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haaBtu!Nztwer.zsIb!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Volume 17 Number 27 eaaTc


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  • 1. Rabbi Binyomin Adler

Shabbos Ta’am HaChaim

page 2

  • 2. Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein

Maharal's Gur Aryeh

page 4

  • 3. Rabbi Oizer Alport

Parsha Potpourri

page 4

  • 4. Rabbi Stephen Baars-Aish.Com

Brainstorming With Baars

page 5

  • 5. Dr. Avigdor Bonchek

  • 6. HaRav Eliezer Chrysler

What’s Bothering Rashi?

Midei Shabbos

page 7

page 7

  • 7. Rabbi Moshe Erlbaum-Aish.Com

Torah Teasers

page 8

  • 8. Rabbi Zvi Akiva Fleisher

  • 9. Rabbi Zvi Akiva Fleisher

Chamishoh Mi Yodei'a

Chasidic Insights

page 8

page 9

  • 10. Rabbi Zvi Akiva Fleisher

Oroh V'Simchoh

page 9

  • 11. Rabbi Zvi Akiva Fleisher

Sedrah Selections

page 10

  • 12. Rabbi Yissocher Frand


page 11

  • 13. Rabbi Yehonasan Gefen-Aish.Com

The Guiding Light

page 12

  • 14. Rabbi J. Gewirtz

Migdal Ohr

page 13

  • 15. Rabbi Nosson Greenberg

Khal Machzikei Torah

page 13

  • 16. Rabbi Sender Haber

Out of the Loop

page 14

  • 17. Rabbi Avraham Kahn

Torah Attitude

page 14

  • 18. Rabbi Shlomo Katz


page 15

  • 19. Rabbi Dov Kramer

Taking A Closer Look

page 15

  • 20. Rabbi Moshe Krieger

Bircas HaTorah Parsha Sheet

page 16

  • 21. Rabbi Eli Mansour

  • 22. NCYI

  • 23. Rabbi Kalman Packouz-Aish.Com

Weekly Perasha Insights

Weekly Dvar Torah

Shabbat Shalom

page 17

page 17

page 19

  • 24. Rabbi Eliezer Parkoff

Weekly Chizuk

page 20

  • 25. Rabbi Ben-Zion Rand

Likutei Peshatim

page 20

  • 26. Rabbi Naftali Reich


page 22

  • 27. Rabbi Mordechai Rhine

Rabbi's Message

page 22

  • 28. Rabbi Elyakim Rosenblatt

Yeshiva Kesser Torah

page 23

  • 29. Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

  • 30. Rabbi A. Leib Scheinbaum

  • 31. Rabbi Dovid Seigel

Covenant & Conversation

Peninim on the Torah


page 23

page 24

page 26

  • 32. Rabbi Yaakov Asher Sinclair

  • 33. Rabbi Jacob Solomon

Ohr Somayach – Torah Weekly

Between the Fish and the Soup

page 27

page 27

  • 34. Rabbi Doniel Staum

Stam Torah

page 28

  • 35. Rabbi Berel Wein

Israel At Sixty Five

page 30

  • 36. Rabbi Berel Wein

Weekly Parsha

page 30

  • 37. Rabbi Noach Weinberg ZT”L-Aish.Com

48 Ways to Wisdom – Way #27

page 33

  • 38. Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb - OU

Person In The Parsha

page 31

  • 39. Rabbi Pinchas Winston


page 31

  • 40. HaRav Shlomo Wolbe Zt”l

Bais Hamussar

page 32

  • 41. Yeshiva Aish HaTorah-Aish.Com

  • 42. Rabbi Leibie Sternberg

Jewish History Crash Course#44 page 32

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See page 35 for columns on last week’s parsha that were received after publication.



