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

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Vol. 8   No. 47

This issue is sponsored l'iluy Nishmas Meshulam ben Eliezer z.l.

Parshas Vayeilech
Shabbos Shuvah
(incorporating Yom Kipur)

Returning All the Way to G-d
(Adapted from the K'li Yakar)

The Gemara in Chagigah (5a) relates how Rebbi Yochanan would weep when he read the Pasuk (31:17) "And it shall be when many evils befall them ... ". For what chance does a servant have whose master metes out to him many evils?

Shmuel explains there (according to the explanation of Rabeinu Tam) that this Pasuk results from the sin of failing to provide a poor man with his needs until he is in dire straits, but not before.

How can this be, asks the K'li Yakar? Is this such a terrible sin, that it should bring in its wake such harsh retribution?


In Maseches Yuma (86b), the Gemara cites Resh Lakish, who, in praise of Teshuvah, explains how it transforms sins performed on purpose, into mistakes. He bases this on the Pasuk in Hoshei'a (14:2) "Shuvah Yisrael ... Ki choshalto ba'avonecha", on the fact that 'ovon' is a sin performed on purpose, whereas 'choshalto' implies stumbling by mistake. In order to reconcile this with another statement of Resh Lakish, where, based on a Pasuk in Yechezkel, he explains that Teshuvah has the power to turn a sin performed on purpose into a Mitzvah, the Gemara establishes the first statement by Teshuvah out of fear, and the second, by Teshuvah out of love.


The advantage of Teshuvah out of love, explains the K'li Yakar, is that someone who loves, draws close to the one he loves, whereas someone who fears, keeps his distance from the person of whom he is afraid. In other words, Teshuvah out of love removes the obstacles that separate the sinner from G-d, and bridges the gap between them that those sins created. Teshuvah out of fear, on the other hand, cannot bridge the gap completely, by virtue of the fact that the one who is afraid, chooses to retain his distance.

This also explains why the former still requires a sin-offering to atone for the Shogeg that remains. It is because a 'Korban' (whose root is the word 'Karev' to come close) brings the erstwhile sinner close to G-d. The latter does not require a Korban (since he has already drawn close to G-d on his own initiative).

Another advantage of Teshuvah that is based on love is that when one repents in this way, one encourages others to repent too (because someone who loves G-d, wants others to love Him as well). Whereas someone who repents out of fear, is only concerned with His own wellbeing, not with anybody else's, neither of his fellow-Jew nor even with G-d's.


The Gemara in Pesachim (50b) makes a similar distinction. Citing an apparent contradiction between the Pasuk in Tehilim (54:11) "Because Your kindness reaches the Heaven" and the Pasuk there (108:5) "Because Your kindness reaches beyond the Heaven", it explains that the former Pasuk refers to those who serve G-d out of fear, whereas the latter Pasuk refers to those who serve Him out of love.

In other words, those who serve G-d out of fear will receive G-d's kindness from up to the Heaven, but no higher, whereas those who serve Him out of love, will merit His kindness from a higher level still, from above the Heaven.


According to what we have just said, the Pasuk in Hoshei'a ("Shuvah Yisrael ... ") is actually exhorting Yisrael to perform Teshuvah out of love "Do Teshuvah Yisrael, up to Hashem Your G-d (and not just up to the Heaven, as you did until now) because (until now) you stumbled over your sins (i.e. they were transformed into sins by mistake, because your Teshuvah was done out of fear)". And that explains why "because you stumbled" is written in the past. That is what was; now, G-d implores us, do Teshuvah out of love, thereby wiping away every trace of your sins, for those sins to become Mitzvos.

"Take with you words", the Pasuk continues, "and return to G-d (all the way); your sins will be uplifted (turned into Mitzvos) and give you goodness, and we will pay the bulls with our lips". With such a Teshuvah, "our lips" will suffice. No sacrifices are necessary.


One more point. There is a third category of Teshuvah, and that is someone who does Teshuvah only when he is in the process of being punished. He repents only in order to rid himself of his torment, much in the same way as Par'oh did. Like Par'oh, his Teshuvah is not sincere, and no sooner is G-d's Hand withdrawn, than he returns to his former sins. This form of Teshuvah is contained in the Pesukim in Yechezkel (18:27-30).


And now we can understand what Shmuel meant when he spoke of providing a poor man with his needs when he is in dire straits, but not before.

