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

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Vol. 18   No. 55

This issue is sponsored
l'iluy Nishmas
אליהו בן יהודה לייב הלוי ז"ל
"ואהבת לרעך כמוך" -
אמר ר' עקיבא 'זה כלל גדול בתורה'

Yom Kipur
(incorporating Succos)

The Avodah on Yom Kipur
(Adapted from the Rambam)

Halachah 1

1. Yom Kipur, one brings the Korban Tamid in the morning and in the afternoon just like one does every day. And one also brings the Korban Musaf of the day - a bull, a ram and seven lambs - all Olos; a goat for a Chatas which is brought outside (on the Mizbei'ach ha'Olah), which is eaten after nightfall. Over and above this Musaf, one brings a bull in its third year as a Chatas, which is burned, and a ram as an Olah (both from the personal funds of the Kohen Gadol); whereas the ram that is purchased with communal funds that is mentioned in Acharei-Mos, which is the same ram as the one mentioned in Pinchas is an intrinsic part of the Musaf, and is called 'the ram of the people'.

In addition to the above, they purchased from public funds two male goats, one of which is brought as a Chatas and is entirely burned, the other, the Sa'ir ha'Mishtale'ach ( which is sent into the desert).

2. It transpires that on this day, they brought a total of fifteen animals; two Temidin, a bull, two rams and seven lambs = all Olos, two goats as a Chatas, one of which is brought 'outside' and is eaten that night, and the other, is brought inside (its blood is sprinkled in the Kodesh Kodshim and in the Heichal) and is burned, and the bull of the Kohen Gadol as a Chatas, which is burned.

Halachah 2

3. The Avodah of all of the above mentioned fifteen animals can only be brought by the Kohen Gadol, irrespective of whether he was anointed with the anointing oil or whether he was inaugurated by wearing the eight garments of a Kohen Gadol. And if Yom Kipur falls on Shabbos (such as this year) then the Musaf of Shabbos too must be brought by him. And the same applies to the other Avodos that are performed on Yom Kipur - such as burning the daily Ketores (incense) and kindling the Menorah, which must be performed by the Kohen Gadol, who must be married, as the Torah writes "and he shall atone on behalf of himself and on behalf of his house", and (we have a tradition that ) "his house" means 'his wife'.

Halachah 7

4. In the era of the second Beis-Hamikdash, heresy became popular in Yisrael, the sect of Tz'dokim (may they quickly perish), who do not believe in the oral Torah, rules that the Ketores of Yom Kipur must be placed on the fire (in the pan) already in the Heichal, outside the Paroches, and it is only after the smoke has risen that the Kohen Gadol enters the Kodesh Koshim with the Ketores … . The Chachamim however, have a tradition that one places the Ketores on the pan only after entering the Kodesh Kodoshim in front of the Aron, as the Torah writes … . And because, in the time of the second Beis-Hamikdash, they suspected the Kohen Gadol of having leanings towards heresy, they would make him swear on Erev Yom Kipur and say "My Master the Kohen Gadol; We are the emissaries of Beis-Din, whereas you are our emissary as well as the emissary of Beis-Din. We want you to swear by the One whose Name dwells in this House that you will not change anything that we told you. He then went out and wept, because they suspected him of heresy, and they went out and wept for suspecting someone whose deeds were unknown - perhaps his heart harbors no guilty thoughts.

Halachah 8

5. Throughout the Yom Kipur night, the Kohen Gadol sat and Darshened, if he was a Talmid-Chacham. But if was merely a Talmid, then the Kohabun would Darshen before him. If he was accustomed to T'nach, then he would read T'nach; otherwise, they would read to him, to stop him from going to sleep. And what did they read before him? The holy writings (The Mishnah lists Iyov, Ezra, Divrei Hayamim and according to others, Daniel (because they are appealing - Rashi).

If he began dozing off, the young Levi'im would click their middle fingers against their palms to keep him awake, and they would tell him to cool himself down by standing (barefoot) on the (cold marble) floor, in order not to fall asleep. And they kept him busy until the time of arrived to Shecht. They would not however Shecht until it was clear that dawn had broken, in case they Shechted at nighttime (and the Avodah was only Kasher during the day).

* * *

The Thirteen Midos
A Different Tack

(Adapted from Rabeinu Bachye)

Based on the Rakanti, R. Bachye offers the following interpretation of the thirteen Midos.

After separating the first 'Hashem' as the Name of Hashem that unifies all the Midos, he divides the remaining twelve Midos into three groups, representing Rachamim, Chesed and Din. Consequently …

'Hashem, Keil, Rachum ve'Chanun' denote Rachamim (mercy);

'Erech-Apayim, Rav-Chesed, Emes, Notzer Chesed la'Alafim' denotes Chesed (lovingkindness); and

'Nosei Avon, va'Fesha ve'Chato'ah, ve'Nakeh' denote Din (justice).

