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

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Vol. 11   No. 26

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Parshas Shemini

The World of Kashrus
(Adapted from the Torah Temimah)

The Gemara in Bechoros (6b) extrapolates from the fact that the Torah repeats the prohibition to eat a camel in Re'ei, that not only is the camel forbidden, but so is its milk.

The question arises that, bearing in mind the principle that whatever comes from a non-Kosher species is not Kosher, why do we need a Pasuk for this D'rashah? Why is it not obvious?

The Torah Temimah (quoting the commentaries in Bechoros), explains that the fact that the Torah permits even the milk of a Kosher animal is a Chidush (a novella), since it ought to be forbidden because it is 'Eiver min ha'Chai (a limb of a live animal), which is forbidden even to a gentile. Consequently, now that the Torah does permit it, the concession ought to apply to the milk of non-Kasher animals no less than to Kasher ones, and so it would, if the Torah did not specifically prohibit it here.

The Torah Temimah uses the same logic to explain why the Gemara in Chulin (64b) finds it necessary to forbid the egg of an ostrich (which is a non-Kosher species of bird) from the word "ve'es bas ha'Ya'nah", when it ought to be forbidden anyway, based on the same principle.

An egg, like milk, he explains, is really Eiver min ha'Chai, and the fact that the Torah permits the egg of a Kosher bird is a Chidush. However, he concludes, now that the Torah did permit it, it would incorporate even the egg of a non-Kosher species, if the Torah did not forbid it here.


The Gemara in Kesubos (60a) learns from the Pasuk (regarding the prohibition of eating a camel) "ki ma'aleh geirah hu" that although the camel is forbidden, the milk and the blood of a human being are not (though the Rabbanan forbade them in certain circumstances).

The Torah Temimah cites a dispute between the Rambam, who maintains that although the Torah precludes human flesh from the La'av of non-Kosher meat, there remains an Asei of "Zos ha'beheimah asher tocheilu" (Re'ei 14:4). The Ramban and the Rashba disagree with this. In their opinion, human flesh is not subject to a Torah prohibition at all, neither a Lo Sa'aseh nor an Asei.

The Torah Temimah uses the previous D'rashah as a support for the opinion of the Rambam. If human flesh was permitted, he maintains, then his blood and his milk would automatically be permitted too, based on the principle 'Whatever comes from something which is Tahor is Tahor'. And it would not be necessary to learn it from an external source. It is only if, as the Rambam says, human flesh is forbidden, that a source is required to permit his milk and his blood.

It is true, he concedes, that whatever comes from something that is Tamei is Tamei, in which case they ought to be forbidden. Nevertheless, he explains, since the flesh is only prohibited through (a relatively minor) Asei, the Torah permits his milk and his blood.


The Torah Temimah's assumption that if human flesh was permitted, his milk and his blood would be permitted too however, is not so clear cut. After all, the flesh of Kosher animals is permitted, yet their blood is prohibited. Perhaps the same will apply to a human being?

Also the expression used by the Toras Kohanim (the source of the exemption of human flesh from a La'av) seems to support the Ramban and the Rashba. The Toras Kohanim begins with the words 'I might have thought that human flesh is forbidden" - concluding with the D'rashah of "Ach es zeh" precluding the flesh of a human being from the prohibition (of eating camel's flesh). Surely, the words 'I might have thought that human flesh is forbidden' implies that the Pasuk comes to permit the consumption of human flesh (precluding it even from an Isur Asei) like the Ramban and the Rashba.

* * *

Parshah Pearls (Adapted from the Rosh on the Chumash)

The Two Wonderful Brothers

"Moshe called Aharon" (9:1).

When Moshe told Aharon that G-d had commanded him to appoint him as Kohen Gadol, Aharon replied 'You toiled over the Mishkan, and I should become Kohen Gadol!'

'Aharon', Moshe replied, 'I am happy with your appointment as if I myself had been appointed! Just as you rejoiced at my appointment' (as the Torah writes in Sh'mos [4:14] "and he (Aharon) will see you and rejoice in his heart"), so I rejoice at yours'.


A Calf for a Calf

"Take for yourself a calf from the herd for a sin-offering ...And to Yisrael you shall speak ... Take a goat from the flock for a sin-offering" (9:2/3).

Aharon's sin, was that of the golden Calf, Yisrael's that of selling their brother Yosef into slavery. That is why Aharon's Sin-offering consisted of a calf, says the Rosh (rather than a bull, like on Yom Kipur), whilst Yisrael brought a goat, reminiscent of the goat that they Shechted there.


Aharon and the Angel Micha'el

" ... because today G-d will appear to you (nir'oh aleichem)" (9:4).

The letters of these two words (nir'oh aleichem) also spell Aharon and Micha'el (bear in mind that, according to Chazal, Micha'el, in His role as the Kohen Gadol in the Beis-Hamikdash shel Ma'alah, was Aharon's counterpart in Heaven).

