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Volume XV - Issue 19
The DRS Weekly Torah Publication
Never Stop Doing Mitzvos
By Yehuda Inslicht, 11th Grade
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espite the greatness of Aharon, he suffered the lost of his two sons, Nadav and Avihu, through unnatural
means. A fire from Hashem consumed them, and they died. But why? What had they done to deserve
such an untimely fate? There have been several explanations offered about this. One centers around the
idea that Nadav and Avihu had expounded the law in the presence of their teacher Moshe (Eruvin 63a). This may
seem harmless, but in reality, it is quite a severe matter. By doing so, they had shown a lack of respect for their
teacher’s authority, and this, in effect, challenged Hashem’s authority as well. One who challenges the Torah Sag-
es, those imbued with Hashem’s wisdom, denies the whole basis of the Torah. Because the Rabbanim are the
earthly representatives of the Almighty, both they and their laws must be accorded the highest respect. Therefore,
when one has a question about a law or about how he should conduct himself, he should take the matter to a Rabbi
instead of deciding it on his own. Though Rabbi Akiva was one of the greatest of our Sages, he refused to go
against the words of the Rabbanim. Because of his adherence to the Torah, Rabbi Akiva had been imprisoned by
the Romans. While he was in jail, Rabbi Yehoshua would bring him a jug of water every day. One day, Rabbi Ye-
(Continued on page 6)
arshas Tzav ends with the eight days of the inauguration of the Mishkan.
During these eight days, Hashem instructed Moshe to perform various
sacrifices in the Mishkan. Throughout the first seven days, Aharon and
his sons stayed next to the Mishkan and observed Moshe. This was an instruc-
tive service which the Kohanim would put into practice on the eighth day. They
learned how to sacrifice the various Korbanos.
This week’s parsha, Parshas Shemini, begins on the eighth day of inau-
guration. On this day, the final prerequisites for serving in the Mishkan were
completed by Aharon and his sons. They were consecrated to their service and
from that point on, no non-kohen could serve in the Mishkan. On this day,
Aharon was instructed by Moshe to bring his first Korban in the Mishkan.
In Darash Moshe, Rav Moshe Feinstein asks a simple question on this
instruction. When the Jews were told to bring the Korban Pesach in Egypt, they
were informed about the Korban four days in advance of the day they were sup-
posed to bring it. Aharon’s Korban is a similar situation, as this is the first time
he will bring the Korban. It would seem practical, or at least more characteristic,
for Hashem to give Aharon a warning a few days before the Korban is supposed
(Continued on page 4)
The Importance of Respecting the Sages
By Jacob Skolnick, 12th Grade
20 ADAR II, 5774
MARCH 22, 2014
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Candle Lighting: 6:49 pm
Latest עמש תאירק: 9:58 am
תבש Ends: 7:50 pm
לה ןמ םיאצויה םירבד “ ב
prised to see that a package had been neatly placed inside. He
opened it, and there were two fine-looking challah loaves! He
had no idea where they had come from, but he didn’t think too
much about it; he simply decided to take them home and eat
them—after all, they looked and smelled delicious!
And they were delicious. The caretaker was delighted
with this unexpected fringe benefit of his job.
That evening, the Jew waited impatiently for the end of
the prayers. When everyone had left the synagogue, he ap-
proached the Ark in great trepidation and swung open its doors.
The loaves were not there! He was so happy. He hurried home
to share his joy with his wife. He innocently proclaimed that G-
d had not disdained the poor efforts of such insignificant people
as themselves. Indeed, He had accepted their two loaves, and
eaten them while they were still warm!
“Therefore,” he exhorted her, “let us not be lazy, for we
have no other way to honor Him, and we see that He loves our
bread. Every week we must try to give Him this pleasure with
the same care and devotion that we did this first time.”
His wife was swayed by his wholehearted excitement,
and gladly cooperated. Every Friday morning she faithfully pre-
pared two beautiful loaves, paying careful attention to every
detail, great and small, and every Friday afternoon he delivered
them to the synagogue, and earnestly prayed and pleaded with
G-d for their acceptance.
