chumash4ss.jpg (17308 bytes)

by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

Back to this week's parsha | Previous Issues



Ch. 16, v. 3: "B'ZOS yovo Aharon el hakodesh" The Medrash Vayikroh Rabboh 21:9 says that the numerical value of B'ZOS is 410, the number of years that the first Beis Hamikdosh stood. The Baalei Tosfos ask why is only the first Beis Hamikdosh alluded to? After all, the Kohein Godol entered the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur in the second Beis Hamikdosh as well. They answer that only in the first Beis Hamikdosh were there Kohanim similar to Aharon, who was anointed with "shemen hamish'choh."
Perhaps, another reason might be that only in the first Beis Hamikdosh was there a KODESH similar to the Mishkon, where the Holy Ark and kaporres were in the Holy of Holies.

Ch. 16, v. 6: "V'chi'peir baado u'v'ad beiso" The Sfas Emes's son-in-law, Rabbi Yaakov Biderman zt"l Hy"d, asked, "Since a Kohein Godol must marry a woman under the age of twelve and a half years old as per the gemara Y'vomos 59a, and the gemara Shabbos 89b says that one is not punished under the age of twenty years, how then is there a fulfillment of "u'v'ad beiso" according to Rabbi Yehudoh (first Mishneh in Yoma, 2a) who says that the Kohein Godol must marry an extra wife just before Yom Kippur?
The Imrei Emes answered that there is a need for atonement for "bitul mitzvas assei" even though there is no punishment.
The GR"A says that there is punishment after the age of twenty. (Oros haGR"A)
Perhaps, there is a need for atonement to cleanse the soul of sin, even if there is no punishment.
See responsa of the Chacham Zvi #49, who offers four explanations. See also the responsa Nodah Bihudoh Tinyonoh Y.D. #164 and the responsa Chasam Sofer Y.D. #155. See also Shulchan Oruch O.Ch. #343, hagohoh.

Ch. 16, v. 8: "Gorol echod laShem v'gorol echod laAzozeil" Rashi says that the goat which receives the lot upon which is written "to Hashem" is to Hashem, and the one which receives the lot "to Azozeil" IS SENT to Azozeil. Why doesn't Rashi follow through in the same style as earlier and say "and the one which receives the lot "to Azozeil" is TO Azozeil?
We know that Eliyohu (M.R. M'lochim 1:18:26) had to convince the ox that was offered by the false prophets to cooperate and allow itself to be slaughtered, because it too would be part of the proof that "Hashem hu ho'Elokim" (verse 39).
Rashi did not want to say that the goat which is sent down the precipice is TO Azozeil, which would indicate that its purpose is for the negative Azozeil, but rather, that it too is for Hashem, as it serves Hashem's purposes; only that it is SENT to Azozeil. (The Holy Admor of Skulen)

Ch. 16, v. 8: "LaAzozeil" We know that where ever there is greater sanctity, there exists greater spiritual negativity as well, to allow for a balance of free choice. On this most holy day of the year when atonement abounds, there is corresponding involvement with the negative Azozeil. The letters of this word are Ayin-Zayin-Aleph-Zayin-Lamed, which are the first letters of ""Zeh L'u'mas Zeh Osoh Elokim." (The Holy Admor of Kamarna) (This is a take-off on Koheles 7:14, where it actually says *HO*Elokim.)

Ch. 16, v. 23: "U'vo Aharon" Rashi quotes the gemara Yoma 32a which says that this verse is not in sequential order. The gemara gives a proof for this. There is a well-known explanation of the GR"A that this verse is out of order for the yearly Yom Kippur service, but not out of order for Aharon during the forty years in the desert.
Rabbi Ovadioh of Bartenuroh says that although it is out of order, it teaches us that a sanctification of the Kohein Godol's hands and feet must take place prior to donning his eight golden garments.

Ch. 16, v. 23: "U'foshat es bigdei habod V'HINICHOM shom" The gemara Yoma 34b says that these garments had the value of 18 "monoh." This is alluded to by the word V'HINICHOM, and "Hei-Nun-Yud-Ches-Mem," which spells out Yud-Ches MoNoH. (Baal Haturim and Rabbeinu Bachyei)

Ch. 17, v. 13: "Asher yei'o'cheil" Rashi quotes the Toras Kohanim 17:112 which says that this excludes the slaughtering of a non-kosher species of animal from the requirement to have its blood covered by sand, called "kisuy hadam," since it may not be eaten. Why not exclude a kosher species that became treifoh when ritually slaughtered?
Rabbi Ovadioh of Bartenuroh answers that since Rabbi Meir (gemara Chulin 85a) is of the opinion that an improper ritual slaughtering is still halachically considered slaughtering for other matters (i.e. to be responsible to pay 4 or 5 times a sheep's or an ox's value after theft or to transgress "oso v'es b'no"), the treifoh would also need "kisuy hadam." The T.K. gives us an undisputed case.

