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

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Vol. 18   No. 24

This issue is sponsored
l'iluy Nishmas
Mintshe bas R. Naftoli z.l.

Parshas Vayikra

The Book of Vayikra Adapted from the Ramban)

Even though Vayikra is known as 'Toras Kohanim', the Ramban refers to it as the Book of Kohanim and Levi'im. The footnote explains that this is because, in Parshas B'har, the Torah will give a detailed account of the cities that were to be given to the Levi'im.


Seifer Sh'mos diuscusses exile and redemption, ending with details about the Ohel Mo'ed and the glory of G-d which moved from Sinai to fill the Mishkan. And it is with that as an introduction that the author proceeds to give a brief summary of Seifer Vayikra, highlighting all the items that give the Seifer its title.

Firstly, he explains, the Torah deals with all matters concerning the Korbanos and the preservation of the Mishkan's sanctity, and with guarding it against any form of Tum'ah - as Tum'ah threatens the entire institution of Korbanos. This is to enable the Korbanos to atone for Yisrael's sins, thereby preventing the departure of the Shechinah, which was housed inside.

And that is why G-d commanded the Kohanim who come close to Him to sanctify themselves, not to render Tamei the Mishkan and its vessels on the one hand, and not to take the liberty of coming too close to Him on the other (just as He commanded them at Har Sinai). By the same token, He limited access to the Mishkan, like He did at Har Sinai, when the Shechinah rested there.


The majority of the Seifer, the Ramban points out, deals with the Dinim of the Korbanos, who brings them and where they can be sacrificed. Nevertheless, the Torah incorporates other Dinim connected with them. For example, he says, the Pasuk first teaches us the Dinim of the voluntary offerings, and it is because their Cheilev (non-Kasher fat) and blood are sacrificed to G-d that the Torah then inserts the prohibition of eating Cheilev and blood.

Likewise, the Pasuk teaches us the Dinim of the sin-offering, and then inserts the Parshah of forbidden foods (i.e. non-Kasher animals and birds), because they render Tamei those who touch them, and whoever is Tamei and eats Kodshim or enters the Mikdash is subject to a Korban Olah ve'Yoreid (a sin-offering that differs according to the financial means of the sinner), as the Torah discusses at the end of Parshas Vayikra.

And when the Torah deals with the Dinim concerning the Tum'ah of a woman who gives birth, a Metzora, a Zav and a Zavah (various bodily Tum'os) it is both in order to warn against rendering the Mikdash Tamei, as we just explained, and because whoever experiences any of these Tum'os is obligated to bring his respective Korban, as prescribed by the Torah.


Following this, the Torah talks about the warning concerning adultery and incest, because, aside from the act of intimacy, which automatically leaves a person in a state of Tum'ah, illicit relations, which is labeled by the Torah as Tum'ah, causes the Shechinah to depart, and results in the people being sent into exile.

Next the Torah discusses Shabbos and Yom-Tov, on account of the Musaf offerings that need to be brought on each special day.


In any event, the Ramban concludes, most of the Parshiyos in Seifer Vayikra were said to the Kohanim, And even when, in Parshas Kedoshim, the Torah presents many Mitzvos to the whole of Yisrael, most of those Mitzvos, directly or indirectly, are somehow connected with the Parshah of Korbanos.


It is not clear as to why the Ramban fails to include Behar and Bechukosai in his overview of Seifer Vayikra. He might have said that Behar deals mainly with Sh'mitah and Yovel, the transgression of which results in the destruction of the Beis-Hamikdash and Galus. Whereas Bechukosai talks about the way of life that enables us to remain in Eretz Yisrael, and the sins that lead to the destruction of the Beis-Hamikdash and Galus, before concluding with the Dinim of Erchin, Charamim and Temurah, and similar Mitzvos connected with the Beis-Hamikdas and Korbanos.

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Parshah Pearls
(Adapted from the Riva)

And G-d Spoke to Moshe

" and Hashem called to him" (1:1),
"to him", Rashi comments, to preclude Aharon.

But in Parshas "ha'Chodesh ha'zeh lochem", asks the Riva, Rashi himself states that because Aharon exerted himself just like Moshe, G-d bestowed upon him the honour of including him in the first Dibur that G-d spoke to Moshe.

That, he answers, was before the Mishkan was built - some say before Matan Torah; once the Mishkan was erected (or the Torah was given) however, He spoke to Moshe exclusively, except for matters that concerned Aharon (such as the prohibition against the Kohanim drinking wine before performing the Avodah and that of not letting their hair grow long).

Furthermore, says the Riva, Rashi states that only Moshe heard the Voice of G-d, because the Pasuk writes "Kol lo" - 'He heard the voice that called him, but nobody else did'.

