by Zvi Akiva FleisherBack to this week's Parsha| Previous Issues
PARSHAS SHMINI 5759 BS"D
Ch. 9, v. 1: "Va'y'hi ba'yom hashmini" - Rashi says that this eighth day was Rosh Chodesh Nison. However, the gemara Z'vochim 39b brings two opinions: one that is was Rosh Chodesh Nison, as the first day the Mishkon was assembled was the 23rd of Ador, and another opinion that it was the eighth of Nison, as the first day the Mishkon was assembled was the first of Nison.
Ch.9, v. 22: "Va'y'voracheim" - Rashi says that this blessing was the priestly blessing of Bmidbar 6:24, 25, and 26. This is clearly stated in the Yerushalmi Taanis 4:1. However, the Ramban says that this blessing was similar to the blessing King Shlomo gave the nation upon the completion of building the Beis Hamikdosh (M'lochim 1:8:22 and 55).
Ch. 9, v. 23: "Va'y'vorachu es ho'om" - Rashi says that Moshe blessed them with the words "Vihi noam etc." (T'hilim 90:17), and the blessing, "May it be Hashem's will that His Holy Spirit shall permeate that which your hands have wrought." This seems to be contrary to what Rashi says in Shmos 39:43.
Ch. 9 v. 23: Rashi says that on each of the seven days of the Mishkon's dedication, the Mishkon was disassembled at night and reassembled the next day. The Ponim Yofos (Rabbi Pinchos haLevi Horowitz Baal Haflo'oh) asks, "How could the Mishkon be assembled on each of seven continuous days? We have a rule that the building of the Mishkon and Beis Hamikdosh do not override the prohibitions of Shabbos" (See Rashi Shmos 31:13).
Ch. 10, v. 1,2: "Asher lo tzivoh osom, va'yomusu" - Rashi mentions only two explanations of the sin of Nodov and Avihu which brought about their death during the dedication ceremonies; that they ruled a Torah law while in the presence of their teacher Moshe, and that they entered the Sanctuary while under the influence of wine. The Sifsei Chachomim explains why Rashi picked only these two interpretations. The gemara Eruvin 63a, the Medrash Rabboh, and the Medrash Tanchuma all give explanations.
Rabbi Eliyohu Eliezer Dessler zt"l, in his monumental mussar work, Michtov Mei'Eliyohu volume #2, lists twelve different reasons offered by the M.R. and Medrash Tanchuma.
1) They ruled a Torah law while in the presence of their teacher Moshe.
Rabbi Dessler finds a common denominator among all these twelve opinions; they were lacking in the character trait of humbleness.
Ch. 10, v. 3: "Va'yidom Aharon" - Why is the word "va'yidom" used instead of "va'yishtoke" or "va'yecherash?" The Holy Admor of Ostrovtze zt"l says that just as an inanimate object shows no change when it is insulted or hit, so also Aharon showed absolutely no change, besides remaining quiet. This is why "va'yidom" is used. He reacted as if he were a "domeim," an inanimate object.
Ch. 10, v. 10, 11: "U'l'havdil bein hakodesh u'vein hachol u'vein hato'mei u'vein hatohor. L'horos es bnei Yisroel" - The gemara P'sochim 3b says that there were two students who asked their teacher, either Hillel or Rabbi Yehudoh Hanosi, the same question but expressed themselves differently. One asked, "Why don't olives have to be harvested while in a state of PURITY?" The other one asked, "Why may olives be harvested while in a state of IMPURITY?" Hillel or Rabbi Yehudoh Hanosi said that he was certain that the student who expressed himself in the more refined manner of not mentioning impurity would develop into a great halachic authority. The student who spoke in a more refined manner was either Rabbi Yochonon ben Zakai (if the teacher was Hillel) or Rabbi Yochonon (if the teacher was Rabbi Yehudoh Hanosi).
The GR"A and the Kosnos Ohr both say that this is alluded to in our verse. " U'l'havdil ...... u'vein hatomei u'vein hatohor." When one differentiates in his speech between expressing himself with the word "tohor" and using the word "tomei," and elects to use the term which is more refined, this is an indication that he will become "l'horos es bnei Yisroel," a teacher of the law.
