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Vol. 3 No. 23
When we consider the amount of times the Korbonos appear in the Torah and the space the Torah allocates for their elaboration, we are left in little doubt as to their supreme importance. Besides the whole of Vayikro and Tzav, which describe most of the regular Korbonos, we have Parshas Bo in which an entire section is allotted to the Korban Pesach; in Yisro, Yisroel brought Korbonos at Har Sinai prior to the giving of the Torah; in Tetzaveh, the Torah describes the Korbonos with which Aharon and his sons were to be inaugurated as Cohanim (and in Shemini the inauguration is described in detail). Metzoro deals mainly with the Korbonos that the stricken person brought upon his being cured; Nosso talks about the Korbonos the Nazarite brought at various stages, as well as allotting the final sixty pesukim to the Korbonos the Princes brought to dedicate the "Mizbei'ach". And finally, we have the latter half of Pinchas, which is confined to the daily Korbonos and the Mussaf for the whole year.
The list is impressive to say the least, and is in no way exhaustive, for we still find major references to Korbonos in Parshas Emor, Shlach lecho, Chukas and Re'ei, and we can add to it the numerous short references which appear sporadically throughout the Torah. Even the list of great people who brought Korbonos can make one stop to think and realise that there is some special Divine quality connected to the Korbonos that we need to understand, and that we must reassess our attitude towards them. Odom brought Korbonos, and so did his sons, Kayin and Hevel. No'ach, Sheim, Avrohom, Yitzchok and Ya'akov brought Korbonos, and even Bil'om and Bollock, in their quest to win G-d's approval to curse the Jewish people, brought Korbonos.
One of the six "Sedorim" of the Mishnah deal exclusively with Korbonos (besides many other sections of the other five sedorim), and no less than one-fifth of the mitzvos concern Korbonos or Korbonos-related issues, perhaps even more. No wonder Chazal say that the whole world exists solely on the merit of the Korbonos, and no wonder they also said that today, when there are no Korbonos, G-d accepts our study of the Korbonos as if we had actually brought them. It must be so, for otherwise the world could not exist.
Another well-known Chazal places the Korbonos on a par with Torah and kindness towards one's fellow-man, when the Mishnah in Pirkei Ovos (1:2) states: "The world rests on three things: on Torah (study), on G-d-worship (Sacrifices) and on the performing of kindness. Again, when we see with whom the Korbonos share the honours, we must be duly impressed by the vital role that they play in our daily lives, as well as being fully convinced as to their indispensability, just as Torah and kindness are indispensable and are forever vital to our existence.
Even our Tefillos follow the pattern of the regular Korbon-tomid, which was brought twice daily, morning and afternoon, which is why Chazal instituted Shachris and Minchah (Ma'ariv corresponds to the burning of the limbs and fat- pieces, which continued burning into the night, if necessary). And Tefillas Mussaf, of course, corresponds to the Mussaf Korban brought every Shabbos and Yom-Tov. By reciting the Korbonos at the beginning of Shachris, we not only acknowledge this connection, but we also put into practice the Chazal quoted above; that our study of the Korbonos is considered as if we had actually brought them (which is also why many people have the minhag - a commendable minhag indeed - to recite the Parshas Ha'tomid and the Parshas Ha'ketores before Minchah too).
The word Korban is a derivative of "koreiv" - to come close. Nowadays, we may be unable to come close to Hashem through the initial institution of offering up sacrifices on the Mizbei'ach, but we are certainly able to come close to Him through the medium of studying the Korbonos and reciting them. It is an opportunity too good to be missed.
VAYIKRO - PIKUDEI
VAYIKRO - PIKUDEI
The Torah, at the end of Pikudei, writes how Moshe was unable to enter the Mishkon because the Shechinah, embodied in a cloud, rested on it. That is why, explains the Rashbam (Rashi's grandson), G-d needed to call Moshe from the Mishkon - otherwise, he would not have had the audacity to enter.
The Da'as Zekeinim mi'Ba'alei Tosfos elaborates a little further: Hakodesh Boruch Hu said, he writes, quoting the Medrash Tanchumah, that it was not dignified for Moshe to stand outside. So He called him in.
Nor was it only on this one occasion that G-d invited Moshe into the Mishkon - but it was a regular occurence, writes the Seforno. Moshe would not enter the Mishkon uninvited, at least, not when the Shechinah was there. And G-d on His part, would never allow Moshe to stand outside, but would immediately invite him in.
Such was the respect of Moshe for His Divine Master. And such was the love of Hashem for His faithful servant.
The Ramban elaborates on the above theme still further. According to him, Moshe Rabeinu's fear to enter the Mishkon when the Shechinah was there stemmed from his recent experience at Har Sinai. There too, G-d had descended on to Har Sinai in a thick cloud, and it was only after he had been called that Moshe was permitted to ascend the mountain and to enter to within the cloud.
Once the Mishkon was built, the Shechinah merely switched location from the mountain to the Mishkon. Consequently, Moshe repeated what he had done at Har Sinai. He waited till Hashem called him.
DINIM OF THE SEIDER
Translated from the Kitzur Shulchan Oruch, Si'mon 119
(With added notes from the Derech Ha'chayim)
M.B.=Mishnah B'rurah M.H.=Misgeres Ha'shulchan
1. Although on a regular Shabbos and Yom-tov it is permitted to make Kiddush and to eat before nightfall, since one must anyway add from the weekday on to Shabbos and Yom-tov, one should nevertheless not do so on Pesach. This is because the mitzvah of eating matzoh is confined specifically to the night-time, like the Korban Pesach, by which the Torah writes: "And they shall eat the meat on this night". And the same applies to the four cups of wine. Consequently, since the cup of Kiddush is the first of the four cups, one may not recite Kiddush before nightfall.
2. The balabos should put on his :"kittel" and settle down to commence the seider. It is a mitzvah to distribute almonds and nuts (nowadays, perhaps sweets and chocolates, etc. would be appropriate), to the children, so that they should question the unusual proceedings and thus be prompted to ask further about the matzoh, the morror and the reclining. (The Gemoro, citing R. Akiva, gives the reason "in order that they should not fall asleep, and will therefore be unable to ask.")
3. A child (boy or girl) who has reached the age of chinuch, i.e. he knows about the sanctity of Yom-tov and understands what one tells him about the yetzi'as Mitzrayim, should be given a cup of wine (with the same specifications as a grown-up, and he must follow the same regulations) just like everyone else.
4. It is customary to pour out one extra cup (and place it in the middle of the table). This cup is known as "the cup of Eliyohu" (and it represents the fifth expression of redemption: "And I will bring you to the land", etc.). (Some have the custom to pour the fifth cup only after the meal at "Shfoch chamoscho".)
