Revach L'Neshama RSS feed for - Section: PARSHAS HASHAVUA Category:QUICK VORT Copyright 2007, Revach L'Neshama en-US Revach L'Neshama Logo 144 31 Sat, 27 Nov 2021 03:00:00 +0000 240 Parshas Tzav: Rabbeinu Bachaye - Covering the Shame of Sinners Both the Korban Olah and Chatas need Shechita on the northern side of the Bais HaMikdash. By the Olah the Torah says so explicitly. By the Chatas the Torah tells us that it needs Shechita in the same place as the Olah (Tzav 6;18) " בִּמְקוֹם אֲשֶׁר תִּשָּׁחֵט הָֽעֹלָה תִּשָּׁחֵט הַֽחַטָּאת֙". What is the Torah teaching us by these roundabout instructions?

Rabbeinu Bachaye explains that the Korban Olah is a Kapparah for bad thoughts. Bad thoughts are not embarrassing as we haven't carried out our plans. Everyone is guilty of having bad thoughts and our job is to suppress them. However the Chatas is for actual bad deeds.

In order not to shame the sinner, says Rabbeinu Bachaye, when he stands in the middle of the Bais HaMikdash in public, we stand him in the same place as the person who brings an Olah so no one will know if he is really guilty of crime or not.

If this is how careful the Torah is not to embarrass a sinner, we can understand how important it is not to embarrass someone who has done no wrong!

Thu, 21 Mar 2019 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Pinchas: Rav Yehonoson Eibshitz - Where did Zimri the Great Tzaddik go Wrong?

Zimri was from the Dor Deiah. This generation lived 40 years in the desert subsisting on Man, heavenly food from Shamayim in simple conditions. They spent their days drinking with thirst the Torah of Hashem. Materialism did not enter anyone's mind. These people were on the level of Malachim. Zimri was not merely from the common folk of this generation, he was one of the leaders of Shevet Shimon. His mistake with Kasbi cannot be taken at face value. So what happened?

Rav Yehonoson Eibshitz explains that many great people erred because they saw the greatness of the future generations that would come from them. Korach saw Shmuel HaNavi as his future descendant, and was sure that he was more righteous than Moshe Rabbeinu. Achitofel saw that Shlomo HaMelech would come from his granddaughter Basheva, and assumed that he himself would be king and therefore rebelled against Dovid.

Zimri saw that a Nasi of Bnei Yisroel would marry a princess of Moav and an heir from their union would exact revenge on Moav. His mistake was that he was only the head of part of Shevet Shimon and not the Nasi of the Shevet. Similarly Kasbi was not the daughter of a proper King and she was also not worthy of this.

So who was this Nevuah talking about? It referred to Boaz who was the sole leader of his generation and Ruth who was the daughter of Eglon the King of Moav.

Wed, 12 Jul 2017 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Tazria: Rav Itzele Volozhin - Behind the Different Forms Tzoraas

Why must one go specifically to a Kohen when he sees a potential Tzoraas? Why can he not go to any Talmid Chochom who has mastered the halachos of Nega'im?

Rav Itzele Volozhin says that the five kinds of tzoraas is a result of five fundamental sins. Tzoraas on one's body comes from overindulging in bodily desires. Tzoraas of Begadim is a result being obsessed with external beauty and constantly running after new clothing. Tzoraas of the head is caused by bad character, corrupt thinking, and haughtiness. Tzoraas in the beard is for sins of the mouth such as Lashon Hara and mockery. Lastly Tzoraas on the walls of one's home, where one is required to remove all his possessions, and ultimately destroy the house, is a punishment for chasing after wealth and possessions.

A person afflicted with tzoraas does not need someone to treat his nega, he needs someone who can heal his mind and soul. While any expert can distinguish a tamei nega from a tahor one, only a Kohen, the Ish HaChesed and the embodiment of Ahavas Yisroel, can get into the head of the Mitzora and help him climb out of his misery and make him whole again.

Fri, 08 Apr 2016 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Yisro: Hashem Killed Bnei Yisroel With His Voice

Chazal tell us that at first Hashem started to say the Dibros, but His voice caused the Neshamos of Bnei Yisroel to leave their bodies. Hashem then brought them back to life by sprinkling them with dew. Why did Hashem do this? He obviously knew they would not survive and would die at the foot of the mountain before Kabalas HaTorah.

When Hashem created the world he looked into the Torah which was the blueprint. All creation, all wisdom, and all morality come from the Torah. The world is simply an illusion meant to deceive us and tempt us away from the Torah. Any morality in the world not consistent with the Torah is not true morality but rather corruption cloaked in morality.

Any person raised on worldly values cannot truly embrace and fully embody Torah until he rids himself of his worldly values and begins anew. Rather than learn from the Torah how one should live his life, instead he will try to read his preconceived notions into the Torah. This would be not only a corruption of his own life, but he would corrupt the Torah as well in order to suit his needs.

Bnei Yisroel after centuries of Egyptian exile and absorbing their mentality, could not continue to exist in their current state when confronted with pure unadulterated Torah. After "dying" and eradicating their existing notions, Hashem sprinkled them with the "Tal Torah". He brought them back into existence with a clear slate, on the basis of Torah. Only then did Hashem hand over His precious Torah to the descendents of his beloved followers.

Sat, 30 Jan 2016 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Bahaloscha: Chizkuni - Shevet Levi, A Family Tradition of Excellence

Hashem tells Moshe Rabbeinu to designate Shevet Levi for Avodah in the Bais HaMikdash. The pasuk (Bahaloscha 8:19) then says, "ולא יהיה בבני ישראל נגף בגשת בני ישראל אל הקודש", so that a death will not spread when the Bnei Yisroel approaches the Mishkan. Rabbeinu Bachaye and other Meforshim explain that the Levi'im will act as guards not allowing Bnei Yisroel to come too close, because a Zar who comes close will die.

The Chizkuni takes a unique approach in explaining this pasuk. He says that before Levi was designated as the overseers of the Avodas HaMishkan, the natural choice was the Bechorim. However, says the Chizkuni, that presents a problem. Since a bechor can be the son of a non-bechor and the grandson of a non-bechor, he would have no family tradition regarding the avodah. This can cause him to do the avodah in an improper way that would make him liable to death.

Because of this, Hashem in His mercy, designated a Shevet to be in charge of the avodah so that they would have a long and rich tradition of avodah, ingraining it in their family genes for generations, thus saving many casualties in this highly sensitive and dangerous workplace!

Sun, 31 May 2015 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Naso: Kli Yakar - The Explosion of the Sotah's Stomach

If the Sotah is guilty of the crime she was accused of by her husband, then after drinking the Mei Sotah her stomach explodes. Why is this so?

The Kli Yakar answers that the Mei Sotah was very holy water. The water itself comes from the Kiyor in the Bais HaMikdash that is used by the Kohanim to purify themselves before Avodah, while the main additive is the Name of Hashem that is erased into the water. As this water is so holy, says the Kli Yakar, surely it is not fit to travel through the organs of intimacy in the usual manner that water is passed out of the human body. Since it is trapped inside the Sotah's body, her stomach blows up and then explodes.