m{!-TIoq!uc!ircs , m{-!btz{!seoTlmb!Oc!zwm!wizmb!csi!oaa{m

2 haaBtu!Nztwer.zsIb!– trcdk trcd ihc! will all bask in His Presence, for eternity. YOUR APPLIANCE AUTHORITY
haaBtu!Nztwer.zsIb!– trcdk trcd ihc!
will all bask in His Presence, for eternity.
Shabbos in the Zemiros
Eishes Chayil
Composed by Shlomo HaMelech in Mishlei
לע ,דסח תרותו ;המכחב החתפ ,היפ-הנושל, she opens her mouth with wisdom,
Rabbi Binyomin Adler
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. This verse alludes to
Shabbos because Shabbos is the culmination of creation, and HaShem
created the world with wisdom, as it is said (Mishlei 3:19) HaShem
bichochma yosad eretz, HaShem founded the earth with wisdom.
Additionally, the words and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue can
Shabbos Ta’am HaChaim
Acharei Mos-Kedoshim 5773
(From the archives)
allude to the idea that it is ideal that on Shabbos one converse only in
Lashon HaKodesh, the Holy Tongue. The word chesed, kindness, in
mispar katan, digit sum, is 8+6+4, which equals 18, and 1+8 equals 9,
which is the same mispar katan as the word Shabbos: 3+2+4, which equals
Shabbos In The Parasha - Keep On Praying For The Redemption
Honoring Ones Parents And Shabbos
Shabbos in Tefillah
Cognizant of HaShem’s Place
In this week’s parasha, Kedoshim, it is said (Vayikra 19:3) ish imo viaviv
tirau vies Shabsosai tishmoru ani HaShem Elokeichem, every man: your
mother and father shall you revere and My Shabbosos shall you observe –
I am HaShem, your G-d. Why is the mitzvah of observing Shabbos
juxtaposed to the mitzvah of fearing ones parents? Rashi cites the Medrash
that states that the Torah is teaching us that although one is required to fear
his parents, if a parent instructs a child to violate the Shabbos, the child is
prohibited from listening to the parent. The obvious question on this
interpretation is, why did the Torah choose too juxtapose specifically the
commandment of fearing ones parents next to the mitzvah of observing the
The Reason Why We Honor Our Parents
In order to answer this question, it is important to gain an insight into the
mitzvah of fearing ones parents. The Ramban (Shemos 20:12) writes that
the reason why the Torah placed the mitzvah of honoring ones parents in
the Ten Commandments to teach us that just as there is a mitzvah to
acknowledge HaShem as our G-d and not to claim anything else as our
creator, so too we are instructed to honor our parents and not to serve them
for selfish motives. The Baal HaTurim (Ibid) writes that the Torah
juxtaposes the mitzvah of honoring ones parents to the mitzvah of
observing Shabbos, to teach us that just as one is required to honor the
Shabbos, so too one is required to honor ones parents. Let us understand
what the connection is between honoring the Shabbos and honoring ones
Baruch kevod HaShem mimekomo, blessed is the glory of HaShem from
His place. In the Kedusha that we recite in Shabbos Mussaf, we recite the
words ayei mekom kevodo, where is the place of His glory? If the angels
themselves ask regarding the location of HaShem’s glory, how is it that we
can recite the words “blessed is the glory of HaShem from His place?”
Perhaps the answer to this question is contained in an understanding of the
word makom that is used throughout Scripture. When HaShem instructed
Avraham to bring his son Yitzchak as an offering, it is said (Bereishis
22:4) bayom hashlishi vayisa Avraham es einav vayar es hamakom
meirachok, on the third day, Avraham raised his eyes and perceived the
place from afar. Rashi writes that Avraham was able to perceive “the
place” because he saw a cloud hovering above the mountains, whereas his
two attendants were not able to perceive the cloud. We find further that it
is said (Devarim 17:8) ki yipalei mimcho davar lamishpat bein dam lidam
uvein din lidin uvein nega lanega divrei rivos bishorecha vikamta vialisa el
hamakom asher yivchar HaShem Elokecha bo, if a matter of judgment is
hidden from you, between blood and blood, between verdict and verdict,
between plague and plague, matters of dispute in your cities – you shall
rise up and ascend to the place that HaShem, your G-d, shall choose. In
The Reward For Honoring Ones Parents Is Primarily In The World
To Come
