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Yeshiva University Torah miTzion Beit Midrash Zichron Dov

Parshat Korach
Mazal Tov to these Yeshivat Or Chaim students for completing the YU Bekiut Program with R Ezra Goldschmiedt!
Joshua Feintuch, Yedidya Fischman, Uri Frischman, Aaron Ifraimov, Noam Karakowsky Aaron Leikin, David Tobis, Yonatan Usatinsky, Shlomo Witty

Toronto Torah
30 Sivan 5773/June 8, 2013
this warning; see Divrei haYamim II 26, in which Uziahu, King of Yehudah sought to usurp the role of the kohanim and was punished with tzaraat. We might add to the list of those who experienced tzaraat for rebellion against G-d's authorized agents. Miriam and Aharon spoke against Moshe's unique status and closeness to G-d granted that he was not a kohen, but he was still the agent of G-d and they experienced tzaraat. (Bamidbar 12, Shabbat 97a) These associations between Moshe, Korach, Uziahu and Miriam do identify stories with common denominators, but why i s tzaraa t an app ropriate punishment for rebellion against authorized kohanim? It may be contended that the Divine charge to the kohen is an extension of that first mission given to mankind in the Garden of Eden, with the words, "And G-d commanded the man." (Bereishit 2:16) As Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveitchik explained (The Emergence of Ethical Man, pg. 5), "G-d takes man-animal into His confidence, addresses him and reveals to him His moral will." From that point on, the meaning in Man's life lies in freely channelling his spirit into that which is Divinely declared to be right. This is the goal and purpose of human existence. Tzaraat, on the other hand, is a shadow of death; it is dying without dying, the body's vigour replaced by the snowy pallor associated with a corpse. The individual who experiences tzaraat is separated from the society of Man, cast out of the camp and condemned to declare, "Impure! Impure!" to warn off human traffic. (Vayikra 13:45-46) This

Vol.4 Num. 35

Tzaraat: Life Without a Mission

After Korach's rebellion is put down, Aharon instructs his son, Elazar, to create a memorial for the incinerated followers of this misguided revolt. As the Torah describes it, the purpose is "so that no outsider, who is not of the seed of Aharon, will draw near to bring incense before G-d, and there shall not be like Korach and his group, as G-d spoke, via the hand of Moshe, to him." (Bamidbar17:5) The Sages were troubled by the references to G-d speaking and the hand of Moshe; these difficulties led the Talmud to state: Rav said: One who perpetuates division violates a prohibition, as it is written, "And there shall not be like Korach and his group." Rav Ashi said: Such a person deserves tzaraat. Here it says, "Via the hand of Moshe," and Shemot 4:6 says, "And G-d said to him, 'Bring your hand into your bosom [...and and he withdrew it, and behold, it displayed tzaraat, like snow].'" According to Rambam (Sefer haMitzvot, Shoresh 8 and Lo Taaseh 45), the Talmud is not saying that the biblical declaration, "there shall not be like Korach and his group," is intended as a formal prohibition against strife. Rather, it is a warning that those who challenge the validity of the authorized kohanim, as Korach did, will experience the tzaraat which Moshe experienced when he refused his Divine mission. (Shemot 3-4) Moshe rejected his own status as the Divine agent, and Korach rejected Aharon's status as the Divine agent. One who rejects the Divine agent, as Korach and Moshe did, will suffer tzaraat. Rambam also notes an additional incident of tzaraat, which supports

Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner

individual is removed from the society of G-d, too, banned from entry into holy places or contact with sanctified property. (ibid. 13:46; Bamidbar 5:2) This individual acts as a mourner, his clothing torn and his hair unshaven, bereft and grieving. (Vayikra 13:45) Perhaps tzaraat, this form of living death and bereavement, is an ideal consequence for a person who rejects the authorized representative of G-d for rejection of G-d's ability to appoint someone as His agent is also rejection of that first, "And G-d commanded the man," and that purpose for which we live. Such a person is doomed to a meaningless, mission-less, pallid life, a living death, a perpetual mourner set apart from the community of Man and the community of G-d. [Perhaps this is also why Korach does not actually suffer tzaraat. Korach does not rebel against G-d's ability to select His agents; rather, he insists that G-d never selected Aharon at all.] We might think that we would not have made Korach's mistake, but we often fall into the trap of rejecting our own selection, living lives of self-satisfaction instead of mission-satisfaction. This begins as we structure our lives our homes, our careers, our hobbies - in the way we find most appealing. The selfcentred approach can come to dominate our identities to the point that the mission is gone, and what remains is a pallid, corpse-like, tzaraat-marked existence. The imperative, "there shall not be like Korach and his group," demands more of us to embrace the Divine command, to embrace our status as its agents, and so to embark upon lives of mission and purpose.



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Collective Punishment
The Torah tells us that immediately after the two hundred and fifty men from Korach's group offered incense, G-d revealed Himself to Moshe and Aharon and told them to separate themselves from 'this gathering (of people)', who are to be destroyed. Moshe understood Hashem to mean that He was going to destroy the whole of Am Yisrael, G-d forbid, and so he immediately asked HaShem, "Can it be that one man will sin and You will pour out rage upon the whole nation?" Hashem answered that the people around Korach's tents should distance themselves. Not long afterward, Korach and all of his possessions were swallowed by the ground, while the two hundred and fifty men who had offered incense were burned by a heavenly fire. (Bamidbar 16) Th i s s t o r y h a s p u z z l e d m a n y commentators: why did Hashem want to punish the whole nation in the beginning, and what point did Moshe make in order to change this decree? Some contend that G-d never intended to destroy the whole nation; He spoke only about Korach and his group, and Moshe misunderstood the Divine intent. Ramban (Bamidbar 16:21) quotes this view in the name of Rabbeinu Chananel, and rejects it because "G-d forbid, we cannot suggest that Moshe misunderstood his prophecy and erred." In truth, this is not the only instance in which Hashem seems to decree a collective punishment, and then faces a person who attempts to persuade Him to change His mind. The same happens with Avraham and Sedom, when Avraham argues, "It would be a desecration for You to kill the righteous with the wicked." (Bereishit 18:25)

Rabbi Baruch Weintraub

In the arena of halachah, matters are still more complicated. On the one hand, the Torah declares, "Fathers should not be killed for their sons, neither sons for their father. A man should be killed for his own sin." (Devarim 24:16) On the other hand, the Torah requires the killing of the entire nation of Amalek and the seven nations (if they do not sue for peace), regardless of the righteousness of each individual. Even within the Jewish nation, the law of the ir hanidachat [idolatrous city] seems to imply collective punishment. [See Rambam, Hilchot Avodah Zarah 4:6, but see also Kesef Mishneh there.] From all of the above it seems that collective punishment is neither correct nor wrong, but is a matter of the appropriate point of view for a given situation. From one point of view, individuals are atomic beings, each one standing for himself and responsible for himself. Another perspective sees groups of people as un i ts an d c om m un i ti e s. Bo th perspectives have real-world manifestations; the real question is not, "Which perspective is correct?" but "Which perspective applies in a given situation?" Avraham and Moshe do not change G-d's mind, of course; to suggest otherwise would be unthinkable, within the Torah's description of G-d. What they are asking is for G-d to change His perspective, and to judge individuals rather than groups.


