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

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Vol. 10   No. 51

This issue is sponsored l'iluy Nishmas
Yerachmiel ben Yitzchak David ha'Levi
Yitzchak David ben Yerachmiel ha'Levi

Rosh Hashanah

Judged For Olam ha'Ba

The Gemara in Rosh Hashanah (16b) cites Rebbi Yochanan, who refers to the three books that are open before G-d on Rosh Hashanah, one of complete Resha'im, one of complete Tzadikim and the third of Beinonim (average people). The complete Tzadikim, he says, are written and sealed immediately for life, the complete Resha'im, for death, whereas the Beinonim, hang in abeyance until Yom Kipur. If they merit it, they are then written in the Book of Life; if not, they are written in the Book of death.


The Three Books, explains the G'ra, record life and death in the World to Come, like the opinion of Tosfos, and not like the Ran. In fact, Tosfos explains that a complete Rasha is written and sealed in the Book of death, in which case he will be granted a good year in order to reward him for the few good deeds that he performed, whereas a complete Tzadik will suffer or perhaps even die in the forthcoming year, to pay him off for his few sins in this world.

And Beinonim who earn the merit during the Aseres Yemei Teshuvah, will receive the same judgement as Tzadikim. Otherwise, they will be treated like Resha'im, for declining to take advantage of the opportunity offered to them.


The Ran, on the other hand, who interprets the Gemara with regard to life and death in this world, will have a problem in explaining the Gemara on the previous Amud, which gives the date for the final seal of man's fate as Yom Kipur (and not Rosh Hashanah, as this Gemara states), remarks the G'ro. Neither does it seem right to establish this Gemara exclusively by complete Tzadikim and Resha'im, since most people are assumed to be Beinonim, and Rebbi Yochanan is talking about most people.

And he brings a further proof for this, from the Sugya, which compares the judgement of a person to that of the crops. The Gemara explains that just as, if hail or drought destroy the annual crops before Pesach, it is the result of G-d's decision the previous year, whereas should it occur after Pesach, it belongs to the current year's judgement, so too, whatever happens to a person before Yom Kipur belongs to the previous year's judgement, whereas should it occur after Yom Kipur, it is the result of the judgement of the current year. Here again, the Gemara is clearly of the opinion that Yom Kipur is the day on which the judgement for the current year is sealed, and not Rosh Hashanah.

The ramifications of this ruling are that even though G-d may decide a person's fate on Rosh Hashanah, a harsh decree can still be rescinded, should one do Teshuvah before Yom Kipur.

This explains the Gemara later (17b), which states that someone who does Teshuvah during the Aseres Yemei Teshuvah, will be pardoned for his sins. If he does not, then his sins will not be forgiven, even if he brings all the fat rams in the world (and even doing Teshuvah after Yom Kipur will not avert the decree). Indeed, that explains why, during the Aseres Yemei Teshuvah, we ask G-d to 'write us in the Book of Life'. What we really mean is that He tears up the evil decree of Rosh Hashanah, and grants us life (in this world too).

And for the same reason, on Rosh Hashanah we should not really wish our friends 'to be written and sealed immediately in the Book of life', since we are referring to the Book of Life that affects this world, and it will only be on Yom Kipur that we are sealed there.


Tosfos base their statement on the Gemara in Kidushin (39b), which teaches us that Tzadikim who have more merits than demerits earn themselves punishment in this world (refer also to the Beraisa of Rebbi Elazar b'Rebbi Tzadok there [40b]). Rava there, establishes that statement like Rebbi Ya'akov, who holds that reward for good deeds is forthcoming in Olam ha'Ba, and not in this world, and whose opinion we follow.


The Korban Nesanel asks why, according to Tosfos, the Books that records life and death in the world to Come, should be open each Rosh Hashanah, at a time when the people who are inscribed there, are still alive, and fully capable of doing Teshuvah and changing the inscription from year to year? Surely, it would make more sense to wait until each person dies and open the Books then, since from that time, one no longer possesses free will and choice, and the contents of those Books are irreversible?