5. The servant, or a member of the family (but not the balabos" himself) should pour the cups for the "balabos", to demonstrate freedom. One should instruct the members of his household to drink at least a majority of each of the four cups (though it is preferable to drink the entire cup each time) except for the last one, when the whole cup, or at least a revi'is, must be drunk (in order to enable the nach-b'rochoh to be made). They should also be reminded to specifically have in mind to fulfil the various mitzvos of the night: the four cups of wine, the relating of the story of yetzi'as Mitzrayim and eating the matzoh and the morror, etc. Women are equally obliged to fulfil all these mitzvos, the sole exception being the need to recline, from which they are exempt.
6. Recite the kiddush, as printed in the Haggodoh, and drink the wine leaning to the left. (The wine should be drunk quickly and not just sipped, otherwise, in the case of the first two cups, they would have to be re-drunk. And if one took longer than a "kedei achilas p'ras" (approximately 5 minutes), then one would have to re-drink the last two cups as well. One should avoid drinking wine between the first and second cups, and between the third and fourth cups.)
7. After that, one should wash one's hands (as if he was about to eat bread but) without reciting a b'rochoh over the washing, and dry them. (All the participants should do likewise. This is because any food dipped into wine, liquid bee's-honey, oil, milk, dew, or water, requires washing the hands, if it is eaten with the hands - and even if it is eaten with a fork, if it is generally eaten with the hands.
8. The balabos then cuts a small piece of "Karpas" (less than a kezayis - according to the Gro, one takes more than a kezayis and recites a nach-b'rochoh afterwards) for himself and for each member of the family, and dips it into salt-water. Everyone subsequently recites "bore'ei p'ri ho'adomoh", having in mind to cover also the morror which he will eat later, and eats the karpas leaning to the left. (Some poskim hold that one need not lean for Karpas.)
9. One takes the middle matzoh and divides it into two sections. The balabos should keep the larger section by him for the "Afikomon". It is customary to wrap it in a cloth (or place it in a bag) to recall what the Torah says: "Their remnants of dough wrapped in their clothing". Some people actually put it on their shoulders, in memory of "Yetzi'as Mitzrayim", and because the "Afikomon" is "in lieu" of the Korban Pesach, it is particularly significant, and that is why the larger section is used. Return the smaller section to its place on the seider-plate and, after revealing the matzos, raise the seider-plate and say: "Ho lachmo anyo", etc. until "leshonoh ha'bo'oh benei chorin". Those who say "Ke'ho lachmo anyo" should not say the word "di". (At this stage, the seider-plate should be removed from the table, or if the table is large, placed at the edge of the table, to be replaced before beginning "Avodim ho'yinu" - M.B.)
10. The second cup of wine is then poured and the youngest child asks the "Mah nishtanoh" (in many families, all the children ask in turn, starting from the youngest). If there is no small child, then another son asks (in fact, the Torah speaks of the son asking: no age is specified), or his daughter, or a friend, or even his wife, or even himself (this is because the Torah instructs us to recite the Haggodoh in question-answer form) after which he proceeds with the reply "Avodim hoyinu le'Far'oh" etc. Ideally, one should explain the "Haggodoh" (already from "Ho lachmo anyo-M.B.) in a language that his family understands (and in a way that even the child who asked should derive an answer to his questions. (From the Gemoro and the Rambam, etc. it would appear that this is obligatory.)
11. If one does not oneself understand the Haggodoh, then one should read from a translated edition, and translate each paragraph after reading it, in particular the paragraphs "Rabbon Gamliel used to say", etc. since it is imperative that one understands the reasons of Pesach, Matzoh and Morror - and the basic reasons are contained in those paragraphs.
12. (The Haggodoh, as well as Birchas ha'mozon and Hallel, should not be said reclining, but sitting respectfully before G-d.)
13. Upon reaching "Ve'hi she'omdoh" one should cover the matzos (in order that they should not witness their shame, when one takes the cup of wine before having taken them, although wheat and barley appear first in the possuk, and ought therefore to be given priority). Everyone holds his cup in his hand whilst "Ve'hi she'omdoh" is being said. Replacing the cups, one uncovers the matzos and continues with the Haggodoh. Upon reaching "Matzoh zu", one picks up the middle matzoh from the dish and holds it up in view of the members of the family and says "Matzoh zu", etc. And in the same way, one picks up the morror for "Morror zeh". By "Pesach shehoyu", however, one should not pick up the bone which commemorates the Pesach, in order not to create the impression that he has sanctified the bone for that purpose.
14, When one reaches "lefichoch", one again covers the matzos and each participant takes his cup, following the same procedure as by "Ve'hi she'omdoh" (para. 13), until the conclusion of the b'rochoh of "go'al Yisroel".
15. In some Haggodohs, the final words in the paragraph preceding Hallel read "ve'ne'emar lefonov shiroh chadoshoh", meaning the Moshe and Yisroel had already sung a new song - i.e. "Oz yoshir Moshe", etc. whilst others say that they actually recited Hallel. Most reliable Haggodohs however, have the text "ve'nomar lefonov", etc. ("and we will say before Him", etc.).
16. One then recites the b'rochoh "borei pri ha'goffen" and drinks at least the majority of the cup, leaning to the left.
17. One then washes one's hands (just as one always washes for bread, i.e. with a cup, two times over each hand - the hands must be dry and clean before water is poured over them, and the order is twice over the right hand, then twice over the left. The hands should be held in the form of a loose fist, and sufficient water should be used to reach the entire hand each time it is poured.) It is customary for the servant or a member of the family to wash the hands of the balabos, as in para. 2). (Someone who is sure that he kept his hands from touching anything tomei since washing for "Karpas", should not recite the b'rochoh over washing. However, it is better to actually make one's hands tomei and to wash with a b'rochoh-M.B.)
Parshas Tzav (Shabbos Ha'Godol)
Chomeitz = Pride
The Parshah of the Korban Minchah has already been mentioned in Va'yikro. It is repeated in Tzav because of four additional specifications not dealt with there, explains Rabeinu Bachye:
1. that even the portion of the Cohanim (let alone the fistful that was offered up to Hashem on the Mizbei'ach) must be eaten in the form of matzos, not as chomeitz;
2. that it should be eaten in the courtyard of the Mishkon, a din that was shared by all "Kodshei- Kodshim" (e.g. sin-offerings), and this applies also to the next two specifications;
3. that only male Cohanim were permitted to eat it;
4. that meat or flour that touch it, should adopt the same stringencies as the Minchah itself (provided one of them was hot).