To teach us that, on the one hand, it was in honour of Aharon and to show the whole world that Yisrael had been forgiven for the sin of the Golden Calf that G-d appeared to Yisrael openly, and on the other, that it was in his honour that Micha'el, the Archangel, was appointed to defend Yisrael against the Heavenly prosecutor.

And that explains why, in the Pasuk in Tehilim (written in connection with the anointing oil) "Like the good oil (poured) on the head descends on the beard, the beard of Aharon", the word "the beard" is written twice. Because besides anointing Aharon, the oil was used to anoint Micha'el too.


Atone for Yourself First

"Approach the Mizbei'ach ... and bring your Sin -offering ... and atone for yourself and for the people" (8:7).

How strange, comments the Rosh. The Torah is discussing Aharon's Korbanos. Yisrael's Korban will be mentioned shortly. Why does the Torah insert here the words "and for the people"? By what token will they receive atonement when Aharon brings his Korban?

And he explains that the words in question serve as a reason as to why Aharon is obligated to bring his Korbanos first before bringing those of the community (when one would have expected a communal Korban to take precedence). "Atone for yourself", the Torah is saying, in order that "you will be able to atone for the people", because, as Chazal have said, it is befitting for a Tahor person to come and atone for those who are Tamei. 'First rectify yourself before attempting to rectify others'.


Their Bodies Remained Intact

"And fire went out ... and it consumed them and they died (va'tochal osom va'yomusu)" 10:2.

"va'tochal osom va'yomusu", says the Rosh, has the same numerical value as 'nafsham nisrefah ve'ha'guf kayam' (their soul was burned but their body remained intact).


Where Did they Die

"And they died before G-d" (10:2).

There is a difference of opinion in the Medrash as to where the sons of Aharon died. Some say they died 'outside', in a location where the Levi'im (e.g. Misha'el and Eltzafan) were allowed to walk, in keeping with the Pasuk later (5) "And they approached them and carried them out by their shirts". Then what does the Torah mean when it writes "before G-d"? The answer, says the Rosh, is that initially, they (Nadav and Avihu) entered the Kodesh, only an angel took them out (before they died).

But according to Rebbi Akiva, they actually died inside the Kodesh.

The problem with Rebbi Akiva's explanation, comments the Rosh, is that if they died inside the Kodesh, which was covered, then they will have rendered it Tamei via the Ohel of a dead body, in which case, it would have required sprinkling with the ashes of the Parah Adumah, yet not only is there no indication that they stopped performing the Avodah for this, but to the contrary, the Pasuk specifically forbids Aharon and his sons to leave the precincts of the Ohel Mo'ed for seven consecutive days, which is clearly what took place.

* * *


In Parshas Ki Sisa, we cited the Rosh, who takes the Ramban to task. Citing him, we wrote there - 'But how is it possible, asks the Ramban, that nobody died during that seven-month period? And conversely, the Levi'im, who, not having sinned by the Golden Calf, did not donate the half-Shekel in Tishri, but were included in the second count in Iyar, where the half-Shekalim that they donated was used for the Korbanos?

The Ramban therefore answers the first question with the second. Indeed, he explains, many people died between the two counts. On the other hand, there were the Levi'im who were counted in Iyar, but not in Tishri. And it so happened that the two figures tallied. Twenty-two thousand people died between the two counts, and twenty-two thousand Levi'im were counted at the second count, with the result that the two numbers were exactly the same.


Besides the fact that the incredible coincidence renders this explanation highly improbable, asks the Rosh, how is it possible that more people died during that half year period before the decree of the spies, than died annually after the decree, when fifteen thousand people died each year because of it?


This is precisely what the Rosh writes. Yet not only is the quote from the Ramban not correct, but the Ramban says exactly the opposite, as we shall see in a moment. One can only assume that the Rosh has been misquoted.

Interestingly, both of the Rosh's questions are applicable to an earlier theory that the Ramban presents. He first suggests that the number of people who turned sixty during that seven-month period, tallies with those who died. That is indeed highly improbable, as other commentaries ask there. And it is also most strange that more people died during those seven months prior to the decree of the spies than died in subsequent years, after it, as the Rosh asks later.


But when it comes to the Ramban's comment regarding the Levi'im, what he actually writes is that the first count in Tishri included the Levi'im, since, although the episode of the Golden Calf had already taken place, they were not yet chosen until the Mishkan was actually set up. Consequently, they were counted together with the rest of K'lal Yisrael. And it was at the second count, in Iyar, by which time they had been chosen as 'G-d's special legion', that they were not counted together with the rest of Yisrael.

And the point he is making here is that, in the course of those seven months, twenty-two thousand nineteen-year olds turned twenty, to make up for the twenty-two thousand Levi'im who were counted at the first count, but not at the second.

* * *


In Parshah Pearls (Parshas Pikudei) 'Fifteen thousand Missing', we queried both the Rosh and the Da'as Zekeinim M.T., who spoke of fifteen thousand Shekalim and fifteen hooks respectively, which Moshe could not initially account for.

The questions that we asked there are borne out by the Medrash Tanchuma and the Yalkut, both of whom refer to one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five Shekalim unaccounted for - making no mention of the mysterious fifteen.

