by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS SHMINI 5774 BS"DCh. 9, v. 2: "Kach l'cho eigel" - Take for yourself a calf - Rashi says that this calf would bring atonement for the golden calf. In truth, Aharon took no part in serving the calf. This was not clear to the masses. His misdeed was the desecration of Hashem's Name by being involved in its creation. Through his bringing a calf as his atonement it became clear to the people that he did not in any which way serve it or else a calf cannot become atonement for the golden calf, as per the maxim, "Ein ka'teigor naa'seh sneigor." (Yismach Moshe)
Ch. 9, v. 3: "K'chu s'ir izim l'chatos" - Take a goat as a sin offering - Aharon's sin offering was a calf, a more substantial offering. Aharon was but one person so his sin offering was a noticeable offering. The nation, many people, was afforded a goat, a "quieter" sin offering, out of respect for the nation. (Rosh)
Ch. 9, v. 4: "Ki ha'yom Hashem niroh a'leichem" - Because today Hashem is visible to you - This means Hashem's agent, the heavenly fire that would come down and consume the offerings, is visible. (Rashba"m)
Ch. 9, v. 7: "Krav el hamizbei'ach" - Near yourself to the altar - Aharon was extremely embarrassed for the part he took in the making of the golden calf, which in turn brought to some to deify it. Moshe told Aharon that he should not concern himself with this. He did very well by pushing them off one day and thus minimizing the length of time of idol worship. During that day he built the altar. Hence, "Come close to the altar" that you built. This is your merit. (Holy Alshich)
Ch. 9, v. 9: "Va'yakrivu bnei Aharon es hadom eilov" - And the sons of Aharon brought the blood close to him - In verse 12 it says, "Va'yamtzi'u," they made it available. Here they never handed the vessel with the blood in it to him. He only had to dip his finger into the blood and place it on the corners of the altar. In verse twelve the manner of placement of blood was by tossing it from the pan onto the altar. This required handing over the vessel with the blood to him, "Va'yamtzi'u." (Mahari"l Diskin)
What remains to be clarified is why here it says "es hadom eilov" and in verse twelve, "eilov es hadom." Perhaps, based on the Mahari"l Diskin, where they only gave him the blood, here, "hadom eilov" is appropriate. There, where they also gave him the pan, it is expressed as "eilov es hadom," the blood and "es," the ancillary, the vessel, were given to Aharon. (n.l.)
Ch. 9, v. 22: "Va'yisa Aharon es yodov el ho'om va'y'voracheim va'yei'red mei'asose hachatos v'ho'oloh v'hashlomim" - And Aharon lifted his hands to the nation and he blessed them and he descended from processing the chatos and the oloh and the shlomim - The gemara Yerushalmi Taanis explains "va'yei'red" as "and he had already descended." In essence the two phrases of this verse are reversed. He blessed them after having processed the three korbonos. This is the source for Kohanim blessing the nation during musof prayers as well.
Ch. 9, v. 24: "Va'teitzei aish milifnei Hashem" - And fire issued forth from Hashem - It came down, crouching on the offerings in the form of a large lion. When the bnei Yisroel were not at their best behaviour the fire that came down from heaven took on the form of a dog. (Holy Zohar)
The story is told of the Apter Rov, Rabbi Avrohom Yehoshua Heschel, who said that he had come back to earth a fourth time as Avrohom Yehoshua Heschel. The first time he was a sheep in Yaakov's flock when Yaakov left Lovon. Another time he was Rabbi Yishmo'eil Kohein Godol. Because of this, during Yom Kippur musaf prayers instead of saying "v'kach hoyoh o'meir," he would say, "v'kach hoYISI o'meir." Another time he was a young Kohein in training called "pirchei K'hunoh." He related that he clearly remembers that when he was a member of the "pirchei K'hunoh" a member of the local community, named Reb Gronim, who behaved as a "sheineh Yid," and was very disparaging of the common folk, accidently transgressed the Holy Shabbos unintentionally. He did not have his own flock of animals so he went to the market of the vendors of sheep and goats to purchase his chatos offering. He was humiliated, as many people milled around and he was well known. He quietly asked a vendor for an appropriate animal. The vendor could not hear him given the general din of the market place so he had to repeat his request loudly. He purchased a goat which had a small lead rope attached. Shamed-face he walked through the market area. Remember this was not a general live meat market. It was a korban purchasing centre. He finally made it till he was right in front of the Beis Hamikdosh when he suddenly realized that he had been walking with just a rope; the goat slipped out of the loop. He had already consecrated it so he HAD TO recover it lest it be found and used for secular matters. He screamed out loudly, "My chatos goat is lost! My chatos goat is lost!" It was finally found and ascertained as his by signs of the colouring of the hair. He finally entered and waited in line with the "unintentional sinners," no queue hopping. By now his visage had taken on a very crimson look. His haughty upright stature had turned into a bent over contrite bearing. His animal was slaughtered and its inners were offered upon the altar. He was told by the Kohein to sincerely repent. He mumbled some words of sorrow to himself with the hope that this demeaning odyssey would end shortly. All of a sudden he heard the Kohein tell him that he had not properly repented. The fire that was consuming his offering had taken on the shape of a dog. Finally, he got serious and repented with tears copiously running down his rotund, and now burning with shame, cheeks. He then heard the Kohein say, "You are forgiven! The fire has taken on the configuration of a lion." Reb Gronim was never the same again. He had changed for the better to an extreme. (Let us all remember that this exercise is for an unintentional sin. Whoa to the intentional sinner!)
Ch. 9, v. 24: "Va'yiplu al pneihem" - And they prostrated themselves upon their faces - We find a fire coming from heaven to consume the offering of the Prophet Eliyohu on Mount Carmel. Just as there they fell onto their faces and said "Hashem Hu hoElokim" twice, they did so here as well. (Rabbi Yehudoh Chosid)
Ch. 10, v. 1: "Ish machtoso" - Each man his fire-pan - From this we derive that they did not take council one from the other about proceeding to bring their own fire. What is so wrong with that? Each held the same as his brother and they surely would have concluded to do it. Obviously, given that it was wrong, as evidenced by the horrible results, they acted incorrectly. A person does not readily see his own mistakes. Has they each asked one the other if they should do this, each one's mind would be open to a more honest analysis of the matter, and they would have concluded to refrain. (Baa'lei Musor)
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