The Escape
Adam Frieberg
After the Torah introduces Korach as a troublemaker, it immediately informs us of his sidekicks: Datan, Aviram and On ben Pelet. (Bamidbar 16:1) However, as we continue to read about the events that transpire over the course of the chapter, including Moshe's attempt to convince Korachs associates to abandon their plan, On ben Pelet vanishes. From the text, it seems as if On ben Pelet was not punished with the others. The Talmud (Sanhedrin 109b) says that On ben Pelets name refers to someone who sat in aninut [mourning]. This passage, as explained by Rashi, is addressing our question. It explains that the mourning On ben Pelet experienced was active repentance over the fact that he had conspired with sinners to overthrow Moshe and Aharon. It seems that On ben Pelet should be respected for changing his ways, but the Talmuds description of his repentance leaves us with an entirely different impression. Ons wife pointed out to him that regardless of whom he followed, Moshe or Korach, he would end up being subservient to the winner. Since there was no true benefit in rebelling, why should he bother? On ben Pelet agreed, but he claimed that he had already committed to support Korach, and so he could not turn back. As the Talmud explains, On's wife, realizing the foolishness of his stance, caused him to drink to the point of intoxication, put him to bed and sat in the doorway of their home with her hair undone, so that Korach and his followers would not retrieve him. By the time On ben Pelet woke up, the episode had ended and he had been saved from death. A question remains: how could Rashi consider On ben Pelet a penitent if his wife orchestrated a scenario where he couldnt sin? Doesnt teshuvah require regret and commitment not to reoffend? Perhaps On ben Pelet did indeed repent, but he could not remove himself from his old mode without the help of another. On's wife realized this and provided the necessary assistance. We refer to our tendencies and attitudes as our nature, which, at times, seems impossible to change. Reaching out can be embarrassing and daunting. Nonetheless, On's escape teaches us that it may be the best solution.

613 Mitzvot: #266-268, 272-274

A Kohens Marriage
Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner
As noted by the Sefer haChinuch (#266), Kohanim, as representatives of th e Be i t h a Mi k d ash , a r e responsible to make sure that their every activity is above reproach, and that rumours about their personal lives dont become rumours about the Beit haMikdash itself. Therefore, kohanim are limited in their license to marry. Specifically, kohanim may not marry women who have been involved in sexual immorality (#266) or daughters of kohanim who have married illegally (#267). Further, they may not marry a divorcee (#268), because of the concern, however misguided, that people may assume that infidelity had led to the divorce. The Kohen Gadol faces an even stricter standard his sole option is to marry a woman who has not been in a prior sexual relationship (#272-4)

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Biography: R Avraham ben Mordechai haLevi

R Meir Lipschitz

This Week in Israeli History

Rabbi Avraham ben Mordechai HaLevi Torah in Translation was born in Cairo ca. 1650. His father, Rabbi Mordechai HaLevi, had been part of the Cairo rabbinate, started a yeshiva in Rosetta, and was the author of the Rabbi Avraham HaLevi responsa sefer Darchei Noam. Rabbi Ginat Veradim Orach Chaim 2:6 Avraham learned in his fathers yeshiva from a young age, and when his father Translated by R Ezra Goldschmiedt moved to Israel towards the end of his life, Rabbi Avraham took over for him as Question: The Rambam wrote, in Hilchot the Rosh Yeshiva and later as Av Beit Sefer Torah 10:1, that there are twenty ways Din in Cairo. a Torah scroll might be disqualified from sanctity, such that one would not read from Rabbi Avraham HaLevi was eventually it in public. Included in the list of twenty appointed as the Chief Rabbi of Cairo. items he mentioned is if even a single letter is Rabbi Avraham HaLevi is responsible for missing or even a single letter is extra. This the publishing of a number of works; his is difficult, for then today we have no Torah most famous is the Ginat Veradim, a scroll that is valid, as it was given from Sinai. collection of his own responsa and those Even in the times of the Talmudic sages they of his contemporary Torah giants. In the did not have a valid Torah scroll, as back of the Ginat Veradim he included a Kiddushin 30a says, "Rav Yosef... responded smaller addition known as Gan to them that we are not experts in omissions HaMelech. He published his fathers and additions [i.e. in knowing whether responsa, Darchei Noam, and included certain letters that are not critical to an additional work, Milchemet Mitzvah, pronunciation should be included in the which recounted disputes between the spelling of a given word]. rabbis of Egypt, Israel, and Salonika.

