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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 21, v. 1: "Emor el haKohanim" - Say to the Kohanim - This verse comes right after the verse that says that one who involves himself with "ov" or "yidoni," occult practices used to find out the future, should be put to death. The issue thus arises that people want a vehicle to find out the future. This is the intention of our verse. "Emor," say to those who ask this question that "el haKohanim," he may turn to the Kohanim G'dolim who wear the "urim v'sumim" who can advise about the future. (Baal Haturim)

The words "v'omarto a'leihem" that follow in the verse allude to the "urim and tumim." "V'omar" has the letters of "urim," and the last letter of this word, Tof, and "a'leihem" have the numeric value of "v'sumim." (n.l.)

Ch. 21, v. 1: "L'nefesh lo yitamo" - To a soul he shall not defile himself - This verse tells the adult Kohanim to be vigilant in seeing to it that the young Kohanim likewise not defile themselves. Why is there a stress on the special supervision for this prohibition more than any other sin? No doubt, the Kohein has to train his children to not transgress any sin, but included in his overall training is the osmosis absorbed by placing his sons into a Torah observant environment. His sons' friends likewise abide by the Torah's rules. When it comes to not defiling oneself through a dead body, this component of training does not exist. The vast majority of his friends are not Kohanim and will defile themselves. Therefore there is a need for the Kohein to be extra vigilant in warning his sons to not defile themselves. (Oznayim laTorah)

Ch. 21, v. 12: "U'min haMikdosh lo yeitzei" - The Rambam in hilchos klei haMikdosh 5:7 writes that the Kohein Godol's home must be in Yerusholayim and he may not leave the city. The Minchas Chinuch and others are hard-pressed to find a source for this ruling. The Tzofnas Paa'nei'ach, the Margolis Hayom, and the GRI"Z find a source for the Rambam in the mishnoh brought in Sanhedrin 18a. The mishnoh explains how the Kohein Godol follows the bier of a deceased relative. To remain a safe distance from the deceased so as to avoid becoming defiled, the mishnoh says that he must remain behind the procession in a manner that the bier of the deceased is always out of his line of vision. This is so until the opening of the gate of Jerusalem. Why does the mishnoh stop detailing the Kohein Godol's manner of following at the gate of the city? It seems from here that he may not go any further. Although the mishnoh mentions the opinion of Rabbi Yehudoh that the Kohein Godol does not leave the Mikdosh campus at all and the Rambam rules according to Rabbi Yehudoh in 5:5, nevertheless, the point indicated by the mishnoh not mentioning the Kohein Godol's progress beyond the city walls, indicating that he may go no further, which is irrelevant to their disagreement, is not under dispute.

Perhaps another source for the Rambam might be that since the Kohein Godol must offer a daily Minchas Chavitin, this might require his remaining in Yerusholayim all day and overnight, as is the case with all who offer a sacrifice who come to Yerusholayim. Since this is a daily requirement he must remain in Yerusholayim for the rest of his life, as long as

Ch. 21, v. 19: "Shever regel o shever yad" - If the Kohein has a bone fracture in his leg or hand he is disqualified from serving. Similarly if the sacrifice has a bone fracture it is disqualified as mentioned in 22:22. Why does our verse describe the fracture as "shever regel o shever yad" and in verse 22 as "shovur?" When a person suffers a fracture it is limited to the area of the break, "shever regel o shever yad," since the break can be stabilized and healed. The person is therefore not considered broken, "shovur." However, when an animal suffers a fracture it cannot be stabilized. The animal does not give its leg or arm (front leg) respite. The fracture will never heal and it is not only the particular bone that is broken, but rather, the complete animal is considered fractured, "shovur." (shomati mei'achosi tichyeh)

Ch. 22, v. 27: "U'miyom hashmini voholoh yeirotzeh" - The Baal Haturim says in the name of the Medrash Tanchuma that the reason the Torah tells us to wait until the newborn animal is eight days old before offering it as a sacrifice is that if it were offered earlier, one might attribute the offering as intended to be served to the objects that were created on that day in the story of creation, as listed in the beginning of parshas Breishis. After a week has elapsed and the cycle of days begins again, this mistaken concept is negated. Perhaps this would serve as an insight into the law that circumcision does not take place before the eighth day of a boy's life.

Ch. 23, v. 4: "Eileh moa'dei HASHEM mikro'ei kodesh" - The Sforno says that the Yomim Tovim are called Hashem's Holidays only if they are "mikro'ei KODESH," Holidays of SANCTITY. However, if one involves himself only with ephemeral matters and with indulgence in meat, wine, etc., they are not Hashem's holidays and regarding such holidays the Prophet Yeshayohu has said (1:14), "Chodsheichem umoa'deichem sonoh Nafshi hoyu Olay lotorach nil'eisi n'so, - Your monthly celebrations and your holidays My Soul has detested; they were upon Me a burden: I have tired of bearing them."

The Holy Zohar writes that if one does not invite guests to join him in his Yom Tov meals the Prophet Malochi writes (2:3), "V'zeirisi feresh al pneichem peresh cha'geichem," - I will throw the refuse upon your faces, the refuse of your holidays. He adds that this is not the case with not having guests on Shabbos. For this one receives no punishment.

The Noam M'godim says that this might be alluded to in the words of the mishnoh Beitzoh 5:2, "Ein bein Yom Tov l'Shabbos eloh ocheil nefesh BILVAD." This means that the only halachic difference between Yom Tov and Shabbos is that on Yom Tov one may prepare food for consumption in a manner that would be prohibited on Shabbos, such as cooking. These words can also be translated as, "There is no difference between Yom Tov and Shabbos except 'ocheil nefesh BILVAD,' eating food ALONE," where on Yom Tov one is punished for not having guests and on Shabbos one is not.

Ch. 23, v. 15: "Usfartem lochem" - And you shall count for yourselves - And you shall purify and make shine, your physical matters (lochem). This is a requirement for properly preparing for the day of "kabolas haTorah." (n.l.)

Ch. 23, v. 24: "Da'beir el bnei Yisroel" - Speak to the bnei Yisroel - This prelude is only mentioned by Rosh Hashonoh and by Sukos, not by Yom Kippur and Shovuos. This is because these words in this situation come to exclude bnos Yisroel. Only men are responsible to hear the shofar on Rosh Hashonoh and to take the four species and reside in a sukoh. By Yom Kippur and Shovuos there is no differentiation. (Ponim Yofos)

Ch. 23, v. 27: "Ach be'ossor lachodesh hashvii" - Only in the tenth to the seventh month - We also find "ach" by Sukos, but not by any other Yom Tov. There is a pattern in the flow of the Yomim Tovim of the month Tishrei. During the ten days of repentance one has the special opportunity to cleanse oneself of sins and receive forgiveness. Then with a clean soul he can truly rejoice during Sukos. The verse therefore say "Ach" both by Yom Kippur and Sukos to show a limitation. Even if one limited his opportunity to repent and receive forgiveness on Yom Kippur, he should still rejoice on Sukos. (Meshech Chochmoh)



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

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