The author adds that these three groups represent the three Avos, Avraham (Chesed), Yitzchak (Din) and Ya'akov (Rachamim), who are the embodiment of the three Sefiros, Chesed, Gevurah and Tiferes. Presumably, the three previous Midos (known as Keser) denote the Name of Hashem. And he concludes, Moshe followed the same pattern, when he praised G-d using the terms "ho'Keil, ha'Godol, ha'Gibor ve'ha'Noro", which denote His Name, and the same three Midos (as "ha'Noro" he explains, means Rachamim). And based on the previous explanation, when he said "ha'Godol", he incorporated the other three Midos that belong to the first of the above groups, and likewise, when he said "ha'Gibor" and "ve'ha'Noro".

* * *

(Adapted from the Yalkut Yitzchak)

Not Working and Not Eating

In His abundant kindness, G-d granted us an awesome day each year in order to atone for our sins, by means of Teshuvah. Otherwise the ongoing accumulation of sins would soon cause our measure to be full, and would result in our speedy destruction.

The Torah therefore forbids us to work on that day, to ensure that we keep our mind on the order of the day, to do Teshuvah and to confess on our sins, in order to wipe the slate clean.


Moreover, the Torah forbids us to eat and drink, because eating and drinking tend to arouse our physical beings to indulge in material things, thereby negating our spiritual Souls from the truth - the service of G-d.


Wearing White

It is customary to wear white clothes on Yom Kipur,. The Yalkut Yitzchak explains that this Minhag is based on the Pasuk in Yeshayah 1:18 "If your sins will be (red) like a red thread, they will turn white like white threads".


Fasting on Yom Kipur

And the reason that we fast is because there is nothing that weighs more before G-d than the heart of man which is more valuable before him than all the Korbanos. Consequently, someone who fasts and straightens his heart is called a perfect Korban before Hashem, It is as if he had sacrificed his fat and his blood, his body and his Soul before Hashem.

For when he brings the fat and the blood of a Korban on the MIzbe'ach, it is as if he brings his own fat and blood before G-d, whereas here he is bringing his own fat and blood before Him.

Or to quote the Gemara in B'rachos (32b), which explains why fasting is greater than Tzedakah - 'The one is with his money, whereas the other is with his body!'

* * *


During 'Kol Nidrei', we say that Pasuk which ends with the words "lifnri Hashem Tithoru", which means 'You shall purify yourselves before Hashem", with reference to Teshuvah.

I heard in the name of a prominent Rav that the Gematriyah of "Tithoru" is equivalent to that of six hundred and twenty'. This hints of course, at the six hundred and thirteen Mitzvos plus the seven Mitzvos de'Rabbanan … a broad enough hint at what G-d expects of us at this time of year.

* * *

Vol. 18   No. 56


The Simchas Beis ha'Sho'eivah
(Adapted from the Yalkut Yitzchak
Taken from the Mishnah in Succah)

The order of the Simchas Beis ha'Sho'eivah which accompanied the Nisuch ha'Mayim (the Water Libaton) ceremony:

1. On the eve of the first day of Succos, they prepared in the Beis-Hamikdash a place (in the Ezras Nashim) for the women to stand - the women above and the men below - to prevent them from mixing.

The celebrations began on the night after Yom-Tov (i.e. the first night of Chol ha'Mo'ed), and continued on each subsequent night of Chol ha'Mo'ed, after the Korban Tamid shel bein ha'Arbayim (the afternoon Tamid) had been brought. The Levi'im began playing the flutes already before, together with harps, violins and cymbals and all manner of musical instruments, and they were joined by a choir of vocalists. The people then proceeded to dance, to clap their hands, to beat their thighs and to leap into the air and to sing songs of praise to Hakadosh-Baruch-Hu. It is a Mitzvah to increase the Simchah of the Beis ha'Sho'eivah, though the playing of the instruments does not override Shabbos or Yom-Tov.


2. There were four golden Menoros there, each fifty Amos tall, each of which was topped by four golden bowls. Four young Kohanim, then climbed four steep ladders, holding jars of oil containing a total of one hundred and twenty Lugin (one Lug = six egg-volumes) of oil. These they then emptied into the bowls (thirty Lugin into each bowl). The wicks were made of the worn out pants and belts of the Kohanim, which they also used to kindle the wicks. And once the Menoros were lit, there was not a single courtyard in Yerushalayim (which was built in the valley on the east side of the Beis-Hamikdash [where the Silwan is situated today]), that was not illuminated by them.


3. Whoever did not see this simchah, never saw simchah in his life. Nor was it the Amei-ha'Aretz who performed, or the simple people, but the Chasidim and men of good deeds who danced whilst juggling with flaming torches in their hands, and songs of praise on their lips; and it was the Levi'im who played with numerous instruments on the fifteen steps that led down from the Ezras Yisrael to the Ezras Nashim, and two Kohanim who blew on two silver trumpets.