The Pasuk to which Shmuel refers follows Yisrael's reaction to the terrible calamities that have befallen them, which they attribute to the fact that G-d is not in their midst (a form of Teshuvah), as the Torah records there. That is when G-d responds by hiding His Face from them and by meting out to them many evils. When Shmuel speaks about providing the poor with their needs 'when they are in dire straits', he is referring to the wealthy who actually give (not to the poor)! He is referring to the sort of people who, as long as everything goes well, will turn a poor man away empty-handed. But the moment they experience Divine retribution, they suddenly open their purses. That sort of Teshuvah does not last, and the chances are that, the moment G-d responds favorably, they will continue to ignore the poor man's pleas. That is why G-d ignores their 'Teshuvah', and continues to mete out to them many evils.


Parshah Pearls

(adapted from the P'ninim mi'Shulchan ha'G'ro)
Mind Your Own Business

"And Hashem said to Moshe, Behold your days are fast approaching to die; call Yehoshua" (31:14). The Yalkut relates how, on the day that Moshe died, G-d spoke to Yehoshua. When Moshe asked him what G-d had told him, he retorted 'During the last forty years, did I ask you what G-d said to you'?

There and then, Moshe said 'Better a thousand deaths than one jealous thought!'


To explain this Medrash, the G'ro first stresses that Hashem wanted Moshe to die willingly. Moshe had already Davened five and hundred and fifteen Tefilos, in his quest to be allowed to cross the Yarden. And if Yehoshua's time to lead Yisrael had arrived, he now pleaded with Hashem, he would not mind entering Eretz Yisrael in the capacity of Yehoshua's Talmid.


And that was when Hashem decided to show Moshe that such a situation would give him no naches at all. So he instructed Yehoshua that, when Moshe would ask him about his prophesy, he should give him the reply that we quoted above.

In truth, these were Hashem's words of prophesy (not a personal statement of Yehoshu'a). In Moshe's mind however, they were the words of Yehoshua, and inevitably, pangs of jealousy welled up in his heart, for no more than than a fleeting moment. Long enough however, to realize the futility of entering Eretz Yisrael as a Talmid of Yehoshua.

Maybe later, Moshe would realize that Yehoshua's message was not his own, but that of Hashem. But still, he had experienced the pangs of jealousy, and that was sufficient to make him want to relinquish his hold on life, and to die willingly, exactly as Hashem had anticipated.


Idolatry and Adultery

"And this people will arise and go astray after the foreign gods of the land" (31:16). The word for 'go astray' is "ve'Zonoh" (which is synonymous with 'commit adultery'). The G'ro, cites a tradition from the Ge'onim, going back to Moshe Rabeinu. Every form of idolatry, they stated, was perpetrated in one way or another, in conjunction with an immoral act. And this explains why the Torah constantly uses this word in connection with idolatry (e.g. "And they went astray ('Va'yiznu') after Ba'al" [Shoftim 8:33]; "And this people will arise and go astray" [Devarim 31:16]).

And that also explains why (based on the well-known connection drawn between the first Lu'ach and the second) the second commandment on the second Lu'ach, which corresponds to the second commandment on the first Lu'ach "Do not have other gods", is - "Do not commit adultery".


Armchair Torah

"And this 'Song' will testify before them as a witness, because it will not be forgotten from their descendents" (31:21).

The Gemara in Bava Metzi'a (85b) relates how Rebbi Chiya worked to stop Torah from being forgotten from Yisrael. He would plant flax-seeds, and with the flax he would weave nets. He would then lay the nets as traps to catch deer. He would Shecht the deer and distribute the flesh to orphans, whilst from the hides he would make 'K'lafim' (sheets of parchment) on which he wrote the five books of the Torah. Then he would travel to a town where there were no Melamdei-Tinokos (children's Rebbes), and teach the five books to five children, and the six Sedarim of Mishnayos to six children. And he would instruct them to teach each other what he had taught them, so that by the time he paid his next visit, they would all be conversant in the five books and the six Sedarim.


The G'ro maintained that the reason that the later generations do not succeed in their Torah-studies to the degree that the earlier generations did, is because they are built on a poor foundation. The father wants his son to become a Lamdam overnight, and the Rebbe wants his wages.

For Rebbi Chiya to go to the Sofer to purchase ready-made sheets of parchment would have involved an element of 'she'lo Lishmah' (for ulterior motives), and his success would have been marred. That is why he did everything himself, to ensure that the entire operation, from planting the seeds to teaching the children, was performed Lishmah, without the slightest trace of impure motives. In this way, he succeeded in building a magnificant building on foundations of Emes.