The Sifsei Chachomim answers that we find the words "v'shofach es domo" here and in 17:4. Just as there it refers to an improper slaughtering, likewise here it means the same. Yet, the Torah still requires "kisuy hadam." We are only left with the case of a non-kosher species to be excluded from the words "asher yei'o'cheil."

Ch. 18, v. 5: "Asher yaa'se osom ho'odom v'chai bohem" The Chidushei HoRI"M interprets: "A person should train himself to derive his main life-force through the study of Torah and doing mitzvos."

Ch. 18, v. 18: "Litzror o'le'hoh" The Torah prohibits marrying two sisters in each other's lifetime. Since our Patriarchs kept the Torah before it was given, how did Yaakov marry two sisters? I will repeat answers to this question from parshas Vayeitzei.

[[Ch. 29, v. 28: "Va'ya'as Yaakov kein" - And Yaakov agreed to work another seven years for Rochel. Everyone asks, "How could Yaakov marry two sisters? This is prohibited by the Torah in Vayikroh 18:18. For this question to be viable, it has to be established that Yaakov undertook to keep all the mitzvos of the Torah. The Mishneh in Kedushin 82a and the gemara Yoma 28b only specifically state that Avrohom kept the Torah. A source is the Medrash Lekach Tov 32:14. On the words, "im Lovon GARTI" (32:4) the Medrash says, "v'TARYAG mitzvos shomarti." Garti and taryag each equal 613, indicating that Yaakov kept all the mitzvos of the Torah.

Some answers to our question are:
1) The Ramban on verses 26:5, Vayikroh 18:25, and Dvorim 11:18, answers that the Ovos kept all the mitzvos in Eretz Yisroel, but not in chutz lo'oretz. Rabbeinu Dovid miBaalei Hatosfos answers the same.

2) The Ramban in the gemara Y'vomos 98a answers that they were considered non-Jews, and the Torah considers one's children as non-relatives, so the sisters were not considered siblings. The responsa of the Radba"z 2:696 answers the same. This rule is taken from a verse in Yechezkel 23:20.

3) The Ramban in Breishis 48:7 says that Yaakov promised to marry Rochel, and therefore had to keep his word. Similarly MVHRH"G Rabbi Y. Kamenecki zt"l explained that the fulfillment of the mitzvos of the Torah by the Ovos prior to the giving of the Torah, was in the category of a "midas chasidus," and not as an absolute requirement. If a moral issue stood in the way, their midas chasidus would not take precedence over hurting someone, as in our case, since Rochel would have been VERY hurt had she not ended up being married to Yaakov.

4) The Baalei Tosfos in Moshav Z'keinim answer that they were only patriarchal sisters, and before mattan Torah there was only matriarchal lineage. They were therefore not considered sisters.

5) They also answer that Rochel and Leah converted and were considered like newly born people, not having a halachic sibling relationship (see Y'vomos 22a).

6) They also answer that Yaakov had already made kidushin, and therefore did not hesitate to complete the n'suin. The Maharsh"a in gemara Yoma 28b at the end of d.h. "mitzvos" says that the kidushin was the labour of seven years.

7) The Trumas Ha'deshen answers that the Ovos kept the Torah only as far as the basic reasoning behind the mitzvah dictated. In our case the Chinuch mitzvoh #206 says that the reason for the prohibition against marrying two sisters is that usually one's two wives compete for their husband's attention and are commonly at odds with each other. After the Torah was given, even if a prophet would advise that a certain pair of sisters could be married to one man and there would be no animosity between them, it would still be prohibited. However, for Yaakov this was permitted, as he knew that his two wives would not come to hate each other. The Nefesh Hachaim says the same in shaar 1, end of chapter 21.

8) The Rashb"oh in his responsa 1:94 answers this question in a purposely unclear and esoteric manner. The Radba"z in his responsa 2:696 reluctantly explains the Rashb"oh. He follows the lead of the Rashb"oh and is also cryptic. He says that marrying two sisters is like making use of the King's sceptre. This is obviously not allowed. Yaakov, however, had his likeness etched onto the holy throne of Hashem. He may therefore use the King's sceptre.]]

Ch. 18, v. 28: "V'lo soki ho'oretz es'chem b'tamaachem osoh kaa'sher ko'oh es hagoy" The verse seems to contradict itself by saying that you will NOT be expelled when you DO contaminate the land.

