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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 16, v. 21: "Ish iti" - A timely man -The Rada"k in his Sefer Hashoroshim entry Ayin-Tof explains this to mean a man who has spent time on the roads and in the desert, who knows where to go to find a suitable precipice.

Ch. 16, v. 21: "Hamidboroh" - To the desert - This is unique among all sacrifices the bnei Yisroel offer, either privately or communal. The Torah otherwise not only doesn't permit processing an offering off the Mishkon/ Mikdosh campus, but there is even the punishment of "v'nichras ho'ish hahu mei'amov" (17:9). We likewise find another exception, unique to the scapegoat, that we find nowhere else. The Rambam hilchos teshuvoh 1:2 writes that the offering of the scapegoat brings atonement even for INTENTIONAL sins. This is contrary to the usual atonement for unintentional sins only when bringing other offerings. Commentators explain that animals and birds are brought to symbolize the atonement of unintentional sin only. Just as an animal or bird does not sin intentionally, as even when it kills, "steals" food, etc., it is not a choice of a creature with understanding of moral values. It is by instinct only. So too, offering them brings atonement only for unintentional sin. Although these two unique points, outside the Mikdosh campus, and atonement for intentional sins, are "observation but without explanation," perhaps because the power of atonement through the scapegoat is unique, it cannot be done on the Mishkon/ Mikdosh campus, as that area only allows for atonement of "sho'geig," and not "meizid." The scapegoat has to be brought beyond these confines, into "eretz G'ZEIROH," land that has a special RULING, that even intentional sins can be forgiven through a sacrifice. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 16, v. 22: "V'noso haso'ir olov es kol avonosom" - And the scapegoat will carry upon itself all their iniquities - M.R. Breishis 65:15 splits the word "avonosom" into two, "avonos TAM," referring to the sins of Yaakov (his nation), who is called "ish TAM." Whoever causes the masses to sin, their sin is accredited to him. This is the continuous pursuit of Eisov's descendants since if the bnei Yisroel sin, Eisov will benefit, "V'hoyoh kaasher tirod uforakto ulo" (Breishis 27:40). It is therefore most befitting that the sins of the bnei Yisroel, Yaakov, become Eisov's burden. Eisov is "ish so'ir," and in turn the "so'ir," which represents Eisov takes the sins of Yaakov. (Kli Yokor)

Rabbi Eliyohu Ashkenazi explains this with the ruling in Sh.O. Ch.M. #29, that if witnesses admit that they lied, we accept their new testimony regarding themselves personally, and the amount of money they caused the defendant to pay, they now pay him back. Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer ch. #46 says that on Yom Kippur the accusing angel, the representative of Eisov, satan, admits that the bnei Yisroel are like angels, pure of any sins. He thus admits that his testimony all year long was false, and in turn, all the sin he loaded upon the bnei Yisroel with his accusations are now put onto him.

The Chid"o in Nachal K'dumim adds that perhaps this adds understanding to the gemara Yoma 20a, which says that the word "hasatan" has the numerical value of 364. For 364 out of 365 days of the (solar) year he accuses the bnei Yisroel of sinning, but on Yom Kippur he has no permission to accuse and is quiet. Not only does he lose the opportunity to throw accusations against the bnei Yisroel, but because he admits that they are free of sin, all accusations during the 364 other days of the year are removed from the bnei Yisroel and become his.

Ch. 16, v. 22: "Eretz g'zeiroh" - A land that is choppy - Rashi in verse 8 explains that this means very rough terrain. Targum Onkelos says that it means an uninhabited place, "l'aro d'lo yosvo." The Chizkuni says that it means an area that is cut off from, i.e. not fit for, human habitation and agricultural pursuit. This is because the place where the scapegoat is killed no longer will be fertile, so why destroy some perfectly usable land.

Ch. 16, v. 23: "U'vo Aharon el o'hel mo'eid" - And Aharon shall come to the tent of appointment - Rashi says that he again enters the Holy of Holies to retrieve the incense pan and spoon he left there earlier. Rashi gives no reason for the significance of this act. It must be quite important or else he would not enter the Holy of Holies. The Chizkuni explains that although he could theoretically leave them there until the following year and bring them out when he exits after lighting the present year's incense, in the interim the Holy of Holies if left with a sooty charred pan. This is very disrespectful.

Ch. 16, v. 23: "V'hinichom" - And he shall leave them - The gemara Yoma 34b says that the value of these garments was Yud-Ches Monoh, 18 hundred weight coins. This is alluded to in the word "v'hinichom," which has the same letters as Yud-Ches-MoNoH. (Baal Haturim and Rabbeinu Bachyei)

Ch. 17, v. 13: "Chayoh o ofe asher yei'ocheil v'shofach es domo v'chisohu be'ofor" - An undomesticated animal or a bird that may be eaten and he spilled its blood and he shall cover it with earth - Why does this law apply only to "chayoh" and "ofe," but not to "b'heimoh," a domesticated animal? The Rokei'ach in #319 says that this is based on a medrash that says that when Eliezer returned with Rivkoh to his master Yitzchok, he said that if Yitzchok finds that she has no virginal blood it is not because Eliezer violated her. It is because during their return she fell off the camel and her virginity was broken. They retraced a bit of their steps and found where this happened. The blood was protected by undomesticated animals and birds. The Rokei'ach says that because domesticated animals did not come to take part in the protection of the blood, they do not merit having this mitzvoh done with their blood. (Chid"o in Chomas Anoch)

Ch. 18, v. 18: "V'ishoh el achosoh lo sikoch" - And a woman to her sister shall you not take - Why doesn't the verse straightforwardly state, "V'achos ish't'cho lo sikach," - and the sister of your wife you shall not take? The gemara P'sochim 119b relates that in the future the righteous personalities of the Torah will partake of a meal. At the end of the meal Yaakov will be asked to lead the grace after meals. He will decline, saying, "I do not deserve to lead the bentching because I have married two sisters, something that the Torah would in the future prohibit to ME. This is quite puzzling. The prohibition is not "to ME." It is a universal prohibition.

We can say that the Torah should have said "v'achos ish't'cho lo sikach," but changed it to "v'ishoh el achosoh lo sikoch" to allude to Yaakov specifically. He intended to marry Rochel and not Leah. Once he was aware of the exchange he knowingly married Rochel afterwards. This is "v'ishoh," Rochel the "akeres habayis," the one Yaakov intended should be his wife, "el achosoh," in addition to her sister Leah. (Chanukas haTorah)



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha and Chasidic Insights

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