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

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Vol. 16   No. 24

This issue is sponsored
by the Intract Family
l'iluy Nishmos
Yosef ben Yitzchak HaLevi z"l
v'raeso Rachel bas R' Zev a"h

Parshas Tzav
(Shabbos ha'Gadol)

Birchas ha'Chamah

When G-d created the world, He placed the luminaries in the sky on that first Tuesday night (the night of the fourth day). From that time on, the sun makes its daily revolution round the world, reaching a slightly different spot each day at any given time. And it is on the Tuesday night twenty-eight years later, that it reaches exactly the same spot in the sky where it was twenty-eight years earlier.

The Gematriyah of twenty-eight spells 'ko'ach', which is reminiscent of what we say in 'Keil Adon' - 'ko'ach u'gevuroh nosan bohem ' (He gave them the strength and the might to rule in the midst of the universe).


And it is in connection with this event that the Shulchan Aruch writes (in Si'man 229:2): 'Whoever sees the sun it its Tekufah once every twenty-eight years, on the morning after the beginning of the Tuesday night of the Tekufah (on Wednesday morning) recites the B'rachah 'Boruch Atoh Hashem oseh ma'aseh Bereishis'.

The Mishnah B'rurah comments that one should make every effort to recite the B'rachah as early as possible, adding that ideally speaking, one should recite it with a large group of people ('be'Rov Am Hadras Melech' [the glory of the King is with a large crowd of people]). If necessary however, one can still recite it up until the end of the third hour, according to many Poskim, even up until midday, and even with Shem & Malchus. The Sha'ar ha'Tziyun points out that if the day is cloudy, one should recite it as soon as one sees the sun, even on one's own.

The Chasam Sofer rules that if the sun is covered by clouds but is nevertheless visible, one may recite the B'rachah over it, but not if it is not visible at all.

It is customary, says the Mishnah B'rurah, before reciting the B'rachah to read the Kapitel in Tehilim "Halelu es Hashem min ha'Shamayim (like we do before Kidush Levanah). After the B'rachah, he adds, one says the Piyut 'Keil Adon ', the Kapitel "ha'Shamayim mesaprim k'vod Keil ", followed by 'Oleinu' and Kadish.


The Lu'ach 'Itim le'Binah' presents a prolonged version of the Birchas ha'Chamah ceremony, including singing part of the above, as well as the recital of various Pesukim and Mizmorim not mentioned earlier, and concluding with 'Adon Olam' and the recital of a special 'Y'hi rotzon' (see final paragraph).


The Lu'ach also points out there that although two hundred and six cycles x twenty-eight take us to the year 5768 (last year), Chazal have already informed us that the entire firmament ceased to function during the year of the flood, leaving us with an empty calendar year, so to speak.


Here is the longer version of Birchas ha'Chamah presented by the The Lu'ach 'Itim le'Binah':

'Before reciting the B'rachah, everyone gathers on the roof, and begins the ceremony with the recital of the Mizmor, "ha'Shomayim mesaprim k'vod Keil ", followed by the Mizmor "Halelu es Hashem min ha'Shamayim ".

One then recites the following Pesukim: "Ki Shemesh" (Tehilim 84:12), "Yiro'ucho im Shemesh" (Ibid. 72:5) , "Hodinu L'cho Elokim" (Tehilim 75:2), "ve'Zorchoh lochem ... vi'Yetzosem u'Pishtem" (Mal'achi 3:20), "ve'Hoyoh or ha'levonoh ke'or ha'chamah yirpoh" (30:26) & "ve'ohavav ke'tzeis ha'shemesh" (Shoftim 5:31) , followed by the Parshah of the fourth day of the Creation "va'Yomer Elokim".