And he cites Tosfos themselves, who deal with this question, when they explain how the outcome of the judgement affects the judgements concerning mundane things, only conversely, as we already explained. Hence the Rasha, precisely because G-d wants him to lose his portion in Olam ha'Ba, will receive a favorable judgement whilst still in this world. Whereas it is because G-d wants the Tzadikim to enter Olam ha'Ba, to receive the full reward for all their good deeds, that He lets them go though a rough time here.

Needless to say, this is only possible, if they are judged each year on Rosh Hashanah, where G-d assesses where each person is destined to stand in Olam ha'Ba, and then, taking into account the defendant's level of observance at that time, rewarding or punishing him in the forthcoming year, in the way that we explained.




Teki'ah and Teru'ah

In Parshas Emor (23:24), the Torah refers to blowing the Shofar as "Zichron Teru'ah", whereas in Beha'aloscha, it writes "u'Seka'atem ba'Chatzotzros". Seeing as we have a tradition that there is no Teki'ah without a Teru'ah and no Teru'ah without a Teki'ah, asks the Ha'amek Davar, why does the Torah refer to the one, using an expression of "Teru'ah", and the other, of "Teki'ah"?


Basing his reply on the fact that Tek'?ah (one straight blast denoting joy) signifies the Midas ha'Rachamim, whereas Teru'ah (a broken note, that resembles sobbing) symbolizes the Midas ha'Din, he points at the two respective contexts where they appear. The Pasuk in Emor is referring to Rosh Hashanah, which is a Yom ha'Din, whereas the Pasuk in Beha'aloscha, which begins "u've'Yom Simchaschem uve'Mo'adeichem" refers to Yom-Tov, which is a time of Rachamim.

With this introduction, the problem is automatically solved. For, although one note is not blown without the other, the Torah emphasizes the character of the blowing, by attaching the Teru'ah to Rosh Hashanah, and the Teki'ah to Yom-Tov.


Blending Chesed and Din

To fully appreciate what we just wrote, it is important to understand why one does not as a rule, blow either Teki'ah or Teru'ah on its own.

We will recall that G-d created the world with Midas ha'Din ("Bereishis boro Elokim ... "), a fact that is also borne out by the Chazal, which explains that this world was created with the 'Hey' of G-d's Name (which represents the Midas ha'Din, as is well-known). And it was only when He saw that it could not exist on Din alone, that He added the Midas Rachamim "be'Yom asos Hashem Elokim eretz ve'shamayim" (2:4).

This implies that ideally, the world ought to run exclusively on Midas ha'Din, leaving no room for failure in Avodas Hashem, and certainly no room for sin. And it is only because this would inevitably lead to total destruction, that G-d added Rachamim.

On the other hand, it goes without saying that the world could not exist on Rachamim alone, since that would lead to complete anarchy; neither was it G-d's intention that it should.

Now we can understand the difference of which we spoke earlier. On Rosh Hashanah, when Midas ha'Din is predominant, it is the Teru'ah that prevails, though admittedly, it must be tempered with the Teki'ah (to stop the Midas ha'Din from destroying the world); whereas on Yom-tov, when Hashem is favourably disposed towards Yisrael, and the Midas Rachamim is strong, the principle note is the Teki'ah, and it is to retain the all-important Midas ha'Din that we blow a Teru'ah as well.


Perhaps we may also refer here to Chazal, who have said that, come what may, Din must prevail. Only when there is Din on earth, it is no longer necessary for Hashem to apply ha'Din in heaven, and so He showers us with Rachamim. And it is only when we, on our part, fail to apply Din that it becomes necessary for G-d's Midas ha'Din to take over.


Zichron Teru'ah

In Parshas Emor, the Torah refers to the Shofar as "Zichron Teru'ah", whereas in Pinchas, the Torah refers to Rosh Hashanah as "Yom Teru'ah".

The Gemara in Rosh Hashanah resolves this apparent discrepancy by establishing the Pasuk in Pinchas when Rosh Hashanah falls on a weekday, when the Shofar is actually blown, and the Pasuk in Emor when it falls on Shabbos, when it is not. Consequently, the Shofar is mentioned but not blown.