A number of interpretations:

You will not be treated as the heathen nations who have occupied this land before you and have been ejected, but rather:
1) Not only will you be expelled, but you will also suffer the punishment of excision, "ko'reis," as stated in verse 29, "v'nich'r'su hanfoshos ho'osos. (Rabbi Moshe of Kutzi)
2) If you fulfill the words of verse 26, "ushmartem v'lo saasu," then you will be saved from punishment. Translate "V'lo" as LEST. (Rabbeinu Elyokim)
3) You will also be expelled, but in a manner which will be more severe than the expulsion of the heathen nations. (Rivo)
4) They have only been expelled, but did not suffer the punishment of "ko'reis." You, however, will not be expelled, but will be punished with "ko'reis." (Baalei Hatosfos)

The Toras Kohanim 20:123 (mentioned in Rashi) compares sinning in E.Y. to a prince who had a sensitive digestive system, as he was used to only the finest of foods and delicacies. Any coarse alimentation would upset his system. Similarly, E.Y. is very sensitive to sins. Those who sin would be expelled. The Meshech Chochmoh says in the name of his father that according to the above parable, if the prince continued to eat coarse food he would eventually grow accustomed to it and would successfully digest it. Likewise, if E.Y. would ch"v be subject to continuous sinning, it would also not become as sensitive.

This can be the meaning of our verse. The land will NOT vomit you even though you defile it, as it has expelled the previous occupants of the land. At that time the land was still sensitive. However, it has unfortunately become accustomed to the sins, and instead your punishment will be excision, as per verse 29, "v'nich'r'su hanfoshos." I believe that this interpretation fits in best with the 4th explanation offered above by the earlier commentators.


Ch. 20, v. 26: "V'h'yisem k'doshim LI l'h'yose LI" Rashi quotes Toras Kohanim 20:128, where Rabbi Elozor ben Azarioh says that one should be holy to Me, to fulfill the mitzvos because of My command, and not because the restricted item is repulsive. This is the stress of the word Li in our verse. (Note that the word "MITZVOH" literally means a COMMAND. This indicates that the main reason for compliance is because of the command of Hashem.)

In parshas Shmini a question was raised on the writings of the Rambam in Moreh N'vuchim which seem contrary to a Toras Kohanim in our parsha, and also contrary to what the Rambam himself writes in Shmonoh P'rokim chapter 6. The Rambam writes: The philosophers say that one who consciously controls his impulses, although he does that which is correct, even while he is acting properly, still yearns for negative actions. This causes him emotional pain and injury. However, the pious person (the chosid) has a magnetic pull towards that which is proper and good. Although in action they are equal, in character qualities, the pious one is greater than the one who suppresses his negative desires. They support this position with the words of King Shlomo who states in Mishlei 21:10, "Nefesh rosho ossoh ra," The spirit of an evil person (it) is bad (even though he has done no negative actions).

Conversely, regarding the pious one who does that which is proper with complete happiness and without experiencing feelings to the contrary, it says (21:15), "Simchoh latzadik asose mishpot u'mchitoh l'fo'a'lei ovven."

The Rambam says that after researching into the words of Chazal, he found that they have written to the contrary. He cites the statement in gemara Sukoh 52a that says that whoever is greater than his companion also has a greater evil inclination. Our Rabbis also say that he who has a greater battle in doing that which is correct receives a greater reward; Ben Bog Bog omeir, "L'fum tzaaroh agroh" (Pirkei Ovos 5:26). Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel (Rashi quotes Rabbi Elozor ben Azarioh) in Toras Kohanim 20:128 has exhorted us to not develop an attitude of refraining from sin because it is repulsive to us, but rather that it is appropriate to be drawn to a sin, such as eating a cooked mixture of meat and milk, wearing shaatnez, or not eating pig, but to refrain simply because our Father in heaven has commanded us to refrain.

The Rambam says that there is a seeming contradiction here, as the philosophers have brought proofs to their position from verses in Mishlei.
He answers this by differentiating between sins which are logical, self evident laws which are needed for society to function properly and those which are statutes, "chukim," laws which are not understood by limited human logic. For example, if one has a great lust for theft or murder, his character quality is on a low level, and it is to this that the verses in Mishlei refer. However, it is appropriate for one to have the attitude mentioned in the Toras Kohanim towards statutes. Note that the examples given by Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel are all STATUTES. Intrinsically, these matters are not bad. Only by Hashem restricting them do they become negative. These are called "Toros hashmios," teachings which we only know by having heard them from Hashem. One who fights his inclination to refrain from this type of sin is to be commended and deserves a greater reward.
Regarding these mitzvos our Rabbis have taught, "Chukim shechokakti l'cho ein l'cho r'shus l'harheir bo'hen (Medrash Tanchuma chapter 7)." By looking carefully at the wording used in the seemingly conflicting proofs, one sees that the difference that I have pointed out is true.

