SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS ACHA'REI MOSE-K'DOSHIM 5766 BS"D
PARSHAS ACHA'REI MOSE
Ch. 16, v. 1: "Va'y'da'beir Hashem el Moshe acha'rei mose shnei bnei Aharon"
- And Hashem spoke to Moshe after the death of two sons of Aharon - Rashi
comments: "Mah talmud lomar?" He then brings the parable of Rabbi Elozor ben
Azarioh of two doctors who warn a person. What bothers Rashi with the beginning of
our verse, how does the parable answer his concern, and how is it alluded to
in the verse itself? On Dvorim 2:17 Rashi says that when Hashem addresses
Moshe, the term "va'y'da'beir" is considered a soft way of communicating, from
which we may conclude that "va'yomer" is a harsh way of communicating.
Commentators are puzzled with this, as in other places Rashi says the exact opposite, as
does the gemara Makos chapter 2. This was answered and explained in a
beautiful manner in a previous issue on parshas Dvorim in the name of B'eir Baso'deh.
In any case, for Moshe, "dibur" is "rach" and "amiroh" is "kosheh." Possibly,
Rashi is bothered with our verse starting off with "va'y'da'beir" and the
next verse with "va'yomer." Why the repetition and why the change of words? This
is answered by Rabbi Elozor ben Azarioh. One doctor spoke to a person who was
afflicted with a disease, advising him to avoid certain things. Another did
the same, but added on that non-compliance could be fatal, as it was to his
acquaintance. The second doctor did a much better job of advising him, as he made
him aware of the severity of non-compliance. This is the intention of first
writing "va'y'da'beir," a soft way of speaking (the first doctor), and then
being repetitive, but in a stronger manner, "va'yomer" (the second doctor).
Ch. 16, v. 2: "Ki be'onon eiro'eh al hakaporres" - Because with a cloud I
will be seen upon the kaporres - Rashbam explains that there is a continuous
spiritual vision of such a magnitude that anyone who sees it, even the Kohein
Godol, and even on Yom Kippur, will die. This is why it was necessary to darken
the room with smoke of the incense.
Ch. 16, v. 16: "Hashochein itom b'soch tumosom" - Who rests with them in
their defilement - Rashi (gemara Yoma 56b) says that these words teach us that
even when the bnei Yisroel are ch"v defiled through their sins, Hashem does not
forsake them. Chovas Halvovos in shaar avodas hoElokim 4:9 says that
haughtiness is worse than an actual sin. The Holy Baal Shem Tov offers a compelling
proof for this statement. The gemara Sotoh 5a says that Hashem cannot countenance
a haughty person. Yet, from our verse the gemara derives that Hashem can
tolerate a defiled sinner.
This lesson was brought down to practical terms by the Apter Rov, Rabbi
Yehoshua Heshel, author of Oheiv Yisroel. He once came to a community and was
offered lodging in one of two homes, that of a very religious and scholarly person
who was renown for his haughtiness, and the other of a simple person who was
not totally Torah observant. He immediately responded that he would lodge with
the simple irreligious person. People were quite surprised at his choice, and
he responded that he wanted to emulate Hashem. Just as He manages to rest even
among defiled irreligious people, but not with an inflated person, he too
would do the same.
Ch. 16, v. 17: "V'chol odom lo yi'h'yeh b'ohel mo'eid b'vo'o l'cha'peir" -
And no person shall be present in the tent of appointment when he comes to
effect atonement - In M.R. Vayikra 21:12 Rabbi Avohu asks, "How can the Torah say
that no man be present when the Kohein Godol does the incense service in the
Holy of Holies? Is not the Kohein Godol himself a person?" The M.R. answers that
this is similar to the comment of Rabbi Simone, that Pinchos's face was
aflame when the Holy Spirit rested upon him. Matnos K'hunoh explains that this
means that he became so elevated at that time that he was considered an angel.