And every Friday the caretaker would come along and
happily eat the delicious challahs. And every Friday night the
Jew from Portugal ecstatically informed his wife that once
again their meager offering had been accepted. So it went, for
many weeks and months.
One Friday, the rabbi of the synagogue stayed much lat-
er than usual, until the afternoon. It was the same rabbi who had
given the speech about the “showbread” that had so inspired the
converso from Portugal. He was standing on the bimah, review-
ing the sermon he planned to give the next day, when, to his
surprise, he saw one of his congregants enter carrying two
loaves of bread, walk up to the Ark, and deposit them inside. He
realized that the man was unaware of his presence, and he heard
him utter fervent prayers for G-d to accept his offering and en-
joy the challahs.
(Stories of Greatness — Continued from page 8)
(Continued on page 7)
By Rabbi Moshe Erlbaum, 9th Grade Rebbe
1. This parsha begins with the eighth day of
the inauguration of the Tabernacle. What
two Torah laws that refer to the "eighth
day" are applicable nowadays?
2. Which pairs of brothers appear in this par-
sha? (4 pairs)
3. What person appears in this parsha, but
appears only one other time in the entire
4. Which non-kosher animal is listed in this
parsha, and mentioned in another parsha 18
5. In this parsha, which brothers die on the
same day? Where else in the Torah do two
brothers die on the same day?
1. (1) In parshas Tazria, the Torah describes the
mitzvah of circumcision, which is performed on
the eighth day after the baby boy's birth
(Leviticus 12:3). (2) In parshas Emor and par-
shas Pinchas, the holiday of Shmini Atzeres is
described as the additional eighth day added on
to the holiday of Sukkot (Leviticus 23:36, 39
and Numbers 29:35).
2. The four pairs are (1) Moshe and Aharon, (2)
Nadav and Avihu, (3) Itamar and Elazar, (4)
and Mishael and Eltzafan, the sons of Uziel
who are asked to carry the bodies of Nadav and
Avihu out of the Tabernacle (Leviticus 10:4).
3. Mishael the son of Uziel appears in this parsha
(Leviticus 10:4) and in parshas Va'erah (Exodus
4. In parshas Chayei Sara, camels are mentioned
18 times in the account of Eliezer finding a wife
for Yitzchak (Genesis 24).
5. In this parsha, Aharon's sons Nadav and Avihu
die on the same day (Leviticus 10:2). In parshas
Korach, Dasan and Aviram, the sons of Eliav,
also die on the same day (Numbers 16:1, 27,
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Dvarim Hayotzim Min Halev 3
Continuing on with the theme of Hilchos Shab-
bos, which we have been focusing on all year, I thought
that we might begin to prepare for Pesach, with a look
at Hilchos Chol Hamoed, which is something that per-
haps this Yom Tov we can all put a little more effort in-
a. This shiur will be a two part series: the
first part will be the rules, and the second
part will be more specific examples. Ad-
ditionally, one should keep in mind that
there is a Machlokes whether we say that
the concept of Chol Hamoed is Deoraysa
II. Kibbud Chol Hamoed
a. The Gemara in Maseches Makos writes
that if anyone disgraces the Moed it is
like he did Avodah Zarah, and a Mishna
in Avos says that one doesn’t have a
Chelek in Olam Habah. Rashi under-
stands that these Gemaras are talking
about Chol Hamoed. The Shaar Hatzion
said that therefore, the Mitzvah of
“V’samachta B’chagecha” applies, and
one must have meat and wine for a
Seudah (additionally we must keep in
mind that this isn’t telling us a Shiur of
Revi’is, it is merely telling us that one
must have an amount of wine that would
give him Simcha), and quotes the Ma-
haril that one must wear Bigdei Shabbos.
However, the Shaar Hatzion is unsure if
this means actual Bigdei Shabbos, or just
something better than what one would
wear on a weekday. The Pashtus is that
one would just have to be a level up from
regular Chol, but not on the level on
Shabbos and Yom Tov.
