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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 16, v. 1: "B'korvosom lifnei Hashem va'yomusu" - With their coming close to Hashem and they died - Rashi offers a parable to explain why the verse relates the death of Aharon's two sons as a preface to the mitzvos Moshe was now being told, and also asked to transmit to Aharon. Rabbi Elozor ben Azarioh equated this with the warning given by a doctor to an ill man. His advice was to not eat cold foods, nor to sleep in a damp cold place. Although this was a doctor's professional advice, it does not make the same impact upon the patient as would telling him the same and adding on, "so that you don't end up dying, as did Ploni, who did not heed my advice."

There is great depth in this parable and gives us a better understanding of the sin of Nodov and Avihu.

The cold food does not kill. All healthy people eat it without a bad reaction. The person who has a certain disorder, which can be healed, cannot handle such food, and if the advice is not heeded, in the end it is the sickness that kills.

Nodov and Avihu's sin might not have been fatal. The medrash on parshas Nitzovim says that with three sins three barriers were breached, bringing the bnei Yisroel closer to Hashem. "Bringing the bnei Yisroel closer" is enigmatic. It is to be understood not in the positive "closer to Hashem," but rather in the negative. Closer means that their behaviour is under greater scrutiny. The fourth sin, that of Nodov and Avihu was "b'korvosom lifnei Hashem," after barriers have already been breached, hence "va'yomusu." Had it been done at a distance, although a sin, it would not have been fatal. This is exactly the point of the parable. (heard from R' Y.P.)

Ch. 16, v. 1: "B'korvosom lifnei Hashem" - With their coming close to Hashem and they died - As elaborated upon in an early edition on parshas Acharei Mose, the Sfas Emes explains that their sin in the main was that they took action without first being given a command by Hashem. This is "lifnei Hashem," BEFORE Hashem commanded to do so. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 16, v. 2: "Ki be'onon eiro'eh" - Because in a cloud I shall be seen - It was the opinion of the Tzidokim that first one lights the incense and only after it is already smoking, does the Kohein Godol enter the Holy of Holies, and this seems to be the simple understanding of these words. However, they are wrong, as we see from the mishnoh in the 1st chapter of Yoma. Nevertheless, what is the "pshuto shel mikra" application? This concept of "pshuto shel mikra" has been mentioned numerous times in previous issues. The Sforno on our parsha says that Aharon had permission to enter the Kodesh Hakodoshim any day provided that he made the sacrificial preparations. This is actually stated in Toras Kohanim. The Sforno adds that the required cloud when it wasn't Yom Kipur was the "ana'nei haKovod," clouds of glory. They were indeed there AHEAD of his lighting. (Nirreh li)

While on this subject, see the Rashbam who says a cloud is needed to obscure the extreme sanctity, which would otherwise be fatal, (as it was for Nodov and Avihu). I am a bit puzzled, because according to the correct opinion, that the Kohein Godol does not ignite the incense until he is already inside the Holy of Holies, he would succumb to the sanctity before the smoke is emitted.

Ch. 16, v. 17: "Ad tzeiso v'chi'per" - Until he exits and it atones - The gemara Yoma relates that Shimon Hatzadik said that he knew he would die that year because every year a person clothed and draped in white would accompany him into and out of the Mikdosh building, and this year he wore only black and only entered with him, and he indeed died that year. Tosfos there explains that although the Kohein Godol is to be there alone, even excluding angels, Shimon Hatzadik's vision was of the "Sh'chinoh." This is alluded to in these words. When he goes in alone, sans "kol odom" including angels, but is accompanied "miBO'O l'cha'peir bakodesh ad TZEISO" by the "Sh'chinoh," from the time he enters until he exits, then "v'chi'per." If he is only accompanied on the way in, but not on the way out, he is not "v'chi'per," he does not merit a total atonement, and would die that year. (Pardes Yoseif)