(Even angels are not to be present, as mentioned in Tosfos on the gemara Yoma
43b, so how is the problem alleviated?) This is the fulfillment of the verse, "Ki
sifsei Chohein yish'm'ru daas .. ki malach Hashem Tz'vokos hu" (Malachi 2:7).
We can similarly say that the Kohein Godol when doing this exalted service is
elevated to a higher then human condition.
For what does the Kohein Godol pray when in the Holy of Holies? We know from
our Yom Kippur prayers that he prays for basic, practical physical blessings,
that there be sufficient rains, lots of rain if the coming year will be
excessively hot, stable reasonable pricing for food-stuffs, that everyone be
self-sufficient, etc. We can derive from this that a proper leader, no matter how
elevated, should be extremely cognizant of the material needs of the masses. The
Kohein Godol's prayers for these matters specifically took place in the Holy
of Holies when he himself was spiritually super-charged. (Rabbi Chaim Sho'ul
Duwek, Yerushalmi Kabalist)
Ch. 16, v. 22: "V'nosoh haso'ir olov es kol avonosom" - And the goat shall
bear upon itself all their iniquities - M.R. Breishis 65:15 takes the word
"avonosom" and splits it into two, "avonos" and "tam." "Tam" refers to Yaakov, who
has the appellation "ish tom" (Breishis 25:27). Yaakov, who represents the
bnei Yisroel takes all their sins and heaps them upon his brother Eisov.
Obviously, these words deserve clarification. Possibly, this can be
beautifully explained based on the words of the Beis haLevi on parshas Toldos. He
writes that Rivkoh convinced Yaakov to wrest the blessings from Eisov so that he
be the "owner" of this world's blessings. Although Yaakov only had an interest
in pursuing spirituality, and owning the perceived niceties of this world
could be a major distraction, nevertheless, she told him that it would serve two
positive purposes to have material goods as well. Firstly, there is a need for
purchasing and owning items used for mitzvos, which are sometimes quite
costly. (Have you received a recent quote on a pair of tefillin or arba minim?)
Secondly, if Yaakov were the "owner" of this world, if he (his descendants) would
ch"v sin, Hashem could exact punishment by taking away "their" olom ha'zeh."
He says that this is the intention of a medrash that says that the two goats
prepared for Yitzchok and their hides for Yaakov's arms would portend the two
goats that bring about atonement on Yom Kippur. This is now well understood.
Since Yom Kippur is a day of atonement, by giving "our" olom ha'zeh to Eisov we
have atonement for many of our sins, as we are being deprived of that which is
With this insight we can likewise understand the M.R. mentioned earlier.
Yaakov's decision to go along with his mother's advice, in spite of his deathly
fear that his impersonation might be uncovered by his father and ch"v bring upon
himself a catastrophic curse, now allows him to take the sins of bnei Yaakov,
who is called "tam," and place them upon Eisov, the "so'ir la'Azozeil."
Ch. 19, v. 2: "K'doshim ti'h'yu ki kodosh ani Hashem Elokeichem" - Sanctified
will you be because I Hashem your G-d am Holy - Should the verse not have
said "k'doshim he'yu," a command, rather than "ti'h'yu," you will be? The one and
only souce of sanctity is the HolY Torah. It is totally made up of Hashem's
Holy Names. The intention of our verse is, Holy will you be, when (ki=kaasher),
kodosh ani Hashem Elokeichem, your sanctity comes from the Torah's
compilation of My Holy Names. (Holy Zohar)
Ch. 19, v. 3: "Ish imo v'oviv tiro'u" - A man his mother and father you shall
fear - "Ish" includes a self-sufficient child. Nevertheless, he shall fear
his parents. (Ksav Sofer)
A GUTTEN SHABBOS KODESH. FEEL FREE TO DISTRIBUTE BY COPY OR ELECTRONICALLY.
FEEDBACK IS APPRECIATED. TO SUBSCRIBE, KINDLY SEND REQUEST TO: SHOLOM613@AOL.COM
See also Oroh
V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha, Chasidic Insights
Chamisha Mi Yodei'a