this instance too we see that when a matter is hidden from a person, he
must ascend to “the place.” The “place” implies a sense of clarity and
perception. Thus, we pose the query, “where is the place of His glory?”
and we also declare,
“blessed is the glory of HaShem from His place,” as this declaration
demonstrates that we are attempting to ascend spiritually and to perceive
more of HaShem’s Presence in our lives.
The Gemara (Kiddushin 39b) states that the reward for observing the
mitzvah of honoring ones parents is that one earns a portion in the World
to Come. One must wonder why the Torah specifies that the reward for
this mitzvah is in the world to Come. Is not the reward for all mitzvos in
the World to Come? What is unique about the mitzvah of honoring ones
parents? Perhaps the explanation for this is that regarding other mitzvos,
one also benefits in this world. An example of this would be the mitzvah
of loving another Jew. When one loves a fellow Jew, he is creating bonds
of friendship, and he can also benefit from this relationship. When one
honors his parents, however, he may be benefiting by having his parents
treat him nicer. Nonetheless, it requires great effort to honor a parents’
wishes, and many times a parent instruct a child to perform an act that is
contrary to the desires of the child. It is for this reason that the Torah
specifies that the reward for honoring ones parents is primarily in the
World to Come, when he will be able to discern the benefits of having
performed this mitzvah. In a similar vein, Shabbos is a semblance of the
World to Come. The reason for this is because there is a great effort
involved in preparing for Shabbos, and as the Gemara (Avodah Zara 3a)
states, one who prepares on Erev Shabbos will eat on Shabbos. Thus, we
see a direct connection between the mitzvah of honoring and fearing ones
parents and the mitzvah of observing Shabbos
Shabbos Stories
Not The Way You Want It To Happen
The Shabbos Connection
Throughout the week we are faced with forces and desires that are the
antithesis of holiness and purity. We struggle each week to resist these
forces and at times we may despair, thinking that we cannot be victorious
in our struggle. Yet, HaShem has prepared the antidote before the blow,
and in His infinite mercy, he has bestowed us with the special gift of
Shabbos. Hashem offers us the Shabbos as a taste of the World to Come,
when there will no longer be a struggle with our Evil Inclination, and we
A poor man once came to the renowned tzaddik, the Strikover Rebbe, who
had a reputation for performing the most wondrous and amazing miracles.
The man’s daughter had already been engaged twice, but when her father
had been unable to provide the agreed- upon nadon (dowry), the
engagements had been broken. Now she had become engaged once again,
and her father desperately wanted this marriage to go through.
The Rebbe told him to go home, and buy a lottery ticket - the Ribbono
Shel Olam would surely help him. The poor man optimistically returned
home, and bought a ticket, but the ticket did not win. Although the father
somehow managed to keep the shidduch (engagement) afloat and marry
his daughter off, the Strikover Rebbe was so shaken by his “failure” the he
refused to accept any more petitioners for his blessings. A Rebbe’s power,
he argued, is derived from the dictum of Chazal, our Sages (see Taanis
23a) that Hashem fulfills the will of a tzaddik. Obviously, he was not a
Soon afterwards, Reb Simcha Bunim of Pshischa came to Strikov to visit
the Rebbe. He was disturbed that the Rebbe had ceased accepting the
hundreds of petitioners who desperately sought his blessings over the
apparent failure of one blessing.
“Strikover Rebbe,” said Reb Simcha Bunim, “tell me: How does one
reconcile that which we are taught, ‘Hashem fulfils the will of a tzaddik’
with the passuk in Iyov (Job 9:12), ‘Who can tell Him what to do!?’ The
explanation, however, is as follows: Hashem will fulfill the Tzaddik’s will.
But even the tzaddik has no right to dictate how Hashem will do it. Your
beracha (blessing) was fulfilled. The marriage went off as planned - just
not the way you thought it would happen!” The Rebbe saw the wisdom in
his words, and resumed accepting Chassidim.