III. Mileches Chol Hamoed
a. There is a Yerushalmi that records that
R’ Abba Bar Mammal said that if he had
the strength to do so, he would have can-
celled the whole concept of Mileches
Chol Hamoed. The Yerushalmi explains
that this is because people grossly mis-
used their powers, in that the whole rea-
son for the Issur Melacha was for us to
avoid distractions and be able to use
Chol Hamoed as a time to get closer to
Hashem, and we aren’t using it in that
way. The Kol Bo learnt from that time,
that the wasting of time on Chol Hamoed
is even more serious than the Melacha of
Chol Hamoed. It should be noted that
Chol Hamoed is also a time for people to
spend with family, and trips are ok, but
we must be careful that it isn’t total fri-
b. As a general rule: all 39 Melachos are
also Assur on Chol Hamoed, and so is
Amirah L’Akum for all of these Mela-
chos. There are certain exceptions: like
“Dabeir Davar” (to talk about business),
one is allowed to carry and count, and
one is also allowed to carry on Chol Ha-
moed (even without the Tzorech Achilah
requirement that we have by Yom Tov).
IV. 5 Categories of Melacha that are Muttar on
a. (First of all one should realize that peo-
ple don’t know the rules because Hilchos
Chol Hamoed is very hard, and we see in
Moed Kattan that one may not make
many comparisons in Mileches Chol Ha-
moed, so even if we give rules they are
very difficult to apply.)
(Continued on page 6)
Given by Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz
Introduction to Hilchos Chol HaMoed
לה ןמ םיאצויה םירבד “ ב
“Nadav and Avihu, Aharon’s sons, took, each of them his fire-pan, placed fire on it and then placed in-
cense upon it, and they brought before Hashem a strange fire, which He had not commanded them. A fire came
forth before Hashem and consumed them, and they died in the presence of Hashem.” (Vayikra 10:1-2)
One of the greatest tragedies ever documented in the Torah is in this week’s parsha. Two of the Torah gi-
ants of their generation, Nadav and Avihu, perished. On the eighth day of the inauguration of the Mishkan,
Aharon was commanded to offer special sacrifices with the help of his two sons. After these offerings were com-
pleted, Moshe and Aharon blessed Bnei Yisrael.
A fire came down from heaven and consumed the offerings, astonishing the nation. Nadav and Avihu de-
cided to bring additional ketoret offerings which they weren’t commanded to by Hashem. They thought that their
additional offerings would help bond the Jews closer to Hashem. Immediately, another fire descended from heav-
en, consuming both Nadav and Avihu. They were punished so severely since they were the greatest Torah sages
in their generation, and they were expected to act more appropriately. These great sages were chosen to become
the most powerful examples to all of Bnei Yisrael as Hashem’s act of judgment.
The Torah addresses that Aharon, their father remained silent – “….and Aharon was silent” (10:3). He
appreciated Hashem’s judgment, and had neither complaints nor any questions.
Nadav and Avihu occupied a distinct place in Hashem’s plan. They both had an incredible potential, more
than almost anyone in history. Nadav and Avihu could’ve succeeded their father Aharon and their uncle Moshe by
being the new leaders of Bnei Yisrael. Instead, they were racing towards the top by trying to get the Jewish people
closer to the Divine presence sooner than what Hashem’s plan directed. In the end, their potential was expressed
in the great lesson that their tragic deaths taught the world: “we are accountable for our actions, and the greater
the individual, the stricter the accountability.”
We all have our own responsibilities in life. Hashem has already assigned us a mission in this world. We
all have a unique potential that can be contributed to the world. May we have the merit to discover the individual
goals that Hashem has set for us and be able to uncover and fulfill them.
to be brought. This would enable him to prepare for the Korban. Why then does Moshe inform Aharon of the
Korban the same day he was to bring it?
To answer this question, Rav Moshe suggests that this command was to serve as a lesson for all mitzvos
that one does. After observing the service of the first seven inauguration days, Aharon is commanded to immedi-
ately perform a new mitzvah. He is not even allowed any preparation time. As soon he ended one mitzvah, he
began the next one.