One then says a long 'Y'hi rotzon' (as printed there); and this is followed by the recital of the B'rachah, first by the community, and then by the Chazan, who has in mind to cover anyone who hears him, who is not able to recite the B'rachah himself. The Mizmor "Hodu la'Hashem ki Tov - Hodu le'Keil ha'Shamayim" ... 'Keil Adon" ... 'Oleinu' ... 'Adon Olom'. And finally, a long Bakashah (as printed there) followed by "vi'Yehi No'am ... ", 'Yih'yu le'rotzon' and 'R. Chananya ben Akashyo omer', followed by Kadish de'Rabbanan. '

* * *

Parshah Pearls
(Adapted from Rabeinu Bachye)

The Thirteen Korbonos

The total number of Korbanos, says R. Bachye, is thirteen, corresponding to 'the Thirteen Midos' of Hashem (and, one may add, to the word 'Echad', bearing in mind that Korbanos, perhaps more than anything else, leads to the Oneness of Hashem and to the unification of K'lal Yisrael - see Rashi, Korach, 16:6).

Five flour-offerings - the Minchas So'les (of fine flour), the Minchas Marcheshes (in a deep pan), the Minchah al ha'Machavas (in a flat pan), Chalos (loaves) and Rekikin (wafers), and

Eight animals - Olah, Chatas, Asham, Todah, Shelamim, B'chor, Ma'aser Beheimah & Pesach, some of which are eaten by Kohanim - (Chatas, Asham & B'chor), and some of them by the owner (Ma'aser, Pesach & Todah), whereas the Olah, which is burned on the Mizbei'ach, is eaten by neither.


Sometimes Welcome, Sometimes Not

Discussing the Pasuk in Mishlei (25:17) "Keep away from your Friend's house", R. Bachye, citing many Pesukim which refer to G-d as 'Rei'a' (a Friend) explains it with reference to not bringing Korbanos in the Beis-Hamikdash (G-d's House).

The Medrash resolves the discrepancy between this Pasuk and the Pasuk in Tehilim, where David Hamelech said "I will come to Your House with Burnt-Offerings", by drawing a distinction between Burnt-Offerings on the one hand, and Sin and Guilt-Offerings, on the other.

The latter entails sinning in deed and doing Teshuvah, and it is in this regard that the Pasuk in Mishlei frowns upon those who frequent the Beis-Hamikdash with their Chata'os and Ashamos. Notwithstanding the high level of a Ba'al Teshuvah, G-d prefers a person not to sin and not to need to bring a Chatas.

This is what the Navi meant when he told King Shaul "Obedience is preferable to bringing a Korban" (despite the fact that a Chatas comes for a Shogeg).

R. Bachye describes someone who visits the Beis-Hamikdash constantly with his Sin-Offerings as 'kalus rosh' (irreverence), and then explains how eventually, G-d will come to hate these Korbanos, citing the Pasuk in Mishlei (21:27) "The Korban of a Rasha is an abomination!" This, he says, is because such a person brings his Korban with the express intention of sinning again. Bear in mind the statement of Rav Huna 'that someone who repeats a sin a second time, from that time on, he considers that sin to be permitted'.


A Burnt-Offering too, comes for a sin, says the author. The difference is that it comes only for a wrong thought, where no act has been performed. And because this is something that everybody inevitably experiences, it is not seen in such a serious light by G-d.


After Pride Comes - a Fire

"This is the law of the Olah, that is the Olah which burns on the Mizbei'ach" (6:2).

Taking the Pasuk out of context, R. Bachye cites a Medrash, which, interpreting "hi ha'Olah" as an expression of haughtiness, equates the Olah with Rome, which is vain and which elevates itself; ultimately, says the Medrash, they will be judged with fire. Indeed, the Medrash writes, whoever is vain and elevates themselves, will be judged with fire, and it goes on to cite the generation of the Flood and the men of S'dom, both of which were guilty of vanity, and both of which were punished with fire.

Par'oh too, who announced "Who is G-d that I should listen to Him?", and "the canal (the Nile) belongs to me and I formed myself!", was punished with fire, as we learned in Parshas Bo (9:24) and in Tehilim (18:14).

