by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS EMOR 5772 BS"D
Ch. 21, v. 1: "Emor …… v'omarto" - Say …… and you shall say - Rashi comments that the double expression teaches to warn the adults regarding the minors. This is an unusual way of expressing that the adults should warn the children, "to WARN the adults." The message here is that it is insufficient to tell the grownups to warn the children. Rather, the adults themselves must be warned to fulfill in their personal lives what they teach.
The Chazon Ish was wont to stress that the teachers of young children should be extremely G-d fearing, as otherwise they would not be successful in inculcating into their students purity of character in a manner that would last. He related that an unlearned businessman was offered a business opportunity that was quite lucrative, but involved some level of fooling the customers. He responded, "To cheat!? How can I cheat when the vision of my childhood teacher stands in front of me? He was hired by my father to teach me and drilled the lessons into me. He told me that it was absolutely necessary for me to absorb and retain the information because at the end of the week he would receive his wages from my father, and if he didn't do a good job he would be cheating my father."
This person received no further formal Torah education and nevertheless, the picture of his teacher stood in front of his eyes as if he was just taught this lesson today. This was a result of his being a very upright and G-d fearing person.
Ch. 21, v. 9: "Uvas Kohein ki seicheil liznose es ovihoh hee m'cha'le'les" - And a daughter of a Kohein when she will begin to commit adultery her father she desecrates - Why is her sinning expressed in "ki seicheil," when she will begin? Secondly, why is this sin attributed to her father? Every person has an evil inclination with which he/she must contend. Her sinning in matters of immorality should be no greater shaming of her father than had she committed any other sin.
Rabbi Shlomo Kluger answers that the gemara says that the evil inclination comes to a person and seduces him to do a "small" wrongdoing, and when successful he tells him to do something worse, then even worse, etc. our verse is saying that if we have a situation where this daughter of a Kohein has been totally circumspect in matters of morality and begins sinning in this realm for the first time, "ki seicheil," by committing adultery, skipping earlier steps of improper associations with men, then this shows that she received a bad education at home, that her father has loose moral moors.
Ch. 23, v. 10: "V'ha'veisem es omer reishis k'tzirchem el haKohein" - And you shall bring the omer measure of the first of your harvest to the Kohein - The medrash says that the mitzvoh of offering the "omer" is so great that in its merit Avrohom received Eretz Yisroel, and in the generations of Gidon, Chizkiyoh, and Mordechai the salvations came about in the merit of the "omer." What is the compelling merit of thhe "omer?" On a simple level it is that when we work so hard agriculturally and finally have some produce, it is of the utmost of importance to give attribution to Hashem for giving us the land, the weather conditions, etc., so that we have a successful harvest, as mentioned in the Chinuch.
Another insight is offered by the B'eir Yoseif. It is noteworthy that the offering is called "omer," by its measure, and not by its being a "reishis." Similarly, when we count the days towards Shovuos we count to the "omer," again the measurement. Why is this? The "omer" measurement sends us a most powerful message, that we remember that the measure of daily manna in the desert was an "omer," as mentioned in parshas B'shalach. Even if a person took more than his allotted "omer" or if a person took less, he ended up having exactly his allotted amount. This is a most powerful lesson in entrusting Hashem with our livelihood, whether we work very hard or not, we end up with the amount Hashem has apportioned us (See Beis haLevi). Acceptance of this is the key to functioning in Eretz Yisroel. Similarly, by accepting that Hashem takes such an active part in our daily endevours is a great merit in that we also realize that all salvations come from him.
The medrash says that the Torah was given to the generation of manna consumers. This again stresses that the "omer" given by Hashem sustains us and in our personal preparation for Shovuos, the Yom Tov representing the giving of our Holy Torah, we count nightly for 49 nights, mentioning the "omer" volume of the manna.
We begin the count on the night after the manna consumption ended when the bnei Yisroel entered Canaan, "Va'yishbose hamon mimochoros," (Yehoshua). The message of the manna in the desert is so all-encompassing in our living a Torah true life.
Ch. 23, v. 16: "Tis'p'ru" - Shall you count - We recite a blessing for each day of "s'firas ho'omer." The Baal'ei Tosfos, Chizkuni, and others explain why a women who is counting the pure days after menstruating does not recite a blessing even though the Torah clearly states that she should count, "V'sofroh loh shivas yomim" (Vayikra 15:28). This is because her counting might be interrupted by the appearance of blood. We might derive from this that if a woman was to begin counting her seven clean days after menstruating and had then had a hysterectomy done, where it would be impossible for her to have "impure" blood issue forth, that she should recite a blessing for each day of counting. (n.l.)
Ch. 23, v. 16: "Tis'p'ru chamishim yom" - Shall you count fifty days - We only count 49 days. Rashi explains these words of our verse in two manners to comply with the reality of its being only 49 days.
We find a similar phenomenon with the 39 lashes, where the Torah says, "Arbo'im ya'kenu," although the gemara Makos says that in reality it is only 39. The Noam Elimelech? Explains there that the Torah wants to stress 40 because when a person sins and receives the 39 lashes he might feel that the pain and humility he has suffered totally eradicate any vestiges of the sin even if he has not truly regretted sinning. The Torah therefore tells us that he be lashed 40 times, albeit that it really means 39, so that the one who is lashed remains with the feeling that he has received one lash less than the Torah has said. This one missing lash is to remain in his mind so that he should feel that he has not totally been cleansed, and thus he will further repent on his own.
We might apply this same concept here. Had the Torah said that we should count 49 days we might erroneously think that we have reached the apex of preparation for receiving the Torah. The Torah therefore says 50 and we only count 49. we having reached the highest point of preparation. (n.l.)
Ch. 23, v. 22: "Le'oni v'la'geir taazove osom ani Hashem Elokeichem" - Leave them for the destitute and the convert I am Hashem your G-d - I am the G-d of the harvesters, And the G-d of those who collect leket, shikchoh, and pei'oh, and I will bestow good upon those who bestow good upon the under-privileged because I have commanded them to do so. (Sforno)
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