Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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1) Ch. 5, v. 14: "V'hee nitmo'oh v'hee lo nitmo'oh" - Either she was defiled or she was not defiled - Why doesn't the verse simply say "v'lo noda im nitmo'oh," - and it was not known if she was defiled?

2) Ch. 6, v. 5: "Kodosh yi'h'yeh" - He shall be holy - What level of sanctity does the nozir have?

3) Ch. 6, v. 5: "Ga'deil pera sar rosho" - We see that the nozir is not only prohibited to cut his hair, but that it is holy as well. What symbolic or ideological message is there in specifically having the hair holy?

4) Ch. 6, v. 7: "U'l'achoso" - The Torah gives us a list of relatives to whom the nozir may not defile himself. The mention of each additional relative teaches us that even when there is a more pressing need to avoid involvement with a burial, it is only for a person who has others to bury him that the nozir must remain "tohor," undefiled. However, for a dead person who has no one else to bury him, a "meis mitzvoh," he must defile himself (gemara Nozir 48b). "U'l'achoso" teaches us that he must defile himself to a "meis mitzvoh" even if he is a nozir who is on his way to perform a circumcision on his own son and also on the way to sacrifice his Paschal lamb.

On a simple level we might say that adding to the sanctity of being a nozir our Rabbis add on multiple other mitzvoh responsibilities that are pushed aside if he becomes defiled by virtue of the need to extrapolate something from the extra mention of relatives. However, here there is an allusion in the word "la'achoso" for circumcision and for "korban Pesach." What is it?

5) Ch. 7, v. 84: "ZOSE CHANUKAs hamizbei'ach b'yom himoshach oso." - This is the dedication of the altar on the day of its anointing - We call the last day of Chanukah "zose Chanukah," and the common understanding of this is because we read these words on the eighth day of Chanukah. This seems to be a very flimsy reason, as we don't call other dates by some words that are read from the Torah on that day.



Haksav V'hakaboloh asks this and he answers that the verse is telling us that once the husband warned her to not go into seclusion with a certain person, the "sotoh" procedure is required, whether she hid with a man who very likely sinned with her, i.e. a licentious immoral person, "v'hee nit'mo'oh," or if she hid with a person who very likely did not sin with her, her father for example, "v'hee lo nitmo'oh." In either case she must go through the procedure.


Sefer Hachinuch in mitzvoh #376 writes that he is to be equated with the Kohein Godol. He derives this from the fact that a "nozir" may not defile himself even to his 7 closest relatives (verse 7), just like the Kohein Godol (Vayikra 21:11). As well, the Torah says that both the "nozir" and the Kohein Godol have Hashem's "crown" upon them, "ki nei'zer Elokov al rosho" (verse 7), and "ki nei'zer shemen mish'chas Elokov olov" (Vayikra 21:22).

The Rambam in hilchos "shmitoh v'yoveil" 13:12 writes: The reason that the tribe of Levi did not receive a portion of land in Eretz Yisroel as did the other tribes is because they are separated to serve Hashem and to teach His righteous ways to the masses, as is written, "Yoru mishpo'techo l'Yaakov v'Toros'cho l'Yisroel" (Dvorim 33:10). Therefore they are separated from worldly activities, and are not drafted into the army, nor do they receive an inheritance in the land. Rather, they are the army of Hashem, as is stated, "Bo'reich Hashem cheilo" (Dvorim 33:11), and in spite of their not pursuing worldly matters Hashem provides for them, as is written, "Ani chel'k'cho v'nachalo'secho" (Bmidbar 18:20). The Rambam continues in halacha 13: Not only the tribe of Levi, but anyone whose spirit has elevated him and his intellect has brought him to separate himself to stand in service of Hashem and to pursue understanding of Hashem's holiness and goes on a straight path, as Hashem has created humanity, and removes from his neck the petty calculations of the common man that sideline a person from pursuing the true goal (as per Koheles 7:29), he is sanctified to become Holy of Holies, and Hashem will become his "lot and inheritance" for all eternity. Just as the L'viim merit to have their physical needs met through Hashem's special involvement, so too, he will merit this, as is stated by King Dovid, "Hashem m'nos chelki atoh tomich goroli" (T'hilim 16:5).

The Radva"z in his commentary on these words of the Rambam in halochos 12 and 13 writes that the basis of the Rambam is "mi'yosher daato u'svoroso," from the straightness of his knowledge and his understanding.