Of particular interest at this time of the year is the first of these specifications, namely the prohibition of chomeitz in the Minchah. The Kli Yokor, referring to the prohibition of chomeitz on Pesach, writes that it is based on the characteristic of pride, which in turn, is symbolised by the swelling of the dough. G-d favoured and redeemed the Jewish people from Egypt only because of their tendency to belittle themselves more than the other nations, who tend to allow every success to go to their head. And this is how Chazal interpret the possuk: "G-d wants you because you are the smallest of the nations" (Devorim 7:7).
And, quoting a Medrash in this week's parshah, he goes on to ascribe the mitzvah of burning the chomeitz to the fact that "he who is proud is sentenced to death by fire" (measure for measure, as one who aspires to rise, will go up in flames).
Similarly, the Kli Yokor explains further, we can now better understand that unusually stringent halochoh which prohibits food into which the smallest amount of chomeitz fell, even though the pot contains more than sixty times the amount of chomeitz which fell into it. This is because pride is the one area excluded from the middle path which Chazal have prescribed for all other character-traits, as the Mishnah in Pirkei Ovos states: "Be very, very lowly of spirit" (Ovos 4:4).
And our understanding is further enhanced by the analogy which Chazal draw of the Yeitzer Ho'ra to "the yeast in the dough". - just as the smallest volume of yeast will cause the dough to rise, so too, does the minutest measure of pride swell beyond all proportions. Hence the saying that, although the Yeitzer Ho'ra appears at first as thin and delicate as cobwebs, he ultimately reaches the dimensions of the reins of a wagon (Succah 52a).
When we bring a korban, it is on the understanding that we submit ourselves to the One in whose Name and Honour the korban is being offered up. Surely that is one of the very connotations inherent in the term "sacrifice". If that is the case, there is no place for "chomeitz" in flour-offerings. They must clearly be accompanied by total humility, symbolised by the thin, modest matzoh.
To strengthen the link between humility and Pesach, we have but to look at the possuk at the beginning of Parshas Bo (10:3), where Moshe Rabeinu, prior to warning Par'oh of the impending makoh of locusts, complains to him in the name of G-d - "Till when will you refuse to humble yourself before Me?" Among all the warnings to "let My people go!", interspersed throughout Vo'eiro and Bo, that is the only reference to any midoh. This, it would appear, was the sole objective of all the makos, and it bears a striking resemblance to the ma'amar Chazal that "G-d wants the heart!" (Sanhedrin 106b) It is the very essence of Judaism, though it would appear, G-d expects it, in some measure, from the gentiles too.
It is hardly surprising therefore, that even as we emerge as G-d's chosen nation, the lesson of humility and subservience is impressed upon us in the form of the prohibition of eating chomeitz.
TZAV - VAYIKRO
TZAV - VAYIKRO
In Vayikro, points out the Ramban, the Torah is speaking to Yisroel. There, it tells them which animals they may or must sacrifice under which circumstances, and it goes on to describe the procedure of the owner, although it does refer to some of the "dinei Kehunah".
Tzav, on the other hand, deals chiefly with the laws of the Kehunah, as the opening possuk clearly indicates.
The Ba'al ha'Turim connects the two Parshiyos by stressing the aspect of Torah-study connected with the Korbonos and broadly hinted in the second possuk of the Parshah, "Command Aharon." etc. "zos Toras ho'oloh". He explains that the Cohanim, who were also the teachers in Yisroel, should be careful when studying Torah (see opening Rashi in the Parshah), because in the realm of Torah-study, a careless error is considered as if one had transgressed on purpose.
The Ta'amei Ha'korbonos remarks that, thoughout the Parshah of Vayikro, the Torah never speaks of Aharon bringing the Korbonos, only of Aharon's sons. The first mention the Torah makes of Aharon regarding the Korbonos is in the opening possuk of Tzav, where it writes, in connection with the Korban tomid, "Command Aharon and his sons", etc.
He explains that Parshas Vayikro speaks about Korbenos yochid - private Korbonos. Now in the desert, they were only permitted "Korbenos-tzibur" which had a fixed time, such as the Korban-tomid and the Mussofim. No Korbenos yochid were sacrificed, nor were even Korbenos tzibur if they were unconnected with time, such as Chato'os tzibur, etc. Consequently, no Korbenos yochid etc., could possibly have been brought by Aharon, since they could not be brought until they came to Eretz Yisroel - and Aharon did not cross the Yarden.
DINIM OF THE SEIDER
Translated from the Kitzur Shulchan Oruch, Si'mon 119
(With added notes from the Derech Ha'chayim)
M.B.=Mishnah B'rurah M.H.=Misgeres Ha'shulchan
18. Recite "ha'motzi" and "al achilas matzoh" over the matzos.. Note that, whenever one recites a b'rochoh over food or over an object of mitzvoh, one holds the object in one's right hand - a left-handed person holds it in his left hand. Because it is Yom-tov, one must use two whole matzos. On the other hand, for the mitzvah of "achilas matzoh", the broken matzoh should be used, since matzoh is referred to as "lechem oni" and it is the way of a poor man to eat pieces. Therefore, whilst reciting the brochos, one should hold the two complete matzos in his hands with the broken piece in the middle. He then puts down the bottom matzoh (which is to be used later for the mitzvah of "Korech") and breaks off a kezayis (1/2 egg volume - for chutznikim, on the second night, which is only mi'de'Rabbonon, 1/3 egg volume will probably suffice - see below para. 22) from each of the two remaining matzos.
19. (The M.B. questions the need to eat two kezeisim and, although he does not refute the above halochoh. he does maintain that as long as one ate one kezayis bi'chdei achilas p'ras - approximately 5 minutes - from whichever matzoh it may be [or even if it is from both matzos together], one is yotze bedi'eved.) (Many poskim maintain that nowadays, the eggs are only half the size of what they used to be and one therefore requires a whole egg-volume of each matzoh) which he should eat together as quickly as possible, reclining to the left. He should then distribute the equivalent to each participant.
20. If one has difficulty in chewing and swallowing the two kezeisim at the same time, then he should first eat the kezayis of "ha'motzi" (the whole matzoh) and then the kezayis of "al achilas matzoh" (the broken matzoh), taking great care not to interrupt at all between them. (Ideally, one should place both pieces in the mouth at the same time and break them up, then swallow first one kezayais then the other. Even if one did not manage to swallow a kezayis in one go, he is yotze as long as he took no longer than a "kedei achilas pras".
21. Since it is highly unlikely that the one-and-a-half matzos being used will suffice to supply all the participants with so many kezeisim, it is advisable for each participant to have a small supply of Sh'murah matzoh in front of him, with which to supplement the two small pieces handed to him by the balabos, and the same procedure should be followed for "Korech". He should then follow the same procedure as the balabos.
22. It is customary in these countries not to dip the matzos in salt. (This is in order not to dip in more than twice, as we have said in the "Mah nishtanoh" - "tonight we dip in twice". (One should avoid talking about anything not relevant to the current mitzvah until after "Korech").