!haaBtu!Nztwer.zsIb!trcdk trcd ihc



Shabbos in Halacha Submerging a Container Within a Pot of Hot Food

New Stories Acharei Mos-Kedoshim

The Pri Megadim Holds ...


One is forbidden to submerge a small pot inside a large part of hot food even prior to Shabbos. The reason for this prohibition is because the pot

5773 Rav Yosef Teumim

submerged is deemed to be insulated in a heat-intensifying material, as the hot food will cause the temperature of the inside pot to rise. One is also forbidden to submerge food that is wrapped in aluminum foil in a pot of hot food.

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Acharei Mos-Kedoshim 5773 Is sponsored in memory of these Tzadikim:

-Eli HaKohen and his sons Chafni and Pinchas. The Bnei Yisrael were defeated by the Plishtim, 30,000 soldiers were slaughtered, the Aron Kodesh was taken into captivity, and Chafni and Pinchas, the two sons of Eli Kohen Gadol killed, 864 BCE. Eli dies at age 98 in shock on hearing the news. The Mishkan at Shilo was destroyed. -Rav Yitzchak Alfasi (RiF), codifier of the Gemara, author of Sefer Hahalachos (1013-1103). The period of the Geonim began in 589, and ended in 1038 with the petira of Rav Hai Gaon. Rav Chananel’s father, Rav Chushiel Gaon, had set out from Bavel to collect funds for a needy bride and was seized by pirates. He was sold as a slave in Africa, but was later redeemed by the members of its Jewish communities. From Africa, he headed to Kairuan, where he became a rosh yeshiva. His son, Chananel, was born in Kairuan. A young student from the Algerian city of Kal’a asked to be admitted to Rav Chananel’s yeshiva. His name was Yitzchak HaKohen. As Rav Yitzchak advanced in his studies, he became keenly aware of the fact that many people were unable to elucidate the halacha

"There is no grandeur in my work. I am like a beggar who was granted permission from kings and ministers to go into their courtyards and palaces during mealtime to collect a few leftover crumbs. Because I spent time with them, I merited to understand their hints and references and

enjoy their company. Every now and then I found a precious stone on my way. I took from them small scraps of expensive material and weaved

myself a nice multi colored garment

What else would I sleep with if not

... for the little Hashem granted me to collect from their words " ... These are the humble words of the Rav Yosef Te'umim in the hakdama to his sefer Pri Megadim. His lived in the times of the Noda B'Yehuda, Vilna Gaon, Ketzos HaChoshen, Ba'al HaTanya, and Sha'agas Aryeh among others. Yet the sefer written by this humble Cheder Rebbi is a major foundation for psak halacha. The Pri Megadim was born in 5487/1727 in a town near L'vov where his father Rav Meir was a Dayan. He learned under his father and when he was 18 years old he published his father's sefer with his own chidushim at the end. At age 30 he moved to Komarna where he taught little children. It was there that people started asking him Shailos and he became a well known Posek. At age 40 he spent three years in Berlin where he wanted to focus on writing his sefer in solitude. When he was discovered and many people

from the Gemara due to the vast amount of material it contains. As a result, he conceived of the idea of compiling a comprehensive and extensive halachic work that would present all of the halachos and the practical conclusions of the Gemara in a clear, definitive manner. To achieve this goal, he retreated to his father-in-law’s attic, where he worked on his sefer for 10 consecutive years. During this period, however, a Moslem tyrant gained control of Tunisia, and persecuted all those who did not accept his faith, especially the Jews of Kairuan. As a result, all of the city’s Jewish residents fled to places controlled by the Elmuhides, who were more tolerant of the Jews. Among the fugitives was Rav Yitzchak who, with his wife and two children, moved to the Moroccan city of Fez. Rav Yitzchak remained in Fez for 40 years, during which time he completed his Sefer Ha’halachos, which is considered the first fundamental work in halachic literature. Eventually, he became known as Rav Yitzchak Alfasi, or the Rif. Rav Yitzchak was niftar at the age of 90 in 1103. He was succeeded by the Ri mi’Gaash. -Rav Yosef Teumim, author of Pri Megadim, on the Shulchan Aruch (1727-1792). Born in Szczerzec, a small town near Lemberg (Lvov) to Rav Meir, a grandson of Rav Yonah Teumim, Rav of Meitz and author of Kikayon DeYonah. In 1755, he Reb Yosef married the daughter of Rav Elyakam of Kamorna and lived there for ten years. In 1767, he moved to