Ch. 10, v. 16: "Dorosh dorash" - The gemara Kedushin 30a says that of the total number of words that appear in the Torah, "dorosh" is the last word of the first half, and "dorash" is the first word of the second half. MRVRHRH"G R' Yaakov Kamenecki zt"l counted the words and found that there were approximately nine hundred more words in the first half than in the second half.
In an attempt to answer this, he applied a rule of the cantillations (trup). One particular trup called "makaf" does not create any audible difference. It serves to indicate that two words are conceptually connected. Some say that the "makaf" makes the two words surrounding it as one word, although there must be a letter space left between them for the kashrus of the Sefer Torah. He counted once again using this rule, and it narrowed down the discrepancy greatly, bringing the difference down to under three hundred words. Although the count is still off by quite a bit, he added that since we do not have a clear knowledge of all the trup signs, possibly there are another almost three hundred more "makafim" in the first half of the Torah.
Rabbi Yaakov Shur, Raava"d of Kitov, in his sefer Mishnas Rebbi Yaakov says that he counted the words of the Torah and found that they totalled 79,980. Half of this is 39,990. Dorosh should be the 39,990th word, but in reality it is the 40,921st word. Meseches Sofrim 9:2 says that the word "dorosh" must appear as the last word on the line in a Sefer Torah, and the following word "dorash" must be placed as the first word on the following line. This teaches us that when one delves into the Torah and believes that he has plumbed the full depth of understanding, that he has reached the end of the line in his "drisha," research, he sees on the next line that the word "dorash" is the first word, indicating that he is still at the beginning of understanding; "Toras Hashem t'mimoh (T'hilim 19:8). (Pardes Yosef)
As well, "Dorosh chatzi haTorah" indicates that the "Torah she'b'ksav" is only half the Torah, as the "droshos," the interpretations of our sages, are the integral other half of the Torah. (Pardes Yosef)
Ch. 10, v. 16: "Va'yiktzofe" - Why did Moshe become angry? We find many sharp expressions used in the gemara by teachers to tell their students that they erred. The responsa Chavos Yo'ir explains that it is incumbent upon the teacher to teach his student to analyze and think things through in a logical manner. If he sees that his student has not done so, he is required to unequivocally let the student know that he has
erred. If he does not do so, he has not fulfilled his pedagogical responsibilities. Thus Moshe externally showed that he was very angry at Aharon's mistake.
Our Rabbis tell us that since Moshe became angry, he himself erred. This would seem to indicate that the external anger had slightly seeped into his emotions and that he also felt a slight amount of true anger, thus bringing him to make a mistake.
Ch. 11, v. 3: "Kole mafreses parsoh v'shosaas shesa prosos maalas geiroh bab'heimoh osoh tocheilu" - Which species both chews its cud and has totally split hooves, and is still forbidden to eat? It is a "b'feirishe" verse in the Torah.
Ch. 11, v. 6. "Ho'arne'ves" - The Ibn Ezra and the Medrash Talpios say that this word appears in the female form because there is no male in this species. Rabbi Eliyohu Habochur in Shaar Hagilgul says that every "arne'ves" has both male and female features, and is self-mating. The Ramban simply says that there are both males and females in this species, but the name of the species is a female word. (See Rashi on Breishis 8:11 d.h. "torof b'fihoh.")
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. Bez"H the Rambam in Shmonoh P'rokim will be dealt with in parshas K'doshim.
Rabbeinu Bachyei says that the word chazir indicates a return, that the pig will become kosher in the future. If this is so, why does chazir become nullified if mixed into 60 or more equal volumes of permissible food? We have a rule that "dovor she'yeish lo matirin afilu b'elef lo botil."
Ch. 11, v. 9: "Snapir v'kaske'ses" - The two necessary traits for kashrus of fish are having fins and scales. The gemara Chulin 65b says that "ALL" fish that have scales have fins. The Kreisi uFleisi Y.D. #83, s.k. 3 (written by Rabbi Yonoson Eibeschitz) says that the above statement of the gemara should not be taken literally, but rather that the intention is that "MOST" fish which have scales have fins, and there are a few exceptions which have scales but no fins.
The Pri M'godim ad loc. Mish'b'tzos Zohov s.k. 2 disagrees and says that the word "ALL" must be taken literally. There are absolutely no exceptions. A cursory glance at the above-mentioned gemara certainly seems to support the position of the Pri M'godim. There is a most interesting story about the sighting of a mermaid (sirene) and of other sea creatures that have scales but no fins, brought in the Oruch Hashulchon ad loc. Also see the Minchas Chinuch mitzvoh #156.
