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

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Vol. 22   No. 24

This issue is sponsored l'iluy Nishmos
R' Alecsander ben Yisrael Moshe z"l
Mariyam Yehudis bas Yitzchak Mordechai z"l

Parshas Tzav (Ha'Gadol)

Thoughts on the Korban Olah
(Adapted mainly from the Ramban)

What Goes Up, Stays Up

'Command Aharon and his sons, saying 'This is the law of (Toras) the Olah - the Olah which shall remain burning on the Mizbe'ach the entire night, and the fire on the Mizbe'ach shall burn on it' " (6:2).


This Pasuk teaches us, says Rashi, a). that the burning of the limbs and the fat-pieces of a Korban that was brought in the day is Kasher to be performed all night, and b). (from the word "Toras") that there are certain Pasul sacrifices (which he refers to as 'Olim') that, once brought on to the Mizbe'ach, are not taken down.

The Ramban however, takes Rashi to task, inasmuch as if this is true of the 'Olos' (burnt-offerings that go on the Mizbe'ach), it is not true of the all 'Olim' (incorporating anything that is brought on the Mizbe'ach). What he means is that it does not apply to Pasul Nesachim (the flour, wine and oil of the flour-offering that accompanies most Korbanos). This must be removed from the Mizbe'ach, even if it is only the Korban which the Nesech is accompanying that is Pasul and the Nesech is Kasher, or vice-versa.


Keeping the Flame Alight

" … and the fire on the Mizbe'ach shall burn on it" (Ibid.).


This constitutes a Mitzvah to ensure that the fire burns on the Mizbe'ach throughout the night by placing sufficient wood on it for this to happen, says the Ramban.

The Torah adds (in Pasuk 6) "A permanent fire shall burn on the Mizbe'ach; it shall not be extinguished!", he explains, to teach the Kohanim the additional obligation of seeing to it that that fire is never extinguished, as the Torah wrote in the previous Pasuk. " …the Kohen shall burn fire-brands each morning". Based on the above Asei and Lo Sa'aseh, the Kohanim worked to keep the fire burning on the Mizbe'ach day and night, never to be extinguished. That explains why Chazal tell us about a second fire (ma'arachah sheniyah) that the Kohanim lit on the Mizbe'ach, to make sure that they did not contravene the La'av of allowing it to go out. And the La'av (in the same Pasuk) "And the fire shall burn on the Mizbe'ach it shall not be extinguished", it is coming to extend the above prohibition to non-Kohanim (who have no business to be on the Mizbe'ach in the first place).

As a matter of fact, anyone who extinguishes just one coal on the Mizbe'ach transgresses a La'av. An interesting ramification of this is the fact that the wine of the Nesech (the libation offering) was poured into a bowl that was placed beside the south-western Keren (block).


The Bigdei Kehunah

" … the Kohen shall don his fitted linen shirt, and he shall wear (yilbash) limen pants on his flesh … " (6:3).


The Pasuk is speaking about the Avodah of the T'rumas ha'Deshen (the removal of the shovelful of ashes that took place each day) -which required the Kohen to wear the four Bigdei Kehunah, the Ramban points out. In fact, he cites the Toras Kohanim, which learns from the word "yilbash" - which is otherwise superfluous, that the Kohen must also wear the hat and the belt.

And the reason that the Torah mentions only the two garments, is because of the two Dinim that it wants to add - that do not apply to the other two Bigdei Kehunah - the hat and the belt. 1). That they should be exactly the right size of the Kohen and 2). That nothing may interrupt between the garment and the Kohen's body.

Consequently, if for example, a Kohen performs the Avodah with a shirt that did not reach the ground or that drags along the ground, or with a plaster between the pants and his flesh, the Avodah that he performed is invalid. Moreover, he is akin to a Zar (a non-Kohen) who performs the Avodah, and is chayav Miysah bi'Yedei Shamayim.

* * *

Parshah Pearls
(Adapted from the Ramban)

Vayikra & Tzav

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

The Ramban defines the difference between Vayikra and Tzav (both of which discuss the basic details of the various types of Korbanos), as the fact that, whereas the former refers to the Mitzvos that concern the owner who brings the Korban, the latter refer to the Mitzvos that concern the Kohanim, who offer it on the Mizbe'ach.

