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

For sponsorships and advertising opportunities, send e-mail to:

Back to This Week's Parsha Previous Issues

subscribe.gif (2332 bytes)

Vol. 17   No. 32

This issue is sponsored jointly
l'iluy Nishmas
R' Alecsander Ziskind ben R' Aharon Baruch z"l
whose second Yohrzeit is on 13 Sivan
by his son.
with thanks to Hashem for the recovery of
HaRav Dovid Chanoch Yitzchak ben Esther n"y
May he continue to go me'chayil l'chayil.
From his parents
Rabbi Chaim and Mrs. Wilschanski n"y

Parshas Noso

Measure for Measure
(Adapted from Rabeinu Bachye)

Based on the Pasuk in Yeshayah (27:8) "be'Sa'sah be'shalchoh terivenah", the Gemara in Sotah learns that G-d always punishes those who sin - measure for measure ('Sa'ah be'sa'ah'). That is why, citing a B'raysa, R. Bachye explains that nowadays, when there is no Sanhedrin and the death sentence (Miysas Beis-Din) cannot be enforced, G-d nevertheless ensures that the Din of Miysas Beis-Din continues to function. He sees to it that someone who commits a sin for which he is due to receive

s'kilah (stoning), either falls from a roof or is knocked down and killed by a wild animal.

s'reifah (burning), is either burned to death or bitten by a snake.

hereg (death by the sword), is either sentenced to death by a law-court and beheaded or killed by armed robbers.

Chenek (strangulation), either drowns or chokes to death.


And so it is by a Sotah, R. Bachye explains, who is suspected of having an affair with another man. She

gave her lover good-quality wine in expensive goblets, so the Kohen makes her drink bitter water in an earthenware cup.

stood at the entrance of her house, awaiting his arrival - the Kohen makes her stand at the Nikanor Gate (the entrance to the Azarah), and shames her in public.

wore a beautiful head-covering to please her lover - the Kohen uncovers her hair.

put on make-up to look attractive - after she has drunk the water, her face turns yellow.

painted her eyes - so her eyes bulge out of their sockets.

served her lover the most delicious foods/snacks - her Korban consists of animal food - barley, instead of the more common wheat.

met with her lover clandestinely - Hakadosh-Baruch-Hu makes sure that her deeds become publicized. And so the Pasuk writes in Mishlei (26:26) "If someone covers his hateful deeds with darkness, his wickedness will be revealed to the congregation".


Finally, R, Bachye gives another reason for the water being served to her in an earthenware cup, rather than in a glass one. The latter, he explains, can be repaired should it break, whereas the former cannot. And a woman who commits adultery with another man is as if she has worshipped idols, inasmuch as she is serving two masters at the same time. Indeed, that is why, based on the Pasuk "and the woman shall say 'Amein, Amein'", which Chazal explain to mean 'Amein from this man, Amein from another man'. Basically, this refers to what is commonly known as 'Gilgul Shevu'ah', which means that (in the event that she is guilty) she accepts upon herself the ensuing curse, even if she committed adultery with another man, and not with the one about whom her husband specifically warned her. But taken at a deeper level, the other man refers to Hashem, since, as we just explained, disloyalty to one's husband is akin to disloyalty to one's Master in Heaven (i.e. worshipping idols).

And so, like an earthenware vessel, she cannot be repaired; she will perish from this world and she will not get up with the husband to whom she was disloyal, in the World to Come.

* * *

(Cont. from the Shavu'os Supplement)

The question arises as to whether the Isur of Chadash that pertains to bringing Korbanos from the new crops before the Sh'tei ha'lechem have been brought, is an extention of the Isur Chadash that pertains to a Hedyot before the bringing of the Omer, or whether it is a new, independent Isur. You may well think, the author quips, that this is a 'Yeshivishe Chakirah' posed by the 'recent Acharonim'. But it is not. It is the Rashba in Menachos who poses the She'eilah, and who uses it to explain a Machlokes Tana'im (in connection with the Dinim of Chadash).


