Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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1) Ch. 21, v. 3: "V'laachoso asher lo hoysoh l'ish" - And to his sister who was not married - Rabbeinu Tam explains that the Torah prohibits a Kohein to defile himself to his dead sister when she was married because her husband, even if he was a Kohein, would attend to her burial needs. If so, why doesn't the Torah likewise prohibit defiling oneself to a deceased mother or daughter who was married?

2) Ch. 21, v. 8: "V'kidashto ki es lechem Elokecho hu makriv" - Since there are numerous sanctified activities that only a Kohein may do, why does the Torah hinge our responsibility to sanctify him specifically on his bringing sacrifices to Hashem?

3) Ch. 21, v. 8: "V'kidashto ki es lechem ElokeCHO hu makriv" - In other verses we find that the Kohein's sanctity is predicated on "THEIR G-d" or "HIS G-d," as in verse 6, where "(l)Eilokei'HEM" is mentioned three times, and in verse 7, "lEilokOV." Why in our verse does it say "lechem ElokeCHO," YOUR G-d?

4) Ch. 23, v. 11,15: "Mimochoras haShabbos y'ni'fenu hakohein, Usfartem lochem mimochoras haShabbos" - On the morning after the Shabbos the Kohein should wave it, And you shall count for yourselves from the morning after the Shabbos - Rashi (gemara M'nochos 65b) says that the word "Shabbos" in these verses means the first day of Pesach. The gemara M'nochos 65b-66a brings no less than 8 proofs that "Shabbos" means the first day of Pesach, and not Shabbos the 7th day of the week, contrary to the incorrect position of the Saducees. Why indeed does the Torah express itself with the word "Shabbos," rather than simply stating "mimochoras haPesach" or the like?

5) Ch. 23, v. 21: "Ukro'sem b'etzem hayom ha'zeh mikro kodesh yi'h'yeh lochem" - Why does this verse duplicate the CALLING of the Yom Tov, using both the word "ukro'sem" and "mikro?" Also, what is the intention of "b'etzem hayom hazeh," - in this very day?



One is not as close to his sister as he is to his mother or daughter. Prohibiting him to defile himself to them would cause the Kohein much anguish. (Abarbanel)


The M'lo Ho'omer asks this and he answers that the gemara Chulin 11a derives the axiom "haloch achar horov," we follow the majority, i.e. the most likely probability, from the laws of offering sacrifices. They must be kosher. Technically we can never be sure that this is so since there may have been a flaw in the animal that renders it "treifoh." Even if after its slaughter we were to do an autopsy of sorts, literally dissecting the animal limb by limb, we cannot be sure that there was no flaw in it. For example, if we were to cut open its skull, perhaps there was a puncture exactly on the spot that it was cut. We must conclude, says the gemara, that we follow the majority. We assume that this animal was kosher, as the majority of animals do not have a flaw that renders it a "treifoh." Thus we have a proof that we follow the more probable possibility.

We now understand the linkage between the Kohein's offering sacrifices and sanctifying him. If one were to say that we should not sanctify any Kohein, as there is the possibility that his father is not a Kohein, i.e. his mother conceived from another person, we counter that we find that the Kohein offers sacrifices to Hashem, and we do not fear that the animal was a "treifoh," because we follow the axiom of "haloch achar horov," assuming that the animal is of the majority, which are not "treifoh," so too, everyone must sanctify the Kohein, assuming that he is indeed a Kohein because of this exact same reasoning.


The Chasam Sofer answers that in our verse, which begins with the word "v'kidashto," we are discussing even a Kohein who has sinned by marrying a divorced woman. We sanctify him by forcing him to divorce this woman if he is not disposed to do so out of his own volition, as per the gemara Y'vomos 88b.

Similarly we find that even if a Kohein is a sinner, he may perform the ritual of "n'sias kapayim," raising his hands in blessing the bnei Yisroel (Tur Shulchan Oruch O.Ch. #128). In spite of his still being allowed to perform this ritual, it is obvious that he does not bring a great measure of sanctity into his functions. This is why our verse says that this Kohein offers YOUR sacrifice to Hashem, not wanting to mention that it is also his offering.