started to come to ask him shailos he realized he would not be able to accomplish what he had set out to do in Berlin under these circumstances. He therefore pretended not to understand anything often asking the litigants before him to explain him over and over again the arguments. At the end he would issue a Psak that clearly showed he didn't understand what they were talking about. This worked as people stopped coming to him. In 1770 his father was niftar and has called back to L'vov to take up his father's position. Since he has not completed the Pri Megadim he refused the offer. two years later he was appointed Rosh Yeshiva in Berlin a role which he served for two years before finally going back to L'vov. For the last ten years of his life he was Rov in Frankfurt on the Oder. Aside from the Pri Megadim he also wrote seforim on Shas - Rosh Yosef, Chumash - Magid, Teivas Gomeh and other seforim. He also wrote a famous letter despondent over the fact that people do not learn Chumash and Tanach and that Lashon HaKodesh is almost completely forgotten. While that may very well be the case, the fact is that while the Pri Megadim was called to Yeshiva Shel Ma'ala on 10 Iyar 5552/1792, his legacy the Sefer Pri Megadim has stood the test of time, due to his outstanding humility, and is far from being forgotten. Yehi Zichro Boruch!

Berlin on the invitation of a wealthy Jew named Rav Daniel Yaffe, who

Rav Hutner the Shadchan

offered to support him fully as well as a beis midrash in his home when talmidei chachamim could learn. In 1774, he moved to Lemberg, to succeed his father as Rav and Dayan. And in 1781, he was appointed Rav of Frankfurt-on-the-Oder. His most well-known sefer is the Pri Magadin on Orach Chaim and on Yoreh Deah. Both are actually two sections: Pri Megadim on Yoreh Deah consists of Mishbetzos Zahav on the Taz and Sifsei Daas on the Shach. Pri Megadim on Orach Chaim consists of Mishbetzos Zahav on the Taz and Aishel Avraham on the Magen Avraham. He also wrote a commentary on the Torah entitled Rav Peninim, Poras Yosef (chidushim on masechtos Yevamos and Kesubos, as well as 14 important rules in learning and understanding sugyos properly), Rosh Yosef (chidushim on various mesechtos in Seder Moed as well as Maseches Chulin), Noam Megadim (explanations and minhagim on tefillah), Sefer Hamagid (commentary to Chumash and Haftorah), Ginnas Veradim (70 rules for understanding gemara), and many others.(some say 11 Iyar). -Rav Yitzchak Yehuda Yechiel Eizik of Komarna, author of Shulchan Hatahor (1806-1874) -Rav Dovid Twersky of Tolna (1808-1882), son of Rav Mordechai of Chernobyl. His works include Magen Dovid. There is a Tolner Shul in Tzefas even today. -Rav Hillel Lichtenstein of Kalamei, in the Ukraine (1814-1891). Born near Pressburg (present-day Bratislava, Slovakia), he became one of the leading students of the Chasam Sofer. After his marriage, R’ Lichtenstein studied in Galante, Hungary. His rabbinic career in 1846, first as rabbi of Margareten, Hungary, then as rabbi of Klausenberg (today, Cluj, Romania). Eventually, he became rabbi of Kolmyya, Galicia (today in Ukraine). He was among the fiercest opponents of the Haskalah and a strong supporter of settlement in Eretz Yisrael. He helped his son-in-law, R’ Akiva Yosef Schlesinger, buy up land for what became the city of Petach Tikva. He wrote numerous books including Avkas Rochel (mussar), Beis Hillel (letters regarding strengthening observance), Maskil El Dal (derashos), Teshuvos Beis Hillel (responsa), and others.

Yaakov was the top bochur in his yeshivah. He was known not only for his intellectual capabilities, but for his yiras Shamayim and refined middos as well. Therefore, it was quite a surprise to everybody that Yaakov was having problems with shidduchim. It wasn’t for lack of opportunities, since he had gone out on countless dates, but nothing ever seemed to materialize. Yaakov was already in his late twenties, and he was beginning to despair. A veil of sadness could be discerned beneath his normally happy disposition. Despite his personal problems, Yaakov continued to learn with hasmada and was mapkid on his sedarim. However, one day he made an exception to his normally tight schedule to attend the bris of his chavrusa’s son in the Beis Medrash of the Gaon, HaRav Yitzchak Hutner, zt”l. It was the first time since he had arrived at the yeshivah that he didn’t go directly to the yeshivah’s Beis Medrash after davening. After the bris, the attendants crowded around Rav Hutner to greet him and receive a bracha. Rav Hutner nodded to each person in greeting. When Rav Hutner spotted Yaakov, he stared at him with his piercing gaze and whispered to him that Yaakov should meet him in his private office as he wished to speak with him. Apparently, Rav Hutner was able to discern Yaakov’s unspoken distress. Yaakov stood by the door of Rav Hutner’s office, wondering what Rav Hutner could possibly wish to speak to him about. A few minutes passed and Rav Hutner appeared, and ushered Yaakov inside his office. The door closed, and Yaakov suddenly broke down. His emotions from years of internalizing his sorrow and loneliness were released. There was no need to explain – Rav Hutner understood everything. Rav Hutner spoke, “I have a segulah, a mesorah from our rabbanim; answering Amen Yehay Shemei Rabbah with all one’s koach. Answering Amen Yehay Shemai Rabbah is a tefillah for the magnification of kavod Shamayim, and through it, one fulfills the mitzvah of kavod Hashem. It’s possible that once in your life you were mechallel the shem Shamayim and due to this, the gates of Shamayim have been closed to you. When you answer Amen, Yehay Shemei Rabbah loudly and with kavanah, you are mekadesh the Shem Shamayim. This is a tested segulah - if you persist in following it, you’ll soon merit to stand at the chuppah, and if you’ll continue afterwards, you’ll also merit a bris.”