Others cite the Ma'alos ha'Torah, who quoted his brother the G'ro. The G'ro said that, if they would construct Batei-Keneisiyos from scratch, with wood that was cut from trees that were felled with hatchets made by Jews with thoughts of 'Le'shem Shamayim' (Lishmah), then the people who Davened in those Shuls would never have foreign thoughts during Davening.


Vanquishing the Yeitzer ha'Ra

"Because I know his Yeitzer (ha'Ra)" (31:21).

The Gemara in B'rachos (8a) cites Ula, who says that someone who derives pleasure from his toil is greater than someone who fears G-d.


There are some people, the G'ro explains, who derive pleasure in breaking their Midos. Overcoming their Yeitzer ha'Ra is for them a great source of joy (like the pleasures of this world which one only fully enjoys at the time that one performs them - Mishlei 13:19) . Others do so because they know it is the right thing to do (for so Chazal have taught 'Reckon the benefits of performing a sin against its losses' [Avos 2:1]), but it comes only after a great struggle. With them, the pleasure comes only later.

And this is what the above Gemara means. When Chazal speak about 'Someone who derives pleasure from his toil', they are referring to someone who derives a thrill from fighting and overcoming his Yeitzer ha'Ra. And he is 'greater than someone who fears G-d', by whom they mean someone who overcomes his Yeitzer ha'Ra due to a sense of duty, induced by his Yir'as Shamayim, but from which he derives no pleasure at the time at the time that he achieves it.


The Fighters and the non-Fighters

Alternatively, the Tzadikim can be divided into two groups; one which needs to fight the Yeitzer ha'Ra constantly, whilst the other does so naturally, without a fight. Each one has an advantage and a disadvantage. The first is in constant danger of being defeated in the next round of battle. As long as they live in this world, they are never secure, and it is only when they arrive in Olam ha'Ba that the battle is finally over.

The second group has no problem in this world. They have little to fear, as they know that they will win the next round whenever it confronts them. On the other hand, their reward for overcoming the Yeitzer ha'Ra (compared to the first group) is minimal.


The ideal situation though, is one where a person begins in the first group, but who works so hard to defeat his Yeitzer ha'Ra until doing so becomes second nature to him (like those who pertain to the second group).

About such a person David Hamelech wrote in Tehilim "When you eat the toil of your hands, you will be fortunate (in this world) and it will be good for you (in Olam ha'Ba)" (128:2).

And when the Gemara refers to 'Someone who derives pleasure from his toil', it is referring to someone from this category, someone who, through hard work, transferred from the first group of Tzadikim to the second. He is greater than the one who continues to toil as a member of the first group.


A Pleasurable Occupation

And thirdly, the G'ro explains, the greatest conceivable pleasure in the World to Come is studying Torah. Someone who enjoys toiling in Torah derives pleasure in this world as well as in Olam ha'Ba. And it is with such a person in mind that David Hamelech wrote in Tehilim "When you eat the toil of your hands, you will be fortunate (in this world) and it will be good for you (in Olam ha'Ba)". Whereas the person who fears G-d, but does not enjoy Torah-study will derive pleasure in Olam ha'Bo, but not in this word.



(Adapted from the Rambam, Hilchos Avodas Yom ha'Kipurim, chapter one )

1. On Yom Kipur, the daily morning Tamid and the daily afternoon Tamid were brought in the usual manner. In addition, they brought the Musaf, consisting of a bull, a ram and seven lambs, all burnt-offerings, and the goat of the Chatos (the sin-offering), which was eaten after nightfall. These were all brought in between the morning Tamid and the afternoon Tamid.


2. Besides this, they also brought a bull in its third year as a Chatos, which was entirely burned, and a ram as a Chatos, which was not. Both of these were paid for by the Kohen Gadol. The ram of the community mentioned in Acharei-Mos is synonymous with the ram of the Musaf mentioned in Pinchas. In addition to this, the community also provided two goats, one that was brought as a Chatos and burned, the other, that was sent away.


3. It transpires that the total number of animals brought was fifteen. There were two lambs as Temidim, a bull, two rams and seven lambs, all burnt-offerings, two goats as a Chatos, one whose blood was sprinkled outside (in the Azarah) and was eaten that night, the other, inside (in the Heichal), and therefore had to be burnt, and the Kohen Gadol's Chatos that was burnt.

