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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 21, v. 1: "Emor v'omarto" - Say and you shall say - Rashi comments that the doble expression teaches us that the adults must warn the minors to avoid become defiled through a corpse. Minchoh Vluloh says that even though in general an adult is not held responsible to keep a minor from doing something that is a sin for an adult, in this case the Torah specifically makes an exception and holds adults responsible to keep minors from defiling themselves in this manner.

Ch. 21, v. 1: "L'nefesh" - To a soul - Why doesn't the verse say "l'meis?" The Abarbanel answers that the choice of wording teaches us that once a person dies it makes no difference if during his lifetime he was an exalted person, such as the king, or a commoner. The main point is that the spiritual soul has departed and the empty shell, the body, imparts "tumoh."

He also answers that "l'nefesh" refers to their Kohanic soul. Because it is elevated above others, "L'viim" and "Yisroelim," it is befitting to avoid defiling himself.

Ch. 21, v. 1: "L'nefesh lo yitamo b'amov" - To a soul he shall not defile himself within his nation - This prohibition comes on the heels of the punishment for divining through "ove" or "yidoni" at the end of the previous parsha because Kohanim, besides doing the sacrificial services also sometimes advise the bnei Yisroel of what the future holds. Those who divine through "ove" or "yidoni" offer sacrifices first and then communicate with the souls of the deceased. Since the Kohanim offer sacrifices, a ben Yisroel might incorrectly think that the knowledge of what the future holds that is transmitted by a Kohein might have been received through these occult practices. The Torah therefore places the prohibition of defiling oneself through a corpse immediately after "ove" and "yidoni." (Rokei'ach)

Ch. 21, v. 2: "Lisheiro l'imo ul'oviv" - To his wife to his mother and to his father - We all know that a man should not walk between two women. This point is taken a step further by Rabbeinu Bachyei. Many commentators explain why the Kohein's mother is mentioned before his father (especially in the light of the fact that in verse 11, where the Kohein Godol is prohibited to defile himself even to his seven close relatives, his father is mentioned before his mother). Rabbeinu Bachyei says that if we were to place his father before his mother then his father, a male, would appear between his wife and his mother, two females.

Ch. 21, v. 10: "Hagodol mei'ewchov" - Who is greater than his brothers - The verse should have said "hagodol b'echov," as we find "ha'yofoh BAnoshim" (Shir Hashirim). The reason a prefix Mem is used is to teach that if the Kohein Godol is poor, it is the responsibility of the other Kohanim to contribute funds to him to make him wealthy, hence the letter Mem, literally FROM his brothers. (Malbim)

Ch. 22, v. 28: "Oso v'es bno lo sish'chatu b'yom echod" - It and its son you shall not slaughter in one day - Even though this is a general prohibition for any ben Yisroel, nevertheless, the Torah placed it here in the middle of a parsha that addresses Kohanim because they slaughter more animals than anyone else. (This is a bit of a chidush, as the slaughtering of a sacrifice may be done by a non-Kohein even "l'chatchiloh.") (Akeidas Yitzchok)

The Rambam in Moreh N'vuchim 3:48 writes that this prohibition avoids having an offspring or a parent of the animal slaughtered in front of its relative, and animals feel the pain of a close relative being slaughtered very keenly, as do humans. (Of course it is prohibited even if the slaughtering is done not in front of the other animal.)

Ch. 22, v. 32: "V'lo s'chal'lu es shem kodshi v'nikdashti b'soch bnei Yisroel" - And you shall not desecrate My Holy Name and I shall become sanctified within the bnei Yisroel - The gemara Brochos says that "b'soch bnei Yisroel" refers to a group of ten bnei Yisroel. This is alluded to within the verse itself. The number of letters in "b'soch bnei Yisroel" are ten, plus the last two letters, Alef-Lamed, which spells out one of Hashem's Holy Names. (Rabbeinu Yoel)

Ch. 22, v. 33: "Hamotzi es'chem mei'eretz Mitzrayim" - Who takes you out of Egypt - The flow of this verse right after the command to sanctify Hashem might be that if we view ourselves as having been just now taken out of Egypt, as indicated by "hamotzi" in the present tense, and this took place through many, many overt miracles that were publicized throughout the world, and thus Hashem was sanctified and exalted throughout the world, it is quite easy to make sure to not desecrate Hashem's Holy Name. (n.l.)

Ch. 23, v. 2: "Asher tik'r'u osom mikro'ei kodesh eileh heim mo'a doi" - That you should call them a call for sanctity these are My Holidays - It is only when you involve yourselves in activities of sanctity, and not in using the Holidays as an opportunity for pursuing physical pleasures, that they are considered MY Holidays. Otherwise, they are YOUR holidays, about which the prophet decries, "Umo'adeiCHEM sonoh nafshi hoyu olai latorech." (Yeshayohu 1:14). (Sforno)

Ch. 23, v. 11: "Ho'omer" - The sheaf - The letters of this word when transposed spell "Amorah," the city that was destroyed along with S'dom. On the night of the harvesting of the omer grain, S'dom, Amorah, Cicero, Sancheirev, and Homon were destroyed. The wicked nations who lord over us will likewise be destroyed on this date in the future, and all of this in the merit of the omer offering. (Rabbeinu Yoel)

The omer was cut on the night of the 16th of Nison and S'dom and Amorah were destroyed around daybreak of the 15th of Nison. Any help would be appreciated.

Ch. 23, v. 13: "Uminchoso shnei esronim" - And its meal offering is two tenths - This is double the normal volume of meal offering. Rabbeinu Zecharioh explains that this meal offering if considered a first of the year and as such is like a firstborn, who receives a double portion as his inheritance.

Ch. 23, v. 22: "Le'oni v'la'ger taazove osom" - Leave them over for the convert and the poor man - The Torah incorporates this act of kindness into the parsha of the Holiday of Shovuos. This is why we read Megilas Rus on Shovuos, as it is replete with acts of kindness. (Rokei'ach)

Ch. 23, v. 27: "Ach be'ossor" - But on the tenth - "Ach" connotes a limitation. This teaches us that although all other Holidays have a component of greater physical pleasure, on Yom Kippur this is not the case, as one must fast and refrain from numerous other pleasures. On other Holidays one may bring a sacrifice, but not on Yom Kippur. The fasting, which results in loss of flesh and fat, are reckoned as a greater sacrifice than any other sacrifice a person can offer, as the other sacrifices come through outlay of money, but fasting is done through physical effort. (Rabbeinu Efrayim)



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

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