This, Rav Moshe explains, is the reason for the familiar practice on Simchas Torah (which happens to be
the eighth day of Succos in Eretz Yisrael) of starting to read the Torah again with Parshas Bereishis immediately
after we completed it. When we complete a mitzvah, we should not feel content with what we have already ac-
complished, we should always bring our Avodas Hashem to the next level with a new mitzvah. Once Aharon fin-
ished learning how to perform the Avodah he put it into practice right away.
To move straight from one mitzvah to the next is very important because it prevents us from stagnating in
our Avodas Hashem. If one stops to take a break from mitzvos, one starts to sink lower in his or her spiritual lev-
el. In order to grow in our Avodas Hashem, we must constantly raise our connection with Hashem to the next
(Yehuda Inslicht — Continued from page 1)
We All Have Our Potential
By Benjamin Pleshty, 10th Grade
Dvarim Hayotzim Min Halev 5
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By Yoni Gutenmacher, 10th Grade
This week, we read the portion of Shemini, which means “the eighth.” It refers to the eighth day of the
opening of the Tabernacle in the desert, which was actually its first day of regular activity, after seven days of in-
augural rituals and sacrifices performed by Moshe, Aharon, and the other priests. On this celebratory ‘opening
day’, we are told that the following tragic event took place: “Now Aharon’s sons, Nadav and Avihu, each took his
pan and placed in it fire, and placed on it incense, and brought it before the Lord; a strange fire which he had not
commanded them. And a fire went out from before the Lord and consumed them and they died before God. And
Moshe said to Aharon: this is what God was referring to when he said ‘with those close to me I will be sanctified,
and before the entire nation I will be honored’, and Aharon was silent.” (10:1-3)
The story is a terribly difficult one, and Moshe’s consolation to Aharon, in which he seems to say that the
deaths of his sons had been predicted by God, and are in some way a sanctification of God and His Tabernacle, is
hard to make sense of. I would like to focus on Aharon’s reaction to the tragedy and to his brother’s somewhat
opaque words of explanation and comfort: “...and Aharon was silent.” Although it is obviously difficult to inter-
pret silence, I would like to suggest that his non-response may be telling us something not only about God, the
Temple, and sacrifices, but also about parents and children in general.
It is remarkably unclear what exactly Nadav and Avihu did wrong when they offered their ‘strange fire’
before the Lord - there are many hypotheses about what their sin or mistake was. I would suggest, however, that
Aharon’s silence is a function of his role as parent, not as high priest, and tells us this: ultimately, there are things
that one's children do about which parents have nothing to say, decisions that children make that are beyond a
parent’s ability to intelligently or productively comment on, explain, judge, influence, or take responsibility for.
In Jewish tradition, when a child turns bar or bat mitzvah, there is a somewhat strange blessing for the
parents to recite - “Blessed be He who has exempted me from being punished for this one.” The idea is that our
children, when small, are our responsibility; they are our responsibility to such a degree that we deserve to be
punished for anything they may do wrong. Once they reach adulthood, however, this is no longer the case, and
parents are no longer liable for the acts of their children. At the age of 12 or 13 , parents need to begin to under-
stand that children must, and will, go their own way, whether they like it or not; the “Blessed be He who has ex-
empted me” blessing tells us that.
I think that Aharon’s silence is a similar expression of distance from the acts of his adult children. At some
point, Aharon’s silence tells us, parents need to understand that they ultimately have nothing to say about the de-
cisions made by their children, for better or worse. Whatever it was that his sons were doing in the Tabernacle,
whatever place it was that they had arrived at in their lives, Aharon, their father, was not there, it was not his
place, and, therefore, as a father, he had nothing to say about it. His silence is the only possible response to the
fact that his children had, on their own, come to a very strange, for him, religious decision, one that he could not
agree with, accept, or even comment on. Whether this is a good thing - as Moshe seems to argue - or not, is be-
side the point. For Aharon, the point is that he understood that his sons had acted as children ultimately must: in-
dependently, and there is nothing a father or mother can say or do to change that.