23. Someone who is unable to chew matzoh may soak the matzos in water to soften them, provided they do not become completely soggy. An old or sick man who finds even that too difficult to eat, may even soak the matzos in wine or in other liquids. When soaking the matzoh with which one intends to fulfil his obligation, he should be careful not to leave it soaking for 24 hours, as it is then considered cooked, and one is not "yotze" with cooked matzoh. One should also take care that the matzoh should not lose its halachic status of bread (e.g. that the pieces when soaked should not be smaller than a kezayis, in which case one would not be "yotze", since they no longer resemble bread - see Si'mon 48:7) (though not everyone agrees with this - Sha'ar ha'tziyun). (If they got soggy but did not melt, the M.B. is unsure as to whether one would be yotze or not. He also substantiates the minhag not to soak or to cook matzos on Pesach - known as gebrokts.)
24. After that, one takes a kezayis of morror for himself (since morror nowadays is a rabbinical institution, one may rely on the more lenient opinion of slightly less than 1/3 egg-volume; whereas for Torah laws such as matzoh, one must follow the stricter view of 1/2 egg volume [see above paragraph 17]), and distributes a similar amount to all the participants. Dip it (briefly) into the "charoses" (this minhag is correct, though not everyone agrees with it), but shake it off immediately, so as not to weaken the taste of the morror. Reciting the b'rochoh "al achilas morror", one eats the kezayis quickly, without leaning to the left (since morror represents slavery, not freedom). One then takes a kezayis of the bottom matzoh together with a kezayis of morror, which one again dips into the "charoses" and shakes off. One makes a sandwich of the matzoh and morror and, reciting "kein ossoh Hillel" etc. one eats the sandwich leaning to the left. (Once again, the ideal mitzvah is to chew the kezayis of matzoh and the kezayis of morror and to then swallow them simultaneously.) (The Biy'ur Halochoh maintains that it is probably better to recite "Zeicher le'mikdosh ke'Hillel" after eating "Korech", to avoid interrupting between the b'rochoh over morror and the eating of "Korech".)
26. One then eats the Yom-tov meal, ideally, leaning to the left (though only by the first ke'zeisim of matzoh and by the afikomon is it imperative to do so). It is customary to eat eggs (the balabos should eat the egg from the seider-plate). It is prudent not to eat too much, to ensure that one is able to eat the afikomon with an appetite, and not on a full stomach. The eating of roasted meat or chicken is prohibited on Seider-night (even if the meat was boiled first). In this way, nobody can possibly even think that he is replacing the "Korban-Pesach". (Roasted fish or eggs however, are permitted.) (The Korban Pesach had to be roasted, directly over the fire.)
28. At the conclusion of the meal, one eats the "Afikomon" as a reminder of the Korban-Pesach which was eaten at the conclusion of the meal in the form of a desert, to crown one's satisfaction. One should actually eat two ke'zeisim, one to recall the "Pesach" and the other, the matzoh that was eaten together with it. In any event, one should eat not less than a kezayis, which must be eaten leaning to the left. (The "Afikomon" should be eaten before midnight as was the "Korban-Pesach". Ideally, one should eat the "Afikomon" a little earlier still, in order to complete also Hallel before midnight.
29. If one did not eat matzoh and morror before midnight, one must eat them after midnight, but without reciting the b'rochos "al achilas matzoh" and "al achilas morror".
30. (Neither does one recite the b'rochoh "borei pri ha'goffen" over the second and the fourth cups of wine after midnight.)
31. After the "Afikomon", it is forbidden to eat anything (or to drink any intoxicating beverage. Initially, one should refrain from having any strong drinks, only soft-drinks or tea, etc. - M.B.)
32. One then pours out the third cup, first making sure that the cup is clean, i.e. that there are no remains of wine into which matzoh was dipped during the meal, in which case the cup would require rinsing on the outside and washing on the inside (see Si'mon 45:4). (This is because the cup of Birchas ha'mozon is known as the "kos shel b'rochoh").
33. It is a mitzvah to "bench" with a "mezuman". However, if there is no "mezuman" he should not go to a neighbour to bench there with a "mezuman", since on the Seider-night it is not permitted to eat part of one's meal in another house, and one is required to "bench" in the same room as one ate.
34. It is customary for the balabos to "bench", as the possuk writes: "A generous man should bless", and the balabos is termed generous, for did he not announce (at the commencement of the seider): "Whoever is hungry should come and eat", etc. After benching, one recites "borei p'ri ha'goffen" and drinks the cup leaning to the left. It is forbidden to drink wine between the third and fourth cups. (Other strong drinks are also forbidden from now on - see para. 31).
35. After benching, pour out the fourth cup. It is customary to open the door to remind us that it is "leil shimurim", and that we are not afraid of anything. We hope that the merit of that act of faith will precipitate the coming of the Moshiach, and that Hashem will pour His wrath upon the various nations (that failed to acknowledge Him). That is why we say "Sh'foch chamoscho" etc. then. (Some have the custom to pour the fifth cup of Eliyohu Ha'novi only at this juncture.)
36.One continues with Hallel from "Lo lonu" until its conclusion. Upon reaching "Hodu", if there are three people present (including one's wife and children who have reached the age of chinuch (i.e. they understand the story of the Exodus and are able to participate in the night's basic proceedings), the balabos should say "Hodu" verse by verse, and the other participants should repeat "Hodu", etc. after each verse - following the same routine as in shul. (Repeat this procedure at "Ono Hashem", etc.-M.B.) (There are a number of "minhodim" regarding the conclusion of Hallel. Here is one: say "Yehallelucho" (until and excluding) the final b'rochoh. Then continue with "Hallel Ha'godol" ("Hodu", etc. incorporating the 26 "ki le'olom chasdo") and "Nishmas" as on Shabbos morning - through to the end of "Yishtabach" with the final b'rochoh).
37. At the fourth cup, one should drink a complete revi'is, in order to recite a nach b'rochoh immediately afterwards. One then concludes the Haggodoh. (The Maharam used to drink the fourth cup only after the conclusion of the piyutim-M.B.)
38. After the four cups, it is forbidden to drink strong drinks, but water and other soft drinks are permitted, even tea or coffee, if necessary. (On the second night, all non-intoxicating beverages are permitted, provided of course, they are chomeitz-free.)
39. If one is not too tired, one should say "Shir Ha'shirim" after the Haggodoh. One is also obliged to study the dinim of Pesach and the events of the Exodus from Egypt, relating the miracles and wonders which Hashem wrought for our fathers - until sleep overtakes him.
