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

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Vol. 8   No. 24

Parshas Tzav

The Law of the Oshom


The Korban Oshom, like the Chatos, belonged to the category of Kodshei Kodoshim. That is why it was Shechted on the north side of the Azoroh and could be eaten only by male Kohanim in the Azoroh, for one day and the intervening night.

Like the Chatos, the Oshom, as its name suggests, was brought to atone for certain sins (though of a lesser category than the Chatos).

Nevertheless, the sprinkling of its blood followed the pattern of the Olah, two matonos on the lower-half of the two-diagonally-opposite corners that had a Yesod - the north-east and the south-western corners. Also unlike the Chatos, all the Ashomos came from the sheep family, whereas most of the Chato'os were goats (an indication of the different levels of sin involved - since the sheep is a docile animal, whereas the goat is wild by nature).


Another major difference between the two was in the eventuality that the owner died. A Chatos whose owner died had to die (Halochoh le'Moshe mi'Sinai), whereas the Oshom was sent out to graze in the field until it became blemished, when it would be redeemed, and the proceeds would go towards purchasing voluntary Olos for the Mizbei'ach.

Like the Chatos, the Kohen would lean his hands on the head of the animal and confess on the sin for which the Korban was being brought. And whilst he was leaning his hands on the Oshom, the animal was facing the west.


There are six kinds of Oshom. Five of them, are brought for definite, specific sins: an Asham Gezeilos (brought by someone who denies having in his possession money that belongs to his friend);

an Asham Me'ilos (brought by someone who inadvertently derived benefit from Hekdesh);

an Asham Shifchah Charufah (brought by a man who had relations with a shifchah who is half set-free and who is betrothed to a Jewish servant); an Asham Nozir (brought by a Nozir who became tomei meis during the duration of his nezirus. an Asham Metzora (brought by a Metzora when he was cured from his tzora'as).

The sixth Oshom, the Oshom Toluy, is brought by someone who is unsure whether he is obligated to bring a Korban Chatos or not. For example, if two pieces of fat were lying in front of a person, one of them (kosher) shuman, the other one, (non-kosher) cheilev, and he picked one up and ate it, but is uncertain as to which one he ate, he brings an Oshom Toluy.

The Oshom Toluy however, serves only to tide him over from punishment until he becomes aware that he sinned. The moment he discovers that he did indeed eat cheilev, he is obligated to bring a Chatos.

An Oshom, like a Chatos, could not be brought voluntarily.


Parshah Pearls

(Adapted from the Ba'al ha'Turim)

Garments of War

"And the Kohen shall wear linen garments his size (Mido Vad)" (6:3).

The only other time that this word is used in T'nach is in Shmuel 2 - 20:8 "ve'Yo'ov Chogur Mido Levusho", the Ba'al ha'Turim explains, because the Bigdei Kehunah resembled war attire. Indeed, the posuk specifically describes the opening of the Me'il "ke'Fi Sachro" (like the opening of a suit of armor".

And it was due to the merit of the Bigdei Kehunah, he adds, that Yisroel would win their battles.


The Disappearing Trick

" and he shall remove the burned-out ashes and place them beside the Mizbei'ach ("ve'somo eitzel ha'Mizbei'ach") (ibid).

What happened to them there?

Chazal inform us that they would simply disappear (sink into the ground), one of several miracles that the people would witness on a daily basis.

The numerical value of "ve'somo", the Ba'al ha'Turim points out, is equivalent to that of "ve'nivla bi'mekomo" ('and it will sink into the ground').


Fiery Angels

"And the fire shall burn on it, never to be extinguished" (6:5).

This is because the fire on the Mizbei'ach served as a ladder for the angels to ascend to heaven, says the Ba'al ha'Turim. And we have a precedent for this by the angel who appeared to Mono'ach, and the six angels whom Yechezkel saw.

And based on the Novi's description of angels as "sparkling like shining copper (Yechezkel 1:7), he gives this as the reason that this Mizbei'ach was made of copper. The Mizbei'ach ha'Ketores, on the other hand, was made of gold, corresponding to the Shechinah, about whom it is written in Shir ha'Shirim "His Hands are pillars of gold".

And this also explains why any Chatos whose blood is taken into the Heichal (the domain which housed the Mizbei'ach ha'Zohov), is burned, and may not be eaten - because there is no eating in G-d's realm.


This is the law of the Oshom

"And this is the law of the Oshom" (7:1). The word Oshom appears five times in this parshah, the Ba'al ha'Turim explains, corresponding to the five Ashomos Vaday - Asham Gezeilos, Me'ilos, Shifchah Charufah, Nazir and Metzora.


Up Up, Down Down!

" es he'chozeh le'honif oso tenufah " (the owner brings the chest of his peace-offering in order to wave it) 7:10.

The numerical value of "le'honif oso" is equivalent to that of 'Molich, u'Meivi, Ma'aleh u'Morid', explains the Ba'al ha'Turim. By the same token, he adds, the word "Tenufah" is written three times in the parshah (once with a 'hey; in front ["ha'Tenufah"], adding one), corresponding to the four directions that the chest was waved, and twice, the word "Terumah", corresponding to the two directions, up and down.