1) Shabbos means cessation. We count the days of the week as the first day, the second day, etc., until we reach Shabbos. We then start again from the first day. Thus Shabbos brings to an end and ceases the previous count and the following day is the beginning of a new count. The requirement to start counting from the day after the first day of Pesach justifiably gives it the nature of Shabbos and therefore the same appellation. (Mahara"l of Prague in Gur Aryeh)

2) The Rambam in hilchos chometz u'matzoh 7:1 writes that from the words "Zochor es ha'yom ha'zeh asher y'tzo'sem miMitzrayim" (Shmos 13:3) we derive that it is a mitzvoh on the first night of Pesach to relate the miracles and exodus which took place on this night, similar to that which is written, "Zochor es yom haShabbos l'kadsho (Shmos 20:8)." What is the intention of the Rambam in equating Pesach to Shabbos because of the common word ZOCHOR found by both?

One can view the calendar anniversary of a Yom Tov as a commemoration of that which has taken place in the ancient past. However, regarding Pesach, we say in the Hagodoh, "Chayov odom liros es atzmo k'ilu hu yotzo miMitzrayim," - It is incumbent upon a person to consider himself as one who has personally left Egypt. The Rambam's text in the Hagodoh is, "k'ilu hu yotzo ATTOH," - as if he has NOW left. This is not a commemorative vicarious experience, but rather it should be considered as our personal event. Shabbos likewise is not a commemoration. It is our active testimony that Hashem made the world in six days and ceased from further creation on the seventh. This might be the intention of the Rambam in his comparison. Perhaps this is also the reason the Torah calls Pesach Shabbos, to teach us that the Pesach experience is to be viewed as our own present-day occurrence. (Nirreh li)

3) If the verse were to say either "mimochoras haCHAG" or "mimochoras haMO'EID" we would mistakenly understand this to mean the day after the 7 day holiday of Pesach ends. If the verse were to say "mimochoras haPESACH" we would still incorrectly interpret this to mean the morning after sacrificing the Paschal lamb, the 15th of Nison, as we find in Bmidbar 33:3, "Mimochoras haPesach yotzu vnei Yisroel." By saying "mimochoras haShabbos" it is clear that the intention is the day following the day of restriction from work, the 16th of Nison. (Malbi"m)

Shaa'rei Aharon asks that it still remains to be explained why the verse didn't say "mimochoras Yom (Tov) horishon shel Pesach." Perhaps this can be answered by saying that the first Pesach lasted only one day so there was no second section of Yom Tov, and although here we are discussing Pesach for later generations, the Torah did not want to express itself in a manner that is not consistent with the original Pesach, the forerunner for all later P'sochim.

4) Since the verse is discussing an offering in the Beis Hamikdosh, there is no difference between Shabbos and Yom Tov. Although regarding our own activities there is the difference of the leniency of "ochel nefesh," and that is why Yom Tov is sometimes called "Shabbosone" with the added diminutive letters Vov-Nun (Vayikroh 23:24,29), in the Beis Hamikdosh there is no difference, as any sacrifice that is a requirement and has a set time is to be processed even at the expense of the laws of Shabbos. (Abarbenel and N'tzi"v in Haa'meik Dovor)

This explanation is more readily understood in verse 11 where we have the command to bring the "omer" offerings, but in verse 15, where the thrust is the mitzvoh of counting, even though the verse uses the day of the offerings as the starting point for counting, this is less well understood.

5) As long as the bnei Yisroel were in Egypt they were in a defiled environment. This ended on the 15th of Nison, the day they left Egypt. They then began counting days and weeks of purity, in preparation for receiving the Holy Torah. Therefore this day is called Shabbos, meaning the day of cessation of defilement. (Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh)

6) We derive from the words "reishis k'tzirchem" - the first of your harvest - in the previous verse, that one may not begin to harvest his crop until the "omer" offering is brought (gemara M'nochos 71a). Not harvesting is one aspect of not pursuing normal agricultural activities. This restraint is called "Shabbos" in Vayikroh 25:2, "V'shovsoh ho'oretz SHABBOS laShem." Since the day before the "omer" offering is brought still has this restriction, it is called "Shabbos." (Rabbi S.R. Hirsch)

