by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHIOS ACHA'REI MOSE-K'DOSHIM 5772 BS"D
PARSHAS ACHA'REI MOSE
Ch. 16, v. 1: "Acha'rei mose shnei bnei" - After the death of two sons of - This comes right after the end of parshas Metzora relating the sin of one who cohabits with a woman who is defiled through her menstruation. This alludes to the punishment of one's children dying as a result of having cohabited with his wife when she has the status of "nidoh." (Rokei'ach)
Ch. 16, v. 1: "Acha'rei mose shnei bnei Aharon" - After the death of two sons of Aharon - There is a disagreement cited in M.R. Breishis 44:5 whether "achar" or "acha'rei" means immediately after and the other word means a while later. The question is raised that Hashem spoke to Aharon right after his sons died, as per the gemara Gitin 60a that this was one of eight parshios that were told by Hashem on the day the Mishkon was erected. Tosfos answer that possibly this was the last of the eight parshios told that day, all after the death of two of Aharon's sons and this is sufficient to consider it "distanced."
Tiferes Y'honoson and Ohel Dovid answer that when it is decreed upon a person that he die for a wrongdoing it is as if he is considered dead, as we find in the verse (Yechezkel 18:32) "Ki lo echpotz b'mose ha'meis." Rashi on Shmos 24:10 (Tanchuma parshas B'haalos'cho #16) comments that when Nodov and Avihu stared at the sanctity of Hashem, which was forbidden, they were ruled to die, just that Hashem did not want to destroy the positive atmosphere that prevailed at the giving of the Torah. He therefore pushed off their deaths to the time of the erection of the Mishkon. We thus have them considered "dead" at the giving of the Torah and this is "B'korvosom lifneu Hashem," and their being decreed to die, "Va'yomusu." This indeed took place quite a while earlier (approximately ten months earlier), and justifies the use of "acha'rei" = distanced.
Ch. 16, v. 30: "Ki va'yom ha'zeh y'cha'peir a'leichem" - Because on this day He will cleanse you - Although Yom Kippur is a day on which Hashem readily forgives, save Rabbi Yehudoh, whose position is that even without repentance there is some level of cleansing just by virtue of being alive on this day, all others posit that it needs to be coupled with true contrition and repentance. This is the meaning of these words of our verse. The verse does not say, "Ki HA'yom ha'zeh y'cha'peir a'leichem, but rather, "Ki VA'yom ha'zeh y'cha'peir a'leichem," which can be translated as "WITH this day," that something has to accompany the day, and that is true repentance. (Eitz Hadaas Tov, Nachal K'dumim)
Ch. 18, v. 28: "V'lo soki ho'oretz es'chem" - So that the land will not expectorate you - Although Rabbi Yoseif Chaim Sonnenfeld was a great supporter of building up Eretz Yisroel and having more people settle there. His intention was not simply building up the land, as would a secular society. His concern was specifically to develop Eretz Yisroel so that Torah would be studied in the Holy Land and that mitzvos would be done there. He was wont to say that the numeric value of "M'sa'mei'ach Tzion b'vo'nehoh" is 613, an indication that Hashem's interest in having it rebuilt is for fulfilling the Torah's 613 mitzvos. People who have this goal in mind bring the land to rejoice in its inhabitants. Those who sin in the "King's palace" are the ones to whom our verse refers with the words, "v'lo soki ho'oretz es'chem." (Ode Yoseif Chai)
Ch. 18, v. 28: "V'lo soki ho'oretz es'chem" - So that the land will not expectorate you - The Holy Shalo"h in shaar ho'osios #3 asks that we find people living a life totally contrary to the Torah, and especially in the realm of immorality, and yet, they live out all their years in Eretz Yisroel. He answers that they are chased out of Eretz Yisroel upon their death as one chases a dog out of his home.