Ch. 17, v. 15: "N'veiloh utreifoh" - Dead carcass or torn asunder - The Abarbanel writes that although the punishment for a ben Yisroel who consumes "n'veiloh" or "treifoh" is lashes, a Kohein is put to death. This is TZORICH IYUN GODOL. (Pardes Yoseif)

Ch. 18, v. 21: "Lamolech" - To molech - This prohibition is placed smack in the middle of forbidden sexual unions, seemingly totally out of context. Abarbanel answers that it connects with zochor and zochor, and bestiality. Just as they are "zera l'vatoloh," so is one who sires a child and gives him to molech to burn to death. Tur says that it was a widespread practice of the inhabitants of Canaan, just like all their sexual depravities, so it is mentioned alongside these other sins.


Ch. 19, v. 13: "Lo solin p'ulas sochir" - The work of the hired person shall not be caused to sleep - This is Rashi's translation, that the "p'ulas sochir" (n'keivoh) should not sleep overnight unpaid. The B'eir R'chovos explains Rashi. "Solin" can either be a verb referring to a male, and it is direct address, "You (male) shall not have the wages sleep with you." Rashi tells us otherwise. "Solin" can likewise be addressing a female in third person. The "p'uloh," female, shall not sleep with you unpaid. He explains that Rashi prefers this because according to the first explanation, why add the word "itcho," since we have already addressed the male.

The Shem Olom disagrees with this assessment of Rashi because the word "itcho" is required here to teach us that one only transgresses when he has the ability to pay, i.e. the payment is "itcho." He therefore prefers Mizrochi's explanation. If "solin" is directed at a male, the one who hired the worker, then it is a transitive verb, and we only find this form in Iyov 24, "Orum yolinu," and nowhere else. Sefer Hazikoron is quite displeased with Rashi's explanation because it differs from the other nearby prohibitions, "Lo saashoke, lo sigzole," which are addressing the person and not the item which was involved. B'eir Mayim Chaim of Tchernovitz justifies Rashi by pointing out that "lo saashoke" is followed by "es," indicating that we are addressing the person and then referring to the item involved. "Lo solin" is not followed by "es," hence it refers to the item, wages. ("V'lo sigzole" not followed by "es" has no bearing, as it is not followed by anything.) Mahara"i concludes that Rashi must likewise explain "lo solin nivloso al ho'eitz" (Dvorim 21:23) as, "His 'n'veiloh' (female) shall not be caused to sleep (stay overnight) on the tree." This seems to be in keeping with the B'eir Mayim Chaim, as there is no "es" before "nivloso."

Ch. 19, v. 18: "Lo sikome" - Do not take revenge - Droshos hoRan #12 writes that "n'komoh" is prohibited not because of the damage to the recipient, but rather, to bridle the would-be revenge taker to control himself. He applies this concept to the prohibion of "Lo s'ka'leil cheireish" of verse 14 as well.

Ch. 20, v. 26: "Vo'avdil es'chem li'h'yos li" - And I will separate you to be Mine - Rashi comments: If you separate yourselves from the heathen nations then you belong to Me. Otherwise you belong to Nevuchadnetzar and his acquaintances. What is Rashi's message?

Even though you are in golus, you are Mine and will be redeemed provided that you keep yourselves apart from the heathens. If you do not separate yourselves from them, then you belong to them, you become a member in their club, so you belong THERE, and will ch"v not be taken out of exile. (R' M.Y.K. haLevi Baal Shiras Yisroel)

Ch. 20, v. 27: "Ish o ishoh" - A man or a woman - Why mention "man or lady" since as a rule all prohibitions of the Torah apply to either gender?

The Tur simply says that it was a common practice of ladies to do these occult acts. Yalkut Reuveini says that the occult procedures of ove or yidoni required both a man and a lady. The Torah therefore tells us that each is separately liable for the death penalty. (Shaarei Aharon)



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha, Chasidic Insights and Chamisha Mi Yodei'a

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