Rabbi Meir Simchoh haKohein of Meshech Chochmoh fame writes in responsa Ohr So'mei'ach in his final responsa (#67) that the source for the Rambam that anyone who has made the service of Hashem his calling, has brought himself to the level of the tribe of Levi, is from Divrei Hayomim 1, where we find that the verses mention by all the tribes that they are "giborei chayil latzovo," or some other similar expression, except for the tribes of Levi and Yisochor. We know that Levi is exempt, but why is Yisochor exempt? He answers that it is well known that the tribe of Yisochor took upon itself to study Torah full time, a most vital service of Hashem. We thus see that one can take upon himself the service of the tribe of Levi, and the Rambam extended this to other areas.

The words of the Ohr So'mei'ach are most puzzling, as we find the words "g'du'dei tz'vo milchomoh" by the tribe of Yisochor (Divrei Hayomim 1:7:5) and as well, it is not found by a number of other tribes. To check this out requires reading from chapter 7 through chapter 12.

Rabbi Yehudoh Kuperman shlit"a suggests that the Rambam has as a source for these halochos the laws of the "nozir" in our verses regarding defilement, with the insight of the Chinuch brought earlier. The Chinuch writes that a "nozir" has sanctified himself and is on the level of a Kohein Godol. This is done of his own volition, and is a most wonderful source for the Rambam.

It may be added that the Rambam himself writes that a nozir is on the level of a Kohein Godol in Moreh N'vuchim 3:48. As well, if this is the source for the Rambam, it is very well understood why he writes that the "nozir" is sanctified "Kodesh Kodoshim," as this term is used by the Kohein Godol Aharon in Divrei Hayomim 1:23:13, "Va'yibo'deil Aharon l'hakdisho kodesh kodoshim."


Perhaps there is a symbolic message here. The human body corresponds to the mitzvos of the Torah, the body having 365 sinews and 248 organs (male). Correspondingly, the Torah has given us 613 mitzvos which include 365 restrictions and 248 positive precepts. The nozir has taken upon himself something extra, beyond the restrictions of the Torah, and has included them in the list of restrictions. Human hair is in some ways beyond the basic body. We find that it can be cut with feeling no pain, that although a person has died, it continues to grow for a short while, and that the prohibition to not derive benefit from a human body after the person has died does not apply to hair. All these points show us a beyond the body relationship of hair with the rest of the person. Since the nozir has taken extra restrictions upon himself, the Torah wants him to be continuously conscious of this, and gives his hair sanctity that it would not otherwise have.


The Torah T'mimoh says that the word "achoso" alludes specifically to the mitzvos of circumcision and the Paschal lamb, as their fulfillment is an act of sibling closeness to Hashem. We find this in the Medrash Shir Hashirim 5:2 on the words, "pis'chi li ACHOSI ra'yosi." The medrash says that the bnei Yisroel are called Hashem's sister when they fulfill the mitzvos of circumcision and bringing the Paschal lamb.


Four verses later (v.88) we find the words "ZOSE chanukas hamizbei'ach ACHA'REI himoshach oso." The Holy Admor of Kotzk says that to have enthusiasm at the time of the inauguration of the Mishkon comes easily, as is human nature when encountering anything of interest for the first time. The true test of being connected to something is after the glamour of the newness fades. One should feel the CHANUKAH, the dedication, "ACHA'REI himoshach oso," afterwards, with the same enthusiasm as "B'YOM himoshach oso."

This insight offers us a new interpretation of a nomenclature given to the last day of Chanukah, "ZOSE CHANUKAH." On a simple level the name "ZOSE CHANUKAH" is given to the eighth day of Chanukah because the Torah reading of that day includes "ZOSE chanukas hamizbei'ach B'YOM himoshach oso" (7:84). Since this is the last day of Chanukah, it is human nature that the excitement of Chanukah has dissipated. Yet we find the message of Chanukah is "maalin bakodesh," - we elevate ourselves in sanctity, demonstrated by following the opinion of Beis Hillel, that we increase the number of Chanukah lights each night. Perhaps the reason the last day of Chanukah is called "ZOSE CHANUKAH," is not in reference to "ZOSE chanukas hamizbei'ach B'YOM himoshach oso" (7:84), but rather to our verse, "ZOSE chanukas hamizbei'ach ACHA'REI himoshach oso," teaching us that we must take the values taught by Chanukah with us for later, and to retain them with great enthusiasm.



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

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