לה ןמ םיאצויה םירבד “ ב
In Parshat Shemini, it lists all the non-kosher and kosher animals. There is a bird called the Chasidah,
which is ironically non-kosher. The birds name seems to mean kindness, since the root of its name is Chesed. So
the question is, why is this bird non-kosher? Why would a bird with such a positive, heartwarming name be non-
kosher? In Mesechet Chulin, it talks about how the Chasidah is a major attribute and helpful figure in its
community, and one of the greatest amongst the birds. Additionally, the bird does much kindness, Chesed , to its
family. So the point is that what makes the Chasidah unique is that it only helps its own kind, not anyone else but
itself. In the Torah, it says that one is supposed to help one another, that we should always help other people, not
just our own kind. That is why the Chasidah is not kosher. We learn from this that one should always help our
friends, classmates, fellow Jews, and even our own humankind, not just ourselves and family. May we B’ezrat Ha-
shem be zoche to work on our kindness towards others, in the help of bringing the Beit Hamikdash closer to us,
Bimheirah B’yameinu Amen.
hoshua was stopped by a sadistic prison guard, who cruelly spilled out half the water in the jug. Rabbi Yehoshua
hurried to deliver the remaining water to Rabbi Akiva, and explained what had happened. “There is not enough
water here for you to both drink and wash your hands,” noted Rabbi Yehoshua. “Why not use all the water for
drinking?” Rabbi Akiva shook his head. “My fellow rabbis decreed that one must wash his hands before every
meal. How could I go against this dictum of theirs? No, I will use this water for washing, and if any water is left,
then I will drink. I would rather die then transgress a Rabbinical ruling” (Eruvin 21b).
Taken from Rabbi Mordechai Katz
(Jacob Skolnick — Continued from page 1)
b. Maaseh Hedyot L’Tzorech Hamoed- something which anyone could do (without a professional’s
help) which is useful for Chol Hamoed
c. Ochel Nefesh- for food; it is even allowed on Yom Tov, so certainly on Chol Hamoed
d. Davar Ha’avud- if you don’t do the Melacha right now, then you will suffer a loss
e. Tzorchei Rabim- communal needs
f. Poel Sh’ein Lo Mah Yochal- someone who gets paid a daily wage and uses that to pay for today’s
food (not someone who would lose his job, that would be under the umbrella of Davar Ha’avud)
V. Six Minimizing Factors (for the five Heteirim)
a. Is the work a Maaseh Hedyot or is it a Maaseh Uman? (regardless of whether you are actually a
professional in that field, are you qualified to do certain jobs like this one)
b. Does the work performed involves excessive Tircha?
c. Was the work was scheduled before Yom Tov, but because you didn’t have time, you pushed it
off to Chol Hamoed?
d. Are you getting paid for work that you are doing for someone else?
e. Is the work is being done in private or in public view?
f. Will the Melacha denigrate the Moed? (more of a judgment call than anything else)
(10 Minute Halacha — Continued from page 3)
By Simon Afriat, 11th Grade
The Chasidah, is it kosher?
Dvarim Hayotzim Min Halev 7
The rabbi listened in astonishment. At first he was silent, but as he began to understand what was going
on, his anger rose. Finally he was unable to restrain himself any longer, and burst out in fury: “Stop! You fool!
How can you think that our G-d eats and drinks? It is a terrible sin to ascribe human or any physical qualities to
G-d Almighty. You actually believe it is the Lord who takes your measly loaves? Why, it is probably the sha-
mash who eats them.”
At that moment the caretaker entered the synagogue, blithely expecting to pick up his challahs, as usual.
He was a bit startled to see the rabbi and another man standing there. The rabbi immediately confronted him.
“Tell this man why you came here now, and who has been taking the two challahs he has been bringing each
The caretaker freely admitted it. He wasn’t embarrassed at all. He couldn’t understand why the rabbi was
so agitated, and why he was yelling at the other man, who looked so unhappy, whom he knew to be an unlearned
but sincere Jew.
