Oroh V'Simchoh

Meshech Chochmoh
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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 1, v. 5: "V'hikrivu bnei Aharon haKohanim es hadom" - Rashi explains that these words refer to the service of walking the blood after it is received in a sanctified vessel, from the location of the slaughtering to the altar in preparation for placing the blood onto the altar in its prescribed manner. This walking requires a Kohein. The Rambam in hilchos p'su'lei hamukdoshim 1:22 says that bringing the blood close to the altar specifically requires having it walked there, i.e. and not by having a brigade of Kohanim standing in a line and one handing it to the next until it is next to the altar (my example). The Rambam adds that because of this ruling if a KOHEIN GODOL received the blood from the neck of the slaughtered sacrifice and stood in his place and threw the blood onto the altar, the sacrifice is invalid. This is most puzzling, as this rule applies to a Kohein Godol and a regular Kohein equally.

The MESHECH CHOCHMOH answers this problem in a most novel way. We find in the Rambam's commentary on mishnayos Z'vochim that if a sacrifice was slaughtered right next to the altar and a Kohein received its blood in a pan and placed the blood onto the altar without walking, that it is valid. This is not contrary to the ruling mentioned above, because it is not intrinsically required to have the blood walked to the altar, only if it was distanced from the altar and normally would be brought close to allow for it to be placed onto the altar, this must be done by walking and no other way, as mentioned above. The Rambam in hilchos p'su'lei hamukdoshim is discussing having the blood a distance from the altar, and the Kohein threw it onto the altar without walking, where normally one would bring it closer. If so, how indeed did the Kohein get the blood onto the altar from a distance without walking? The Rambam gives an example of a LARGE KOHEIN, meaning that he had long limbs and stretched to bring the blood close to the altar and threw it after stretching, rather than walking closer, and this is invalid. KOHEIN GODOL in this context does not mean the "high priest," but rather a very tall Kohein.

Ch. 4, v. 3: "Im haKohein hamoshiach yecheto l'ashmas ho'om" - The MESHECH CHOCHMOH explains our verse with the seemingly puzzling words of Targum Yonoson ben Uziel. He writes that the Kohein Godol sinned "b'mik'r'vei korban chovas amo d'lo ch'hil'ch'sei," - when he brought the obligatory sacrifice of the nation against halacha. This is understood with the words of the M.R. Shmos 8:2. The medrash brings the verse in Yirmiyohu 23:24, "Im yiso'seir ish b'mistorim va'ani lo er'enu n'um Hashem?" The medrash interprets these words to mean that if a person will sin with idol worship in a clandestine manner, Hashem will make his sin known to the public. Read "er'enu," I will see him, as "ar'enu," I will display him. Sinning with idol worship in a hidden manner is stated in Dvorim 27:15, "Orur ho'ish asher yaa'seh fesel uma'seichoh toavas Hashem maa'sei y'dei chorosh v'som ba'so'ser."

How indeed has the Kohein Godol come to sin accidentally, since he has at his disposal the "urim v'tumim," a tool for Divine guidance? Add to this the assurance that "raglei chasidov yishmore" (Shmuel 1:2:9).

The MESHECH CHOCHMOH answers that this is the intention of the Targum Yonoson ben Uziel. The Kohein Godol sinned by bringing the offering of Yom Kippur that is processed in the Holy of Holies improperly. This was a major bone of contention between the Pharisees and the Sadducees to the point that the Mikdosh court made the Kohein Godol swear that he would process the incense as per the opinion of the Pharisees (see mishneh Yoma chapter 1).

Since no one was allowed to accompany him during the services done in the Mikdosh (Vayikroh 16:17), if he strayed from the proper service, it was done clandestinely. This is equated by the medrash with idol worship, as the whole approach of the Sadducees was one of not believing in the tradition of our Rabbis, "Torah sheb'al peh." Hashem brings his sin to the attention of the public by making him come to a wrong ruling unintentionally. The cause for this is "l'ashmas ho'om," that he processed their atonement sacrifice improperly, thus invalidating it, and their sin is still not forgiven. The MESHECH CHOCHMOH adds that with this we can understand why in verse 6 it says "es pnei poroches HAKODESH," that the blood is sprinkled towards the face of the curtain that stands in front of the HOLY chamber, but by "par he'elem dovor shel tzibur" (4:17) it leaves out HAKODESH. The word HAKODESH is mentioned here to point out that his original sin began in the Holy of Holies.

Ch. 5, v. 7: "Echod l'chatos v'echod l'oloh" - For the atonement of certain unintentional sins, a sin offering must be brought. This is either a sheep or a goat. If the sinner is so poor that he cannot afford a sheep or goat, the Torah allows him to bring two birds, one as a sin offering, a "chatos," which is eaten by the Kohein, and one as an "oloh" offering, which is totally consumed on the altar.

The gemara Chulin 22a says that the processing of the bird "oloh" may not be done at night because it is compared to the "chatos" bird offering that accompanies it, which may only be done by day. Someone asked the Rashbo (Tshuvos hoRashbo vol. 1, responsa #276), "How could anyone even entertain the thought that the "oloh" offering could be processed at night, since we have a teaching from Vayikroh 7:37,38 that ALL sacrifices must have their blood processing, avodas hadam, done by day?" The Rashbo wrote that he had no answer for this question, but suggested another text in the above gemara which totally leaves out the comparison of "olas ho'ofe" to "chatos ho'ofe." The Ibn Ezra asks, "Why is there a need for an "oloh" altogether, since the original sacrifice was only a "chatos?" He answers that since the original sacrifice was a sheep or goat (5:6), there would have been a portion for the Kohein and a portion for the altar as well. However, if the poor person were to only bring a "chatos" offering of a bird, there would be nothing for the altar. The sole purpose of bringing the "oloh" bird offering is to give the altar its portion.

The MESHECH CHOCHMOH says that according to this Ibn Ezra we can understand why there is a need for a special teaching that THIS "olas ho'ofe" cannot be processed at night. Although no sacrifices may be processed at night, but since the whole purpose of bringing this "oloh" was to offer the altar its portion, there is good reason to believe that this would be an exception. The burning of "olos" may be done at night, as mentioned in the first Mishneh of Brochos regarding burning of parts of korbonos at night. Similarly, one might think that the complete processing of this particular "oloh" may be done at night. Therefore we need a special comparison to its accompanying offering, the "chatos ho'ofe", that it may only be done by day.

The MESHECH CHOCHMOH had a visitor on the day that the above Torah thought came to his mind. The MESHECH CHOCHMOH told his guest that he had taken a short midday nap that day and had a dream in which the Rashbo appeared to him and told him that the MESHECH CHOCHMOH had answered the question posed to the Rashbo in a far superior manner. (Preface to M'kore Boruch and MESHECH CHOCHMOH on Rambam hilchos maa'seir sheini v'neta rva'i 7:3)


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