And this is clearly borne out by the contrast between the respective opening phrases of the two Parshiyos. Whereas the opening phrase of Tzav is the one that we quoted above, the corresponding phrase of Vayikra (both of which refer to the Korban Olah) reads "Speak to the B'nei Yisrael and say to them".


The Garments for the T'rumas ha'Deshen

" … he shall remove his garments and don other garments, and take out the ashes to (a location) outside the camp" (6:2).

This is not obligatory, Rashi explains, only Derech Eretz, not to dirty the garments with which he serves regularly, as the mantra goes 'One does not pour out the wine for one's master wearing the same clothes with which one cooked'.


The Ramban queries Rashi however, on his statement that changing clothes for the T'rumas ha'Deshen is not obligatory. If it is the correct thing to do, he maintains, why should the Torah not mean to say that it is a Mitzvah?

Anyway, he adds, the above quandary only applies if T'rumas ha'Deshen is considered an Avodah in which case it requires Bigdei Kehunah. But there is an opinion in the Gemara in Yuma, that maintains that it is not an Avodah and that it could be performed even by Kohaniim who were blemished. According to him, the other garments mentioned in the Pasuk refers even to clothes that were not Bigdei Kehunah.


The Minchah Offering

" … this is the law of the Minchah …" (6:7).

The Ramban draws up a list of four basic Halochos regarding the Korban Minchah that emerge from the Pasukim of the Parshah:

1. That it must be eaten as Matzos (and not Chametz).

2. That it must be eaten in the Chatzer of the Mishkan.

3. That only male Kohanim may eat it.

4. That whatever a hot Minchah touches becomes sanctified with the sanctity of a Minchah).


And he adds the following Halachos that Chazal Darshen from the Parshah:

1. That even the Minchah of a Kohen requires Kemitzah (a fistful to be taken from it and burned on the Mizbe'ach - even though the remainder of the Minchah is not eaten).

2. That before the Kemitzah is taken, the Minchah must be taken to the south-western corner of the Mizbe'ach, an Avodah that is called Hagoshoh.

3. That the full measure (a tenth of an Eifah [an Isaron]) must be brought in one K'li Shareis to that corner (and not divided into two or more Keilim), so that the Kohen can take the Kemitzah from the complete Isaron.

4. That the Kemitzah comprises a fistful of flour - and not a measured quantity.

5. That not only must the Minchah not be baked Chametz, but that even if a Kohen kneads or arranges the dough, or who performs any other preparation of the Minchah in a state of Chametz, transgresses a La'av, and is subject to Malkos for each act that he performs.

* * *

Shabbos ha'Godol
(Adapted from the Chasam Sofer)

The Difference between Chametz & Matzah

The Gemara in Pesachim (Daf 30a) says that the smallest amount (a Mashehu) of Chametz renders other food with which it is mixed forbidden. This is due to two factors that distinguish it from other forbidden foods, says the Chasam Sofer: 1). because, unlike most other foods that are forbidden to eat, which are sub-ject only to a plain La'av, it is subject to Kareis, and b). unlike most other forbidden foods, whose prohibition is ongoing, it is permitted the whole year round.

The early commentaries, he points out, say that this is hinted in the fact that the difference between the spelling of Chametz and Matzah is that the former contains a 'Ches', and the latter, a 'Hey', and that the difference between them is a mere Mashehu. It should be noted that this also incorporates the idea that for leaven dough to become unleavened takes but a fraction of a second.


The author himself adds a different dimension to the above distinction when he observes that the difference between the let-ters 'ches' and 'hey' (which number eight & five respectively) is three.

Equating the above Mashehu to the 'Chut ha'Sa'aroh' (the hairsbreadth to which the Yeitzer ha'Ra is compared), he ex-plains that the extra three that turns Matzah into Chametz rep-resents the three things that drive a person out of this world - 'kin'ah, ta'avah and kavod' (jealousy, desire and conceit). With these three Midos a person is easily subject to Kareis.

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