40. One does not recite the Shema before going to bed, with the exception of the first paragraph and the b'rochoh of "Ha'mapil". This is to demonstrate that tonight is "leil shimurim", a night guarded from all damaging elements (the main objective of "Kriy'as Shema she'al ha'mittoh" is to protect us from such elements) and therefore requires no protection.
41. Even someone who does not drink wine the whole year round, because he finds it harmful, should nevertheless exert himself to drink the four cups, and Chazal cite R. Yehudah b'Rebbi Ilo'i, who would drink the four cups of wine on Pesach, although he knew that he would suffer exruciating pains until She'vuos. Nevertheless, one may dilute the wine with water (provides it does not already contain so much water content that, if one added more, one would no longer recite the b'rochoh "borei pri ho'goffen" (Si'mon 49:3), or use wine made from raisins boiled in water (although one should make every effort to obtain and to use proper wine where possible) and even mead (or other local beverages) (there where even raisin-water is unobtainable).
42. If the "Afikomon" got lost, one should eat a ke'zayis of other "shemuroh matzos" , or even a ke'zayis of ordinary matzos, should he not possess any more shemuroh matzos.
Who is Like G-d?
G-d's power over nature was most certainly established with the phenomenal miracles which He wrought in Egypt and at the Reed Sea. In themselves, these miracles were incredible enough, but what makes them even more stunning is the total control which He exercised over them. Even as He attacked the Egyptians, G-d did not only preserve the Jews so that not one single Jew suffered throughout, but He even directed the "makos", ensuring that those Egyptians who had been the most brutal in their treatment of their former guests, received the brunt of the punishment, whereas those who were less cruel suffered to a lesser degree. In terms of modern warfare, that is as feasible as detonating an atom-bomb, which would leave all friends and allies unscathed, whilst every enemy suffered - strictly in accordance with their degree of enmity.
The fact that, in the plague of "orov" for example, the animals entered the cities and attacked the Egyptians in their homes, ignoring the Jews that they encountered in the street and skirting the Jewish homes, totally belies credibility and even comprehension. If anything, the Jewish quarters should have been the first to be attacked, since they were the shepherds, and, under normal circumstances, wild animals first attack the sheep and the cattle, before going for humans. And so it is with all the ten plagues; there is no plausible explanation for the absolute distinction that marked the gentile from his non-Jewish neighbour - other than the pre-ordained will of G-d, Who was merely exercising His control over the forces of nature that He had created two-and-a-half thousand years earlier.
But that He was able to gather the entire Egyptian fighting force to the exact spot where the waters of the Reed Sea would come crashing down, at precisely the same moment as the last Jew was clear of that point, simply belies the imagination. In one stroke, He destroyed an entire nation and spared another. At one and the same miraculous moment, He demonstrated His love and affection for the Jewish people - His newly-formed people - and dealt retribution to the Egyptians for all the years of torture and agony they had caused them. G-d had demonstrated His ability to enact terrible judgment and warm love at one and the same moment. He proved, once and for all, that not only did He control the forces of nature, but that He was able to manipulate them at will and that He was the absolute Master over time and place; that not only was He able to strike whenever and wherever He chose at individuals and nations alike, but that He could bend the will of nations, forcing them to do His bidding, with the utmost ease.
And G-d went even one step further. He substantiated His ability to read the thoughts of man, as well as His awareness of everything that man does and says, for did He not send the "best" of the Egyptians down to the sea-bed like lead, the middle ones like stone, whilst the most evil among them were tossed about like straw? And in addition, there emerges an incredible sense of Divine integrity in judgment when we see that even the wicked Egyptians were punished only in accordance with their misdeeds, to the point that, even as He punished the entire Egyptian nation, each and every individual member of that nation received only what he deserved, and no more.
And in one final stroke, G-d ordered the Reed Sea to cast the Egyptian soldiers onto dry land, thereby granting them the right of burial (as halachically, burial at sea is not considered burial) in return for Par'oh's momentary acknowledgment of His mastery, when he declared, "Hashem is righteous, and I and my people are sinners". And with the very same stroke, He granted the Jewish people the pleasure of witnessing the final moments of their former captors, as they expired their last on the dry land which was to become their graves.
"Who is like You, oh G-d, mighty in holiness!"
WHY NO B'ROCHOH OVER THE HAGGODOH?
1. The Ma'aseh Nissim poses the popular question: Why did Chazal not institute a b'rochoh over the mitzvah of Haggodoh? After all, it is a Torah mitzvah to relate the events of the exodus, a mitzvah which stems from the possuk "And you shall tell it to your son!" So why no b'rochoh?
2. The Rif and the Rashbo, he explains, have already dealt with this question, and each give his own answer:
3. The Rif writes that the b'rochoh for the Haggodoh is synonymous with Kiddush, particularly as Kiddush includes the words "a remembrance to the Exodus from Egypt". Whereas the Rashbo maintains that a mitzvah which has no fixed quota (i.e. one has fulfilled one's obligation with just one statement) does not require a b'rochoh.
4. The Ma'aseh Nissim himself queries the Rashbo with the Mishnah in B'rochos (actually quoted in the Haggodoh itself), where R. Elozor ben Azaryoh requires that we mention the Exodus from Egypt every night. If at the Seider table, we could fulfil our obligation with one single statement, then in what way does that obligation differ from the nightly mitzvah of mentioning the exodus (and besides one might add, what then would be the distinction between "mentioning" ["le'ma'an tizkor" etc. on the one hand, and "relating" ["ve'higadto le'vincho"] on the other)?
5. It would therefore seem obvious that, whereas on all other nights, the mitzvoh comprises the mere mention of the Exodus, at the Seider table the mitzvah entends to giving a detailed account of the events that took place (contrary to the opinion of the Rashbo), similar to the mitzvah of reading the Megillah on Purim, where we recount the whole Purim story; the omission of even one detail renders one not yotze. On the contrary, the requirements would appear to be even more stringent here, since the Torah has already imposed on us the need to mention the event twice daily. Consequently, on the night of the actual anniversary of that event, one should surely relate the entire episode in all its detail. Indeed, the word "ve'higad'to" denotes "to draw out", as the Alshich writes in Bereishis (45:26), and as we find many times in Chazal (e.g. "gud aseik mechitzosoh" - stretch the wall to meet the ceiling). And is this not inferred by the Haggodoh itself, which states: "The more one relates about the Exodus from Egypt, the more praiseworthy one is! Clearly then, the mitzvoh is to speak at length about the Exodus, as we find with the five Torah-giants who spent the entire night relating the events of the exodus.
6. Yet in spite of all this, it appears to me that the Rashbo is right. As long as we are speaking of the Chochom, the Ma'aseh Nissim's query is justified. But what do we do with the "Tam" and the "She'eino Yo'dei'a lish'ol"? Do we not give them anything more than a brief explanation; to each one just one phrase, as recorded in the Haggodoh? And as far as they are concerned, one has most certainly fulfilled the obligation of telling one's sons. So we see that the mitzvah of Haggodoh can be fulfilled with a bare minimum, which is why, according to the Rashbo, no b'rochoh was instituted.