The purpose of the waving, was to acknowledge G-d's Sovereignty over this world and all the worlds.


A Sad Ending

The word "Eil ha'Milu'im" (the ram of the Consecration) is missing a 'vov', because a missing 'vov' generally denotes that something is lacking. And indeed, the Consecration of the Mishkon lacked a happy ending, because Nodov and Avihu died on the final day (Ba'al ha'Turim).


Erev Pesach that Falls on Shabbos

1. The D'roshoh.

It is customary to hold the Shabbos ha'Godol d'roshoh on the previous week, in order to cover the current halochos in good time. Those who recite Yotzros, should also recite them then.

2. The Fast of the Firstborn.

When Erev Pesach falls on Shabbos, the first-born must fast on Thursday, 12th Nisan, unless they attend a siyum on a Masechta of Gemoro or a Seder Mishnayos.' In any case, someone who has pain and has difficulty in fasting, does not need to fast.

3. Bedikas Chometz.

Bedikas Chometz (searching for chometz) takes place on the night of the 13th (on Thursday night). After the search, one nullifies the chometz and recites the first 'Kol chamiro ', as one does every year.

One must take care from the time of the bedikah not to spread chometz over the house. Consequently, it is best to designate one location where one eats chometz until after the Shabbos meal.

4. A first-born May not Eat before the Bedikah.

If a first-born fasted on the 12th, and finds it difficult to search for chometz before breaking his fast, he may have a snack first. This could be up to a ke'beitzah (an egg-volume) of bread or cake, a small portion of a wheat or barley dish or other food. If he insists on eating a full meal, he should appoint an agent to search for him.

One says the first 'Kol Chamiro' immediately following the search, (negating all the chometz that one did not find) just like one always does,

5. Davening on Friday Morning.

On Friday morning, davening is as usual, and includes 'Mizmor le'sodoh' and 'la'Menatzei'ach'.

6. Bi'ur Chometz.

Bi'ur Chometz (destroying the chometz) must be performed by the end of the fifth hour (10:22) like every year, though there is no need to say "kol Chamiro", since the chometz is still permitted.

7. The Sale of Chometz.

The sale of chometz to a gentile should take effect as from Friday (and it is correct to date the document of sale accordingly), to clarify that the sale was not made on Shabbos.

8. Avoid Cooking Sticky Dishes.

For this Shabbos, one avoids cooking sticky dishes (particularly chometz dishes) that will leave the pots dirty, as one may not wash them on Shabbos. If one cooked chometz food, he should get a gentile to wash the pot if possible. If this is not practical, one may wash only as much as is required to remove the chometz. Remember that any pot made of metal or glass etc. that requires tevilah, will need to be toveled without a brochoh if it is sold to a gentile for the duration of Pesach.

Consequently, one is advised to prepare Pesach food in Pesach dishes (or on paper plates) to avoid these problems; but at all costs, not to prepare hot chometz food in metal or glass dishes. In fact, these should be cleaned and put away before Shabbos.

9. Baking Matzos shel Mitzvoh.

Those who are particular to bake matzos for the Seder on the afternoon of Erev Pesach, must bake them this year on Friday afternoon. One should take special care to separate 'chalah' from the matzos before Shabbos, since this will present a problem regarding eating them on Yom-tov (as we shall see), particularly in Eretz Yisroel.

10. Bi'ur Ma'asros

Erev Pesach of Sh'mitah is the time of Bi'ur Ma'asros, which is brought forward to Friday, since it cannot be performed on Shabbos. One transfers the kedushah of Ma'aser-Sheini coins on to a small coin or onto fruit which one then destroys. The latest time to perform this mitzvah is Erev Shevi'I shel Pesach.

11. Taking Challoh from the Challos before Shabbos

Similarly, one should take great care to ensure that 'chalah' has been taken from the Shabbos challos. Should one discover on Shabbos that chalah has not been taken, one is faced with the problem that one may neither take 'chalah on Shabbos nor may one leave the chometz chalos till after Shabbos. The 'Mogen Avrohom' contends that the only way out of the dilemma is to give all the chalos to a gentile as a gift. Other poskim give different options, so it is best to avoid the problem altogether and ensure that Chalah has been taken before Shabbos.

12. Preparing the Seder-Table.

Since it is forbidden to prepare anything for the Seder on Shabbos, most of the things for the Seder must be prepared on Friday. Boxes of matzos and bottles of wine must be opened before Shabbos if there is any problem in opening them on Yom-tov, though selecting the matzos for the Seder-plate can wait until Seder-night.

13. The Bone.

Since cooking on Yom-tov is permitted only if one actually has in mind to eat the food, one should roast the bone on Friday, unless there is meat on the bone and one intends to serve it for Yom-tov lunch.

14. The Egg.

The egg may be prepared on Yom-tov.

15. The Moror.

The Moror may be grated on Seder-night provided it is done 'ke'le'achar yad' (holding the grater upside down). Nevertheless, in order to allow the seder to begin promptly on Motzo'ei Shabbos, it is better to prepare the morror before Shabbos, and to keep it covered with a cellophane wrapping.