4. All of the above fifteen animals could only be sacrificed by the Kohen Gadol, who had to be married. The same applied to the Musaf of Shabbos (if Yom Kipur fell on Shabbos) and to all the other Avodos that took place that day, such as the daily Ketores, and the kindling of the lights of the Menorah.


5. Five times the Kohen Gadol had to Tovel on Yom Kipur and ten times he washed his hands and feet. He Toveled when he changed from his weekday clothes into his golden garments, and each of the four times that he subsequently changed from the golden garments into the white ones, and vice-versa. Each Tevilah required two washings of hands and feet, one before the Tevilah and one after it, except for the first Tevilah, which required the one after it but not the one before. To make up the tenth washing, the Kohen Gadol washed one more time right at the end of the day, prior to his changing from his golden garments into his own clothes.


6. All the Tevilos took place in a Mikveh in the Beis ha'Parvah, which was situated in the Kodesh. The one exception was the first one, which took place in a Mikveh in a chol section of the Beis Hamikdash, situated above the Beis ha'Mayim, beside the Lishkas Falhedrin (the room where the Kohen Gadol stayed for the seven days prior to Yom Kipur).


This section is sponsored l'iluy Nishmas
Chayah bas Uziel Alexander Ziskind z.l.

The Avodah on Yom Kipur
(Adapted from the Rambam,
Hilchos Avodas Yom ha'Kipurim, chapter four)

This is the order of the Avodah on Yom Kipur:

At around midnight, they began by 'tossing up' for the T'rumas ha'Deshen (the taking of one shovel-full of ashes down from the Mizbei'ach - the first Avodah performed each day). They arranged the wood on the Mizbei'ach and removed the ashes, as they did every day.

When it was time to bring the Korban Tamid, they spread a linen sheet between the Kohen Gadol and the people (which they did before each of the five Tevilos of that day); linen, to remind him that the main Avodah of the day was with linen garments. The Kohen Gadol then removed his weekday clothes, Toveled and donned his eight 'golden' garments, after which he washed his hands and feet (from the Copper Basin) and proceeded to Shecht the Tamid. He cut the majority of the two pipes (leaving someone else to complete the Shechitah) and received the blood in a K'li Sha'res, sprinkled it on the Mizbei'ach, and entered the Heichal, to bring the daily Ketores and kindle the Menorah.

Then, after placing the limbs of the Tamid, his daily Minchah (the Chavitin) and the drink-offering, on the Mizbei'ach, he sacrificed the bull and the seven lambs of the Musaf.


The Kohen Gadol then washed his hands and feet, removed his golden garments and Toveled, donned the four white garments, washed his hands and feet again and walked to his bull. His bull was standing between the Ulam (the hall adjoining the Heichal) and the Mizbei'ach, its head facing the south and its body, the west. He placed himself to the east (of the lamb's head) facing westwards, and placing his hands on the head of the goat, he recited 'Viduy' (confession). He confessed for his own sins and those of his family, begging forgiveness for their sins (the inadvertent, those committed out of pleasure and the acts of rebellion).


Then he drew lots for the two goats (to determine which one was for Hashem and which one for Azazel). He tied one piece of red wool round the head of the Goat for Az'azel (before standing it by the east-gate, from where it would later be lead out), and another around the neck of the Goat for Hashem. Next, he recited a second Viduy over his bull, on behalf of himself, his family and the rest of the Kohanim. He then Shechted it, received its blood and gave the vessel to another Kohen to keep stirring (until he was ready to perform the prescribed Avodah with it) to prevent it from congealing, by the fourth row of stone-slabs (from the Heichal) in the Azarah.


He took the fire-pan on to which he shoveled one shovel-full of ashes from the Mizbei'ach, from the ashes that were closest to the western side, placing it on one of the stone-slabs of the above-mentioned fourth row. They then brought him the ladle and a vessel full of superfine Ketores, from which he took a handful (not flat and not piled high, but a liberal hand-full, not measured, but each Kohen Gadol according to the size of his palm), and put it in the ladle. He took the fire-pan in his right hand and (due to the unavoidable circumstances) the ladle in his left, and walked with them through the Heichal, and entered the Kodesh ha'Kodashim via the open curtain (in fact, there were two parallel curtains [see Lechem Mishnah]). He approached the Aron and placed the fire-pan between its two poles. In the time of the second Beis Hamikdash, when there was no Aron, he placed it on the Even Shesiyah (the stone which stood in its place).

