by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHIOS ACHAREI-K'DOSHIM 5773 BS"D
Ch. 17, v. 10: "V'hichrati osoh mi'kerev amoh" - And I will excise her from within her nation - Excision is always done by Hashem. However, there are times when the verse spells out that Hashem is doing it and times not. Here we are discussing the consumption of blood, prohibited by the Torah and punishable by excision. Since blood is disgusting to drink (gemara Makos 23b), it must be that the transgressor is drinking it to make a statement, that he simply wants to transgress Hashem's mitzvoh. Here the punishment of excision is expressed in a more powerful manner, mentioning that Hashem is doing it.
Earlier by the sin of consuming prohibited fatty sections of an animal, something that is tasty, the verse expresses itself only with the excision, "V'nich'r'soh" (Vayikra 7:25), as one might eat it not to spite Hashem, but because his epicurean drive has overtaken him. (I do not know why the previous verse is not cited, "V'el pesach Ohel Mo'eid lo y'vi'enu," where it says, "V'nichras ho'ish hahu." There too he might simply not want to go the distance to the Mikdosh to bring his offering.)
Rashi on the gemara M'nochos 21 says that blood that is cooked is disqualified from holiness and when the Torah says that blood that is to be placed on the altar that is drunk carries the excision penalty it must be raw blood. This is why the verse says that Hashem will do the excision, as just mentioned. In Vayikra 7:26, where it talks about drinking blood of a non-sacrificial animal, it is possible to have the blood cooked and even mixed with some other drink in a manner where it is not nullified, and is a decent drink. This is why the verse there mentions excision without mentioning Hashem doing it, "v'nich'r'soh."
Similarly, by the excisions mentioned in parshas K'doshim by prohibited unions, "v'nich'r'su" is used, because people have a drive for these matters.
By the idol worship of molech and the use of the occult ove and y'doni (Vayikra 20:3,5,6), where there is no lust for them, we again have "v'hichrati," and even stronger "V'samti ani es ponai."
By the prohibitions of Yom Kippur (Vayikra 23:29), by eating, an act that one lusts, it says, "v'nich'r'soh," while by doing work on Y.K., again a matter that is not driven by lust, it says, "V'haavadti es ha'nefesh" (verse 30). (Meshech Chochmoh)
Ch. 17, v. 13: "Chayoh o ofe …… v'shofach es domo v'chisohu be'ofor" - An undomesticated animal or a bird …… and will spill its blood and he shall cover it with earth - Kayin killed Hevel and just left him lying there. Birds and undomestivacted animals dug into the ground, buried him, and covered him over with earth. This is why they merit having their blood covered. (Breishis Raboh 22:8)
Ch. 18, v. 5: "V'chai bohem" - And live through them - In reality, a person who lives by the Torah's guidelines lives no longer than a person who fulfills none of its precepts. It is obvious that these words refer to the spirit of a person, as Targum Onkelos says, "V'yeichi v'hon l'chayei alma." This is a source in the Torah for spiritual reward in the world-to-come. (Haksav V'hakaboloh)
Ch. 18, v. 21: "Umizaracho lo si'tein l'haavir lamolech v'lo s'chaleil es sheim kodshi" - And from your children you shall not give to pass through for molech and you shall not desecrate My holy name - Hashem only accepts offerings of one's property, be it inanimate, vegetable, or animate, but not one's child. By offering one's child to molech, which is a greater sacrifice, one desecrates Hashem's holy name. (Ramban, Sforno)
Ch. 19, v. 2: "K'doshim ti'h'yu" - You will be holy - Note that they verse does not use the command form, "heyu," but rather "ti'h'yu," indicating that you will be holy as the result of something. This is the Torah, which sanctifies a person. This is so because the Torah and Hashem are one. Toiling in Torah study becomes purified as well. This is the intention of the following words of the verse, "Ki kodosh ani Hashem." (Holy Zohar)
