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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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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). (Nirreh li)

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 rightfully ours.

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." (Nirreh li)


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)



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha, Chasidic Insights and Chamisha Mi Yodei'a

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