However, our suggestion that the fifteen had to do with the five pillars leading to the Heichal was incorrect. We should have worded the second question as follows -

The problem with this is that the Chatzer comprised fifty two (or possibly fifty-six) pillars (so what is the significance of the fifteen hooks referred to by the Da'as Zekeinim M.T.?).

To clarify the matter, the hooks on the four pillars leading to the Kodesh Kodshim (on which the Paroches hung), which stood on silver sockets, were made of gold. Whereas both the hooks and the sockets of the five pillars at the entrance to the Heichal, were made of copper.

And it was the hooks on the pillars of the Chatzer (which stood on copper sockets) that were made of silver, together with the caps and strips that adorned them.

* * *

(Adapted from the Seifer ha'Chinuch)

Mitzvah 12:
The Prohibition of Eating a Mixture that Contains Chametz on Pesach

It is forbidden to eat a mixture of food that contains Chametz on Pesach, even though the Chametz is not the principle ingredient (such as a Babylonian stew [comprising mouldy bread and milk] and the like). This La'av is based on the Pasuk in Bo (12:20) "Do not eat any 'Machmetzes'", which Chazal explain as a mixture of Chametz.

According to the Rambam, a mixture that contains a k'Zayis 'bi'ch'dei achilas p'ras (one olive-volume per four egg-volumes of food) is subject to Malkos (but not to Kareis). If the ratio of Chametz is less than that, then one receives Makas Mardus (Malkus mi'de'Rabbanan).

The Ramban however, maintains that the above Pasuk comes to teach us that one is Chayav Kareis for eating a k'Zayis Chametz (irrespective of whether he eats it on its own or mixed with other food 'bi'ch'dei achilas p'ras) even if he caused the dough to rise artificially.

According to him, no special Pasuk is needed to include a mixture of Chametz, which logically speaking, is no different than pure Chametz. If however, the mixture does not contain a k'zayis bi'ch'dei achilas p'ras, one transgresses a La'av de'Rabbanan which is subject to Makas Mardus.

The reason that we wrote above by the Shechitah of the Korban Pesach applies here too, and the Torah goes so far, to reinforce the matter.

The Dinim of the Mitzvah, such as exactly what kinds of food are included in this prohibition, and what they are called, as well as the rest of the details, are to be found in Orach Chayim (Si'man 446).

This Mitzvah applies to men and women alike, and applies at all times everywhere. Someone who contravenes it and eats a k'zayis bi'chedei achilas p'ras is due to receive Malkos (according to the Rambam, and Kareis according to the Ramban). Both will agree that eating a smaller amount is not even subject to Malkos (min ha'Torah) even though it is forbidden min ha'Torah like all cases of Chatzi Shi'ur.


Mitzvah 13:
The Prohibition of Feeding the Pesach to an Apostate

It is forbidden to permit an apostate to eat from the Korban Pesach, as the Torah writes in Bo (12:43), "No ben Neichar may eat it", which Chazal interpret as 'a Jew whose ways are estranged from His Father in Heaven'.

The reason for this Mitzvah, as we wrote above, is to remind us of the miracles in Egypt. At the same time, it serves as a sign that we came to take shelter under the Wings of the Shechinah and entered into the covenant of the Torah and faith. Consequently, it is not fitting to allow an apostate, who represents the very opposite, to participate in this Mitzvah. He has left the fold and denied his faith and has no share in the ideals that the Korban Pesach represents.

The Dinim of the Mitzvah are explained in the Rambam, in the 9th Perek of Hilchos Korban Pesach.

This Mitzvah applies to men and women alike when the Beis-Hamikdash stands and the Korban Pesach is brought. Someone who contravenes it, and gives a piece of Korban Pesach to an apostate, transgresses a La'av, though he does not receive Malkos, since it does not entail an act (this seems to contradict what the author himself wrote at the end of Mitzvah 11 - see commentaries).


Mitzvah 14:
The Prohibition of Feeding the Korban Pesach to a Ger Toshav

It is forbidden to permit a Ger Toshav (a gentile who undertakes to keep his seven Mitzvos) to eat from the Korban Pesach, as the Torah writes in Bo (12:45) "a Toshav and a Sachir shall not eat it". The Chachamim interpret the former as a Ger Toshav, and the latter, as a Ger who has performed B'ris Milah but has not yet Toveled (in a Mikvah).

The reason for the Mitzvah, like we explained in the previous Mitzvah, is to remind us of the miracles in Egypt, and to serve as a sign that we came to take shelter under the Wings of the Shechinah and entered into the covenant of the Torah and faith (a process which ended at Har Sinai). It therefore stands to reason that it is restricted to fully-fledged Jews who share our faith completely. And it is for the same reason that an Areil (who has not been circumcised) is precluded from the Korban Pesach (as we shall see in Mitzvah 17).

This Mitzvah applies to men and women alike. Anyone who contravenes and allows one of the above to eat a piece of Korban Pesach, has transgressed a La'av, though he does not receive Malkos (as we explained in the previous Mitzvah).

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