When the cock crowed, they blew Teki'ah, Teru'ah Teki'ah. They blew again when those going out to the Shilo'ach Spring to draw water for the Nisuch ha'Mayim, reached the Ezras Nashim and they continued to blow until they reached the Gate that led out to the east. At that point, they turned their faces towards the west and declared 'We are for Hashem and our eyes are directed towards Hashem!' Meanwhile, the eastern horizon had lit up, and they arrived at the Shilo'ach Spring, from which they filled a golden bottle which held three Lugin (eighteen egg-volumes), and they made the return journey back to the Beis-Hamikdash.


4. As they arrived at the Water-Gate (one of the gates on the south side of the Azarah), the Kohanim again blew a Teki'ah, Teru'ah, Teki'ah. The Kohen holding the jar of water then ascended the ramp leading up to the Mizbei'ach and turned left. There he came across two silver bowls (fixed to the Mizbei'ach beside the south western Keren), the westernmost bowl for the water of Nisuch ha'Mayim, the eastern one for the wine libation. Throughout the seven days of Succos, they poured the water together with the wine during the morning Korban Tamid.

On Shabbos they followed the same procedure as during the week, except that they then filled a golden jar (that was not sanctified) on Erev Shabbos with water from the Shilo'ach, and placed it in a room in the Beis-Hamikdash. In the event that it spilt or became uncovered, they would re-fill it from the Kiyor (the water Basin in the Azarah).


5. This is the order of the Nisuch ha'Mayim on Succos that took place in the Beis-Hamikdash and the Simchas Beis ha'Sho'eivah that accompanied it, in fulfillment of the Pasuk in Yeshayah (12:3) "And you shall draw water with joy". May it be G-d's will that we merit this simchah speedily in our days, Amen.

* * *

Succos Snippets
(Adapted from the Yalkut Yitzchak)

The Succah and Torah

The Kad ha'Kemach writes that the Succah requires shade - and Yisrael are required to take shelter in the shade of the Torah.

The Succah has three walls - and Torah comprises Torah, Nevi'im and Kesuvim..

The minimum height of a Succah is ten Tefachim - a hint to the Asaeres ha'Dibros.

The minimum length and breadth of a Succah is seven Tefachim - a hint to the seven Chochmos that are incorporated in the Torah.

The height times the length is seventy Tefachim - equivalent to the seventy explanations of Torah.

The area of the Succah (seven x seven Tefachim) equals forty-nine square Tefachim , one might add - equivalent to the forty-nine sides of Tahor and the forty-nine sides of Taharah.

One is obligated to sit in the Succah by day and by night - and one is Chayav to study Torah by day and by night.

And just as women are exempt from sitting in the Succah, so too, are they exempt from studying Torah.


Holding the Esrog Together
with the Lulav

The Rikanti writes in Parshas Emor that one should hold the Esrog together with the other three species. This secret was revealed to him in a dream on the night of the first day of Succos when a certain Ashkenazi Chasid by the name of R, Yitzchak was staying by him, He dreamt that his guest was writing the four-letter Name of Hashem, but he distanced the last 'Hey' from the other three letters, When he queried him about this, he replied that this was the Minhag in his town. The Rikanti objected and wrote the Name of Hashem correctly.

When he awoke, he could not fathom the meaning of this strange dream, until he saw his guest shaking the Lulav without the Esrog.

The comparison between the four species and the Name of Hashem is interesting, since the four species do indeed represent the four letters of Hashem's Holy Name, the Esrog - the second 'Hey' (as we mention in the prayer that we recite when binding the Lulav, the Hadasim and the Aravos on Erev Succos).


Hosha'na Rabah

The B'nei Yisaschar points out that the word 'Hosha'na' is mentioned numerous times in our Tefilos during this period, and what's more, the day on which the final seal takes place is called 'Hosha'na Rabah'. This contains the hint that G-d should save us during the fifty-one days (from Rosh Hashanah until Hosha'na Rabah) or that He should save us on the fifty-first day, the day when He hands over the notes containing our sentences to His emissaries.

On Hosha'na Rabah, one rises a little earlier than usual. It is one of the five days hinted in the Pasuk "And Araham got up early" - the letters of Avraham stand for … 'Alef' - tish'ah be Av; 'Beis' - B'ri'as ho'olom (the day of the creation (Rosh Hashanah); 'Reish' - tzomo Rabah (Yom Kipur); 'Hey' - Hosha'na rabah; 'Mem' - Megilah (Purim).

Alternatively, they stand for the last letters of the same five days: 'Alef' - hosha'nA (rabah); 'Beis' - tish'ah be'aV; 'Reish' - yom kipuR; 'Hey - rosh hashanaH; 'Mem - PuriM.

* * *

(this year)

The first day - 'Lema'am Amitach'.

Second day - 'Even Shesiyah'.

Third day (Shabbos) - 'Om Netzurah'.

Fourth day - 'E'eroch Shu'I'.

Fifth day - 'Keil le'Mosho'os'.

Sixth day - 'Adon ha'Moshi'a'.

* * *

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