However if the Sotah is innocent, and has been completely faithful in her relationships, then she reverts back to the Kedusha of Adam HaRishon before he sinned. At that juncture all the organs and limbs were holy and there was no shame, which is why they did not have clothing. That being the case, the holy Mei Sotah flowed right through her system and out.

Maybe this also explains why the innocent Sotah is blessed with children if she is still childless, or healthier and stronger children if she already has children. Since the Mei Sotah is pure Kedusha, it cures any of the woman's internal physical imperfections that it passes along its route out the body, and paves the way for beautiful, healthy, and holy children.

Thu, 28 May 2015 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Vayeitzei: Rabbeinu Bachaye - It All Starts From Luz

When Yaakov woke from his dream, he realized he was in a Makom Kadosh, Yerushalayim. He appropriately named the place Bais Kel, the house of Hashem. The pasuk (Vayeitzei 28:19) tells us that the original name was Luz. Rabbeinu Bachaye asks why is this relevant to us?

He answers that the pasuk is hinting to the fact that Yerushalayim was the beginning of creation, and the rest of the world continued from there. Luz, he explains based on the Medrash (Vayikra Rabba 18:1), is the bone in our spine that we will be recreated from during Techiyas HaMeisim. Just like the original wondrous creation started from Luz, so too will the miracle of Techiyas HaMeisim will start from Yerushalayim, for Yerushalayim is the center on Hashem's universe, and the closest connection to Heaven.

Sun, 23 Nov 2014 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Ki Seitzei: Kli Yakar - Makkos, Two Behind and One in Front
ארבעים יכנו לא יוסיף - כי תצא כה:י  
From this pasuk Chazal learn that for violating many aveiros in the Torah, thirty nine lashes are administered. The gemara (Makkos 23b) tells us that the Makkos are given in multiples of three, two thirds on the back and one third on the torso.

The Kli Yakar explains that the Makkos are given to help put us back on the right track. We sin because we forget the essential truths of life. The mishna in Pirkei Avos (3:1) says that by contemplating three basic things, a person will avoid being ensnared in sin. The first is that our humble beginnings are from a putrid drop. This, says the Kli Yakar, is something clearly before us and represents the one third of the Makkos that are given on our front side.

The other two things to consider is where we will end up, that being a place of dust, worms, and maggots, as well the fact that we be called to judgement before Hashem. These two facts are less apparent and are behind us, representing the two thirds of the Makkos given on the back.

Thu, 04 Sep 2014 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Mikeitz: Rav Yaakov Kaminetzky - Making Sense of Mechiras Yosef

The story of Mechiras Yosef begs so many obvious questions. Why did Yosef not send a message to his father that he was alive and well once he became viceroy? Why did he torment his brothers and hence his father for an extended period of time? Most of all how could the Shivtei Kah the Kedoshim and Tehorim do what they did to their brother?

Rav Yaakov Kaminetzky answers that the Shevatim truly believed Yosef deserved to be killed and their treatment of him was not borne out of any desire to kill him. The greatest proof is that when Reuven raised the idea of throwing him into a pit and convinced the others that justice would still be served, they instantly agreed. And when Yehuda suggested they spare him and sell him to slavery, again there was no objection. Their treatment of Yosef was a sacred duty carried out with pure intentions and without a shred of personal bias.

Yosef knew this and because of it he didn't contact his father. Since the Shvatim believed he needed to be put to death, upon hearing that he rose to prominence in Mitztrayim they would have immediately gone down to kill him. For this reason he couldn't reveal himself to his brothers. His treatment of them had one purpose in mind, to convince them of the error of their ways. Only when he heard them say (Mikeitz 44:16), "Elokim Matza Avon Avdecha", Hashem has found wrongdoing in us, only then was it finally safe after all these years to say, "Ani Yosef!"

Wed, 27 Nov 2013 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Shmini: Rav Yechiel Yaakov Weinberg - This Is The Thing! Parshas Shmini begins with the day of the inauguration of the Mishkan and the Hashraas HaShechina as a sign that Hashem has forgiven them for the Cheit HaEigel. The first few pasukim discuss the Korbonos that Aharon and Bnei Yisroel were commanded to bring in order to bring about Hashraas HaShechina. After that the entire Bnei Yisroel is commanded to gather in front of the Mishkan.

The next pasuk (Shmimi (9:6) says, "Zeh HaDavar Asher Tziva Hashem Taasu", this is the thing that Hashem commands the entire Bnei Yisroel to do. However instead of instructing Bnei Yisroel what this "thing" is, the following pasukim talk specifically to Aharon and how he must do the Avodah. What happened to the commandment of "Zeh HaDavar" to Bnei Yisroel?

The Rishonim answer this B'Derech Pshat. Rav Yechiel Yaakov Weinberg in Lifrakim says B'Derech Drush that this "thing", refers to the assembly of all of Bnei Yisroel in front of the Mishkan. After the Cheit HaEigel Bnei Yisroel desperately waited for a sign that Hashem forgave them and is once again willing to be among them. The initial forgiveness was granted on Yom Kippur and they were commanded to build a Mishkan for the sake of returning the Shechina to dwell among them. They generously poured money and their talents into this effort.

In Kislev the project was complete but Hashem did not instruct them to erect the Mishkan. They waited longingly for over three months wondering when and if the command will ever come. Then finally Hashem told Moshe to erect the Mishkan but only for a practice run and without Hashraas HaShechina. Now finally the day had come. They were told to assemble before the Mishkan and were told which Korbonos Aharon should bring to inaugurate the Mishkan and bring HaShraas HaShechina. They all stood there in unison, every single person waiting breathlessly pining for the great moment when Shechina would descend.

With this glorious spirit in the air Moshe said, "Zeh HaDavar Asher Tziva Hashem Taasu." Moshe Rabbeinu pointed to the this great assembly and said, this is what Hashem wants. When Bnei Yisroel so deeply yearns and desires to be with their Father in Heaven and live with His presence among them, only then can we be zocheh to this literal state of Heaven on earth.

Thu, 04 Apr 2013 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Balak: Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh - Perplexing Questions From the Malach

During Bilam's journey to Moav his donkey gave him trouble three times as the Malach impeded his path. After the third time when the Malach completely blocked the way and Bilan had an argument with his donkey the Malach appeared to Bilam and asked him why he hit his donkey since the Malach made the donkey stop.

The Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh asks what was the meaning of the question why did you hit your donkey? Bilam hit him because he stopped. Further more the Malach complained that it was he the Malach who stopped the donkey. What was the complaint if Bilam did not see the Malach?

The Ohr HaChaim answers that the Malach's intention was twofold. First he wanted to embarrass Bilam and make him admit with his own mouth that he did not see the Malach. He wanted Bilam who knew Daas Hashem to admit before the whole contingent that his mystical vision is limited. Bilam's answer to these charges were very sobering. First, he did not see the Malach, and even more embarrassingly his donkey did.