The Gemara in Menachos 68b, cites R. Tarfon, who was troubled by the apparent contradiction between, on the one hand, the Halachah that a Korban Minchah brought from the new crops before the Omer is Pasul Bedi'eved, whereas, on the other, the same Korban Minchah that is brought prior to the Sh'tei ha'Lechem is Kasher (even though Lechatchilah, it is forbidden, like Chulin before the Omer).

Yehudah bar Nechemyah resolved the contradiction by ascribing the two contradictory rulings to the fact that whereas before the Omer, Chadash has no heter whatsoever, before the Sh'tei ha'lechem it has already become permitted to a Hedyot (an ordinary person). When R. Tarfon remained silent, Yehudah ben Nechemyah assumed that he had accepted his answer, and his face shone at the prospect of having answered a question that stymied the great R. Tarfon.


The Mo'adim ba'Halachah points out however, that this is not the case, and he cites the Rashba, who attributes R. Tarfon's silence to the fact that he disagreed entirely with R. Yehudah ben Nechemyah's reasoning.

In fact, he explains, the latter maintained that the Isur Chadash pertaining to Kodshim that remains in place until the Sh'tei ha'Lechem have been brought, is the same Isur Chadash that pertained both to Chulin and to Kodshim until the bringing of the Omer, and that became permitted vis-?-vis Chulin with the bringing of the Omer, but which remained forbidden vis-?-vis Kodshim until the Sh'tei ha'lechem had been brought. To resolve R. Tarfon's problem, he therefore points to the fact that the part of the Isur pertaining to Chulin has become permitted by the time they bring the Sh'tei ha'lechem, as a result of which the Isur that remains vis-?-vis Kodshim has become less severe, and the Korban is therefore Kasher Bedi'eved.


R. Tarfon however maintains that the Isur Chadash pertaining to Kodshim is an entirely independent Isur which lasts until the bringing of Sh'tei ha'Lechem, and has nothing to do with the Isur Chadash on Chulin that was lifted with the bringing of the Omer. He therefore wonders why the Isur on Kodshim is more lenient that the Isur Chadash on Chulin (bearing in mind that it is after all, an Isur Chadash just like it is); why the former is permitted Bedi'eved, whilst the latter is forbidden. Perhaps he is surprised that the Isur Chadash on Chulin is more stringent than the Isur Chadash on Hekdesh, and not vice-versa, as is normally the case.

* * *

Parshah Pearls
(Adapted mainly from Rabeinu Bachye)

The Three Camps

" and they shall send out of the camp whoever has Tzara'as, every Zav and every Tamei meis" (5:2).

Rashi describes the three camps in the Desert.

Once the Beis ha'Mikdash was built however, the Machaneh Shechinah incorporated the area between (and including) the Ezras Yisrael and the Kodesh Kodoshim; the Machaneh Leviyah, the area between (and including) the Har ha'Bayis (the Temple Mount), and the Ezras Nashim; Whereas the Machaneh Yisrael began with the area behind the Har ha'Bayis and stretched back up to the walls of Yerushalayim.


The Rambam explains that a Metzora (both a Muchlat and a Musgar) exclusively are obligated to leave Machaneh Yisrael, because he is unique in that he is Metamei be'bi'ah (when he enters a house), which a Zav and a Zavah are not.

Zavin and Zavos (incorporating a Ba'al Keri), Nidos and Yoldos have to leave both the Machaneh Shechinah and the Machaneh Leviyah, because they are Metamei be'Mishkav and be'Moshav (on what they sit or lie); whereas a Tamei Meis (and even a corpse itself), which is not, only needs to leave the Machaneh Shechinah - min ha'Torah, and the area up to the Cheil (see Mishnah Keilim, Perek 1, Mishnah 8 [and presumably, the same applies to a Tamei Sheretz and a Tamei Neveilah]).


Provided the Husband is Innocent

" the man is free from sin, and that woman shall bear her sin" (6:5).

See Rashi.