And he explains that Rashi is referring to the Pasuk in Naso (7:89, that he [Rashi] himself quotes as proof that G-d spoke to Moshe and not to Aharon) "midaber eilav", when it should otherwise have written 'midaber lo'.


Stolen Animals Not Acceptable

"Someone who brings from you (mikem) a Korban (1:2).

"Mikem", comments Rashi, and not something that is stolen.

Although the Gemara in Bava Kama validates a stolen animal that is designated as a Korban, that is only Bedi'eved (if it has already been done); but Lechatchilah (initially) it is forbidden to designate it.

Rabeinu Tam from Orleans queries Rashi from another Gemara in Bava Kama (66b), which invalidates a stolen animal from the word "Korbano" (1:3), whereas in Succah (30a), the Gemara learns it from "mikem" (in Pasuk 1), so why does Rashi find it necessary to cite a third Pasuk?

Incidentally, the Yersushalmi in Shekolim explains that "Adam" comes to include Geirim (converts) in the realm of Korbanos.


No Chayos on the Mizbei'ach

" from the Beheimos" (1:2).

Rashi explains that although the word "Beheimah" generally incorporates Chayah, the Torah precludes Chayos from the realm of Korbanos when it adds "from the cattle and from the flocks".

The reason for this, says the Riva, is because chayos were not included in the B'rachah of the animals at the time of the creation. That in turn, was because the snake (a Chayah) was destined to be cursed.

Rabeinu Bachye, citing a Medrash, ascribes the exclusion of Chayos to the fact that G-d has pity on His people Yisrael, and does not want to trouble them to go out into the forests to hunt them.

The Riva explains further that because a chayah is not eligible to be brought as a Korban the Torah permits its cheilev. And it is for the same reason, he adds, (because it is not sprinkled on the Mizbei'ach), that the Torah requires its blood to be covered.

As for fish, they are not eligible to go on the Mizbei'ach because they do not possess cheilev. (The question then arises however, that flour does not possess cheilev either, yet Menachos are very much an integral part of the Korbanos?)


No Rove'a or Nirva

" (Ibid.)

Rashi explains that 'min ha'beheimah" comes to preclude a male or female animal that had relations with a human being. Why do we need a Pasuk for that, asks the Riva? We have a principle that whatever is forbidden to be eaten by us may certainly not be brought on the Mizbei'ach as a sacrifice to G-d?

Likewise, a t'reifah animal is precluded from the realm of Korbanos for the same reason. So why does Rashi explain "min ha'bokor" to preclude a t'reifah?

In answer to the first question, citing Rabeinu Tam, the Riva establishes the Pasuk ("min ha'beheimah") by a case where there was only one witness or where it was only the owner who witnessed the act, and without two witnesses, the animal is not forbidden to a Yisrael. That is why we need a Pasuk to forbid bringing it as a Korban.

Whereas to answer the second question, he explains that we need the Pasuk ("min ha'bokor") to preclude an animal that became a t'reifah only after it was declared Hekdesh, which would otherwise have been permitted to bring on the Mizbei'ach (seeing as its declaration of sanctity was valid).


And No Muktzah Either

' u'min ha'tzon" (Ibid.)

This, says Rashi, comes to preclude a Muktzah animal (one that has been set aside for a seven-year period (for idolatrous purposes).

Here too, the Riva asks why we need a Pasuk to forbid a Muktzah animal from the realm of Korbanos. Why is it not disqualified anyway, because, by the time the seven-year period ends, it will be too old, as the Gemara writes in Temurah ' to preclude an animal that is sick, old and sweaty'?

Because nowhere do we find an animal of more than two years old that is eligible to go on the Mizbei'ach. And the Riva cites the example of a Parah Adumah (though it is not clear why he does not simply cite any Korban comprising a bull, which must be in its third year).


Which Korbanos Require Semichah

"And he shall lean his hands on the head of the Olah" (1:4).

From the fact that the Torah writes "on the head of the Olah" (and not just 'on its head'), Rashi extrapolates that the Din of Semichah (the obligation of the owner to lean his hand on the head of his Korban) extends a. to Olos Chovah (obligatory burnt-offerings) and b. to Olos Tzon (burnt-offerings of sheep) - as the current Pasuk is talking about Olos Bokor Nedavah (voluntary burnt-offerings of cattle).

The Riva adds that Semichah is confined to an Olas Yachid belonging to a Jewish man. An Olas Tzibur does not require Semichah, neither does the Olah of a woman.

All of the above however, require a Nesech - a meal-offering (consisting of flour, wine and oil).

* * *


"If he will not (lo) tell (the testimony) then he will bear his sin" (5:1).

The word "lo" is written with a 'Vav' and with an "Alef', The former means "he will tell him (the litigant), whereas the latter means "he will not tell (him)".

