshe Rabeinu, who had not returned from his journey to heaven and whom they presumed dead. Indeed, that is what they implied when they said "for this man Moshe who took us out of Egypt, we do not know what happened to him!"

It that case, when David Hamelech said in Tehilim "And they swapped their honour for a form of an ox eating grass", he was referring to the replacement of Moshe, through whom Hashem had performed so many miracles, and whom they had now replaced with a grass-eating ox.

And when the Pasuk says later (Pasuk 8) "And they prostrated themselves before it", it is referring to a gesture of honour, and not to one of worship.


Aharon Meant Well Too

"Take off your golden nose-rings which are on the ears of your wives … " (32:2).

And if Yisrael meant well, Aharon certainly did. The Rosh describes Aharon's reasoning: 'If I tell them that Kaleiv or Nachshon will take over as leader and judge', he mused, 'then upon Moshe's return, they will depose their new leader and reinstate Moshe, and that will only result in Machlokes and bloodshed. If on the other hand, I refuse to appoint a new leader, then they will appoint one themselves, and the consequences will be even worse. And if I myself take over, then Moshe will probably take offense'.

So he decided to put them off with issues that were meaningless. He told them to bring their wives' earrings, knowing that their righteous women would not readily agree (as Rashi explains), hoping that in the meantime, Moshe would return. But as we know, he erred a. in that, like the people, he did not realize that Moshe would only return the following day, as Rashi explains, and b. in that the Satan would step in and take over.

That is why, even his efforts to delay further by carving on the gold were to no avail, as Rashi explains.

Alternatively, as the Zohar explains, he did not realize that he was up against the witchcraft of the Eirev Rav.


Moshe Blesses Levi & Reuven

"And Moshe said 'Dedicate yourselves this day … that he may bestow upon you a blessing this day" (32:29).

Here we see that Moshe bestowed a blessing upon the tribe of Levi, even though Ya'akov did not.

And what's more, he later did the same for the tribe of Reuven, because they kept their word and crossed over the Yardein armed before the rest of Yisrael (Da'as Zekeinim M.T.).


Yisrael's Crowns

"And now remove your jewelry from on you … " (33:5).

The jewelry mentioned here pertains to the two crowns (one for 'Na'aseh' and one for 'Nishma') that they received at Har Sinai.

But the previous Pasuk has already taught us that they had already removed the crowns of their own accord, asks the Da'as Zekeinim mi'Ba'alei Tosfos? So what does this Pasuk come to add?

In the previous Pasuk, they explain, the people removed their crowns temporarily, with the intention of putting them back on, when Hashem's initial anger abated. That is why Hashem had to tell them that they had lost their rights to the crowns permanently, and that they were not to place them on their heads again.

(See also 'Moshe's Rays of Sunlight' [34:29]).


Don't Do it Again!

"Do not make for yourself a molten image … Observe the festival of Matzos" (34:17/18).

Yisrael had just committed the sin of the Golden Calf, and in the process, of initiating a Yom-Tov in its honour.

Consequently, G-d warns them here a. not to make any molten images and b. to adhere to the Chagim that He commands them, and not to instigate their own (Da'as Zekeinim M.T.).


Why Nobody Will Attack Your Land

"When I drive out the nations from before you, and I will widen your borders, nobody will desire your land when you go up to be seen by Hashem your G-d three times a year " (34:24).

Do you know why they will not want your land, asks the Rosh? Because they will say that if their G-d took away the land that they were living in and gave it to Yisrael, what chance do they have that He will allow them to take it back, as long as Yisrael continue to perform His Mitzvos by going to Yerushalayim on the three festivals?


The Land that was not Promised to Avraham

" … and I will widen your borders … " (Ibid.)

The Pasuk is referring, says the Rosh, to the land of Sichon and Og, which was not promised to Avraham (and which, it appears, they would not have received yet if Reuven and Gad had not specifically asked for it).


Moshe's Rays of Sunlight

" … and Moshe did not know that the skin of his face shone when He spoke with Him" (34:29).

It is because they wanted to appoint a leader in his place, that G-d showed them that there was no leader on earth that could compare to him, says the Rosh.

Others say that he merited the shining face from his habit of wiping the Kulmus (the Sofer's pen) with which he wrote the Seifer-Torah, on his hair. That is why, he explains, the Sofrim have the Minhag of wiping the Kulmus clean on their hair.


The Da'as Zekeinim M.T., citing the Gemara in Shabbos (88a), explains that the shine on Moshe's face comprised the crowns that Yisrael had removed a short while earlier, as a result of the sin of the Eigel ha'Zahav (see 'Yisrael's Crowns' [33:5]).