Citing the Gemara in Sotah (16b), R. Bachye interprets the Pasuk to mean that the water will only take effect on the woman if her husband is free from sin. Basically this means that he was not intimate with her from the time that he first warned her against secluding herself with the man whom he suspected was having an affair with her. Others explain (see footnote), that it incorporates a man who at any time in the past, had relations with a woman who was forbidden to him, even with 'his betrothed in his father-in-law's house' (which is only an Isur de'Rabbanan). Likewise, it incorporates a case where his wife is currently forbidden to him via a La'av or even just an Asei. In such a case, she is not treated as a Sotah, even if she secluded herself with another man, after her husband warned her not to. He merely gives her a Get and sends her away without paying her Kesubah.


A Nazir

"A man or a woman who expressly utters (ki yafli) a Nazarite vow " (6:2).

Elaborating on the deeper meaning behind the Mitzvos of a Nazir, R. Bachye explains that wine leads to the forbidden pleasures of life, and that disassociating oneself from it enables a person to avoid them. Likewise, letting one's hair grow long creates worries; it represents something excessive and makes him look ugly. Consequently, it results in a person making himself humble before His Creator, thereby keeping himself away from excessive pleasures.

And in this sense, the Torah uses the word "yafli" (from the word 'pele' [wonder]), because for a person to swim against the tide and to actually take steps to limit the pleasures of life which most people pursue is indeed wondrous.

As for the word 'Nazir', it has dual connotations of 'separating' (see Emor 22:2) and a crown ('neizer'). As opposed to the rest of the world, who, as we just explained, pursue the pleasures of life, he is considered a king who rules over his desires, limiting his moments of pleasure to those that he needs in serving G-d.


The Korban of a Nazir Who Became Tamei

" And if someone dies on him suddenly (be'fesa pis'om) then on the eighth day, he shall bring two pigeons " (6:9/10).

Commenting on the double expression "be'fesa pis'om", R. Bachye quoting the Gemara in K'risus (9a) explains that the two words stand for 'be'Shogeg' and 'be'meizid', respectively. A Nazir who becomes Tamei, he explains is one of four people who bring a Korban Chatas be'Meizid as well as be'Shogeg. The other three listed in the Gemara are Shevu'as ha'Pikadon (someone who swears that he did not steal or receive a security when in reality he did); Shevu'as ha'Eidus (swears that he is not a witness when really he is); and someone who commits adultery with a Shifchah Charufah (a slave who has been half set-free, who is in fact, subject to Malkos).

These are the only four cases in the realm of Korbanos, whose atonement comes about through a Korban Chatas, even if the sin was committed deliberately.


The Korban of a Nazir Who Didn't

"And this is the law of the Nazir on the day when he completes his Nezirus then he shall bring his Korban to Hashem, a lamb " (6:13/14).

This Korban (which includes an Oloh and a Chatas) is unique, says R. Bachye, inasmuch as all other such Korbanos one brings as the result of a sin; whereas here, the Nazir has just performed a Mitzvah, which rendered him holy and detached from all worldly desires. On what basis does the Torah now obligate him to bring a Chatas and an Olah, he wonders?

This is what Chazal mean when they refer to it as a Chidush (an innovative ruling).

The author cites a Ramban however, which ascribes the Korban to the Nazir's 'sin' of terminating his Nezirus. Having attained such a high spiritual level as to understand the futility of worldly pleasures and made the effort to become holy in his ways, he ought to have declared himself a permanent Nazir, rather than allowing himself to return to earth, as it were. Due to the fact that he is willing to return to his former mundane level, necessitates a Kaparah in the form of a Korban.

That explains why the Pasuk in Amos compares a Nazir to a Navi, says the Ramban. Just as prophecy is a permanent appointment so too, ought Nezirus to be permanent. (Indeed, the Torah calls a Nazir 'Kodosh', and Kedushah per se has connotations of permanence.)

* * *


"And that woman will bear her sin" (es avonoh [5:31]).

The same words "es avonoh", says the Ba'al ha'Turim, also appear in the Parshah of Nedarim in Parshas Noso, where the Torah writes (in Matos, in connection with a married woman who negates her own Neder [30:16]) " - and he (her husband) will bear her sin (es avonoh).

The Gemara in Sotah explains that the husband of a Sotah does not need to feel guilty for handing her over to the Kohen, since she is entirely to blame for ignoring his initial warning, so she must suffer for her sin.