Furthermore says the Ohr HaChaim the Malach wanted to show him the heavy price for his dastardly plan. The gemara (Sanhedrin 106a) says that after scheming with Balak, Bilam lost his nevua and became only a Kosem, magician. The Malach wanted to show him how quickly his mystical vision will deteriorate by continuing this mission. Just by embarking on it he already lost his ability to see Malachim.

Thu, 05 Jul 2012 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Shelach: Maskil L'Dovid - Moshe's Suspected Conspiracy Against Yehoshua  "And Moshe called Hoshea Bin Nun, Yehoshua." Rashi explains that Moshe davened for Yehoshua - "Kah Yoshiacha MayAtzas Meraglim; Hashem should save you from the plan of the spies." Why did Moshe specifically daven for Yehoshua more than the other spies?  

Maskil L'Dovid answers that since Eldad and Meidad prophesized,   "Moshe will die and Yehoshua will be bring them into Eretz Yisrael," Moshe wanted to make sure that Yehoshua will not die during this ordeal. If Yehoshua were to die, people might have accused Moshe of specifically sending Yehoshua on this excursion to have him killed and allow Moshe to return as leader. That is why he singled out Yehoshua to daven for him.


Sun, 10 Jun 2012 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Bahaloscha: Rav Shamshon Refoel Hirsch - Eldad & Meidad Prove That Greatness And Stature Are Not Related Moshe Rabbeinu tells Hashem that he cannot lead Bnei Yisroel alone.  Hashem tells Moshe to gather 70 zekeinim in front of the Mishkan.  Hashem then gives these zekeinim the Ruach of Moshe Rabbeinu.  Eldad and Meidad are not included in this group, but they also get this Ruach and start saying Nevuah in the Machaneh. 
Rav Shamshon Refoel Hirsh says that we learn from here that being appointed to an important position is not connected in any way to advancing in Kedusha.  If a person is worthy of Ruach HaKodesh he will receive it whether he is officially a Rov, Rosh Yeshiva, or a simple Jew lacking any formal position. Eldad and Meidad were great men who were worthy of being one of the zekeinim.  Their exclusion from this elite group did not in any way diminish their ability to reach great level of Dveykus B'ashem.

Fri, 08 Jun 2012 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Bahaloscha: Rav Moshe Feinstein - The Anonymous Heroes Of Pesach Sheini The commandment of Pesach Sheini was taught only after the Timei'ei Meisim complained that they didn't want to lose out on the Mitzva of Korban Pesach.  Rashi says (9:7) that really Moshe should have taught the mitzva of Pesach Sheni earlier, but these timei'im were Zocheh to have the mitzva taught because of their complaint, since they showed a great desire to do the mitzva.

Rav Moshe Feinstein asks, "Why does the Torah not mention the names of the Timei'ei Meisim like it does when the Halachos of inheritance are taught through the complaints of Bnos Tzelafchad?  If the whole point was to give the Timei'ei Meisim schar for their desire to serve Hashem, shouldn't they be rewarded with honorable mention of their names?
Rav Moshe answers that the Torah wanted to teach us the great reward for anyone who truly desires to do a mitzva out of a love to serve Hashem, even if circumstances exempt them.  The Bnos Tzelafchad were zocheh because of their personal greatness and therefore each one's name is mentioned.  However here the Torah is teaching each and every one of us that the Torah can be given through us, if we truly love to serve Hashem.  Mentioning the names of the Timei'ei Meisim could only have detracted from the message the Torah is teaching, because we would then attribute this zechus to the personal greatness of the Timei'ei Meisim, which we surely cannot measure up to.

Fri, 08 Jun 2012 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Emor: Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik - The Torah Means An Eye For Eye "Ayin Tachas Ayin Kasher Yitein Moom BaAdam Kein Yinasein Bo; An eye for an eye when you maim your friend the same should be done to you." (Emor 24:20)   The Halacha L'Moshe MiSinai tells us that despite what the words appear to say, the Torah means that the perpetrator pays for the injury rather than Bais Din maiming him.  If so why does the Torah clearly say that we avenge him in kind?

The Iturei Torah brings from Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik that had the Torah told us the halacha explicitly, we would become less sensitive to the value of a person's limb.  We would see it as a price tag.  We would get the feeling that you can injure someone, if the math added up, and it was worth your while.  When the victim will be angry, the perpetrator will ask him why he is so angry since he will compensate him for the full value.

The Rambam clearly says that a person who maims his friend deserves to lose his limb but the Torah allows him to pay Kofer.  The Torah is teaching us that Min HaDin, if someone takes from his friend the incredible gift of sight that Hashem bestowed upon him, justice demands that his ability to see be taken away as well.  Even though the Torah limited the punishment to a monetary value, surely it is not a fair trade.

Fri, 11 May 2012 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Emor: Shem MiShmuel - The Problem With A Family Business A Kohen may become Tamei to his close relatives.  A Nazir may not.  Why?  The Shem MiShmuel says in the name of his father the Avnei Nezer that the Kedushas Kohen is inherited.  It is a family kedusha.  Therefore, just like he received his kedusha from the family, he may not turn his back on them, even if dealing with them would make him Tamei.  

The status of a Nazir is reached purely by the individual, through his holy aspirations.  It is not received in any way from other family members.  He has no debt to pay and, therefore, may not defile himself to bury a family member.  Similarly, to become Kohen Gadol one must elevate himself through his own efforts.  Therefore, the Kohen Gadol also may not become tamei to family. 

Fri, 11 May 2012 03:00:00 +0000 The Pasuk (VaYikra 18:3) says “K’Maaseh Eretz K’Naan Asher Ani Meivi Es’chem Shama Lo Sa’asu, U’ViChukoseihem Lo Seileichu”, do not follow the ways of the goyim.  The Medrash Yalkut Shimoni asks, with all the restrictions the Torah placed on us, what is left that we can copy from the goyim?  The Medrash answers, it means their protocols and etiquette.

Rav Elyashiv in Divrei Agada says that this is the meaning of the Mishna in Pirkei Avos (3:17) “Im Ein Torah, Ein Derech Eretz”.  There are many things we do that we consider polite and common etiquette.  However warns Rav Elyashiv, to the extent that they are contrary to the letter and spirit of our laws, the torah, they should not be followed.  This is not called Derech Eretz.  This is called Maasei Eretz K’Naan!

Fri, 04 May 2012 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Acharei Mos: Rav Shimshon MiOstropolia - Nadav & Avihu, Too Good To Go Up Alive Moshe told Aharon after the deaths of Nadav and Avihu that he now knows that they were greater than himself and Aharon.  That is why Hashem chose them to make a Kiddush Hashem during the inauguration of the Mishkan.

What bothered Moshe, says Rav Shimshon MiOstropolia (MiShulchan Gavo'a) was why Hashem needed to kill them.  Why couldn't He take them to Shamayim alive, just like Chanoch and Eliyahu?

Rav Shimshon MiOstropolia says that the answer is that Chanoch and Eliyahu only became Malachim.  Their Neshamos needed to ascend to Shamayim to the dwelling place of the Malachim.  In that realm they were able to go up with their bodies intact.   Nadav and Avihu were even more Kadosh and their Neshamos rose up to the Olam HaAtzilus, the highest world.  In the Olam HaAtzilus no earthly bodies are admitted so they needed to leave their Gufim down here on earth.

