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

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Vol. 20   No. 25

This issue is sponsored by
the Intract Family
l'iluy Nishmos
Yosef ben Yitzchak Halevi and Faigy a"h
whose Yohrzeit is 28 Adar and Rochel bas Zev and Chana Aidel a"h
whose Yohrzeit is 16 Nissan

Parshas Tzav
(Shabbos Ha'Gadol)

The Transition from Katnus
To Gadlus

(Adapted from the B'nei Yisaschar)

Based on the ruling that someone who locks the gate of a field, builds a wall or breaches an existing wall, he acquires it, the Chida poses the following question: Bearing in mind that from the moment a baby is born, the Yeitzer ha'Ra acquires every limb in his body and takes possession of it, what claim does the Yeitzer ha'Tov have when he turns up when the child reaches thirteen? The Yeitzer ha'Ra has already acquired him with Chazakah and the Yeitzer Tov has nothing more to say!

*

He answers with the Halachah in Choshen Mishpat, that one cannot acquire the property of a child, and that, if one does make a kinyan, it remains ineffective even after the child grows up.

Now the reason that whatever a child does is ineffective is because his da'as (level of intelligence) is defective. And we find in the Torah that effective actions require a complete da'as, when it writes in ki Sissa "And I filled him (Betzalel) with da'as to do all the work".

In fact, generally speaking, what a person does without Da'as the Gemara refers to as 'Mis'asek'.

The concept of a lack of Da'as, at a deeper level, is not confined to a child. There are certain circumstances that fall under the category of 'without Da'as' even in a grown-up person. One of these is Galus.

As is well-know, the angels claimed at the Yam-Suf that - 'These (the Egyptians) worshipped idols, and these (Yisrael) worshipped idols too.'

The difference between them was that whereas the Egyptians worshipped idols of their own freewill, Yisrael worshipped idols as a result of the bitterness of their exile (without Da'as). And, as we explained, what a person does without Da'as has no validity. A person in such a situation can be compared to a drunkard, who cannot be held responsible for the actions that he performs in his state of drunkenness. In fact, the Pasuk in Yeshayah refers to such a situation as "Shikores ve'lo mi'yayin (Drunk, but not from wine)".

In other words, Da'as (or lack of it) rendered the Yeitzer ha'Ra's hold of K'lal Yisrael in Egypt null and void. It set the stage for the Ge'ulah and enabled Yisrael to survive the fate of the Egyptians at the Yam-Suf. That is why, on a number of occasions, the Torah employs the term 'Da'as' in connection with the Exodus (See Va'eira 7:5 & Bo 10:2) . Up to that point, they were on a par with children and with drunkards, whose Da'as is incomplete (and that is why the Navi Yechezkel (in chapter 16) refers to all the events of Yetzi'as Mitzrayim as 'Katnus'. And it was only after the redemption, when the badge of slavery was removed from them once and for all, that they became 'gedolim' (grown-ups).

With this idea, the author explains why the Chachamim chose four cups of wine to represent the four expressions of Ge'ulah - specifically wine, because it was the argument that we were drunk (from servitude) that enabled the Ge'ulah to take place, paving the way for the Seider that we about to celebrate.

Shabbos too, in its capacity to elevate a person beyond the limitations of the material world, is a means of attaining Da'as. Indeed, in Parshas Ki Sissa, (31:12), when G-d instructed Moshe to inform Yisrael about the great gift (Shabbos) that He was about to bestow upon K'lal Yisrael, the Torah writes "that you should know that I am Hashem who sanctifies you!" The first step towards the Ge'ulah that Yisrael took was when they took the lamb for a Korban Pesach on the Shabbos before they actually left Egypt. Consequently, one can truly say that the combination of the impending Ge'ulah and the fact that this took place on Shabbos - constituted the transition from Katnus to Gadlus. Hence that day earned the title 'Shabbos ha'Gadol'.

* * *

The Mitzvah of T'rumas ha'Deshen
(Adapted from the Seifer ha'Chinuch)

It is a Mitzvah incumbent upon a Kohen to remove a shovel-full of ashes from on the Mizbei'ach. This is called 'T'rumas ha'Deshen', and it was performed every day, as the Torah writes (6:3) "And the Kohen shall don his size shirt and he shall remove the ashes ".

A reason for this Mitzvah, as the author already wrote earlier, is to enhance the Kavod of the House and to glorify it to our utmost ability ... . And clearing away the ashes from the spot where the fire is about to be lit is intrinsically a beautification of the Mizbei'ach. Moreover, the fire will burn better if there are no ashes underneath it.

