by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS SHMINI 5767 BS"DCh. 9, v. 2: "Eigel ben bokor" - A calf of the bovine family - The next verse requires the bnei Yisroel to offer an "eigel" as well, but there the verse says "bnei shonoh," that the calf and the sheep be under one year old. Aharon's must be under a year old as well, as pointed out by the Rokei'ach, that the numerical value of "ben bokor" is 354, one day less than 355 days, a complete year. Perhaps the reason the Torah does not use the same term "ben bokor" by the bnei Yisroel's offering is because there is a sheep as well, which cannot be expressed as "ben bokor." However, this does not explain why our verse does not align with the following one and say "ben shonoh."
Ch. 9, v. 3: "S'ir izim l'chatos" - A goat as an atonement offering - Since this is brought to atone for their part in the sin of the golden calf, why weren't they commanded to bring a calf, just as Aharon was? This teaches us the great respect Hashem has for a congregation. Bringing an animal that is exactly the same species as their sin would be a great embarrassment for the bnei Yisroel. Although Hashem commanded Aharon to offer a calf for his atonement, the congregation was treated with greater compassion. (Rabbeinu Efrayim)
Ch. 9, v. 5: "Va'yikchu eis asher tzivoh Moshe" -
Ch. 9, v. 6: "Zeh hadovor asher tzivoh Hashem taasu v'yeiro a'leichem k'vod Hashem" - This is the matter that Hashem commanded you shall do and the honour of Hashem will appear upon you - Even though there is a great impetus to offer the atonement sacrifices so that their sin be forgiven, nevertheless, their intention must be solely for fulfilling Hashem's command, and then His Holy Spirit will appear. (Shal"oh Hakodosh)
Ch. 9, v, 6: "V'yeiro a'leichem k'vod Hashem" - And the honour of Hashem will appear upon you - Moshe did not include himself by saying "v'yeiro o'leinu," but rather "a'leichem." Do not think that in Moshe's merit they would be forgiven, as he did not sin by the golden calf. This is why Moshe said, "The Holy Spirit would rest upon YOU." (Nachalas Zvi)
Ch. 9, v. 7: "Korban ho'om" - The nation's sacrifice - Rashi says that these are a goat as a "chatos," a calf, and a sheep. (Note that in the Mo'ore Mikro'os G'dolos there is a printing mistake. The words "v'eigel voche'ves" are printed in bold face, as if it is a d.h. These words do not appear here, but rather, in verse 3.) Rashi's comment that we derive from the words "bnei shonoh" that every time the verse says "eigel" it means a calf under one year old, likewise seem to have no place here, but rather, in verse 3. Any clarification would be appreciated. Again, note that in the Mo'or edition there is added information in parenthesis, that "ben bokor" means up to two years old. This is contrary to the words of the Rokei'ach mentioned earlier, in verse 2.
Ch. 10, v. 20: "Va'yishma Moshe va'yitav b'einov" - And Moshe heard and it was good in his view - All halochos were given by Moshe to the bnei Yisroel. Here, Moshe heard an halacha from someone else, his brother. Moshe heard, from someone else, and it was pleasing to him. (Likutei Bossor Likutei)
Ch. 10, v. 19: "Vatikrenoh osi ko'eileh v'ochalti chatos ha'yom" - And it has happened to me like this and I were to eat the atonement offering today - Rashi says that Aharon told Moshe that although a mourner has the leniency to partake of the offering that was unique to the inauguration of the Mishkon, the same does not apply to the Rosh Chodesh atonement, which was a sacrifice for all time. How did Aharon know this difference?
He knew that Nodov and Avihu were deserving of the death penalty at the time of the giving of the Torah. Hashem pushed off their punishment so as not to mar the joy of that special day. If so, why was it proper to punish them at the time of the dedication of the Mishkon, also a special festival? It must be because the Torah is permanent, while the Mishkon/Mikdosh is not. This was his intention with the words, "Vatikrenoh osi ko'eileh." This has happened to me. His sons had already transgressed, and Hashem pushed off their punishment. This shows the strength of permanence, which does not enjoy the leniency of a mourner consuming it, as he does a unique sacrifice. (Agudas Eizove)
Ch. 11, v. 2: "Zose hachayoh asher tochlu" - This is the animal that you may eat - The Torah starts off with that which is permitted, and only later says what is prohibited. On the words, "Imras Hashem tzrufoh" (Shmuel 2:22:31,T'hilim 18:31), the medrash says that Hashem's commands were given to purify a person, not to needlessly keep him busy and restricted. This is akin to a doctor who sees that his patient must restrict his diet if he is to be healthy. To show his concern for the patient's welfare, he first gives him a list of permitted foods, and only afterwards, that which is prohibited. (Imrei Shefer)
Ch. 11, v. 3: "V'shosaas shesa prosose maalas geiroh" - And has cleft hooves chews its cud - These are the signs of a kosher species of animal. There is a message inherent in there signs. A person has many challenges and choices in life. If he hurries and responds to situations without forethought, rushing in impetuously, he will likely sin in numerous occasions. One who has split hooves, i.e. he takes half-steps towards an action without rushing in headlong, and also chews his cud, chews it over, i.e. with deliberation, his actions are kosher. (Divrei Vinoh)
Ch. 11, v. 45: "Hamaa'leh es'chem" - Who draws you up - Rashi (in parenthesis) notes the present tense, contrary to the common past tense, "asher hotzeisi" or the like." He cites D'vei Rebbi Yishmo'eil that Hashem says that even if the bnei Yisroel were to only be given the laws of not contaminating themselves to non-kosher creeping creatures and they would comply, the exodus from Egypt would be worthwhile. It seems that this explains the present tense, as this mitzvoh was just now given.
Alternatively, we might say that the bnei Yisroel were terribly contaminated in Egypt, falling to the 49th rung of contamination. A mitzvoh that distances one from contamination is a reminder of the exodus, the distancing ourselves from "tumoh." It is therefore most befitting to express the exodus in the present tense, as per the Hagodoh dictum, "Chayov odom liros es atzmo k'ilu hu ATO yotzo miMitzrayim" (Rambam's text).
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