In this vein, the sefer Apirion (by the Baal Kitzur Shulchon Oruch) explains Ch. 18, v. 4: " Es mishpo'tai TAASU v'es chukosai TISH'M'RU" Why "asia" by mishpotim and "shmiroh" by chukim? According to the above Rambam it is clearly understood. Regarding mishpotim, logical laws, we are told to "DO." Logic dictates to DO, and preferably, there is no drive to do otherwise. However, regarding chukim, statutes, we are told to "GUARD." One has to be on guard because his inclination towards transgressing these types of mitzvos should be present, as per the Toras Kohanim. One refrains only because of the Torah's command.

I will repeat the section in parshas Shmini that deals with this Rambam. [[Ch. 11, v. 7: "V'es hachazir" - The Rambam in Moreh N'vuchim 3:48 says that the Torah prohibited the eating of pig because it is disgusting, abominable, and is hazardous to one's health. This seems to be contrary to the Toras Kohanim 20:128 mentioned in Rashi at the end of Parshas K'doshim (20:26), which says that the reason for abstaining from eating pig should not be because one feels a repulsiveness towards swine meat, but rather, simply because Hashem prohibited its consumption. The Rambam himself acknowledges this reason in his Shmonoh P'rokim chapter 6. Any clarification of the Rambam's opinion would be appreciated. ]]

D.F. wrote back:
Strictly there is no contradiction. The quote from the Rambam gives the reason why the *Torah* prohibited the pig (because it is disgusting); the Toras Kohanim gives the reason why *we* should not eat it (because it is forbidden).

However, this is not satisfactory for two reasons: the Rambam is attributing a rather odd motivation to G-d (couldn't He have made the pig healthy, rather than prohibiting it); and we are left with a difficult motivational requirement (to desist from something we find disgusting not because it is disgusting).

I wonder if it is possible to read the Moreh N'vuchim differently. (Can anyone check the Arabic?) Could it be read: pig becomes abominable etc. because it is forbidden. That is, we should train ourselves to observe the mitzvos with such dedication that aveiros become disgusting to us. (This is consistent with my own experience regarding chazir, and also I believe with the Rambam's general Aristotelian concern with the development of the virtues). (Alternatively the Rambam might be saying that whatever the underlying reason for the Torah forbidding pig, G-d in his mercy makes it easier for us to keep kosher by making the pig disgusting to us.) What then of the Toras Kohanim? Well the actual quote does not refer to what you should *feel* about pig meat, it reads as follows: "Rabbi Elozor ben Azaria says: Whence that a man should not say that it is impossible for me to eat pig meat, .... but [he should say] that it is possible for me (efshi), only what should I do? My Father in heaven issued an edict upon me.

We learn it from "I have separated you from the peoples to become mine"(Lev.20.26).

Following this, someone who has educated himself to find pig meat disgusting, should still *say* (and acknowledge to himself) that the original reason for his behaviour was the heavenly edict; and further that he *could* even now eat pig meat were it not for the edict. ]] Thank you, D.F. Rabbi A.G. brought to my attention the Dorash Moshe by Rabbi Moshe Feinstein zt"l, in parshas Shmini, which makes many of the same points as D.F. As well, see Dorash Moshe at the end of our parsha, where he still has difficulty with the Rishonim mentioning any reason beyond that of the Torah prohibiting certain matters in the manner of "chukim."

PLEASE NOTE: There are differing texts in the Rambam regarding immorality. Some texts have this included in the chukim, while others do not. The Chinuch, among others, does NOT consider "aroyos" among the chukim.

The Chidushei HoRI"M has a most insightful interpretation into the above T.K. He says that one should refrain from transgressing because the sin is abominable. However, Chazal knew that a situation might arise where one may have a temporary weakness and develop a yearning for that which is normally abhorrent. The Chazal therefore said, "Don't ONLY say that you will not sin because it is abhorrent to you, lest it become acceptable and you may sin. Rather, ALSO say that even if you have an interest in doing the sin, still, Hashem has commanded us to refrain." Thus one has a second line of defense.


Back to this week's parsha | Previous Issues

This article is provided as part of Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Permission is granted to redistribute electronically or on paper,

provided that this notice is included intact.

Jerusalem, Israel