16. The Lettuce.

Lettuce which needs bedikah should be washed and examined on Friday. Ensure that the leaves remain fresh for the Seder (by placing them in the fridge or wrapping it in a plastic bag, since withered leaves may not be used, but do not leave them in water for twenty-four hours. The stalks, incidentally, neither contain worms, nor can they become disqualified through withering.

17. The Charoses.

The Charoses may be prepared on seder-night, but the apple and the nuts should be grated ke'le'achar yad. However, like the morror, it is advisable to prepare it on Friday in order to begin the Seder promptly.

18. Salt-Water.

This can be prepared on Seder-night with a slight 'shinuy' (in an unusual way), though it is preferable to prepare it before Shabbos. 19. Preparing the Candles.

One should also remember to prepare the candles on Friday and to light a yohrtzeit-candle already then from which to light them. And one is advised to give the children only kosher le'Pesach sweets (candies) from the time of bedikas chometz (and perhaps even a good few days before).

20. Kashering Glass.

If one intends to kasher glassware that has been used exclusively for cold food or drink (for 3 x 24 hours in cold water), one must begin already by Tuesday afternoon at the latest.

21. Daven early on Shabbos Morning.

On Shabbos morning one davens early in order to finish eating chometz and clear away the remnants in good time. Some communities who would otherwise recite 'Yotzros' omit them for this reason (reciting them the week before, as we already explained).

22. Se'udah Sh'lishis.

Some have the minhag to divide the Shabbos meal into two parts, benching in the middle and going for a stroll, or speaking Divrei Torah for a while, before washing again and continuing with the next course in order to fulfill the mitzvah of Seudah Shlishis with bread. However, because the correct time to eat Se'udah Shlishis is later in the afternoon, others fulfill the mitzvah by eating cold chometz dishes in the morning, and warm meat or fish dishes in the afternoon.

23. Final time for Eating Chometz.

One may no longer eat chometz after 9.02

24. Shaking out the Tablecloth.

After the meal, in a place where there is an eiruv, one shakes out the tablecloth thoroughly in an area that is 'hefker'. Otherwise, one throws all the remains of the chometz into the toilet. The cloth is put in a room or locked cupboard together with the chometz dishes that will not be used on Pesach. If any bread remains, one has the option of either giving it to a non-Jew (taking care not to contravene the laws of eiruv) or to a dog, or to flush it in small quantities down the toilet.

25. Sweeping the Floor.

One then sweeps the floor, taking care not to contravene the laws of Shabbos, and gets rid of all final traces of chometz. All this must be completed by the end of the fifth hour, leaving sufficient time to make bi'yur chometz (and recite the second 'Kol Chamiro') before 10.21.

26. Avoiding Problems.

Many people avoid most of the above hassles by eating a 'ke'zayis', of challah or pitta (which reduces the incidence of leftover crumbs) and then, after removing all traces of chometz, they serve only Pesach foods on Pesach dishes, or on paper plates.

27. Brushing One's Teeth.

One must remember to brush one's teeth and clean one's dentures, before the time of bi'ur chometz (According to some poskim, dentures must be cleaned and prepared before Shabbos).

28. Eating Matzah on Erev Pesach.

One may not eat matzah all day (though one may do so on Friday night), and some poskim even forbid cooked matzah (e.g kneidlach), too.

29. The Matzos are Muktzeh.

The 'Matzos shel Mitzvah' are muktzeh on Shabbos. (Pri Megodim).

30. Minchah and the Seder Korban Pesach.

In the afternoon, one Davens Minchah as usual, except that one includes the Seder Korban Pesach. In the rush that is part and parcel of every regular erev Pesach, it is not always easy to fit in the full text of 'Korban Pesach' as is printed in every good Hagodoh. But this year is different. There is plenty of time to say the full Seder, both the excerpts from the 'Torah she'biksav' and from 'Torah she'be'al peh. It is worthwhile to use the opportunity and say it with kavonoh. Chazal explain the posuk "And we will pay the bulls with our lips" to mean that whenever we cannot actually bring sacrifices, we should learn about them, and that this is considered as if we had actually brought them.

One should therefore recite the relevant sections from the Chumash and the Mishnah at the appropriate times. The sections dealing with the actual sacrificing should be recited on erev Pesach afternoon when the Korban Pesach was sacrificed, and the sections dealing with the eating of the Korban Pesach should be recited at the Seder table.

31. Reading the Hagodoh at Minchah.

Most communities in Chutz lo'Oretz read the Hagodoh (from 'Avodim Hoyinu' until 'le'chaper al kol avonoseinu'), but this is not the minhag of Eretz Yisroel.

32. Havdoloh (for women).

Women should remember to say 'boruch ha'mavdil bein kodesh le'kodesh ' and to kindle the Yom-tov lights, before they begin cooking.

32. Hurrying to Begin the Seder.

As we mentioned earlier, one should everything possible to begin the Seder as soon as possible.

33. Kidush and Havdoloh.

The order of Kidush and Havdoloh is 'Yaknehaz' (Yayin, Kidush, Ner, Havdoloh, Z'man).


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