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Parasha Tzav-Parah 5763

Commentaries of the Rishonim based on Chazal.

ze korban etc. (Levit. 6:13) (‘This is the sacrifice of Aharon [u]-his sons which they sacrifice to G-d [be]-the day on which he is anointed’) … vehakohen etc. (ibid. 15) (‘And the priest who is anointed in his place from among his sons shall bring it’) There is a difficulty here. Verse 13 seems to say that all priests bring this sacrifice, while verse 15 seems to say that only the priest filling the place of Aharon (i.e. the High Priest) brings it.

Rashi reads the [u] in verse 13 as ‘and,’ and explains that ordinary Kohanim bring the sacrifice ‘on the day’ when they are first inducted to sacrificial service, while the High Priest brings it daily. This interpretation is based on the Gemara (Menachot 51B).

R’ A. ibn Ezra and Chizekuni read the [u] in verse 13 as ‘or one of’ and explain the Bet prefix to mean ‘from’ as though it said miyom himashach (‘from the day on which he is anointed’) and conclude that from the day on which the High Priest is anointed he is obliged to bring this sacrifice regularly. The source is Torat Kohanim (Parsheta 10 the first). Although R’ A. ibn Ezra and Chizekuni do not usually rely on the theory of letters of the same point of articulation being interchangeable, it may be that here by reading the Bet as a Mem they are resorting to it. (Bet and Mem are both pronounce by the lips, they belong to the Labial group.)

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A virtual Heh Hayedi’ah (‘definite article’)

velamilu’im (Levit. 7:37) (‘and for the inauguration/official position offering’) All the other sacrifices mentioned in this verse are given in detail somewhere between the beginning of Leviticus till here (burnt offering Levit. 1:1; meal offering ibid. 2:1; sin offering ibid. 4:1; guilt offering ibid. 5:1; peace offering ibid. 3:1) but where is this one? There is also a grammatical problem here. The Patach under the first Lamed of velamilu’im and the Dagesh in the Mem indicate that the Lamed has appropriated the pointing of Heh Hayedi’ah (definite article). As a result we have here a virtual Heh Hayedi’ah i.e. the following noun is definitely known. Therefore each of the commentators feels the need to explain the previous reference where this sacrifice came to be known.

Rashi explains ‘for the day of inauguration to priesthood,’ for in his opinion that is the meaning of Levit. 6:13 as he explained (see above) even though the term milu’im is not used there.

R’ A. ibn Ezra and Chizekuni refer to ve’ata tetzave (Exod. 28) as in their opinions inauguration is not mentioned in our passage (see above).

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The Holy Names

devar hashem (Ezek. 36:16) amar hashem elokim (ibid. verse 22) The first hashem is read as the Alef Dalet name in place of the Yud Heh four letter name (‘Tetragrammaton’) and the second hashem is both spelled as the Alef Dalet name and read so. In the second verse the reading of the Alef Lamed Heh name replaces the Tetragrammaton. The purpose of replacing the Tetragrammaton by other Divine Names is not to confuse; it is to accord ‘respect to His honorable and fearful Name’ (Rambam: Hil. Tefilah 14:10) and thereby to the Holy One Blessed be He. The Tetragrammaton is G-d’s proper Name (Kuzari 4:3). The general prohibition of pronouncing the Tetragrammaton as it is spelled is mentioned in the Gemara (Pesachim 50A), and there is a specific prohibition with regard to the priestly blessings (Mishnah Sotah, 38A). Although the Gemara in Pesachim states that the name Yud Heh is read with the name Alef Dalet this is qualified by the Masora. The Masora does this by way of the nikkud (‘pointing’) of this Name. This indicates that in most cases it is to be read as the Alef Dalet name as in our first example (Ezek. 36:16). But when it occurs after the name written Alef Dalet it is read by the Alef Lamed Heh name as in our second example (ibid. verse 22). This reading rule applies both in private and public reading whether of Tenach or prayers.

The above rule should not be confused with the Torah prohibition of needlessly mentioning the Divine Name (Exod. 20:6; Shulchan Aruch O.Ch. 156:1; Y.D. 334:43), which seems to apply to both the Tetragrammaton and the other six Names listed under the prohibition of mechikat Hashem (‘erasing the Name’) (see Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 276:9). Because the prohibition of mentioning the Divine Name needlessly is severe, in everyday speech we avoid fully pronouncing any of the seven Names even in situations where it would not be ‘in vain.’ In reading the Tenach and in prayer the six other names are pronounced as written, and indeed it is proper to do so. Similarly the Names are also said as written when reciting Tehillim (‘Psalms’) and during the singing of the Shabbat table Zemirot (‘hymns’). Recently, some have taken to avoiding the Names in these contexts. This means the passages have not been completely recited and is contrary to the tradition.

In the preparation of this passage I have consulted Rabbi Z. Leff.

I will be pleased to have comments on these notes on the Parasha.
Good Shabbos, Meshullam Klarberg, 35/4 Meshech Chochma, Kiryat Sefer, Israel 71919
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