This is the meaning of the pasuk, says Rav Shimshon MiOstropolia.  "Acharei Mos Shnei Bnei Aharon",  why did Aharon's children need to die?   "BiKorvasam Lifnei HaShem Vayamusu", because their closeness to Hashem did not allow them to ascend with their body.

Fri, 04 May 2012 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Acharei Mos: Rav Dovid Shlomo Sloshatz - Straight From The Delivery Room To The Fires Of Molech? At the end of Parshas Acharei Mos the Torah warns us about Arayos,incestual relationships.  Right in the middle between all the Arayost he Torah tells us about the issur of Molech, according to some this means that they actually threw their children into the fire.  Why would the Torah place it here?  Even if it were somehow related, shouldn't the Torah write it either just before or just after?

The Shalal Rov brings from Rav Dovid Shlomo Sloshatz of Odessa that it is hard to believe that parents would act so cruelly and throw their own children into a fire.  However, around the world you will find that children that are born out of a shameful relationship are often disposed somehow ,by humiliated parents, to remove the embarrassing stain from their name.

The Torah tells us the issur of Molech among the Arayos to teach us that even if someone gives birth to a Mamzer, Hashem does not allow you to kill the child under any circumstances.  Therefore, the pasuk of Molech, is brought right after the illicit relationships that can produce children. and right before. it forbids a relationship with another man or animal which cannot produce any offspring.

Thu, 03 May 2012 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Mitzora: Dubna Magid - As Fate Hangs On A Single Word

The halacha is that only a Kohen can declare a Nega to be Tamei. A Talmid Chochom who knows the halacha can give his opinion, but the tumah starts and ends with the declaration of the Kohen. Why?

The Dubna Magid (Iturei Torah) explains that the reason we commit the terrible crime of speaking Lashon Hara is because we don't understand the severity of it. After all what damage can our spoken word do? If we understood the gashmiyus and ruchniyus ramifications of our mere utterances we'd never dare speak lashon hara.

"Therefore," says the Dubno Magid, "we teach the Mitzora this lesson with the Kohen. His Nega and all the halachos do nothing to him. It is only with a single word from the Kohen's mouth that he is either spared the grave punishment of tzoraas and with a single word doomed to his bitter fate."

Fri, 27 Apr 2012 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Tazria: Rav Shamshon Rephael Hirsch - When The Whole World Goes White

The Gemara (Sanhedrin 97) says that Moshiach will come when every government in the world turns to Apikursus. Rava says, "We see it from the pasuk (Tazria 13:13) 'Kulo Hafach Lavan Tahor Hu;' when a nega spreads through a person's entire body he is tahor." What is the connection?

Rav Shamshon Rephael Hirsch says that white is a distinguished color, the color of purity, righteousness, and innocence. It is the color of a special breed. When every country turns to Apikursus and cloak themselves in righteousness, only then will Moshiach come and spread true purity on the world.

Fri, 27 Apr 2012 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Tazria: Kli Yakar - A Korban For Chava  "And when the days of her purification are fulfilled, for a son, or for a daughter, she shall bring a lamb of the first year for an Olah, and a young dove, or a turtle-dove, for a Chatos."  Why does a woman who gave birth have to bring a Korbon Chatos - a sin offering? What sin has she committed to require her to bring such a Korbon?

Some Meforshim explain, "Since during her labor pains, she might have made an oath to never have another baby, she therefore brings a Korbon to atone for that oath and nullify it."

  Kli Yakar offers a different explanation. He says, "The atonement is not for this woman, but rather for Chavah - the first woman. Since pain from pregnancy and labor is a punishment for Chavah's sin, eating from the Aitz HaDaas, this woman brings a Korban now to atone Chava's sin. After going through all the pain of her pregnancy and labor she wants to bring an end to this suffering and brings a Korbon for Chava's Avayra."  

Sun, 22 Apr 2012 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Shemini: Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh - The Pig Will Do Tshuva The Pasuk says regarding the kashrus of a pig, "Vihoo Gairah Lo Yigar; Apig may not be eaten because it does not chew its cud."  The Or Hachaim Hakadosh explains, that these words are telling us that as long as the pig does not chew its cud it is prohibited; but when it starts chewing its cud it will be Mutar to eat.  This will take place LeAsid Lavo - in the time of Mashiach.  That is why the pig is called a Chazer.  Because it will return (Chozer) and become kosher in the future.

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Shemini: Rav Avrohom Danzig - The Fire At The Vilna Gaon's Levaya After Nadav and Avihu died it says, "V'Chol Bais Yisroel Yivku Es Hasreifa Asher Saraf Hashem; the entire nation will cry and extinguish the raging fire that hashem burned." (Shemini 10:6)  What are these fires and what does it have to do with the death of a Tzaddik?

The Pninim MiShulchan Gavoa brings that at the Levaya of the Vilna Gaon, the Chayei Adam, Rav Avhrohon Danzig, said that the Midas HaDin, which is like a raging fire, constantly prosecutes Bnei Yisrael.  The way to extinguish this fire is with water, the water of Torah.  

While the tzadikim are alive, their Torah keeps the fire at bay and prevents it from devouring Klal Yisrael.  Upon their death, the water stops to flow, and the fire can grow out of control, causing great damage to Klal Yisrael.  The only thing that extinguishes this fire are the tears that run from our eyes upon the news of their passing.  Hashem tells Klal Yisrael to cry rivers of tears for the Tzaddikim as a way of saving ourselves, despite the loss of our water filled protector.

Mon, 16 Apr 2012 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Shemini: Meshech Chochma - The Death Of Tzadikim

The Meshech Chochma explains that the whole purpose of Nadav and Avihu's deaths was to cause a Kiddush Hashem.  When the tzadikim are punished for small aveiros, people realize that they themselves need to seriously rectify their own behavior.

Hashem's resting of his Shechina on the Mishkan was a sign that He forgave Bnei Yisrael for Chait Ha'Egel.  Therefore, Bnei Yisrael may have gotten the mistaken impression that even when they do a severe aveira like the egel, Hashem will quickly forgive them and that Hashem is a "Vatran".  Therefore, by instantly killing two great tzadikim like Nadav and Avihu for a small aveira, Hashem restored the fear of His judgement among the people.  Therefore, their perfectly timed deaths on this very day caused a great Kiddush Hashem.

Sun, 01 Apr 2012 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Tzav: Rav Moshe Shmuel Shapira - Money Is Very Precious When commanding Bnei Yisrael to bring the Korban Tamid every day, the Pasuk says, "Tzav Es Aharon;" (Tzav 6:2) Command Aharon."  Rashi says that the word Tzav is used to rally the people in a situation where there is Chesaron Kis, it will cost them money.  Rav Moshe Shmuel Shapira asks, "Since the Korban Tamid was paid for by all of Klal Yisrael it was a negligible sum for each person.  For a paltry sum do you really need to rally the people?
Rav Moshe Shmuel answers that Hashem imbued a person's nature with a resistance to parting with his money, and this is the way it should be.   Chazal tell us that tzadikim valued their money more than their own body, like we see by Yaakov who risked his life to cross the river at night to save his small utensils.  Why is this?  Every cent a person acquires in this world takes time, and time is most precious of all, especially for a tzadik.  Someone who does not value money and throws it away, spending foolishly, shows a great disregard for his time.