This is clearly stated in Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer. It says that the wicked who die in Eretz Yisroel, their souls are tossed to outside of Eretz Yisroel as is related in Shmuel 1:25:29, "V'eis nefesh oyvecho y'ka'lenoh b'soch kaf hakola." In the future Hashem will grab onto the edges of the land and shake it, relieving it of all impurities as is stated in Iyov 37:13, "Le'echoze b'chanfose ho'oretz v'yino'aru r'shoim mi'menoh." (Taam Vodaas)
Ch. 19, v. 2: "K'doshim ti'h'yu" - You shall be holy - Rashi says that this parsha was told to the bnei Yisroel as a congregation. Although the Torah extols us to be holy, we should not mistakenly conclude that it would require of us to live as hermits, devoid of much physicality and away from others, so that we not sin by hurting their feelings with our words, so that we not shortchange them in financial matters, etc. To the contrary! We should be part of a large congregation and we can still be holy. Sanctity is not synonymous with separation. (Chasam Sofer)
Ch. 19, v. 2: "K'doshim ti'hyu ki kodosh ani" - You shall be holy because I am holy - Rashi comments: "K'dushosi l'maaloh mikidushas'chem," - My sanctity is above your sanctity. This is alluded to in these words of our verse. Note that "kdoshim" is spelled lacking the letter Vov, while "kodosh" is spelled complete, with the letter Vov. (Ma'yonoh Shel Torah)
Ch. 19, v. 3: "Ish imo v'oviv tiro'u" - A man his mother and father shall you fear - This mitzvoh comes on the heels of "K'doshim ti'h'yu," which Rashi explains to mean to be circumspect in matters of morality. There are times when the challenge to do the correct thing is very great. What does one do to ward off this huge challenge? The gemara Sotoh 36 relates that when Yoseif had an enormous challenge with the wife of Potifar an image of his father appeared in front of him and he was able to overpower his inclination. The image of one's parents empowers a person to overpower this great evil inclination. This is why this verse is mentioned right after "k'doshim ti'h'yu." (Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh)
Ch. 19, v. 3: "Ish imo v'oviv tiro'u" - A man his mother and father shall you fear - The verse starts off with the singular "ish" and then goes into the plural "tiro'u." although this mitzvoh in the main targets the son, nevertheless, it is also incumbent upon the parents as well. They must behave in such a manner towards their child so that he can reasonably be expected to hold them in awe. (Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh)
Ch. 19, v. 3: "Ish imo v'oviv tiro'u v'es Shabsosai tishmoru" - A man his mother and father shall you fear and my Shabbosos shall you safeguard - The Holy Ari z"l, citing the Holy Zohar, says that one honours his parents even after their death by learning and saying novella, "chidushei Torah," on Shabbos. This explains the flow of our verse. (Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh) A bit of clarification is needed, as our verse discusses holding them in awe and the Holy Ari z"l mentions honouring them. The gemara Y'vomos 5b likewise says that it might be thought that to honour one's parents a person may even desecrate Shabbos. However, our verse tells us otherwise. We likewise see from this gemara that although our verse mentions fearing one's parents, we apply this verse to honouring as well.
Ch. 19, v. 7: "V'im hei'ocheil yei'ocheil ba'yom hashlishi pigul hu lo yeirotzeh" - And if it will indeed be eaten on the third day it is despicable it will not be accepted - Rashi (gemara Zvochim 28b) says that this verse does not refer to actually eating on the third day after it was offered, but rather at the time of offering it the Kohein's intention was for the third day. If you were to say that this refers to his intention that the following step of the service should take place three days later, "chutz lizmano," this cannot be, as we already have a verse for that, Vayikra 7:18. It can only mean that his intention was for the parts of the offering that are to be eaten, that they should be eaten outside the prescribed area where they are permitted, "chutz limkomo."
If you calculate the numeric value of all the words of this verse, you will find that they come to exactly the same total as, "B'chisheiv chutz limkomo hakosuv ha'zeh m'da'beir." (Par'p'ro'os L'chochmoh - Rabbi Moshe Galanti)
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