1 Tammuz 1947 The Status Quo

Hillel Horovitz
1 Tammuz is Sunday

What is a Kosher Torah?

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Now, if the Talmudic sages who preceded us for whom some of the earlier sages' essence still remained weren't experts in omissions and additions, what can we say after them, we who have been through upheaval after upheaval and whose hearts have been diminished? If so, then at least the Rambam ought to have said that this is the biblical law, but that in our day, when we have no halachically precise Torah scroll in terms of omissions and additions, we should accept it as valid, since nothing else is possible! Answer: We say in Tractate Sofrim (6:4): "Three scrolls were found in the Temple ... In two it (Devarim 33:27) was written mem-ayinvav-nun-hei and in one it was written memayin-vav-nun; they upheld the two and dismissed the one..." They were correct in dismissing the one on account of the two, for by Torah law, we are to follow the majority in all matters. Even though it is possible and likely that we are not accurate in doing so, this is correct. Even in the arena of intimacy, which is so severe that it can generate mamzerim in Israel, we judge thus, according to the needs of the moment, such as in our assumption that a woman is biblically permitted to re-marry where her husband sinks in an endless body of water, because most who sink will die. We do not pay attention to the known minority who survive

Rabbi Avraham ben Mordechai HaLevi died in 1712, but his works continue to influence the formation of Ashkenazi halachah, as evidenced by the numerous selections from Ginat Veradim cited by Rabbi Yehuda Ashkenazi, author of Beer HaGolah on Shulchan Aruch.

It is seen in this that the words of the Rambam were accurate. Since there is a means of clarifying and knowing the source and nature of each scroll from its origin, we should decide in accordance with the majority when it is found that they conflict with each other. The scroll that is scrutinized thus will be considered as though it had been given at Sinai, and any omission or addition found otherwise will be entirely invalid by Torah law, without any of the holiness If the earlier scribes did this, evaluating, of a Torah scroll whatsoever... examining, scrutinizing and toiling mightily, and counting the Torah's letters, and scrutinizing the omissions and additions, and they followed the majority in matters of

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Our Haftorah (Rosh Chodesh): Yeshayah 66

Who is the prophet of our haftorah? Yeshayah (Isaiah) was a prophet in the period leading up to the exile of the ten northern tribes of Yisrael by the Assyrians. He lived in the southern kingdom of Yehudah, and he prophesied during the reigns of Kings Uziyahu, Yotam, Achaz and Chizkiyahu. According to the Talmud (Sotah 10a), he was a descendant of Yehudah and Tamar. As the Talmud (Bava Batra 15a) informs us, the book of Yeshayah was compiled by King Chizkiyahu and associates of his. The prophecies of Yeshayah may be classified in two categories, Rebuke and Redemption; the former dominates the early chapters of the book, while the latter occupies the latter portion. The split is not clean, though; portions of the former include redemption, and portions of the latter include rebuke. What is the message of our haftorah? Our haftorah begins with a sharp rebuke to people who think that by observing the practice of ritual sacrifice they are licensed to continue with their evil ways. Hashem promises that He will take his revenge upon these sinners. Yeshayah then continues to describe the future redemption, and the happiness of those who are now mourning for Yerushalayim. The redemption described is not a peaceful one; as the prophet himself mentions, "those slain by Hashem shall be many." (66:16) The death toll will also serve as a reminder for the future. As Yeshayah says in the concluding verse, people who come to bow before G-d on Shabbat and Rosh Chodesh will "go out and see the corpses of the people who rebelled against Me, for their worm shall not die, and their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorring for all flesh." (66:24) What is the connection to Rosh Chodesh? The immediate connection is the mentioning of "Chodashim" (new moons) as times when people will come to serve Hashem. Perhaps, though, another connection is in the "new heavens and new earth" that Hashem will make. (66:22) This theme is found in the beginning of our haftorah, too: "So said G-d, the heavens are My throne, and the earth is My footstool; which is the house that you will build for Me, and which is the place of My rest?" (66:1) When Shlomo built the Beit HaMikdash, he knew well that "the heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You; much less this house that I have erected." (Melachim I, 8:27) Yet, Shlomo hoped that a material house would enable people to address G-d, and