This hints, says the Ba'al ha'Turim, at the Halachah that once a witness has testified, he is not permitted to retract and to change his testimony ('Keivan she'higid, shuv eino chozer u'magid').

Hence we have the story of the son of Shimon ben Shetach, who was found guilty of a sin that he had not committed and sentenced to death, based on the testimony of false witnesses who had been paid to testify against him. When, as he was being led to his death, the witnesses relented and attempted to withdraw their testimonies, it was the accused himself who announced publicly that this was not permitted because 'Keivan she'higid '.



"Or (O) if his sin is known to him (to a king who sinned) then he shall bring his sin-offering " (4:23).

The Da'as Zekeinim M.T. observes that the word "O" is also used with regard to the sin-offering of a Yachid (an ordinary individual). Some translate it as 'Im ('If' [which makes sense, even though it is not the regular translation of the word]). However, he points out, we only find it in these two cases. When the Torah discusses the communal sin-offering and one that is brought by the Kohen Gadol, the Torah uses the word "Im".

To explain the discrepancy, the Riva, first points out that the Din of Asham Taluy (the guilt-offering that someone brings after transgressing a Safek Kareis, for which one brings a Chatas when one knows for sure that he has sinned) applies to a king and to a yachid who sins, but not to a community or to a Kohen Gadol, who are exempt from a Korban in the case of Safek.

In that case, he concludes, the Torah writes "O" by a king and a yachid, because in a case of a Safek, they bring an Asham Taluy. When the Torah now says "O ", what it means is that "alternatively, where they know that they sinned, then they must bring a Chatas, and not an Asham Taluy.

By a community and a Kohen Gadol, on the other hand, where there is no alternative to a Chatas, the Torah uses the regular expression "Im".


"And if he cannot afford a lamb " (5:7).

Because a Tamei person who enters the Beis-Hamikdash and someone who makes a vain oath does not benefit from the sin, the Torah is lenient with them, allowing them to bring a Korban Oleh ve'Yoreid (where, instead of a regular lamb or goat, a poor person bring a bird and if he is very poor, flour).

It does not make similar allowances for someone who eats cheilev (non-Kasher fat) or blood, who eats on Yom Kipur, who works on Shabbos or who commits incest, all of whom benefit from their sin. Consequently, the Torah makes them pay in full irrespective of their financial situation.


"And if he cannot afford a lamb " (5:7).

Because a Tamei person who enters the Beis-Hamikdash and someone who makes a vain oath does not benefit from the sin, the Torah is lenient with them, allowing them to bring a Korban Oleh ve'Yoreid (where, instead of a regular lamb or goat, a poor person bring a bird and if he is very poor, flour).

It does not make similar allowances for someone who eats cheilev (non-Kasher fat) or blood, who eats on Yom Kipur, who works on Shabbos or who commits incest, all of whom benefit from their sin. Consequently, the Torah makes them pay in full irrespective of their financial situation.

* * *

(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 483:
Not to Work with Kodshim (cont.)

There are some things that are not subject to Me'ilah min ha'Torah, but which the Rabbanan forbade to benefit from. Someone who does benefit from them only needs to pay the principle , without adding the extra fifth. Nor is one then obligated to bring a guilt-offering, as is explained in Maseches Me'ilah All Kodshei Mizbei'ach, whether it is Kodshei Kodshim or Kodshim Kalim, may neither be shorn nor worked with, as the Torah writes in Re'ei (15:19) "Do not work with your firstborn ox and do not shear your firstborn sheep"; and the same will extend to other Kodshim. One who shears an ox or who works with it receives Malkos min ha'Torah, but pulling out hair is not considered shearing It seems to the Rambam that the transgressor does not receive Malkos for shearing less than the volume of ha'Sit Kaful - twice the distance between one's thumb and one's forefinger stretched to its limit. This prohibition should not be more stringent than Shabbos One may not shear or work with Safek Kodshim, such as a Safek B'chor. Someone who does however, is not subject to Malkos. An animal of Hekdesh that became blemished and is redeemed, as the author already explained, remains forbidden until it has been Shechted. After the Shechitah, one is permitted to eat it, provided its redemption preceded the Shechitah. But that is only if the declaration of Hekdesh preceded the blemish or if one declared Hekdesh an animal with a passing blemish. But if one declares Hekdesh an animal with a permanent blemish, the prohibition to shear it or to work with it is only mi'de'Rabbanan. Consequently, once it has been redeemed, its status is that of Chulin, and one is even permitted to shear it and to work with it. The two exceptions to this are B'chor and Ma'aser Beheimah, which become intrinsically Hekdesh from their inception, even if a permanent blemish preceded the Hekdesh. The prohibition of shearing a B'chor and a Ma'aser animal can therefore not be rescinded. It is also forbidden to breed a B'chor or other Pesulei ha'Mekudashin (i.e. [even] Kodshim that have become invalid).

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