haaBtu!Nztwer.zsIb!trcdk trcd ihc!

Yaakov thanked Rav Hutner, left the office and returned to yeshivah. On the way, he thought to himself that the eitzah of a Gadol Hador is not only a segulah, but also an horaah, and an horaah one must fulfill forever. When Mincha arrived, Yaakov already began to say Amen, Yehay Shemei Rabba loudly and with kavanah. A few short weeks later, Yaakov became a chassan and a year later, he was zoche to a son. Rav Hutner was honored with sandakus. (Shiru Lamelech) ( Have a wonderful Shabbos Prepared by Rabbi Binyomin Adler.

there are things not as holy as He – and hence allowable to us for our needs and pleasure. We have explained so far why the mundane things of this world can be “stolen” from Hashem. We understand their inherent worth – and therefore, their inherent holiness. We have explained how relating to Hashem in reciting a berachah places things in a realm that – from a human standpoint – stands outside the immediacy of Hashem, and thus leaves room for them to be utilized by human beings. The gemara, however, teaches that when we fail to recite a berachah, we steal not only

To answer that, we must first understand what we mean by Knesses

  • 1. Based on Gur Aryeh, Vayikra 20:3; Nesiv HaAvodah chapter 14

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Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein

from Hashem, but from Knesses Yisrael as well. How could that be?

Yisrael. It is the entity in which all of Klal Yisrael is subsumed – not as different parts, all adding up to a large collective, but in an opposite

Maharal's Gur Aryeh

manner. Knesses Yisrael is a single, undivided entity, in which all the components of Klal Yisrael find their source. In a sense, the unity of

Grand Larceny(1)

Knesses Yisrael is to the physical world what the Unity of G-d is to the

For he had given from his offspring to Molech in order to defile My Mikdash and desecrate My holy name.

spiritual. In the ultimate sense, at the spiritual root of all things, everything – including Knesses Yisrael – is part of the Unity of Hashem. But seen just

Rashi: The mikdash that is defiled here means Knesses Yisrael – the Assembly of Israel - which is sanctified to Me. Gur Aryeh: Rashi tells us that we must understand “mikdash” in this pasuk to mean Knesses Yisrael, because the ordinary understanding of mikdash as the Mishkan or Temple simply cannot apply here. The transgression of Molech does not impact the Temple or detract from its holiness. Therefore, Rashi looks for an alternative understanding of “mikdash,” and finds it in

from the standpoint of the material world, all things are placed under the dominion o Knesses Yisrael. It is the collective receiver of what is given by Hashem the Giver. When we fail to recite a berachah, we ignore the relationship of Giver and receiver which allows things to be treated as properly belonging to the human consumer. We steal from both Giver, and Knesses Yisrael, the receiver.

  • 2. Berachos 35B

the collective identity of Klal Yisrael, which is sanctified ( = mikdash) to Hashem.

Rabbi Oizer Alport

Ramban explains Knesses Yisrael as the Shechinah. You might ask how the aveirah of an individual can defile the Divine Presence. We can,

Parsha Potpourri

however, point to a well-known source that illustrates this principle.