Finally, there is Sancheriv and Nevuchadnetzar, both of whom boasted of their ability to fly up to the sky, and ended up by being burned in fire, as the Pesukim in Yeshayah (10:16) and in Daniel (7:1) respectively inform us.


The Law of the Minchah

"This is the law of the Minchah" (6:6).

The basics of this Parshah we already learned in Vayikra, and the Torah repeats it on account of four new Dinim that it inserts here, R. Bachye points out:

That the Minchah must be eaten as Matzos (and not Chametz).

That it must be eaten in the Chatzer of the Ohel Mo'ed (and not anywhere in the camp).

That only male Kohanim are permitted to eat it.

That whatever touches it (Chulin or Kodshim Kalim) adopts its status, depending on whether it is Tahor or Tamei.


The Differences between a Kohen and a Kohenes

"And every Minchah (Meal-Offering) of a Kohen shall be entirely burned (on the Mizbei'ach). it shall not be eaten (6:16).

R. Bachye citing Chazal, precludes Kohanos (daughters and wives of Kohanim) from this Din.

And he goes on to list five other points in which the Din of a Kohenes differs from that of a Kohen:

A Kohen is warned against becoming Tamei meis; a Kohenes is not - because, he explains, it was the women who brought death to the world.

A Kohen can bring Korbanos; a Kohenes cannot.

A Kohen can eat Kodshei Kodshim (i.e. a Chatas, an Asham, a Minchah and Lechem Hapanim, which are eaten in the Azarah of the Beis-Hamikdash); a Kohenes cannot.

A Kohen is forbidden to marry a divorcee; a Kohenes is not.

A Kohen receives Matnos Kehunah; a Kohenes does not (though she is allowed to eat them).


A Good Reason Why


Quoting the Rambam, R. Bachye explains that the reason for the basic ruling is because, seeing as the Korban Minchah is a gift to Hashem, and bearing in mind that from an ordinary Minchah it is only the Kemitzah (the one fistful of flour) plus the small measure of Levonah (frankincense) that is burned on the Mizbei'ach, if the Kohen were to eat the rest of the Korban himself (like he does that of a Yisrael), he would be giving virtually nothing to Hashem.

* * *


"And Hashem commanded Moshe saying Command (Moshe leimor tzav es) Aharon " (6:1/2).

The last letters of the four consecutive words "Moshe leimor tzav es ('Taf' 'Vav' 'Reish' 'Hey') spell Torah. This is to remind the Kohanim, says the Ba'al ha'Turim, to study Torah (that they not think that because they serve in the Beis-Hamikdash, they are exempt from studying Torah. On the contrary, as the Torah informs us in Ve'zos ha'B'rachah, it is the Kohanim and the Levi'im who are expected to teach Torah to Yisrael).

Indeed, says the author

The Korbanos are referred to as "a fire-offering" and Torah too, is called a fire (when the Torah writes in ve'Zos ha'B'rachah "Eish-dos lomo" - eish means 'a fire', and "dos-lomo" spells 'Talmud');

The Korbanos are referred to as 'bread' ("es korboni lachmi le'ishai") and so is the Torah ("Go and partake of My bread"). Just as the world cannot exist without bread, so too, can it not survive without Torah (and without Korbanos).


"Command Aharon and his sons saying 'This is the law of the Olah, that is the Olah that burns ' " (6:2).

This teaches us, says the Ba'al ha'Turim, that whoever studies the laws of the Olah, it is as if he would have brought one.

And the same D'rashah applies to the Pasuk "This is the law of the Minchah" (Pasuk 7); "This is the law of the Chatas"(Pasuk 18); "This is the law of the Asham" (Pasuk 7:1), and to the Pasuk (7:11) "This is the law of the Shelamim sacrifice".