7. In any event, the Haggodoh cannot be compared to the Megillah, since the Ba'al Haggodoh himself, for whatever reason, omitted many miracles that took place in Egypt itself and at the Reed Sea. Clearly then, not all details need to be mentioned in order to fulfil one's minimum obligation. The Ba'al Haggodoh gave us the basic concepts, and that will suffice for the average person. Perhaps the more knowledgeable person is obliged to elaborate further on the basic concepts. But the less-learned are certainly yotze with less!
8. In this way, we can explain the following words of the Haggodoh in a most novel way: "The more one relates of the Exodus from Egypt, the more praiseworthy one is." Now, we have just explained how, the wiser a person is, the more elaboration is required to fulfil his duty of Haggodoh. It therefore follows, conversely, that the more he elaborates on the mitzvah of "Sippur Yetziayas Mitzrayim", the more learned he has proved himself to be - and consequently the more praiseworthy he himself is.
9. The Ma'aseh Nissim himself offers another reason as to why Chazal did not institute a b'rochoh over the Haggodoh. It makes no sense he writes, for Chazal to institute a b'rochoh over a mitzvah which itself contains a b'rochoh - we do not, for instance, recite a b'rochoh over "Birchas Ha'mozon", although it is a mitzvah min ha'Torah to bench. Consequently, since an intrinsic part of the mitzvah of Haggodoh is the b'rochoh of "asher ge'olonu" (which we recite just before Hallel, so that each of the sections of the Haggodoh should end with a b'rochoh), there is no place for a b'rochoh at the beginning.
10. It is not however clear, as to why one should not recite a b'rochoh at the beginning (the b'rochoh over the Haggodoh) and one at the end ("asher ge'olonu") - much in the same way as we do for Pesukei de Zimraa, Hallel and the Megillah.
11. And besides, why, in that case, does the Ma'aseh Nissim reject the answer of the Rif, as it is so similar to his own - after all, Kiddush too, which Chazal have made very much an intrinsic part of the Haggodoh, comprises a b'rochoh, so why should we recite a b'rochoh over a b'rochoh? However, the Rif's explanation appears preferable to his, since we certainly never find a b'rochoh over a b'rochoh that follows immediately, as the Ma'aseh Nissim wrote regarding Birchas Ha'mozon. It would therefore make more sense for Chazal to incorporate the b'rochoh over the Haggodoh in the b'rochoh of Kiddush, which is in fact, precisely what the Rif says - particularly so, since the purpose of the Exodus from Egypt was in order that we sanctify ourselves in the service of G-d, as we find written at Ma'amad Har Sinai (the culmination of Yetziy'as Mitzrayim): "And you will be for Me a Kingdom of Cohanim and a holy nation". Is it not natural, therefore, that Kiddush (sanctification) should incorporate the b'rochoh for the Haggodoh too?
12. As for the Ma'aseh Nissim's original question on the Rashbo's interpretation (refer to para. 4), there would appear to be three differences between the possuk of "zechiroh" on the one hand, and that of "haggodoh" on the other.
(1) The possuk of "zechiroh" infers a superficial mention of the fact that G-d took us out of Egypt, which is what we do every night, whereas the possuk of "Ve'higadto le'vincho" incorporates the relating of details - reasons and suchlike - which we do at the Seider, even when we address the "she'eino yodei'a lish'ol".
(2) The very fact that we reply to each son according to his level of understanding is inferred by the word "haggodoh". Zechiroh would have implied the same brief, standard answer to each son - like we do the whole year round, when we all mention "Yetziy'as Mitzrayim in the same way.
(3) Whereas the mitzvah of "zechiroh" is to oneself, "haggodoh" is essentially to one's sons, which is really the basis of the first two answers.
13. It is therefore quite feasible to fulfil the mitzvah of "Haggodoh" with a brief recount of the events, without necessarily clashing with the nightly mitzvah of "zechiras Yetziy'as Mitzrayim".
GEMS FROM THE SHlRAS HA'YAM
Miracles and Faith
"And Yisroel saw the mighty deeds wrought by the Great Hand, which G-d did in Egypt, and the people feared G-d and they believed in Hashem and in Moshe His servant" (Sh'mos 14:31).
Many people have witnessed miracles - big miracles, even in our generation - yet in most cases, those miracles failed to make anything more than a fleeting impact on those who witnessed them, if, that is, they made any impact at all. Their emunah did not increase one iota from its previous level, and they remained the same "ketanei emunah" after the miracle as they had been before it.
In some cases, they simply denied that a miracle occurred, ascribing it to good luck or a natural phenomenon. In others, they acknowledged the Divine nature of the occurrence, but soon forgot about it, continuing with their life as if nothing had happened.
It is obvious that, when G-d performs a miracle, it is in order to impress us with His greatness, and this in turn, should lead to a strengthening of our emunah in His powers. So what must one do to ensure that the miracle achieves its goal?
The answer lies in the above possuk: the B'nei Yisroel witnessed miracles, but it was only after they feared G-d that they acquired emunah in Him and in Moshe. If miracles do not result in greater Yir'as Shomayim, then they will not lead to a stronger emunah!
Pride without Prejudice
"I will sing to Hashem because He is proud over the proud ones - horse and rider He cast into the Sea" (15:1).
The horse is a vain animal, who likes to throw its rider, and revels in warfare, as Chazal have described it. Indeed, the very word "sus" suggests this "midoh". This is because it is related to the word "sos" (to rejoice). And Rashi, in Parshas Terumah (25:5) explains Unklus' translation of the "Tachash" - "Sasgono", as a corruption of two words, "sos" (rejoices) and "gevonim" (colours). Referring to a Gemoro in Shabbos (28a and b), he writes that the Tachash "has many colours; Unklus translates it 'Sasgono', because it rejoices and prides itself on its colours." Clearly, that is the connotation of "sosson" according to Rashi.
The rider, who controls and guides the horse, demonstrates his superiority over the horse. He is, in this sense, even more proud than the horse. Hashem took the horse and the rider and, without separating them, He cast them both together into the Sea.
The Three Pillars
Yisroel were redeemed from Egypt on the merit of three things: 1. The performing of kindness; 2. Torah-study; 3. The Korbonos. And they are all hinted in one possuk (Sh'mos 15:13) "You led in Your kindness this people whom You redeemed, You led with Your strength (Torah, as in the possuk - "G-d is giving 'oz' to His people people") to Your Holy Dwelling-place (Korbonos)" (Ba'midbor Rabbo).