* * *


"And he took the calf that they had made, burned it in fire and ground it into dust. Then he scattered it on the surface of the water of the brook and gave it to Yisrael to drink. And whoever donated any vessel of gold developed a sign on his face" (32:20).


" And Aharon said 'Let my master not be angry. You know that the people are the sons of Tzadikim, and it is only their Yeitzer ha'Ra that misleads them' " (32:22).


"And they said to me 'Make us a god that will go before us, for this Moshe, the man who took us out of Egypt, went up the mountain in a flame of fire, and we do not know what happened to him in the end' " (32:23).


"And I said to them 'Who has gold?' They took off (their rings) and gave them to me. I threw them in the fire; but the Satan was there too, and this image of a calf emerged" (32:24).


" … Moshe saw that the people were exposed, because through Aharon the holy crowns were removed from their heads, the crowns on which there was clearly engraved the Great and Precious Name of Hashem; and they now acquired a bad name among the nations of the world, a bad name that they acquired for all their generations" (32:25).


"And say to them 'So says Hashem, the G-d of Yisrael - Whoever worshipped the god of the nations will be killed by the sword, and now, go back and forth from the gate of Sanhedrin to the gate of Beis-Din in the camp, pray that Hashem should forgive you this sin, and punish the wicked people who worshipped Avodah-Zarah, and kill them, even if it means killing one's own brother (see Rashi), friend or relative" (32:27).


" … the B'nei Levi did like the word of Moshe, and there fell on that day, from those who had a sign on their face, three thousand men" (32:28).


"And Moshe said 'Bring your sacrifice (to atone) on the murder that you perpetrated, and it will be atoned for you from before G-d, for you killed your own sons and brothers, to bring upon yourselves a blessing" (32:29).

* * *

(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 109:
Not To Duplicate the Ingredients of the Anointing-Oil

It is forbidden to duplicate the formula of the anointing oil, as the Torah writes in Ki Sissa (30:32) " … and you shall not duplicate its formula".

A reason for the Mitzvah the author already discussed in the prohibition of anointing oneself with it (Mitzvah 108). Concerning the Mitzvah … The Gemara in K'riysus (5b) teaches us that the only anointing oil ever made was the one that Moshe manufactured in the Desert. Furthermore they informed us that a miracle occurred in connection with it, and that it remained fully intact for when Mashi'ach comes. And as for what they used for anointing the Mishkan and all its vessels, the Divine blessing complemented … One is only Chayav if one duplicates the same amounts as the ingredients that formed the anointing oil of Moshe Rabeinu, as is inherent in the Torah's words "u've'maskunto lo sa'asu", which means 'the amount of its ingredients' … and the remaining details, are discussed in the first chapter of K'riysus.

This Mitzvah applies everywhere and at all times to both men and women. Anyone who contravenes it and duplicates it be'Meizid, is Chayav Kareis; be'Shogeg, is Chayav to bring a Chatas.


Mitzvah 110:
Not to Duplicate the Ketores

It is forbidden to duplicate the formula of the Ketores; in other words, one may not mix the same ingredients of the Ketores to the same proportions, with the intention of burning it for one's own use, as the Torah writes in Ki Sissa (30:37/38) "According to its proportion you shall not manufacture for yourselves … Whoever makes a duplicate of it to smell … "; in other words, the Torah prohibits duplicating the Ketores with the intention of smelling it.

A reason for the Mitzvah the author already discussed in the prohibition of anointing oneself with the Anointing Oil (Mitzvah 108).

Some Dinim of the Mitzvah … The Gemara in K'riysus (5a) teaches us that someone who duplicates the Ketores in order to teach the way it is manufactured (for use in the Beis-Hamikdash) or in order to sell it to the community, is Patur … and that someone who manufactures even part of the total amount of the original Ketores is Chayav, provided he makes up the ingredients according to the same proportions … The Chachamim also said that in the time of the Beis-Hamikdash it was manufactured annually, and that if any of its prescribed ingredients are omitted, the manufacturer is Chayav Miysah … and all its other details are discussed in the first chapter of K'riysus (and in the Rambam, in Hilchos K'lei Mikdash, chapter 12).

This Mitzvah applies everywhere and at all times to both men and women. Anyone who contravenes it and duplicates the equivalent proportion of its ingredients with the intention of smelling it be'Meizid, is Chayav Kareis; be'Shogeg, is Chayav to bring a Chatas. But somebody who smells it without having manufactured it, is not Chayav Kareis. In fact, he is no different than anyone else who benefits from Hekdesh (who has transgressed the laws of Me'ilah).

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