Ch. 11, v.16: "Bas ha'yaanoh" - Why is the "BAS" mentioned?
1) The gemara Chulin 63a derives from this a prohibition to eat its egg as well (read BAS as beitzas Yaanoh).
2) The Baalei Hatosfos on Dvorim 14:15 say that a "bas" is mentioned because only a young one is edible, as a mature yaanoh's flesh is as dry as wood and as hard as iron. There is therefore no need to prohibit the flesh of the inedible adult.
3) The Ibn Ezra says that a "bas" is mentioned because there is no male in this species (similar to what he mentioned regarding arne'ves). This seems to be in contradiction to what the Ibn Ezra himself says in parshas Mishpotim. There he says that even in the young of the yaanoh species, only the female's flesh is edible, but not the male's, indicating that a male does exist.
Ch. 11, v. 19: "V'eis hachasidoh" - The GR"A in Aderes Eliyohu on parshas R'ei says that this bird has the appelation "chasidoh" because after having relations with its mate it immerses itself in a body of water. This is in consonance with a story told of the Chiddushei HoRI"M. His grandson, who was to become the Sfas Emes, asked him what the essence of being a chosid really meant. The RI"M responded that after the Sfas Emes would marry he would explain it. When the time came, the RI"M told him that it boiled down to one matter, fulfilling the Takonas Ezra of immersing in a mikveh after having marital relations. The name given by the Torah to a species, tells us its essence. According to the statement of the RI"M the explanation of the GR"A seems extremely on the mark.
Ch. 11, v. 42: "Kol ho'leich al goch*O*n" - The gemara Kidushin 30a says that the letter VOV which appears in the word "GOCH*O*N" (it is enlarged) is the centre letter of the Torah. An equal amount of letters appear from the word Breishis until this VOV as appear after it until the end of the Torah. Once again Rabbi Yaakov Shur, Raava"d of Kitov, counted and found 304,805 letters in the Torah. Our VOV should be the 152,403rd letter, but in reality it is the 157,236th letter. The above mentioned answer to the problem with the word count would not alleviate the letter count problem. A logical approach might be to say that there are cha'seiros and y'seiros which we don't know. This is quite controversial, as some poskim say we have an almost perfect mesorah (see Meso'res Syog laTorah, responsa Shaagas Aryeh, Daas K'doshim).
Rashi says that this refers to a snake (Toras Kohanim 11:163) which is "ho'leich shoch v'no'feil al MAYOV." A student of the GR"A asked him why Rashi left the explanation of "GOCHON" for here and did not explain it earlier in Breishis 3:14 on the words "al G'CHONCHO seileich." He also asked why Rashi didn't use a more accurate word, "BITNO," which means belly, rather than "MAYOV," which literally means intestines and not belly. The GR"A answered with a gemara Shabbos 104a which says that the letters of the word "SHEKER" are right next to each other in the order of the Aleph Beis. This indicates that a lie is short lived, as the truth will surely and shortly come out and refute the lie. The letters of the word "EMES" are the first, middle, and last letters of the Aleph Beis, to indicate that the truth endures permanently.
Really Rashi felt no need to translate the word "GOCHON" at all, and therefore left it out in Breishis 3:14. The word "GOCHON" contains the middle letter of the Torah. Rashi on the first word of the Torah begins with, "Omar Rebbi Yitzchok." The first letter of his commentary is an Aleph. The last word of Rashi on the Torah, "asher shibarTo," ends with the letter Tof. Rashi wanted his commentary to begin with an Aleph, have a Mem in the middle, hence he used the word "Mayov" rather than "Bitno," and end with a Tof, to spell out EMES in the beginning, middle, and end of his Torah commentary, to emulate the idea mentioned in the above gemara.
Ch.11, v. 44: "V'hiskadishtem vi'h'yisem k'doshim ki kodosh Oni" - Rabbi Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev explains this with a comparison. Just as one whose father is wealthy has a more favourable opportunity to become wealthy, as his father has wealth and is capable of giving him a sizeable amount of capital with which to begin a business venture, so too, it is easier for us to sanctify ourselves, as our Father, Hashem, is Holy, and can bestow upon us an aura of holiness, making it easier for us to reach levels of sanctity through our efforts.
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