7) In "kiddush" of Shabbos we say that Shabbos is "Zeicher litzias Mitzroyim." In what way is Shabbos a reminder of the exodus from Egypt? The Mahara"l of Prague in G'vuros Hashem chapter #44 writes that a day of rest is only appropriate for one who has a clearly defined direction and goal. Gentiles do not have this and they are therefore forbidden to set aside a regular day of rest, "aku"m sheshovas chayov misoh" (gemara Sanhedrin 58b). It is only by virtue of Hashem's taking us out of Egypt to serve him that we have Divine direction and goals. This intertwining of Shabbos and Pesach gives Pesach the title of Shabbos, as it is the source of our being allowed (and required) to cease from many worldly pursuits. (Nirreh li)

8) One is responsible to have his leavened food cease to exist by the 15th of Nison, as expressed in the verse, "Ba'yom horishon TASHBISU s'ore mibo'teichem" (Shmos 12:15). "Mimochoras haShabbos" means the morning after you cause your "chometz" to CEASE to exist. (Haksav V'hakaboloh and Meshech Chochmoh)

I have a bit of difficulty understanding this because the verse of "tashbisu" refers to the 14th of Nison. Perhaps because during the first half of the day "chometz" is permitted, the 14th is not considered a day of cessation, even though the mitzvoh takes place during that day.

9) By analyzing and comparing the laws of Shabbos and Yom Tov, we find that Yom Tov is a holiday that allow us to involve others in serving Hashem with us in unison. For example, it is permitted to cook and bake on Yom Tov itself. It is also permitted to carry food items ("ho'il" allows for other items as well) from one domain to another. These two leniencies allow us to accommodate guests in joining us in our meals even if we had no prior notice. This allows for joining in a group in the service of Hashem in celebrating Yom Tov.

Shabbos has a different character. The above-mentioned leniencies do not exist. Shabbos is the service of Hashem as individuals, although the service of each individual is towards the same goal, somewhat like the individual spokes of a wheel that all lead to one central point.

However, the Pesach in Egypt had the characteristics of Shabbos, as there was a restriction to leave one's home (Shmos 12:22). In remembrance of the unique character of the original Pesach the Torah calls its first day Shabbos. (Meshech Chochmoh)

10) The year since creation of this command was 2449. This is the 17th year in the 127th cycle of 19 year cycles. The 17th year is "m'uberres," i.e. it has 13 months. Given that the bnei Yisroel left Egypt on a Thursday, and applying some other rules of when specific Yomim Tovim can and cannot fall on certain days of the week, we find that the first day of Pesach of year 2449 fell on Shabbos. (Droshos HoRavi"l in Yad Shluchoh)

This still does not explain why this day is not expressed as Pesach or "chag." As well, it is misleading for future years.

11) Before the giving of the Torah calendar days ran from daybreak to daybreak. Thus when the bnei Yisroel were commanded to "process the Pesach offering," meaning to consume it (This is contrary to the Malbim mentioned earlier in #3), it referred to the night but it was still the 14th of Nison. "Mimochoras haPesach" of eating the Paschal lamb would mean on the 15th of Nison. Our verse was transmitted before the second Pesach. When our verse mentions "mimochoras haShabbos," again referring to the day after consuming the Paschal lamb, it refers to the day after eating the lamb at night, but now that was on the 15th. Had our verse said "mimochoras haPesach" it would have been unclear if it means on the 15th as it did the previous year, or the 16th. The verse therefore expresses itself with "mimochoras haShabbos," the day after the restraint from work, which was the 15th in the previous year as well, and "mimochoras haShabbos" is unambiguously the 16th. (MVRHRH"G R' Yaakov Kamenecki)


Rabbi Elozor Moshe Horowitz zt"l, Rov of Pinsk, answers that the verse alludes to the ruling of the Tu'rei Zohov in his one line preface to O.Ch. #474, that on the eve of Shovuos one should not make "kiddush" early, before it is completely night, so as not to contravene the requirement to have seven FULL weeks from the beginning of the "sefiroh" before the advent of Shovuos. This is alluded to by the words "ukro'sem b'etzem hayom ha'zeh," - and you shall herald in the Yom Tov ON THIS VERY DAY, by making "kiddush," and not any earlier. However, "tosfos Yom Tov" may be added, as this is independent of "kiddush." Thus the verse ends, "mikro kodesh yi'h'yeh lochem," - calling this day holy early by making "tosfos Yom Tov" is for you, without mentioning "b'etzem hayom ha'zeh."



See also Sedrah Selections, Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha and Chasidic Insights

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