Rabbi Baruch Weintraub

HaShem would thereby "dwell upon the earth." Indeed, that is the goal of our work in this world to connect, through limited material acts, to the Divine. Our haftorah describes what would happen if this vision were to fail. The people come to sacrifice, but do not reach HaShem: "Whoever slaughters an ox has slain a man." (66:3) With this failure, G-d is compelled to completely eradicate the world, and to create it anew. Evil will be defeated, but not converted, and to the end of days it will remain as a witness to our failure to give Hashem a place in the physical realm. However, there are other visions of redemption in Yeshayah, such as in Chapter 60. Due to space limitations we cannot analyze them here, but it will suffice to say that the differences between these visions stem from the ultimate question: Has man succeeded in his quest of finding G-d in our world? Rosh Chodesh, the birth of the new moon, resembles the final redemption that will come even out of total darkness. This haftorah is a comforting promise: Even if we will fail, G-d will still redeem us.

Highlights for June 8 June 14 / 30 Sivan - 6 Tammuz

Shabbat, June 8 7:45 AM R Baruch Weintraub, Reasons for Mitzvot, Or Chaim not this week 10:20 AM R Baruch Weintraub, Parshah, Clanton Park Derashah Adam Frieberg, Shaarei Tefillah 5:30 PM Mrs. Elyssa Goldschmiedt, Emunah Seudah Shlishit: Preparing for Rosh haShanah in June, BAYT 8:00 PM Adam Frieberg, Pirkei Avot, Shaarei Tefillah After minchah R Mordechai Torczyner, Gemara Avodah Zarah: Kosher Beer, BAYT Tuesday, June 11 1:30 PM R Mordechai Torczyner, Daniel: The Man in Linen, Shaarei Shomayim 8:30 PM Adam Frieberg, TGIF - or is it?: The Inner Workings of Early Shabbat, Part II, Shaarei Tefillah 8:30 PM R Baruch Weintraub, Rambams Laws of Kings: International Law, Shomrai Shabbos, men

Wednesday, June 12 12:30 PM R Mordechai Torczyner, Business Ethics Luncheon: Tzedakah Priorities, Zeifmans, 201 Bridgeland Avenue lunch, free of charge, RSVP to Sunday, June 9 8 PM Chabura Night at BAYT 9:15 AM Hillel Horovitz, Parshah, Zichron Yisroel, Hebrew R Ezra Goldschmiedt: Path of the Just (Shacharit 8:30 AM) Hillel Horovitz: Journey through Judges: Ch. 4-5 10:00 AM Midreshet Yom Rishon BAYT, women R Mordechai Torczyner: Medical Halachah Mrs. Rachel Javasky: What was Korach fighting against? After Maariv Chabura Night at Shaarei Shomayim Mrs. Michal Horovitz: The World was Created for Me 6:30 PM R Baruch Weintraub, Contemporary Halachah in Thursday, June 13 10:15 AM Laws of Berachot, BAYT, women, with R Aaron Israel, Hebrew, 4 Tillingham Keep, mixed 40 min. pre-minchah R Baruch Weintraub, Contemporary Greenberg, R Daniel Korobkin, R Mordechai Torczyner 8:00 PM R Baruch Weintraub, Sotah, Clanton Park Halachah in Israel, Hebrew, Clanton Park, men Monday, June 10 8 PM Monday Beit Midrash: Bnai Torah, Clanton Park 8 PM Hillel Horovitz, Melachim II:15-17, Bnai Torah 9 PM Hillel Horovitz, Rav Kooks Ein Ayah, Bnai Torah




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