Then, balancing the edge of the ladle with the tips of his fingers or with his teeth, he emptied the Ketores with his thumb from the ladle onto the palm of the same hand. This was one of the two most difficult operations in the Beis Hamikdash. With his hand, he then heaped the Ketores on top of the coals in the pan, but on the far side (the one that was closest to the Aron and the furthest from his body), to avoid getting burned. He waited there until the room was filled with smoke, and departed, walking slowly with his face to the Kodesh and his back to the Heichal, until he was outside the Paroches.


Once the Kohen Gadol reached the Heichal, he uttered a short prayer (so that the people awaiting his reappearance should not worry unduly that maybe he had died in the Heichal). He prayed for good rains, even if the year would be a hot one, that sovereignty should not depart from Yehudah, that G-d's people should not be short of Parnosoh and that the prayers of travelers (who do not want rain) should not interfere with the national interests.

Taking the bowl containing the blood of the bull from the Kohen (who was still stirring it), he returned to the Kodesh Kodshim, and with his finger, sprinkled from it eight times between the poles of the Aron. After that, he went into the Heichal and placed it on the golden stand that stood there.


Leaving the Heichal, he went to Shecht the goat for Hashem, which was standing in the Azarah. He received its blood in a K'li Sha'res and proceeded with it to the Kodesh Kodshim. After sprinkling its blood eight times between the two poles of the Aron (like he did with the blood of the bull), he placed the receptacle on a second golden stand in the Heichal.

Then he sprinkled, first the blood of the bull, then that of the goat, eight times in the Heichal, in the direction of the Paroches. He poured the blood of the bull into that of the goat, and poured them both into the empty bowl, in order to mix them well, and took the bowl to the Heichal, to the Mizbei'ach ha'Zahav. Then, standing on the inside of the Mizbei'ach, between the Mizbei'ach and the Menorah, he began smearing the blood on the outside of its four K'ranos (the 'horns'), moving his arm round it as he did so. Beginning with the north-eastern Keren, he smeared blood on the north-western Keren, on the south-west and finally, on the south-east. By each of these he began at the foot of the Keren and moved upwards, except for the last Keren, which was directly in front of him, and where he began on top and moved his arm downward, so that the blood should not run up his sleeve.

Next, he shoveled the coals and the ashes on the Mizbei'ach ha'Zahav to the side, in order to reveal its roof, on which he then sprinkled the blood seven times, on the south side in the vicinity of the location of the south-eastern horn, where he had placed the last of the four Matanos.


He left the Heichal, and after having poured the remainder of the blood on the western foundation of the Mizbei'ach ha'Olah, he came to the Goat for Az'azel. Placing his two hands on its head, he recited Viduy on behalf of the whole of K'lal Yisrael, before sending the goat out to the desert. The Viduy followed the same pattern as the previous two Viduyim that he recited on behalf of his family and tribe.


The Kohen Gadol then removed the Eimurim (the fat-pieces and limbs of every Korban that went on the Mizbei'ach) of the bull and the goat whose blood had been taken into the Kodesh Kodshim (and which could therefore not be burned on the Mizbei'ach) and placed them in a bowl. And after sending the two bodies to be burned in the Beis ha'Sereifah (the burning area) outside the town, he went out to the Ezras Nashim, where, as soon as the Sa'ir ha'Mishtalei'ach arrived in the desert, he proceeded to read the Leining of the day.


Next, the Kohen Gadol washed his hands and feet, removed his white garments and performed his third Tevilah of the day, donned his golden garments and washed his hands and feet again. He brought the goat of the Musaf and then his ram and the ram of the people; he burned the Eimurim of the bull and goat on the Mizbei'ach and brought the daily afternoon Tamid.


Changing from his Golden garments into his white ones, accompanied by the Tevilah ritual, he entered the Kodesh Kodshim to remove the spoon and the fire-pan. Then, again together with the Tefillah ritual, he changed from the white garments to the golden ones, and, after washing his hands and feet, he brought the afternoon Ketores and lit the Menorah, like on other days.


Finally, he washed his hands and feet, changed into his regular clothes and went home. Everyone would accompany him on his way home, and he would throw a party in honor of his having left the Kodesh Kodshim alive.


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