This set of D'rashos is particularly relevant nowadays, when we do not have the means to fulfill our obligation to bring the Korbanos.


"And the Kohen shall wear a linen under-shirt (mido bad)" (6:3).

The same word "mido" appears in Shmuel (2, 2:28) "ve'Yo'av chagur mido bad" (and Yo'av [captain of the army]).

This teaches us, says the Ba'al ha'Turim, that the Bigdei Kehunah served as weapons (indeed the Pasuk writes about the neck of the Me'il "like the neck of a suit-of-armour"). For it was on the merits of the Bigdei Kehunah that they would win their battles.


" and he shall place it ('ve'somo' [the ashes]) beside the Mizbei'ach" (Ibid).

And what happened to it there?

The answer lies the Gematriyah of the word "ve'somo" - which is equivalent, says the Ba'al ha'Turim, to 've'nivla bi'm'komo' (and it was swallowed up in its place).

* * *

(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 129:
The Asham Vaday (cont.)

Of the Ashamos Vaday, three come for sins that were committed either be'Shogeg or be'Meizid - Asham Gezeilos, Asham Shifchah Charufah & Asham Nazir; one only for Shogeg - Asham Me'ilos; whereas with regard to the Asham Metzora, the terms Shogeg and Meizid and Shogeg are not applicable, as we already explained Since we have mentioned Asham Shifchah Charufah, here is something interesting concerning it (although it does not really belong in this Parshah, and, seeing as it is not listed among the Mitzvos, this is the only opportunity the author has to make this point): "Charufah" means designated, or in this context, 'betrothed', and so the Gemara says in Kidushin (6a) 'in Yehudah, they tended to call a betrothed girl 'a Charufah'. In fact, the Pasuk is speaking about a Shifchah Cana'anis who is half-slave, half set-free, as the Pasuk writes in Kedoshim (19:20) "ve'hofdeh lo nifdasah' , which literally means 'she is redeemed, not redeemed' - in which case we are speaking about a girl who paid her master half her value for her freedom and then became betrothed to a Jewish servant or to any other Jewish man. The Torah now rules that if any other man has relations with her, irrespective of whether it is be'Shogeg or be'Meizid, he is obligated to bring the current Asham. The Korban comprises a ram with a minimum value of two Sela'im (eight Dinrim). The reason that a mere Korban suffices for an act of adultery, is due to the fact that the Kidushin is not a complete Kidushin, as it would have been had she been completely free (in which case, the man who had relations with her would have been Chayav Miysah - sentenced to death). But that is not the case here, due to the fact that she is still a half Shifchah. Thus a Korban will suffice to atone for the sinner. And what's more, the Torah is lenient here to allow a Korban to atone, even though he transgressed be'Meizid, which is rarely the case by people who sin be'Meizid. And the reason for this is because, even though the woman is half-free, people view her with contempt. Consequently, they do not consider it to be a big sin, making the sin more common. So the Torah makes the sin lighter and allows their atonement by means of a Korban. It is comparable to what Chazal have said in other regards 'The Torah wants the heart' (to the point that sometimes, it is the heart that determines the severity of the sin). Nevertheless, the Shifchah Charufah herself (about whom we can hardly say that she sinned because she derided herself) receives Malkos for sinning. She too however, is only subject to Malkos for a natural act, performed when she is considered a grown-up (over bas-Mitzvah) and be'meizid. It is on those three conditions that the Torah writes there (Ibid.) "bikores tih'yeh", which the Gemara in K'riysus (11a) interprets as 'bi'keriyah' (meaning Malkos, as we shall now explain). And they extrapolate from the word "tih'yeh" that she is Chayav Malkos, but not the man. And the reason that the Torah uses the word "bikores" (implying 'reading') is because, when applying Malkos, Beis-Din used to read Pesukim of rebuke (from Devarim 28:58/59) as they lashed the sinner, so that he hears and takes Musar (instruction). (cont.)

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