The Pasuk in Matos, on the other hand, is talking about a man who negated his wife's Neder after the time for doing so had expired, misleading her into believing that her Neder had been annulled, when in fact it hadn't.. Consequently, he must take the blame for causing her to sin (see Rashi in Parshas Matos).


" a man or a woman who utters (ki yafli) a vow to become a Nazir " (6:2).

The same words ki yafli appear in Bechukosai (27:1) in the Parshah of Erchin.

The Ba'al ha'Turim points out that just as by Erchin, the Noder must pay 'according to the assessment of the Kohen', so too here, the Noder is in the hands of the Chacham, to uphold his Neder or to have it annulled, as the Chacham sees fit.


" he (the Nazir) shall not render himself Tamei Meis" (6:6).

The reason for this prohibition, the Ba'al ha'Turim explains, is so that in the event that the Shechinah rests on him due to his elevated status, people should not attribute this to his having had contact with the dead ('Doresh el ha'meisim'), which is forbidden.


" so he shall do regarding the law of his Nezirus, And Hashem spoke to Moshe Speak to Aharon and his sons saying so you shall bless B'nei Yisrael" (6:21-23).

The Torah juxtaposes the Parshah of Birchas Kohanim to that of Nazir, the Ba'al ha'Turim explains, to teach us that Kohanim are prohibited from drinking wine before Birchas Kohanim, just as a Nazir is forbidden to drink wine.

Likewise, he explains, immediately after permitting the erstwhile Nazir to drink wine, the Torah writes (in Pasuk 21) "This is the law of the Nazir (Toras Nizro)", concluding the Pasuk with the words "so he shall do regarding the law of his Nezirus" (al Toras Nizro)". This teaches us he says, that someone who has drunk wine, is forbidden to issue Halachic rulings.

* * *

(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 451:
To Shecht a Beheimah, a Chayah and a Bird Properly (cont.)

Besides the four things that we have discussed that a Shochet needs to know, the Chachamim added a fifth thing. Granted, it is not part and parcel of Hilchos Shechitah; nevertheless, it crops up regularly during Shechitah, and the animal becomes a neveilah on account of it. Consequently, a Shochet who is not conversant with it, will automatically feed neveilos to all his clients. We are referring to the Isur of 'Ikur'. Chazal therefore ruled that one is not permitted to eat from a butcher/Shochet who is not conversant with it. 'Ikur' is where the wind-pipe or the esophagus (both or either) has been torn away from its regular location where it is joined to the jaw, even though it is not torn away completely. If the major part of either of them has been torn away on both sides, the Shechitah is forbidden, since then even the section that is still attached is not attached properly, and the Simanim are considered detached. If however, it is only detached on one side, even thought it is the majority that is detached, the Shechitah is Kasher. And it is certainly Kasher if the Siman is still attached to the flesh, even though the jaw is detached completely from the place where it is normally attached to the head. Interestingly, Ikur per se does not render the animal a T'reifah; nevertheless, the Simanim are not subject to Shechitah. Consequently, if a Shochet Shechts Simanim that are Akurin, the animal retains its former status, and is a Neveilah as if it had died by itself.

With regard to birds, even though they only require the Shechitah of one Siman, if, prior to the Shechitah, one Siman is 'Akur', Shechitah of the other Simon will not permit the bird to be eaten, and it is in fact, forbidden. So we have learned by tradition. The above five Halachos (Shehiyah, D'rosoh, Chalodoh, Hagromoh and Ikur) disqualify the Shechitah, and anybody who is not acquainted with them is not permitted to Shecht. If someone does Shecht in spite of not being an expert in the five Halachos, one may not eat from his Shechitah, even if he insists that he Shechted correctly. Furthermore, whoever Shechts, must also be conversant with the Din of bedikas ha'Sakin (examining the knife) as required by the Chachamim.

* * *

For sponsorships and adverts call 651 9502

Back to This Week's Parsha | Previous Issues

This article is provided as part of Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Permission is granted to redistribute electronically or on paper,
provided that this notice is included intact.

Shema Yisrael Torah Network
For information on subscriptions, archives, and
other Shema Yisrael Classes,
send mail to
Jerusalem, Israel