Rav Elchonon Wasserman and the Ponevezher Rav in their younger years learned together in Radin, the Yeshiva of the Chofetz Chaim.  One time they needed to look up a sefer quoted by the Chofetz Chaim in one of his works.   Since the Yeshiva did not have the sefer they went to the Chofetz Chaim's house to ask if they can see the sefer.  The Chofetz Chaim said he did not have it.  When he needed to quote it, he borrowed it from someone else and then returned it.  Then, the Chofetz Chaim turned to his seforim shelf and let out a "krechtz".  "Probably Rebbi is krechtzing because he does not own the sefer," said the Ponevezher Rav.  "No," said the Chofetz Chaim.  "I am krechtzing looking at the seforim and thinking maybe I have one that I don't need and it cost me money.  Money is time and that would be a waste of precious time!"

Fri, 30 Mar 2012 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Tzav: Rav Shimshon Pincus - Korban Todah, A Very Public Thank You Unlike the other Korbanos that are brought mainly for Hashem, A Korban Shlamim is brought when a person wants to have a feast but also wants to include Hashem.  The meat is divided between Hashem, the Kohanim, and the owner, and all this meat will be eaten over two days.  The Korban Todah is a kind of Korban Shlamim, but it differs in that it must be consumed the day it is brought and before the next morning.  Also, there are 40 breads that need to be consumed during this short period.

Rav Shimshon Pincus explains the reason for these differences.  "The Korban Todah is not just any feast, it is a feast of gratitude to Hashem for a salvation you received.  It is not enough to be thankful in private, you must very publicly thank Hashem.  It is an opportunity to extend the greatness of Hashem to others and it should not be missed.  The strict time limit for finishing the meat and the great abundance of bread means that the host will need to invite many people to his party in order to finish it."

So when it comes time to make a party and say Thank You to Hashem, you may be the host, but Hashem makes the menu, and you need to make sure to finish it all up.

Fri, 30 Mar 2012 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Tzav: Rav Moshe Feinstein - How Do You Dress For Davening?

The Torah tells us that before taking the ashes outside the Machaneh, the Kohen would change his clothing (Tzav 6:4).  Rashi says that he would take off the clothing he wore for the avodah in the Bais HaMikdash, in order not to sully them.  "This is not a chiyuv," says Rashi, "it is a Din of Derech Eretz. The clothing that a servant wears while cooking should not be used when serving the king."

Rav Moshe Feinstein says that we learn from here that even Halachos Derech Eretz are real Halachos.  An example is by davening where we need to wear respectable clothing. Rav Moshe says that if you do not change your clothing to something respectable when possible, it is as if "chas v'shalom" you don't know that you are standing before the King.

Thu, 29 Mar 2012 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Tzav: Rav Simcha Bunim of Peshischa - Convince Them Not To Bring Korbanos

Parshas Tzav begins with the command to bring the Korban Tamid. "Tzav Es Aharon V'Es Banav Leimor", command Aharon and his children to tell everyone (Tzav 6:1). The parshas of Tamid is meant for Ahraon and his children to preform, why does it s say Leimor, that they should tell everyone? Furthermore the Lashon of Tzav is used because there is a Chesoron Kis, it costs money. Is two little lambs a day a lot of money for an entire nation?

The Yagdil Torah brings from Rav Simcha Bunim of Peshischa that the gemara on Menachos (110a) says that whoever learns Torah does not need to bring Korbanos. This means that when a person came to Aharon telling he wanted to bring a korban AHaron would say better go learn Torah and you won't need to bring a korban. This is the "Leimor", go tell the people that Torah is better.

This explains why they needed an extra push. By telling the people to learn instead of bringing korbanos the Kohanim were forfeiting their own livelihood from the meat and hid they got from the korbanos. To convince someone not to do something that you benefit from financially takes much strength and courage.

Sun, 25 Mar 2012 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Vayikra: Netziv - Chometz On Pesach, Chometz On The Mizbei'ach "Lo Sei'aseh Chametz Ki Chol Si'or... Lo Saktiru Mimenu Isheh Lashem" (Vayikra 2:11).  The two places that the Torah forbids Chometz is on the Mizbei'ach all year round, and in every person's home on Pesach.  Why is this?

The Netziv in Hemek Davar says that leavening bread is using human intervention to add on to the natural state of the creation.  The closer we are to Hashem the less appropriate it is for us to alter the natural order and manipulate the Briah.  Therefore in the Bais HaMikdash, the dwelling place for the Shechina on earth, it is inappropriate to ever have Chametz on the Mizbei'ach to be offered up to Hashem.

Similarly, Pesach is the Yom Tov that imbues Emunah into our souls.  Yetzias Mitzrayim is the banner we wave as the proof of Hashem's control over the world and His love for us, and we frequently mention Zeicher Litzias Mitzrayim.  During this Yom Tov where we bask in the arms of our great Protector and Father in Shamayim, we refrain from eating any Chametz and leave the Briah as He made it, without our intervention.

Fri, 23 Mar 2012 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Vayikra: Rav Betzalel HaKohen of Vilna - The Zohar Says A Kohen Can't Do Shechita On A Korban The Halacha is that Shechita on a Korban is Kasher even by a Zar, a non-Kohen.  However the the Zohar says that it is assur for a Kohen to do Shechita.  Where does the Zohar get this from?  A Kohen may not be the only one able to do Shechita, but how can the Zohar say that it is assur?

The Pninim MiShulchan Gavoa brings from Rav Betzalel HaKohen of Vilna that if a Kohen does Shechita he may not wear his Bigdei Kehuna while doing it.  The reason is that since a Zar can do Shechita as well, it is not considered Avoda.  Therefore since his Bigdei Kehuna have Shatnez in them, it is only permissible during avodah, and since Shechita is not avodah it assur to wear shatnez.

The gemara (Zevachim 17b) says that when a Kohen is not wearing his Bigdei Kehuna he has a din of a Zar.  This is what the Zohar means that it is assur for a Kohen wearing Bigdei Kehuna to do Shechita.  If however he is wearing regular clothing, he is more than welcome to do Shechita like any other Zar.

Fri, 23 Mar 2012 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Vayikra: Chida & Amshinov Rebbe - The Lucky Nation Whose Nasi Sins

"Asher Nasi Yechta", when the Nasi sins (4:22). Rasho brings down the gemara (Horiyos 10b) that says Asher is from "Ashrei", "Ashrei HaDor SheHaNasi Yechta", fortunate is the generation whose Nasi sins. What is so goods about having a Nasi who sins?  Is it not a public scandal when he is forced to march in front of the cameras to bring his Korban in the Bais HaMikdash?

