by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS SHMINI 5763 BS"D
Ch. 9, v. 1: "Va'y'hi ba'yom hashmini" - And it was on the eighth day - Rashi (Seder Olom #7, Toras Kohanim) says that the eighth day of the dedication of the Mishkon was crowned with 10 firsts. This is alluded to in the word "Va'y'hi," whose letters spell "Yud ho'yu," there were 10. (Moshav Z'keinim)
Ch. 9, v. 1: "Va'y'hi ba'yom hashmini" - And it was on the eighth day - The M.R. 11:6 says that Moshe served as a Kohein Godol for the first 7 days of the dedication and handed over the reins to Aharon on the eighth day. Why did it take until the eighth day for the Holy Spirit to descend upon the Mishkon and why didn't it take place during Moshe's short tenure? As well, why was Moshe given K'hunoh G'doloh only to have to later relinquish it? The medrash explains that Moshe refused to accept the mission of becoming leader of the bnei Yisroel and being their spokesman to Paroh. This went on for seven days (see Rashi on Shmos 4:10). Hashem was angry with Moshe and relegated him from the future position of Kohein Godol to a regular Levite. By now being Kohein Godol for 7 days he thought that Hashem relented and that he would receive this exalted position. For refusing for 7 days he was paid back in kind and had 7 days of being Kohein Godol, savouring a week of this great holiness, and experiencing all the more painful a loss when relieved of this position.
Ch. 9, v. 1: "L'Aharon ulvonov" - To Aharon and to his sons - Throughout this parsha we do not find Aharon or his sons being given the added appellation "haKohein" or "Kohanim." Compare this with Vayikroh 1:7, where "haKohein" and "Kohanim" are mentioned. The verse says "Ein shilton b'yom hamo'ves" (Koheles 8:8), there is no dominance on the day of death. Since on this day, the eighth day of the Mishkon dedication, Nodov and Avihu would die, the honourable title "Kohein" was not used. (Imrei Shefer)
We similarly find that the title "Kohein" was not used on the day of Aharon's death, neither for him nor for his son, "Va'yafsheit Moshe es Aharon es b'godov va'yalbeish osom es Elozor b'no" (Bmidbar 20:28). Although we do find in Dvorim 10:6, "Shom meis Aharon .. va'y'CHA'HEIN Elozor b'no tachtov," this verse only relates what happened earlier and is not the narrative on the day of his death. (Oznayim laTorah) Alternatively, "va'y'CHA'HEIN" is not a title, as it is a verb.
Ch. 9, v. 17: "Milvad olas haboker" - Besides the morning oloh offering - Rashi says that these words are to be understood as "besides the daily morning 'oloh' offering that was ALREADY sacrificed." Only after the "tomid shel shachar" was sacrificed were Aharon's "chatos" (verse 8), the "oloh" (verse 12), the nation's "chatos" (verse 15), the nation's "oloh" (verse 16), and the meal offering (our verse) brought.
In the following verse we have the sacrifice of an ox and a ram as "shlomim" offerings. Since these were also processed after the morning "tomid" why didn't the verse wait until after also mentioning these to say "milvad olas haboker?" The answer is that the Torah has already clearly stated that the "shlomim" offering should be processed after the daily "tomid" in Vayikroh 6:5, "V'orach o'lehoh ho'oloh v'hiktir o'lehoh chelvei hashlomim." (Bi'u'rei Mahara"i Baal Trumas Hadeshen)
Ch. 9, v. 23: "Va'yovo Moshe v'Aharon el ohel mo'eid" - Moshe and Aharon came to ohel mo'eid - Rashi says that he found in an addendum to Toras Kohanim that Moshe entered with Aharon to teach him how to process the incense. Rabbi Yeshayoh (Baal Tosfos in Moshav Z'keinim) asks, "Why didn't Moshe teach him this earlier? Hadn't the congregational offerings been processed since the first day of the dedication?" He answers that there is a requirement to take coals from the outer altar and use them to burn the incense. On a daily basis the "tomid" was offered and its body arranged on the altar. Wood was placed on the altar as fuel, but no one lit it, as it was required to have a "heavenly fire," but no heavenly fire came. This scenario repeated itself for 7 days. Thus there were no coals with which to burn the incense. Only on the eighth day, when a fire descended from heaven, were there coals for the incense.
Rabbi Eliyohu Mizrochi explains that although the incense was offered daily, starting from the first day, Moshe was unable to teach Aharon because the service takes place inside the "ohel mo'eid." The verse says "U'fesach ohel mo'eid teishvu yomom volayloh shivas yomim" (8:35), - And at the opening of ohel mo'eid shall you sit day and night for seven days." Thus Aharon and his sons were prohibited from entering the "ohel mo'eid," and could not be taught the service earlier.