Parshas Acharei Mos-Kedoshim– Vol. 8, Issue 28

Chazal tell us(2) that one who benefits from this world without making a

In honor of the birthday of Martin Geller

berachah is as if he “steals from HKBH and from Knesses Yisrael.” Ramban indicates that it is the berachah that is stolen from Hashem and Knesses Yisrael. The very purpose of Creation is Man’s acknowledgment and recognition that Hashem is our Creator. When we do that through reciting a berachah, we in effect provide a justified place for the Shechinah. The Shechinah, in turn, continues the flow of Divine berachah to Man. When Man does not acknowledge Hashem by reciting a berachah before taking from this world, the Shechinah withdraws to its source in Hashem’s full Name. We could, however, explain very differently. When Man fails to make a berachah, it is the food he eats which he steals, not the berachah. At first this seems unreasonable. While it is technically true that Hashem owns everything by virtue of having created all of existence, upon further thought, we realize that we cannot call this ordinary theft. Hashem has no use and no need for the physical stuff of Creation. What we have “stolen” by illicitly taking without a berachah is no more theft than taking an absolutely worthless item from a human. While such thinking is tempting, it is inaccurate. Nothing Hashem creates is worthless. To the contrary, all things exist to give honor to Him, by accentuating His greatness. All things, therefore, are sacred items, playing a role in His service. We have no trouble recognizing that misappropriating any vessel or sacrificial item in the beis hamikdosh is a serious transgression, because those things are actively employed in Divine service. On the larger scale of things, everything that exists is supposed to play a role in the Divine service, and must be seen as consecrated and holy. Our difficulty should rather be in understanding why and how we are permitted to take anything from a world in which everything is consecrated to G-d’s service. Enjoying anything should be not only theft, but me’ilah, which is theft from the Divine estate. The answer is that consecrated items can become deconsecrated. Many items in the beis hamikdosh, for example, can lose their holiness designation through a process of redemption. In the greater universe of the general holiness of all things, the process of redemption involves nothing more than reciting a berachah. In reciting the berachah over a food item, it becomes ordinary, profane material that may be enjoyed by Man. Without the berachah, however, we have stolen a valuable, holy object from Hashem. Just how does a berachah “decommission” the natural holiness of all things? A berachah relates to a different aspect of Hashem (or at least the way humans grasp Him). The holiness of all things stems from the reality that all phenomena are part of Him. All things are within Him; nothing lies outside of Him. A berachah, however, places Hashem in a different relationship with us. The berachah in a sense creates the space in which there is something apparently outside of Him. When we say that Hashem is baruch, we mean that He stands ready to shower us with berachah, with an abundance of things. This presupposes that there are two entities, rather than one! There is G-d the Giver – but there is also Man the receiver. There cannot be any giving unless there is also receiving. Hashem’s giving requires that He reach across from a realm that is close to Him to one in which we reside, with our weaknesses, needs, and the things that fill them. In this realm,