The Chida is Midayek in the word Yechta. Chait is an error, a misjudgment. Even the Nasi can make a mistake and his tshuva is a Kiddush Hashem. Unfortunate is the generation whose Nasi is arrogant, that is a Pesha, criminal behavior that will lead to many other aveiros and surely harm the entire nation. When the Nasi is only a Chotei and does tshuva, the generation is very fortunate.

The Iturei Torah brings from Rav Menchem Dovid of Amshinov that a person who is perfect and doesn't know what it means to lose the battle against temptation will not be sympathetic to those who are not perfect. A good leader is one who understands the struggles of the average man. When the Nasi himself tasted chait the generation is fortunate as he has experienced their plight as well and can help lead them towards the golden path.

Thu, 22 Mar 2012 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Vayikra: Oznayim LaTorah - Korban Olah V'Yored, Giving Up Your "Mun" for a Day

In Parshas Vayikra, among the many korbanos is the Korban Oleh V'Yored, whose offering depends on the wealth of the individual who did the aveira. The most modest option for a kapara is a Mincha which consists of one tenth of an eifah of flour.

The Oznayim LaTorah points out that this is the same amount as the Omer LaGulgoles which was the ration of Mun allotted for each person in the Midbar. The omer is the amount a healthy person needs to eat each day. The significance of this amount for the Olah V'Yored is that even a person who is destitute must give up eating one day and instead use his ration for a Korban.

Moreover says the Oznayim LaTorah, we find that Tzaddikim in the gemara would fast 40 days for a single small infraction. Certainly each person could stand to fast one day for his aveira.

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Vayikra: Rav Yehonoson Eibshitz - Hashem's Korban Is Adam

Rav Yehonoson Eibshitz says that it is known that when Hashem commands us to do something, He does it himself first to set an example. Where then do we find that Hashem brought a Korban?

Rav Yehonoson says that we find this by Nadav and Avihu, who were the Korban of Hashem. Hashem showed us that a Korban must be pure and clean and because of this He chose these two Tzaddikim who had the Neshama of Adam. Moshe understanding this concept, said to Aharon after their death that he was sure the Korban would be himself or Aharon and didn't realize what great tzaddikim Nadav and Avihu were that they surpassed their father and uncle.

With this Rav Yehonoson explains the first pasuk of Vayikra to show that Hashem indeed brought a Korban before Bnei Yisroel. "Adam Ki Yarkriv Mikem Korban Lashem", Hashem's korban was from us, specifically Nadav and Avihu who had the neshama of Adam. However, continues the pasuk, "Min HaBeheima... Takrivu Es Korbanchem", Bnei Yisroel should bring a korban from animals.

Tue, 20 Mar 2012 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Vayikra: Rav Yehoshua Leib Diskin - The Akeida On The North Side The Medrash tells us that when we say the Pasuk (Vayikra 1:11), "V'Shachat Oisoi Al Yerech HaMizbei'ach Tzafona," by davening, Hashem remembers the Akeida.  What is it about the Tzafon or the North that specifically makes Hashem remember the Akeida?

Rav Yehoshua Leib Diskin (Pninim MiShulchan Gavoa) answers that although in the Mishkan the Korban was not shechted on the Mizbei'ach itself, in previous generations the Shechita was done on top of the Mizbei'ach.

By the Akeida, when the Malach told Avrohom not to shecht Yitzchok and take the ram instead, Avrohom left him tied on the Mizbei'ach still hoping that he will be able to perform the Tzivui Hashem with Mesiras Nefesh.  Therefore, he needed to shecht the ram on the north side of the mizbei'ach. since Yitzchok was already in the center.

When we shecht korbanos north of the Mizbei'ach, Hashem remembers not only the Akeida, but the great ratzon of Avrohom to do Hashem's will, so much so that even after he was commanded not to do it, he left Yitzchok on the Mizbei'ach.

Mon, 19 Mar 2012 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas VaYakhel: A Mishkan With a Broken Heart

The pasuk (36:7) says that after all the donations were made to the Mishkan they had enough (Dayam).  At the end of this pasuk it says, "V'Hoseir," and there was even more than they needed.  So which is it; was it exactly enough or did they have extra?

The Iturei Torah brings from Sichos Tzadikim that if there were exactly enough and no more, each person would become full of pride thinking that his contribution to the Mishkan made it all possible.  "Without me there would be no Mishkan."  This would make the Mishkan a place where Hashem's Shechina would definitely not rest, since Hashem does not dwell among the haughty.

However, if there was more than enough materials and some were left out of the actual building then each person would be brokenhearted thinking that his contribution may have been left out, and he has no share of the Mishkan.  This made for the ideal sanctuary for Hashem's Shechina, as it always finds rest among the broken hearted.

Therefore, the pasuk tells us that the amount of materials donated was exactly enough to build a Mishkan for the Shechina.  Why?  Because there was excess.

Fri, 16 Mar 2012 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Vayakhel: Rav Shimon Schwab - A Building Duo Of The Biggest & The Simplest

"There were two main contractors working on the mishkan together," says Rav Shimon Schwab. "The first was the Betzalel. He was a child prodigy,who Moshe admitted defeat to, and acknowledged the he was privy to special secrets of the Heavenly Court. He also came from the finest lineage in Klal Yisrael being from the Shevet of Yehuda, the grandson of Chur, who was a leader of Bnei Yisrael, who died Al Kiddush Hashem at the hands of the mob by Chait HaEigel, and the great grandson of Kalev ben Yefuneh.

His second in command was Oholiav ben Achisamach, a total unknown. The Torah never mentions any great details about him or his family. In fact, he came from Shevet Dan, from the Pechusim of the Shevatim. Apparently," says Rav Schwab," he was a simple Yid, a Yarei Shamayim, and was a straight and thoughtful person.

Hashem made this odd team to teach us that while the Bais HaMikdash is made by a great man with a fine Yichus, it is also made by a simple Jew who is a Tzaddik in Hashem's eyes. The reason is that we must understand that Hashra'as HaShechina is for every single Jew to be together with Hashem."

Fri, 16 Mar 2012 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Vayakhel: Why The Men's Donations Were Higher Than The Women's

The pasuk describes (Vayakhel 35:22) the rush of people bringing their donations to Mishkan as, "Vayavou HaAnashim Al HaNashim". This literally means above the women, but Rashi explains this to mean together with them. If so why does the Torah use this awkward language instead of saying together with them?

The Shanayim Mikra brings from Rav Tzvi Hirsch Chossid a talmid of the ViIna Gaon as follows. The gemara (Brachos 34b) tells us that the level of a Ba'al Tshuvah is even higher than a Tzaddik Gamur. We know that the women did not participate in the Chait HaEigel and did not give over their jewelry for the cause. The building of the Mishkan and the donations made were a Kapara for the Eigel. Therefore it was the men who were doing tshuvah with their donations unlike the women who already proved to be righteous. As Baalei Tshuva the men's donations were viewed as being higher than the women's. This is hinted at with the word "Al".