As the rabbi continued his rebuke, the man burst into tears. He was crushed. Not only had he not done a
mitzvah as he had thought, it seemed he was guilty of a great sin. He apologized to the rabbi for having misun-
derstood his lesson about the showbread, and begged him to forgive him. He left the shul in shame and despair.
How could he have been so wrong? What was he to do now?
Shortly thereafter, a messenger from the “Holy Ari,” Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, strode into the synagogue and
approached the rabbi. In the name of his master, he told the rabbi to go home, say goodbye to his family, and pre-
pare himself: by the designated time for his sermon the next morning, his soul would have already departed to its
eternal rest. Thus it had been announced from Heaven.
The rabbi couldn’t believe what he had just heard, nor could the disciple explain it to him. So the rabbi
went directly to the Ari, who confirmed the message and added, as gently as possible: “I heard that it is because
you halted G-d’s pleasure, the likes of which He hasn’t enjoyed since the day the Holy Temple was destroyed.
That is what He felt when this innocent converso would bring his two precious loaves to your shul each week,
faithfully offering them to G-d from the depths of his heart with joy and awe, and believing that G-d had taken
them, until you irrevocably destroyed his innocence. For this the decree was sealed against you, and there is no
possibility to change it.”
The rabbi went home and told his family all that had transpired. By the time of the sermon the next morn-
ing, his soul had already departed to hear Torah in the Heavenly academy, exactly as the Ari had said.
(Stories of Greatness — Continued from page 2)
לה ןמ םיאצויה םירבד “ ב
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STORIES OF GREATNESS
TOLD OVER BY: NOAM LEVY
This week’s story shows us so some-
thing extremely important. We all know the
phrase “derech eretz kadma latorah”, that
treating people nicely is sometimes more im-
portant that the Torah itself. However, it is
hard to implement it when all we want to do
is follow the strict letter of the law. Hopefully
we can all see the importance of taking care
of people’s feelings, and then we can be zo-
che to rebuild the Bais HaMikdash for exact-
ly the opposite reason it was destroyed.
Adapted from chabad.org. Have a Great
Rabbi Moshe Hagiz, in his book
Mishnat Chachamim, writes that he heard this
story from reliable people in Sfat who were
there when it happened.
In the mid-16th century, a converso
Jew from Portugal moved to the holy city of
Sfat. Deprived in his youth of the opportunity
to practice the religion of his fathers openly,
he was overjoyed to finally be able to do.
Years later, he heard a talk by the rab-
bi of the synagogue he attended about lechem
hapanim, the “showbread” which was offered
in the Holy Temple each Shabbat. After dis-
cussing the various laws and procedures gov-
erning the preparation of this offering and
touching on its mystical significance, the rab-
bi bemoaned the fact that, because of our
sins, we no longer have this ready means to
The Jew took these words to heart.
When he arrived home, he asked his wife to
prepare two special challahs on Friday. He
related to her all the details he remembered
from the lecture on the showbread. She
should sift the flour thirteen times, knead it
while she was in a state of ritual purity, and
bake the dough very well in their oven. He
told her that he wished to present these loaves
as an offering to G-d; hopefully He would
consider them an acceptable sacrifice and eat
His wife loyally fulfilled his request,
and early that Friday afternoon, when no one
was likely to be in the synagogue, the man
brought the loaves there under his cloak. He
prayed and cried that G-d should look upon
his offering with favor, and eat and enjoy the
lovely, freshly baked bread. He went on and
on, like an errant son begging his father for
forgiveness. Then he placed the loaves,
wrapped, in the Holy Ark, beneath the Torah
scrolls, and quickly left for home.
The shamash of the synagogue arrived
later that day to complete preparing the shul
for the holy Shabbat. One of his duties was to
check that the Torah scroll was rolled to the
proper place for the reading the next morn-
ing. When he opened the Ark, he was sur-
(Continued on page 2)
Editors in Chief
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Rabbi A. Lebowitz
Maggid of DRS
Rabbi Y. Kaminetsky
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Rabbi A. Lebowitz
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