However, this is no more than an Asmachta (support for a Rabbinical law), since according to the Halachah, the Shofar is blown on Shabbos too, and it is only due to a Rabbinical decree (for fear that one might carry the Shofar to an expert to learn how to blow properly), that it is prohibited.

The Rashbam therefore interprets "Zichron Teru'ah" to mean that on account of our blowing, we will be remembered before G-d, and that is how the Ramban explains it, too. This explanation fits perfectly with the statement quoted by Rabah in Rosh Hashanah 34b 'Hakadosh Baruch Hu said, "Recite before Me Malchuyos, so that your remembrance shall come before Me. And with what? With a Shofar" '.

According to Rashi, the Pasuk in Emor is referring to the Pesukim of Zichronos and Shofros that we read in Musaf, to remind Hashem about the merit of Akeidas Yitzchak, in whose stead Avraham sacrificed a ram, and it is the ram's horn on which we blow.

The Ramban however, takes Rashi to task from a Gemara in Rosh Hashanah (ibid.). Discussing someone who has a choice whether to go to a town where they have a Shofar, but cannot recite the B'rachos (of the Amidah), or to a town where they can recite the Amidah, but do not know how to blow, the Gemara gives precedence to the former. And the reason for this is because blowing the Shofar is min ha'Torah, whereas the B'rachos (incorporating the Pesukim of Malchiyos, Zichronos and Shofros) is only mi'de'Rabbanan. And what's more, this Halachah applies even if one is not sure that they possess a Shofar in the first town, but is sure that they can Daven in the second (because a Safek min ha'Torah overrides a Vaday mi'de'Rabbanan). So how can Rashi establish "Zichron Teru'ah" with regard to the Pesukim of blowing, which are only mi'de'Rabbanan, asks the Ramban?

One wonders whether Rashi does not perhaps concur with the opinion of the Ritvo, who considers an Asmachta as a cut above a regular de'Rabbanan (seeing as the Torah specifically hints it). As a matter of fact, this view is borne out by a statement by Rabah (on the same page of the Gemara as that quoted by the Ramban) 'Hakadosh Baruch Hu said, "Recite before Me Malchuyos, so that your remembrance shall come before Me". And with what? With a Shofar'.

Now if the recital of the Pesukim was purely mi'de'Rabbanan, Rabah would not have quoted Hakadosh Baruch Hu. He would have quoted the Rabanan!


That's How it Fell That Year

We just cited the opinion of Rav Papa in Rosh Hashanah, who explains that ''Zichron Teru'ah" in Emor pertains to Rosh Hashanah that falls on Shabbos, whereas "Yom Teru'ah" in Pinchas pertains to Rosh Hashanah that falls on a weekday.

When we consider that Emor refers to the main Mitzvah of Shofar (which more often than not falls on a weekday), asks the Torah Temimah, it would have been more logical to write 'Yom Teru'ah' there and 'Zichron Teru'ah' in Pinchas (where it is speaking with reference to Korbanos)?

And he answers with the Gemara in Shabbos, which gives the day of Yetzi'as Mitzrayim (Pesach) as Thursday, which means that Rosh Hashanah that year fell on Shabbos.

Consequently, the Torah writes "Zichron Teru'ah" in Emor, since on the Rosh Hashanah that was imminent the Shofar would not be blown.


The Effect of The Spoken Word

"And we will bow down and return to you" (22:5).

Considering that Avraham believed that he was going to sacrifice Yitzchak, and return without him, he ought to have said "And I will bow down ... " not "we".

That is what prompts Chazal in Mo'ed Katan (18a) to learn from here that there is a covenant made with our lips, which causes what we say to materialize (whether it is for the good or for the bad). With regard to the latter, they said 'Don't open your mouth to the Satan'. From here, we see that it applies to the good too.

Because, in spite of what Avraham thought, they both returned.



On Rosh Hashanah, the Kohanim brought two sets of Korbanos, the Musaf of Rosh Chodesh and that of Rosh-Hashanah. The two were similar, but not quite the same.

The Rosh Chodesh Musaf comprized two bulls, one ram and seven lambs; that of Rosh Hashanah, one bull, one ram and seven lambs.

On both days, they brought one goat as a sin-offering.