Ch. 19, v. 3: "Ish imo v'oviv tiro'u" - A man his mother and his father shall you fear - The verse begins in the singular and ends in the plural. The gemara M.K. 17 relates that a father hit his adult son. The gemara says that by doing this he has transgressed the sin of "V'lifnei I'veir lo si'tein mich'shole," not to put a stumbling-block in front of a blind man. This means that the father has caused his son to transgress, as the son will likely hit him back. We derive from this that the mitzvoh of fearing one's parents is a shared mitzvoh. Not only the child, but also the parent has to behave in a manner that the child will not transgress, hence the plural form. (Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh)
Ch. 19, v. 6: "V'hanosar bayom hashlishi bo'aish yiso'reif" - And that which is left over on the third day shall be burned in fire - This is an allusion to the law regarding non-consecrated meat. It must be salted by the third day since the slaughter or else the blood contained therein dries and cannot come out with salting. It can only be roasted over fire (see Sh.O. Y.D. 69:12). This is"V'hanosar bayom hashlishi bo'aish yiso'reif." (Kisei Rachamim)
Ch. 19, v. 9: "Uvkutz'r'chem" - And with your harvesting - This word can be split into "Uvkotzer Kof-Mem. When there is harvesting Kof-Mem = 60, that one must leave over the corner of the field unharvested for poor people. The amount left over should be a sixtieth of the field (mishnoh Pei'oh 1:2).
The following words of the verse, "P'as sodochoh" have the numerical value of "HaPei'oh echod meichamishim." (Baal Haturim)
Ch. 19, v. 11: "Lo tignovu" - You shall not steal - Numerous explanations are given for the plural expression, "lo tignovU." The Rambam hilchos g'neivoh 5:1 writes that it is prohibited to by from a thief an item he has stolen. This is a grievous sin as it strengthens the hands of a sinner and propels him to steal again, since if he would find no purchaser for the ill-gotten goods he would not steal. The verse in Mishlei 29:24 refers to this when it says, "Choleik im ganov sonei nafsho."
Based on all this the Sheima Shlomo and Kli Yokor explain that this is the meaning of the plural "lo tignovU." Both the thief and his customer are considered thieves.
Ch. 19, v. 11: "Lo tignovu" - You shall not steal - A petitioner's kvittel was brought to the Hornesteipler Gaon. The request was that he be successful in all his endeavours. The Hornesteipler Gaon responded that he would not pray for this since there is a possibility that he might want to steal or do some other wrong-doing. His response is actually found in the Medrash Shochar Tov on T'hilim #20. Rabon Gamliel came to Chalfa ben Kruyoh and asked him to pray for him. Chalfa responded with, "May Hashem give you as is in your heart," or "May Hashem fulfill all your requests." The medrash goes on to say that this response is inappropriate for the common man as he might be planning to steal or do another sin. It is only because Chalfa knew that Rabon Gamliel's heart was totally submissive to Hashem that he responded thusly.
Sefer Chasidim #485 similarly says that one should never bless someone with "May Hashem grant you your request." Perhaps this person wants to take revenge on someone or overpower an adversary. Rather, one should respond with, "May Hashem fulfill your wishes for good in the service of Hashem."
Ch. 19, v. 17: "Hochei'ach tochiach es ami'secho" - You shall surely rebuke your friend - A traveling preacher came to a community and while discussing the importance of mitzvos in which people were lax he strongly criticized the Jewish nation as a whole. A person in the audience, Rabbi Dovid, a student of the holy Baal Shem Tov pushed him off the platform where he was speaking and brought the talk to an abrupt end. This "darshan" went to the holy Baal Shem Tov to complain about the behaviour of his student. The holy Baal Shem Tov called his student who then explained to him what happened. The holy Baal Shem Tov sided with his student, citing the verse in Mishlei 3:11, "Musar Hashem bni al timos," chastisement my son do not loath. "Musar Hashem," one should offer chastisement to act as Hashem asks of us, but, "Bni al timos," do not make my son repulsive when you offer the "musor." (Tzror Hachaim, M'kore Mayim Chaim)
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