Wed, 14 Mar 2012 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Titzaveh: Meshech Chochma - Dama Ben Nesina Is Immortalized Through Binyomin's Stone Chazal tell us that one time the Avnei Yashfei from the Choshen were lost. The Chachomim located one in Ashkelon in the possession of a Dama ben Nesina. We all know the story how they wanted to buy it, but Dama would not wake his father up to sell it. This story is the paramount example of Kibud Av VaEim.

The Meshech Chochma says that it is no coincindence that the lesson of Kibbud Av VaEim is learned through the Avnei Yashfei. Each stone had engraved on it the name of one Shevet. Teh Yashfei was the stone of Binyomin. Binyomin was the only one of the Shevatim that did not cause his father grief in the story of Yosef's mechira. All the other Shevatim did not reveal the truth because of a Cheirem that that they agreed to (including Hashem, Yitzchok, and Yosef).

Binyomin did not know about the Mechira and thus did not withhold any information from Yaakov. Since his Kibud Av was complete, the great lesson was learned from his stone.

Fri, 02 Mar 2012 03:00:00 +0000

The candles of the Menorah were filled with oil to last through the night. The Ner Maaravi miraculously lasted all day until the next night. Rav Yehonoson Eibushitz asks, "If so why did they bother filling it with enough oil for the night, if a few hours later it would burn through a Nes?   Also, why was Chanukah such a surprising Nes if the Ner Maaravi witnessed the same Nes every day?"


He answers that daytime is a time of Chesed, and Hashem does many Nissim by day.  Nighttime, however, is a time of Din and not a time of miracles. Therefore, the Ner Maaravi was filled with oil for the nighttime, and a Nes during the day was not a huge revelation. The Nes of Chanukah, which occurred at night, was a far bigger Nes than the Nes of the Ner Maaravi.

Fri, 02 Mar 2012 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Truma - Rav Zalman Sorotzkin - Returning The Money To Mitzrayim? Rav Zalman Sorotzkin, in Oznayim LaTorah, offers the following pshat on why the Parsha of Truma follows the parshiyos of Yisro and Mishpatim. When the Bnei Yisrael left Mitzrayim they were told to "borrow" the riches of their Mitzri neighbors. Later on it became clear that they were never intending to repay this "loan".

At Har Sinai, Hashem told them, "Lo Signov," and then in Mishpatim they learned some of the finer details about dealing with other people's money. The ehrlicher Jews among them started to get worried about the money of questionable kashrus that they had in their possession from the Mitzrim. They thought that maybe this was a subtle hint from Hashem that they ought to go back and return the money.

Hashem therefore tells them in the beginning of the parsha, "ViYikchu Li Truma. If you think the money you have is not kosher, then come give it to me. Use it for my home, the Mishkan, that is rooted in honesty, since it is legitimately yours. If it is kosher enough for me to use, it is certainly kosher enough for you to use, and there is no need to return it to Mitzrayim."

Fri, 24 Feb 2012 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Truma: Ibn Ezra & Rav Eliezer Ashkenazi - Carry Huge Beams Of Wood Out Of Mitzrayim

Atzei Shttim were used in abundance in the Mishkan for the perimeter structure and the walls. Where did Bnei Yisrael find these huge trees from the midbar? The Medrash Tanchuma tells us that Yaakov planted them in Mitzrayim and commanded Bnei Yisrael to take them on their way out of Mitzrayim.

The Ibn Ezra asks how could they take these large beams out of Mitzrayim after claiming they were only going for three days?

Rav Eliezer Ashkenazi in Maasei Hashem says that the Ibn Ezra's question is not a question. "On the contrary," he says. first of all the Mitzrim knew that they were going to serve Hashem in the desert. How were they supposed to protect themselves from the hot sun without any overhead structure? Furthermore, they needed to build a site to stage this worship.

Lastly, if they were leaving forever, surely they were going to a place that had building materials and they would not need to bring their own from Mitzrayim. Certainly not if it meant lugging heavy beams faraway, especially given that they would need to be light and quick to escape the pursuing army who would chase them at the first sign that they weren't returning. This is exactly why Yaakov had to command them to take these trees, because from their point of view it was the last thing they wanted to do."

Fri, 24 Feb 2012 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Truma: Sridei Aish - Was The Multi-Colored Tachash Really A Wild Animal?

Rashi (Truma 25:5) says that the Tachash was a Chaya, a wild animal, that only existed in the Midbar at the time of the building of the Mishkan. The Sridei Aish, Rav Yechiel Yaakov Weinberg asks that this seems to contradict the Gemara in Shabbos 28b) that asks if the Tachash was a Biheima or Chaya and does not resolve it.

He answers that Hashem created every creature with an innate ability to carry out its intended purpose. Biheimos, domesticated animals, serve mankind and are obedient and humble servants. They provide milk and meat, wool, and work for man. Wild animal are created as messengers of punishment and serve only their creator. They do not subdue themselves to the wishes of man, only their inborn wild instincts given them by Hashem to carry out their mission.

The Gemara in Shabbos has a dilemma. The Tachash which was a one time phenomenon meant to provide beautiful colored hide to the Mishkan could not have been a Biheima since it doesn't serve man. Nor can it be a Chaya because all the animal used in the Mishkan needed to possess the quality of modesty, as the Medrash says, "All Korbanos come from animals that serve as prey and not as predators."

Rashi, says that Rav Weinberg, is telling us that even if the Tachash was a wild animal, it still had a place in the Mishkan. Why? Because it was only in existence for a short time to provide its hide for the Mishkan. Even if it had the makings of a Chaya, it will never get a chance to act as such and can be used in the Mishkan.

Wed, 22 Feb 2012 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Truma: Rav Naftoli Tzvi of Ropshitz - The Only House Big Enough For Hashem

Hashem commanded Moshe Rabbeinu to build a Mishkan and take generous donations from Bnei Yisrael. Moshe was perplexed: If all the Heavens and the earth are not large enough for Hashem, how can a Mishkan of thirty amos be Hashem's dwelling?

Rav Naftoli Tzvi of Ropshitz explains that the donations were only accepted from those who "Yidvenu Libo" gave it with a generous heart. This meant that when the person brought his limited pieces of gold or silver, his heart yearned to give even more. To express his infinite love of Hashem he wanted to give Hashem all the gold and silver in the world and then some. Unlike the wallet, the mind has no limit.

"V'Asu Li Mikdash V'Shachanti BiSocham; Build me a Mishkan and I will dwell among them." (Truma 25:8)  The Ropshitzer explains that Hashem indeed did not put his Shechina solely into a small physical structure. When Bnei Yisrael built the Mikdash with their infinite love, Hashem rested His infinite Shechina in this infinite love. This is why the pasuk says, "V'Shachanti BiSocham; I will dwell in them,"-- in the heart of each and every person that shows boundless love.

Tue, 21 Feb 2012 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Mishpatim: Rav Chaim Kanievsky - Milk & Meat Are Cause For A Bris

"Lo Sivashel Gdi BaChaleiv Imo; Do not cook a goat with its mother's milk." (Mishpatim 23:19) This pasuk is written three times in the Torah. The Mechilta says that this is K'neged the three times Hashem entered into a Bris with Bnei Yisrael: once at Har Sinai, once in Arvos Moav, and once at Har Grizim. Why is the issur of Basar V'Chalav tied to our Bris with Hashem?