These three things are also hinted in a possuk in Devorim (30:214) "Because the thing is very close to you, with your mouth (Torah), and with your heart (avodah - as it is written 'and you shall serve Him with all your heart') to do it" (chessed). (R. Bachye).
These are the three pillars upon which the Torah rests - Torah, avodah and gemillas chasodim (Pirkei Ovos 1:2)
The Clever Water
"And with the breath of your nostrils the water piled up" etc. (15:8). This is Rashi's straightforward translation of the possuk. But R. Bachye agrees with Unklus, who translates the word "ne'ermu" as intelligent, like the possuk in Bereishis ( ) "And the snake was "orum" - cunning (intelligent, but with harmful connotations). It was as if the water had suddenly learnt how to think. It knew when to stop flowing to let Yisroel pass, and the Egyptians to walk onto the dry sea-bed. And it knew when to crash down on them and to drown them, to kill every Egyptian but to make sure that not one Jew should drown. And it even knew how to trap the Egyptians, for any Egyptian who decided to turn round and run for it, would find a wave racing towards him (Ohr Ha'chayim 14:27).
The Kabbalistic interpretation however, is exactly the opposite of the previous one. "And the water became stupid."There are many words which can mean the reverse of their regular meaning (e.g. "ve'dishnu es ha'Mizbei'ach" is translated as "and they shall remove the ashes", although it might just as well have meant "and they shall place the ashes on the Mizbei'ach!")
In this case too, we can interpret clever water as water that flows, in the way that G-d decreed at the creation. Water that ceases to flow, flowing itself into a wall, one might describe as having lost its intelligence - it has become stupid.
All Sins are Evil
There are few people who would tolerate a thief in their social circle. Most of us tend to brand a thief as a scoundrel, a menace to society who has no place within it. We have few kind words to say on his behalf and the reason for this is simple enough: stealing is an abhorrent crime and there are few people who would tolerate it. There exist a number of crimes which the world views with similar abhorrence (murder, rape, etc.) and they too are universally abhorred, and their perpetrators scorned. This attitude is based on logic, mainly because the type of crime is anti-social, and as such it forms a threat to society as a whole and so society rejects it.
There is however, another kind of sin, which the religious sector of the community does not toelrate, viewing the perpetrator as an outcast from their society. One of those sins is that of eating "treifah" foods. It pains us to see someone eating "treif", and we take a dim view of that person. Clearly, that abhorrence does not stem from logic, since the prohibition of eating non-kosher foods is neither an apparent threat to society, nor is it in any way dictated by reason. It appears to be rather a matter of training and symbolism. For some undefined reason, people are trained to equate kashrus with Yiddishkeit, alongside the keeping of Shabbos and fasting on Yom-Kippur. Kashrus has become one of the hallmarks of our religion (to the exclusion of other mitzvos which are not necessarily less significant), and people have accepted it, even though they may not really understand why.
But what is our reaction towards someone who transgresses a sin which confirms neither to our standard of logic nor to our trained sensitivity? What comparable degree of intolerance do we display say, when we see a fellow-Jew who wears "sha'atnez", who doesn't daven Ma'ariv or whose family does not comply with the laws of "Tziny'us" required by the Shulchan Oruch? Why is it that most people, even religious Jews, are generally far more tolerant and understanding toward the latter than towards the former, even though there is nothing to suggest that the one is in fact any less sinful than the other?
Surely if we were more concerned with seeking the truth and less involved with our own emotions, surely if we were more sensitive to G-d's feelings, towards the Torah, indeed towards the sinner himself, whose welfare we should also have at heart, we would not differentiate between mitzvos that appeal to us and mitzvos that do not appeal to us quite as much. After all, G-d's authority has been flouted and that should suffice to arouse our concern. If we are guided (or misguided) by our emotions, it is only to the extent that we are lacking in our quest for the truth. Such an attitude is clearly tainted with bias and as such it is dishonest. A Jew must loath sin and disagree with the sinner, not on account of his personal prejudices, but because it is evil - because it is flouting G-d's authority.
Rashi in Parshas Kedoshim quotes R' Elozor ben Azaryoh, who instructs us not to abstain from eating "treif" because it is abhorrent, but because it is the will of G-d. The Torah Temimah connects this idea to a Mishnah in Makos, which states that someone who sits and abstains from performing a sin, it is as if he had performed a mitzvah. Certainly, we are not speaking here of someone who has no desire to perform the sin - since what would he have done to merit a reward? - but rather of someone who overcame the urge to sin - he sat himself down and refrained from acceding to this urge. Such a person is worthy indeed, as if he had performed a mitzvah. But, explains the Torah Temimah, that is only if be abstains because that is the Divine will, not if he does it for any ulterior motive. If we want to receive reward for the mitzvos that we do, then we must perform them because they are Divinely ordained, as indeed the word "mitzvos" implies. And it is for the very same reason that we must reject the "aveiros", whether they are carried out by ourselves or by others - because they contravene the wishes of G-d. In that case, it makes no sense at all to make any distinction between one type of sin and another.
SHEMINI - TZAV
SHEMINI - TZAV
Almost the entire Parshah of Tzav deals with various aspects of Korbonos, but always from the standpoint of Moshe Rabeinu. Moshe shall tell Aharon and his sons this, and Moshe shall do this or that to Aharon and his sons. Not once does the Parshah describe an active role on the part of the Cohanim. Not, that is, until the final possuk, where the Torah writes, "And Aharon and his sons performed all the things that G-d commanded through Moshe".
Up until the end of Tzav, it is Moshe Rabeinu who was acting as Cohen Godol (see R. Bachye 10:23). Even as he was teaching Aharon and his sons, who were being initiated, the numerous details of the Avodah in the Mishkon, he was in fact, performing the entire service in the Mishkon including the sacrificing of all the Korbonos. And that is why Aharon, throughout the Parshah, is not given a positive role.
It is in Parshas Shemini, which, as its name suggests, deals with the eighth day of the Mishkon's inauguration, that Aharon takes over the Kehunah Gedolah and his sons become Cohanim. And it is no doubt, in anticipation of that major event that the Torah concludes Parshas Tzav with the statement that Aharon and his sons did everything they were commanded. They had proved themselves, during the seven days of inauguration, to be worthy incumbents of the Kehunah that they were about to adopt in Parshas Shemini.
R. Bachye quotes the following Medrash: "Moshe called Aharon and his sons. This calling was for greatness, because this is what Moshe said to Aharon: 'My brother, G-d wishes to appoint you Cohen Godol'".
"You toiled in (the construction of) the Mishkon, and I am to become Cohen Godol?" asked Aharon
"Even though you are to bvecome Cohen Godol, I am as happy as if it had been I," replied Moshe. "Just as you rejoiced in my greatness, so do I rejoice in your greatness."