A question on Moshe and Aharon both being present during the processing of the incense: Doesn't the Torah prohibit anyone being in the "ohel mo'eid" when the incense is offered, "V'chol odom lo y'h'yeh b'ohel mo'eid" (Vayikroh 16:17)? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Ch. 10, v. 1: "Va'yikchu vnei Aharon Nodov v'Avihu ish machtoso" - The sons of Aharon Nodov and Avihu each man took his coal pan - Add this explanation of the wrongdoing of Nodov and Avihu to your list. They should have offered the incense directly upon the altar and not in a coal pan. (Moshav Z'keinim)
Ch. 10, v. 6: "V'al kol ho'eidoh yiktzofe" - And on all the congregation He will anger - Why would Hashem's anger spread to all the congregation because of the sin of Nodov and Avihu?
1) The Medrash Tanchuma in parshas Acharei Mose says that they died because of the sin of the golden calf. Although Hashem exhibited patience once punishment was meted out it could have extended to the congregation, which was also held responsible for the sin of the golden calf. (Moshav Z'keinim)
2) If Aharon and his remaining sons would have displayed mourning by ripping their garments and the like (the earlier part of our verse) then they would not service the sacrifices. This would leave the congregation without the protection of atonement offerings. (Moshav Z'keinim)
3) Aharon and his sons were agents of the congregation to process the sacrifices. If they would incorrectly do their tasks it would be a bad omen for those they represent, as per the gemara Brochos 34b. (Baal Haturim)
4) If Aharon and his sons would partake of the sacrifices that they were now prohibited to eat because of mourning, this would impact negatively upon the full acceptance of the sacrifices and diminish their efficacy for protecting the congregation. (Rosh)
Ch. 10, v. 6: "V'acheiCHEM kol beis Yisroel yivku" - And your brethren all of the house of Yisroel shall cry - Rashi says that we derive from these words that the misfortune of a Torah scholar is placed upon the whole community to mourn. How is this conclusive? Perhaps it is only the responsibility of a Torah scholar, but here "all of the house of Yisroel" was required to bemoan the loss of Nodov and Avihu as it was a loss of Torah scholars, but if they would have suffered the loss of a very young child ch"v, a non-relative would have no involvement in mourning?
Since the Torah expresses itself with "v'acheiCHEM," and YOUR brothers, this is conclusive. "YOUR brothers" indicates that the mourning is done in place of Aharon, Elozor, and Isomor. Had the responsibility to mourn be by virtue of the loss of the great personages Nodov and Avihu the Torah would have said "v'acheiHEM," and THEIR brothers, Nodov and Avihu's brothers, shall cry. Bi'u'rei Mahara"i Baal Trumas Hadeshen)
Ch. 11, v. 21: "Asher *lo* chro'ayim mimaal" - Which has (not) jointed legs above - The word LO is spelled with a letter Alef, meaning NOT, but is read with a letter Vov, meaning IT HAS. On a practical level we accept the "LO with a Vov" translation, as we find in Targums Yonoson ben Uziel and Onkelos, and in the Ibn Ezra. Thus only a grasshopper that has an extra set of springing legs close to its neck may be consumed. (There are numerous other requirements as well.)
Nevertheless, the Torah text has LO spelled with an Alef thus indicating a dual interpretation. This can be explained homiletically. The verse says "Ei'lecho Hashem nafshi esso" (T'hilim 25:1). This can be understood as: When in pursuit of Hashem's honour I will act in a bold proud manner of grandeur, as our Rabbis derive from "Va'yigba libo v'darchei Hashem" (Divrei Ha'yomim 2:17:6), and he elevated his heart in the paths of Hashem. We can similarly interpret "Hi'nei mokome iti" (Shmos 33,21) - behold when there is place with Me, i.e. regarding Hashem's honour, then, "v'nitzavto al hatzur," you shall stand proud and upright on the rock. However, "V'hoyoh baavor (read "baavor" as "baavur") k'vodi" (verse 22) - when it comes to acting for my own honour, then "v'samticho b'nikras hatzur," I will place you into the cleavage of the rock, i.e. you should be hidden. Thus a person must have both these contradicting characteristics and know where to apply each.
The knee joints, "kro'ayim," symbolize subordination, as we say thrice in our daily prayers, "ki l'cho SICHRA kol berech." Our verse tells us "asher LO (with an Alef) chro'ayim MIMAAL," when it comes to matters of "MIMAAL," heavenly matters, then one should NOT act with humbleness. When it comes to one's personal earthly matters, "l'na'teir bo'hen al ho'ORETZ," then "asher LO (with a Vov) chro'ayim," one should act with humbleness. (Beis Avrohom of Grossvardain)
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