Rav Chaim Kanievsky answers that the Pesikta Rabasi says that the Malachim asked Hashem to give them the Torah. Hashem said to them that in the Torah it is written do eat meat and milk together, yet at Avrohom's house when the three Malachim came to visit him, they ate milk and meat. The Malachim could not answer this charge so Hashem took the opportunity to tell Moshe to write the Torah for Bnei Yisrael, and He entered into a Bris with us.

It was with the issur of basar b'chalav that Hashem gave us the Torah and entered into a Bris.  Therefore, the issur is written three times kneged the three brissim.

Fri, 17 Feb 2012 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Mishpatim: Brisker Rov - When A Position Is Acquired By Yerusha

"Elokim Lo Sikalel V'Nasi B'Amcha Lo Sa'or; Do not revile a judge, and a prince in your nation do not curse." (Mishpatim 22:27)  Chazal explain that the reason it says, "Amcha--In your nation," is because the issur applies when the Nasi does Maaseh Amcha, he behaves according to the Torah. If he does not, then he is not part of the issur of cursing a Nasi. If so why does it only say, "Amcha," by the Nasi and not by the Dayan in the beginning of the pasuk?

The Shulchan Gavoa brings from the Brisker Rov that a Dayan is appointed based on merit. There is no doubt that he is good Jew and does Maaseh Amcha. The Nesius on the other hand comes through Yerusha, and is not entirely earned by the righteousness of the Nasi. Therefore, it is very possible that he is not a good person, and in that case the Torah excludes him from the issur.

Fri, 17 Feb 2012 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Mishpatim: Rav Elyashiv - Justice The Sinai Way Rashi says the reason why the Torah write "V'Eileh HaMishpatim", and these are the laws (Mishpatim 21:1) is to teach us that our system of laws is based on Sinai and these laws are a continuation of the Aseres HaDibros. Rav Elyashiv (Dvrei Aggadah) asks, "What else would we think?  Of course, the entire Torah came from Sinai?"

He answers that every society has laws, for without the rule of law there would be chaos. But those laws are not all the same. For example, Sidom also had laws, as we see in the Medrash, Eliezer was taken to the Sidom court. Even ants have laws. The pasuk says that one ant dare not steal from another, but from humans they are happy to steal.

The Torah laws come from Sinai and they look different than any other laws with vastly different results. "Midvar Sheker Tirchok", not to lie says the Gemara means that if two people come before the judges and one is dressed in expensive clothing and the other one in cheaper clothing we make them both wear the same type of clothing so as not to subconciously favor one over the other. That is Torah truth.

Which laws are more effective? In contemporary law someone can be guilty of stealing with only one witness or even no witnesses. His punishment is to sit in a horrible jail with terrible people. Despite these wretched consequences the jails are full of thieves and it doesn't seem to deter many would- be-thieves. The Torah laws are a bit different. A thief needs to be seen by two people and none of them relatives. His punishment is simply to pay double. If he can't afford he is sold as a slave, but what kind of slave? One who the owner must treat the same way he treats himself and cannot overwork him. He must also support the thief's family. Under these conditions it actually sounds pretty okay to get caught. Yet, we see that Bais Din rarely ended up punishing people and hardly ever gave the death penalty. Why is this so? Because our laws come from Sinai.

What does that mean? The luchos came in two tablets. The first side said, "Anochi Hashem..." The second side said, "Don't steal, murde.." etc. When the rules come from Sinai, from the Anochi, from emunah, those laws are kept better than the threat of severe punishment.


Sun, 12 Feb 2012 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Yisro: Chasam Sofer - Malachim With Torah?

When Moshe went up to Shamayim to take the Torah, the Malachim told Hashem that humans cannot have the Torah. Hashem told Moshe to answer them back. Moshe was afraid, so Hashem told him to hold on to the Kisei HaKavod. Moshe then asked them if they went to Mitzrayim, a major theme of many mitzvos. Before Moshe asked his questions what were the Malachim thinking? Did they not know already that Torah is all about being human and not meant for Malachim who don't have any physicality?

The Chasam Sofer answers that the Torah as it is before Hashem, is a collection of unconnected letters. Each world combines the letters in a manner that is relevant to that world. The Malachim cherished the Torah in their own way and did not want to see it on earth with sinful people. They wanted the Torah to be kept in a Heavenly realm, and not sullied by man who can never reach the Heavens.

Hashem told Moshe to answer them but first hold on to the Kisei HaKavod. What this represented was that while man can learn the Torah in an earthly manner that the Malachim cannot, still man can reach great heights and learn the Torah in a Heavenly manner. Man can grasp Torah as it is interpreted in Shamayim near the Kisei HaKavod. Man can learn Torah way down below on earth and still ascend all the way to the top. To this the Malachim had no answer and Moshe took the Torah.

Fri, 10 Feb 2012 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Yisro: Maharsham - When Seeing & Listening Became One

"V'Chol Ha'Am Ro'im Es HaKolos; The whole nation saw the sounds." (Yisro 20:15)  Rashi brings the Mechilta that says they saw things that are normally only heard. What does this mean?

The Maharsham explains with the Drashos HaRan who says that the reason why our animal instincts win out over our intellectual character is because the tool of instincts are the eyes who see and desire. The intellect is driven by the spoken words of truth and internalizing them, which is a far more difficult process.

"By Matan Torah." says the Maharsham, "Bnei Yisrael reached such a high level of Kedusha that all senses were focused solely on Kedusha and nothing else. At that time they were able to develop character both by seeing and hearing. This is what it means that they were able to see the spoken word."

Thu, 09 Feb 2012 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Yisro: Ramban - Yisro is Impressed By the Revenge for The Drowning Yisro heard all the stories of Yetzias Mitzrayim, but only after hearing them from Moshe does the Torah attest that he realizes the greatness of Hashem. Why? "Ki BaDavar Ashe Zadu Aleihem." Unkeles says that this means that Hashem paid back Mida K'Neged Mida because he drowned the Mitzrim just like they drowned the Jewish children. The Mitzrim committed many evils starting with enslavement, why was the drowning the sin that they were held accountable for and punished with?

The Ramban says that the word Zadu means, "sinister intentions". He explains that Hashem decreed that Bnei Yisrael would be enslaved. With regard to the slavery the Mitzrim were not going against Hashem's will. The reason why they were punished was because their intentions were evil. This was evidenced by the fact that they did far more than what was required. In their evil, they wanted not to enslave the Jews, but rather to annihilate them. To this end they plotted to throw the baby boys in the river.

Since their punishment was for the evil that was not part of the Gezeira, their end came through drowning which was the main crime they were guilty of. "This," says the Rambam, "is what Unkeles means that they were punished Mida K'Neged Mida. That Hashem understood the wickedness deep in their hearts and punished them accordingly, was what impressed Yisro."

Sun, 05 Feb 2012 03:00:00 +0000