And when was this? When G-d said to Moshe, "And now go, and I will send you to Par'oh. I (Moshe) replied 'Please send any messenger that You wish to send (i.e. relieve me of the 'shlichus' and send (Aharon) my older brother."
"In spite of that" replied G-d, "he (your older brother) will see you (in your new position), and rejoice in his heart!"
R. Shimon bar Yochai said, "The heart that rejoices in his brother's greatness shall wear the Urim ve'Tumim, as it is written 'And Aharon shall wear the judgement of the B'nei Yisroel on his heart.' "
Therefore, all seven days that Moshe was busy serving in the Mishkon. he sprinkled the blood and burned the incense. And G-d said to him, "Moshe, do you really think that you have become Cohen Godol? Call Aharon and let him serve in that capacity!" etc.
It is about these two remarkable brothers and their amazing midos that Dovid Ha'melech wrote in Tehillim (133) "How good it is and how pleasant, when brothers live together (in harmony)!"
The Gemoro in Menochos (109b) quotes R. Yehoshua ben P'rachyoh. "At first, if someone would have offered me a high position," he said "I would have tied him up and placed him in front of a lion (i.e. so abhorrent was power-glory to me). Now that I am in such a position, were someone to attempt to depose me, I would take a kettle of boiling water and pour it over his head."
And we find this too, with King Shaul, who fled from his appointment to become King of Israel. Yet, once he was appointed, he attempted to take Dovid's life when he believed him to be a threat to the throne.
Moshe Rabeinu's humility was so complete, that he neither threatened Aharon, who came to "take away" his position as Cohen Godol, nor did he even feel the least twinge of anger or jealousy, as Moshe himself testified.
However, we do find one little part of the above Gemoro fulfilled in him. When he was offered the Kehunah Gedoloh at the burning bush, he protested vehemently for 7 days (see the opening Ba'al Ha'turim, who explains that Moshe was Cohen Godol for only 7 days, because he argued for 7 days, and this is hinted, he says in the first five words in the Parshah, which are the equivalent geymatriyoh to "This was on Rosh Chodesh Nisson" - 7 days from the time the Mishkon was first set up on the 23rd Adar. It was during those seven days that Moshe served as Cohen Godol.). Yet. once he had tasted the Kehunah Gedoloh, he was reluctant to stand down, and had to be reminded to appoint Aharon to replace him.
History of the World
(Adapted from the Seder Ha'doros) Part 17
When the Yishme'eilim realise that the terrible storm struck them because of their ill-treatment of Yosef, they beg him for forgiveness. This he gladly grants them. He prays to Hashem and the storm abates, the camels arise and they continue on their journey. They consider returning him to the place where they bought him, but decide against it because it is too far to return, so they rather opt to take him down to Egypt, their destination, and sell him there for a high price.(Yosef served Yitzchok, his grandfather, for 8 years [since 2208].)
Meanwhile his brothers, having regretted the sale, go to look for the Midyonim, but they fail to find them. Re'uven, who returned to his father for a brief spell, returns the following day. Intending to secretly return Yosef to his father, he goes to the pit into which Yosef was thrown and calls to Yosef. Hearing no reply, and fearing that he has perhaps died from fright or that he has been bitten by a snake, he descends into the pit, but finds nothing. Rending his garments, he returns to his brothers, to find them distraught over the entire incident.
When he is informed of the sale, Re'uven rebukes them bitterly for causing their father such deep anguish. They swear, on pain of death, that none of them will ever reveal what happened. They are not sure what to tell Ya'akov, until Yisochor hits upon the idea of taking Yosef's shirt, tearing it and dipping it into the blood of a slaughtered goat. In this way, they will be able to convince their father that a wild beast devoured Yosef, thus removing the guilt from themselves. No sooner said than done, and they send Naftoli to their father with the bloody shirt. They follow him into Ya'akov's presence, with their garments duly rent and they find him weeping bitterly, clothes torn, with sackcloth on his loins, and loudly lamenting his beloved son's death. Tears pour freely down his cheeks as he eulogizes him, after which he falls to the ground in a faint.
Yehudah lifts his father's head from the floor and places it upon his lap. Seeing his beloved father's grief, he bursts into tears and his brothers soon follow. They attempt to console him on his terrible loss, but their efforts are in vain. Ya'akov Ovinu is inconsolable. Yitzchok too, who wept bitterly when he heard the news of Yosef's "death", travels from Chevron, together with his men, to console Ya'akov, but he too, is unsuccessful. Ya'akov Ovinu, still sobbing uncontrollably and beating his hands together in his misery, asks his sons to go and search for Yosef's body and to bury it. He also asks them to bring back the first wild animal they find. Perhaps it would be the one that was responsible, and he will then be able to avenge his son's death.
Needless to say, Ya'akov's sons do not find Yosef's body, but they do find a wolf, which they catch and bring back to their father. Ya'akov cries bitterly, accusing the wolf of devouring his son Yosef, a man innocent of any crime. Whereupon G-d, in order to comfort Ya'akov, opens the creature's mouth and it begins to speak. "I swear to you that I did not even see your son. I myself came from a distant land to seek my own son since, exactly the same as happened to you happened also to me. For ten days I have been searching for him in this country, and I do not know whether he is alive or dead. I only arrived in this area today to continue my search. I had hardly arrived when your sons found me and caught me, only adding to my existing misery. And now, human-being, I am at your mercy. Do with me now as you see fit, but I swear to you that I did not even see your son, let alone eat him. In fact, I have never in my life tasted human flesh!" When Ya'akov hears the wolf's words he is astonished, and he duly sends the creature on its way.
Meanwhile, the Yishme'eilim who bought Yosef, meet four Me'doni men (Me'don is one of Avrohom Ovinu's sons) who have just left Egypt. They agree to buy Yosef from the Yishme'eilim for five shekolim, and they promptly return with him to Egypt. Having heard that Potifar, Par'oh's servant and chief butcher, is looking for a good slave to serve as his valet, they approach him and offer him Yosef. Potifar, struck by Yosef's good looks, agrees to buy him, but obnly if they are able to bring proof that he is a slave, as he cannot believe that such a fine-looking youth can possibly be one. The Me'donim find the Yishme'eilim from whom they bought him, and they confirm that this is indeed so. Potifar then buys Yosef for four shekolim. Yosef finds favour in Potifar's eyes and G-d blesses his house on Yosef's account.
Yosef is eighteen years old, with beautiful eyes. He is so handsome that there is no-one in Egypt who can match his looks. And so it is that Zeleechah, Potifar's wife falls for his good looks and develops a strong desire for Yosef. She attempts day in day out, to entice him, but Yosef does not fall for her charms. He staves off all her advances, refusing even to look at her, let alone to be with her.
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