*

Some of the Dinim of the Mitzvah The Chachamim said that removing the ashes from the Mizbei'ach is one of the Avodos ha'Kehunah. It required wearing the Bigdei Kehunah, though the actual garments that he wore were inferior to those that he wore when performing other Avodos, as the Torah writes (in the same Pasuk " he shall take off his clothes and put on other garments"). Even though this Pasuk is written in connection with the disposal of the (bulk of the) ashes to outside the Camp, nevertheless it also pertains to the removal of the shovel-full of) ashes from the Mizbei'ach and carrying them down to the ground close to the Mizbei'ach. That too, is not fitting to do wearing the same clothes as those in which the Kohen serves. The Gemara in Shabbos (114a) explains aptly - 'It is not befitting to use the same clothes with which one pours out a cup of wine for one's master, to cook his meals for him'

When is the T'rumas ha'Deshen performed? Each morning it takes place at dawn-break, on Yom-Tov, at the middle third of the night, and on Yom-Kipur, at midnight.

How is it performed? The Kohen on whom the lot fell to perform it Tovels, dons the appropriate Begadim and washes his hands and feet (from the Kiyor). His brothers the Kohanim warn him not to touch any of the Holy Vessels before he does.

He then takes the silver fire-pan from its location in a corner between the west side of the ramp and the Mizbei'ach and proceeds up the ramp to the top of the Mizbei'ach, where, after shoveling the coals on the Mizbei'ach to the side, he takes a shovel-full of spent ashes from the center of the Ma'arachah (the burning area on the Mizbei'ach) and takes them down the ramp to the floor area. Turning northwards, he walks approximately ten Amos along the east side of the ramp. He then piles up the ashes on a spot next to the ramp some three Tefachim away from it, at the exact same location where the Kohanim throw the crops of the bird-offerings and place the ashes that have been removed from the Mizbei'ach ha'Ketores and from the Menorah each morning.

The moment the Kohen descends from the Mizbei'ach with the shovel-full of ashes, his brothers the Kohanim who are serving that day run to wash their hands and feet from the Kiyor, before taking the forks and rakes and ascending to the top of the Mizbei'ach where they shovel all the ashes from the sides of the Ma'arachah. With them, they form a heap of ashes in the center of the Mizbei'ach to an area known as the 'Tapu'ach'. And it is only when the Tapu'ach becomes extremely full, that they fill a large container called a 'P'sachter' (which holds thirty Sa'ah [half a Kur]) with ashes taken from it, and move it part of the way down the ramp, until other Kohanim take it to a location outside the Camp. Other details of the Mitzvah are discussed in Masechtos Tamid and Yuma.

This Mitzvah applies when the Beis-Hamikdash stands to all male Kohanim. Any Kohen who contravenes it and fails to removes the ashes has transgressed a Mitzvas Asei.

* * *


Vol. 20   No. 26

This issue is sponsored
l'iluy Nishmas
Hena Hitza bas Eliyahu
(Anne Dodick, mother of Risa Rotman) z"l
on the occasion of her twelfth Yohrzeit
t.n.tz.v.h.

Pesach Supplement

A Mashehu Chametz
(Based entirely on the Chasam Sofer)

The following is a collection of thoughts, adapted from the Chasam Sofer Hagadah, connected with the ruling that, unlike most Isurim, even the smallest amount of Chametz is forbidden (Pesachim 30.), and even under circumstances where it is not, the Minhag is to be strict.

*

"Seven days yeast may not be found in your homes, because whoever eats Chametz, that soul will be cut off from the con-gregation of Yisrael, whether a convert or a native of the land" (12:19).

*

B'nei No'ach

One reason for the stringency of 'Mashehu' is based on the fact that we are obligated to consider ourselves as if we our-selves left Egypt.

When Yisrael left Egypt, the Torah had not yet been given, and so they had the Din of B'nei No'ach.. Now the B'nei No'ach, are not subject to Shi'urim (which are Halachah le'Mo'she mi'Sinai), in which case, anything the Torah forbids, even a Mashehu is forbidden.

*

Yeitzer ha'Ra

As is well-known, Chametz hints at the Yeitzer ha'Ra (par-tially because it is dough that has swollen - which is reminiscent of pride). The Gemara in Succah (52a), compares the Yeitzer ha'Ra to a thread of hair - which effectively, is a mashehu. The author elaborates : The difference between the words 'chametz' and 'matzah' (i.e. a 'Hey' and a 'Ches') is three. And, as we have learned in the Mishnah in Pirkei Ovos (4:21), the Yeitzer ha'Ra comprises three parts Kin'ah (jealousy), Ta'avah (lust) and Kavod (pride), all of which drive a person out of this world.

The Chachamim have said that Chametz is forbidden be'Mashehu, because a. it is Chayav kareis and b. people do not stay away from it the whole year round. And so it is with Kin'ah, Ta'avah and Kavod - a. they drive a person out of this world and b. people do not stay away from them the whole year round.

*

Closing the Gap

The Arizal writes that if someone deliberately eats a mashehu of Chametz on Pesach, the gates of Teshuvah are shut before him.