Presumably, the Kohanim brought the Rosh Chodesh Musaf first, based on the principle that whatever is more frequent takes precedence ('Tadir ve'she'eino tadir, tadir kodem').

One might wonder why, seeing that the Musaf Rosh Chodesh was brought independently, we fail to insert the Parshah in the Musaf Amidah. However, the reason given is the same as the reason that we omit Birchas ha'Chodesh on the previous Shabbos - in order to confuse the Satan, as Chazal have explained. Interestingly, it is aspects of Rosh Chodesh that we hide from him, rather than aspects of Rosh Hashanah (which we most certainly include in the Amidah in full detail). This is not one hundred per cent correct though, as one of the reasons that we do not blow the Shofar on Erev Rosh Hashanah, is to confuse the Satan.


Every animal required a Minchas Nesachim (comprising flour, oil and wine) - one Isaron (a tenth of an Eifah, the equivalent of the amount of flour that is subject to Chalah) for each lamb, together with a quarter of a Hin (three Lugin [1 Lug =six egg-volumes]) of oil, and the same amount of wine. The ram required two Esronim of flour, a third of a Hin of oil and a third of a Hin of wine, and each bull, three Esronim of flour, half a Hin of oil, and the same, of oil.


Apart from the Korban Tamid (one lamb in the morning and one in the afternoon), no other Korbanos were brought on Rosh Hashanah, a distinction which Rosh Hashanah shared only with Shabbos (and to a degree, with Yom-Kipur). This is because a. Nedarim and Nedavos (voluntary sacrifices) could not be brought on Yom-tov (and certainly not Chata'os and Ashamos [sin and guilt-offerings]), and b. the special Yom-tov Korbanos (the Olas Rei'yah and the Shalmei Chagigah and Simchah), were confined to the Shalosh Regalim (Pesach, Shavu'os and Succos), Part of this at least, can be attributed to the fact that the Mitzvah of Simchah on Yom-tov does not extend to Rosh Hashanah.


The Musaf was brought between the Tamid shel Shachar and the Tamid shel Bein ha'Arbayim. This conforms with the Halachah that no Korban could be brought either before the morning Tamid or after the afternoon Tamid.

The Tosfos Yom-tov (in Rosh Hashanah 4:4) cites the Rambam, who explains how this Halachah once caused a major problem. One year, the witnesses for the (anticipated) new moon failed to arrive before the Tamid shel Bein ha'Arbayim fell due, leaving them in a quandary as to whether or not, to bring it. Because once they had done so, he maintains, they would no longer be able to bring the Musafim of Rosh Chodesh and Rosh Hashanah. Ultimately, it seems, they brought neither.


Rashi and the Bartenura however, disagree with the Rambam on this issue. In their opinion, the Korban Musaf is no different than the Korban Pesach, which, the Gemara in Pesachim rules, may be brought after the Tamid shel Bein ha'Arbayim, because a communal Asei overrides the Asei of 'Hashlamah' that prohibits private Korbanos to be brought after it (Tosfos Yom-tov).


According to Rashi and the Bartenura, the problem then, was not the Musaf, as we just explained, but the Shir (the daily song which the Levi'im sang to accompany the two Korbenos Tamid), as is explicitly implied by the Mishnah. The Shir, which comprised a Kapitel of Tehilim, did not only vary each day of the week, but also differed on Yom-tov - with each day of Yom-tov enjoying its own special Kapitel. So the problem that confronted them was which Kapitel to sing for the Tamid shel Bein ha'Arbayim, seeing as the witnesses had normally arrived by then (the Tamid shel Shachar was straightforward, since, the witnesses not normally having arrived so early, the Chachamim had permanently fixed which Shir the Levi'im should sing). In the end, they simply brought the Korban without any Shir at all.

And it was to avoid a repetition of such an occurrence, that Chazal introduced a law that, in the event that the witnesses had not arrived by Minchah-time, they would continue to treat the thirtieth of Elul as if it was a Yom-tov (as they had been doing already, starting from the previous night [though they would not bring the Musaf or sing the Shir of Yom-tov]), and fix the following day as the real Rosh Chodesh and Rosh Hashanah.


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