The Chasam Sofer explains this with what we explained ear-lier, that the difference between Chametz and Matzah is that the former is written with a 'Ches', the latter, with a 'Hey'.

The Gemara explains in Menachos (29J that this world was created with a 'Hey' (representing Teshuvah) so that, even if his sins cause him to fall out, he can do Teshuvah, and return via the gap between the left leg of the 'Hey' and its roof. But someone who eats Chametz closes that gap, leaving him stranded, with no way of returning.

*

Leaving the Door Ajar

Perhaps one can add an insight, based on the author's previ-ous comparison of Chametz to the Yeitzer-ha'Ra

In the Pasuk in Bereishis (4:7) G-d explained to Kayin that the Yeitzer ha'Ra crouches at the door, waiting to gain entry. The secret to keep him out then, is to keep the door firmly shut. The moment one leaves it ajar - even a little, the wily fellow puts his foot in, and it becomes all but impossible to keep him out.

By the same token, one needs to keep away even from a Mashehu of Chametz, as a reminder to keep the door firmly shut.

* * *

FIRST GET RID OF THE CHAMETZ

"Do not Shecht the blood of My sacrifice whilst in the possession of Chametz" (Ki Sissa 34:25).

Chazal learn from this Pasuk that one must get rid of one's Chametz before bringing the Korban Pesach. The Chasam Sofer attributes this to the fact that, on the one hand, the Korban Pesach represents Avodas Hashem, on the other, Chametz represents the Yeitzer ha'Ra. And, as David ha'Melech writes in Tehilim (34:15) "Remove yourself from evil (first) and (then) do good". This, the Torah is hinting, is the correct order to serve G-d - to cleanse oneself of sin and to eliminate one's evil character-traits, before performing Mitzvos and indulging in good deeds.

Interestingly, the Torah already hinted this vitally important lesson in Parshas Bo (12:21), when it instructed the people to "Draw and to take for themselves a lamb for the Korban Pesach". And, as Rashi writes (in Pasuk 6), the Chachamim interpret this as a command to (first) withdraw from the Avodah-Zarah that they had become accustomed to worship during the years of slavery, and (only) then to prepare the Korban Pesach.

For obvious reasons, it is not possible to adhere to this teaching to the letter, but it is important to know that one's Mitzvos and good deeds can only achieve their full potential if they are not tainted by previous sins that one has performed.

Perhaps one can compare it to pouring wine into a dirty glass, No matter how good the wine, its taste will be spoilt by the dirt, and it is only if one first cleans the cup that the taste of the wine can be fully appreciated.

The Chasam Sofer illustrates this order of priorities with a stunning Mashal, which we hope to print in the next edition.

* * *

Six Cups of Wine

(Based entirely on the Chasam Sofer on the Hagadah)

As is well-known, the four cups of wine at the Seider is based on the four expressions of redemption (in Parshas Va'eira) "ve'hotzeisi, ve'hitzalti, ve'go'alti and ve'lokachti". These four ex-pressions, the Chasam Sofer explains, pertain to the four stages of the redemption, the termination of the slavery, total freedom from their erstwhile masters, the drowning of the Egyptians at the Yam-Suf and the receiving of the Torah at Har Sinai.

In Parshas Tzitzis, at the end of Sh'lach-L'cha, Rashi explains that Tzitzis must have four corners, not three and not five, cor-responding to the four expressions of redemption.

The Chasam Sofer extrapolates from Rashi that on the one hand, the first three expressions, which left Yisrael physically free, were not sufficient. They only attained total freedom when the fourth expression of redemption materialized, when they became G-d's nation at Har Sinai (in keeping with Chazal who say that the only truly free person is one who studies Torah). On the other hand, the fifth and sixth expressions of redemp-tion mentioned in the Pasuk in Va'eira "And I will bring you to the land and I will give it to you as an inheritance" are not an indispensable part of the redemption.

The first four parts of the redemption were permanent. Not so, the latter two, which represent coming to Eretz Yisrael and living there free (as opposed to the period of the second Beis-ha'Mikdash, where they were subservient to the Persians, the Greeks and the Romans), which are dispensable.

That is why the Chachamim instituted four cups and not six.

*

To be sure, there are six expressions of redemption, and the time will come when the last two will become permanent (hope-fully soon), but not yet.

Perhaps this explains why Eliyahu ha'Navi gave Ya'akov Av-inu the 'Vav' (six) from his name (See Rashi , Bechukosai, 26:42), as a guarantee, that when he comes, the six-point re-demption will come to fruition. A hint for this lies in the words that we say often in "Mizmor shir le'yom ha'Shabbos" - "va'tabet eini be'shurai" ( my eye will see the destruction of my ene-mies). The Gematritah of the word "shurai" (516) is equivalent to six times 'Kos'.

*

Perhaps, the Chasam Sofer concludes, when Mashi'ach comes, Chazal will institute six cups at the Seider, instead of four.

* * *

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