(18:5) 'ד ינא םהב יחו םדאה םתא השעי רשא יטפשמ תאו יתקח תא םתרמשו In Parshas Acharei Mos, we are commanded to guard Hashem's decrees and laws and live through them. From the Torah's emphasis on observing the commandments and living, the Gemora (Sanhedrin 74a) derives that the mitzvos were given to us in order to live, not to die. Therefore, if keeping one of the commandments will result in a potential danger to a person's life, he should disregard the law for the purpose of pikuach nefesh - in order to preserve his life, with the exception of sins involving murder, idolatry, or forbidden relationships. Although the idea of doing something that is normally forbidden for the purpose of pikuach nefesh is a situation in which many of us hope not to find ourselves, our Gedolim viewed it differently, as simply one of the 613 mitzvos that a person may perform in life, one which should be done with the same joy and concentration as any other mitzvah. At the end of the Brisker Rav's life he was very weak and ill, and he understood that the primary purpose of his life at that point was to perform constantly the mitzvah of םהב יחו - keeping oneself alive - and when he was counting and measuring out his various medications, he did so with the same precision and focus that he applied to every other mitzvah. This perspective is not surprising, as he recounted that when his father, Rav Chaim Soloveitchik, was required to eat on a fast day for reasons of health, he made sure to eat in full view of others for two reasons. First, there were sick people in Brisk who may have felt uncomfortable about eating on a fast day and hesitated to do so, thereby jeopardizing their lives, but when they saw the respected Rav of the town eating publicly due to his physical state without any compunctions, they would do so as well. Second, if he insisted on eating privately where nobody could see him, he would be demonstrating that he felt that what he was doing was on some level less than ideal. Such an attitude is incorrect, as the reason that we fast is in order to fulfill Hashem's will, and the same G-d Who instructed us not to eat on certain days also commanded us to eat on those days if fasting would endanger our lives because we are sick. The Brisker Rav added that just as everybody understands that circumcising an 8-day-old baby boy on Shabbos is not only permitted but required, and nobody would ever insist on doing so in private due to the fact that drawing blood is otherwise prohibited on Shabbos, so too nobody should feel ashamed when performing Hashem's will by eating on a fast day for the sake of his health. In one of his lectures, Rav Ezriel Tauber recounted that at the end of his father's life, he was wheelchair-bound and no longer able to spend his time engaged in Torah study and mitzvah performance as he had done for so many decades. In order to strengthen and encourage him and to prevent him from falling into a state of depression, Rav Tauber approached his father and told him that Hashem loved him and was taking good care of him. His surprised father asked for an explanation. Rav Tauber responded by and asking his father to identify a Biblical mitzvah that he had never successfully performed lishmah (for its own sake), to which his confused father replied that he had always striven his utmost to do every mitzvah with pure motivations. Rav Tauber continued and suggested that there was one important mitzvah that his father had always performed for ulterior motives: the mitzvah to live. He explained that his father loved mitzvos so much that he had always lived in order to


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study Torah, to pray, to give tzedakah, and to do acts of chesed, but he had never once lived only for the purpose of living and had never once breathed for the sole purpose of םהב יחו - to give Hashem a living Jew. However, because Hashem loved the elder Rav Tauber so much and saw his tremendous dedication to mitzvos, He wanted to give him the opportunity to finally fulfill the mitzvah of living for no other reason than because Hashem gave him a mitzvah to live. In order to do so, Hashem had no choice but to place him in a wheelchair and take away his ability to learn Torah and do chesed, so that he would be able for the first time in his life to perform the mitzvah of living lishmah. Rav Tauber added that this perspective was tremendously consoling and uplifting to his father, who repeated it often to those who came to visit him, and can be used to strengthen ourselves should we ever find ourselves in a situation in which we are unable perform mitzvos in the manner to which we are accustomed. (19:14) לשכמ ןתת אל רוע ינפלו

(י"שר) ול תנגוה הניאש הצע ןתת אל רבדב אמוסה ינפל

Yaakov recognized that marrying both Rochel and Leah was necessary the spiritual future of the Jewish people, so he did so. Finally, the Rema writes that although the Gemora teaches (Yoma 28b) that Avrohom observed all of the mitzvos, this wasn’t the case with Yitzchok or Yaakov. 2) Rav Moshe Shternbuch rules that if the host’s intention is solely for the benefit of his guest, in the hopes of inspiring him to become more interested in Judaism, it is permissible to invite him even if he will drive to the meal. He explains that the prohibition against doing an action which will cause somebody to sin is only if one’s intention is to cause him harm, similar to placing a stumbling block in front of a blind person. However, just as nobody would view a surgeon who operates on a person to save his life as wounding or damaging him, so too if the host’s intention is to help his guest spiritually, it would be permissible with two caveats. First, one may not command the guest to drive and should in fact make it clear that his driving causes the host pain. Second, there is a separate concern of

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The Torah commands us not to place a stumbling block before the blind. Rashi explains that this prohibition doesn't only refer to causing a person who is literally blind to trip and fall, but it also applies to anybody who is "blind" in a certain area, as we are exhorted not to give him bad advice which could cause him to stumble. However, Rashi adds a word and emphasizes that this prohibition is transgressed by offering advice which is not suitable for him. What lesson is Rashi coming to teach us? The Brisker Rav, Rav Yitzchok Zev Soloveitchik, was once approached by the director of a prominent organization, who wanted his assessment about whether he should offer a leadership position within the organization to a certain individual. The Rav replied that he thought that the person in question was well-suited for the job and encouraged the director to hire him. When the individual was offered the position, he went to consult the Brisker Rav to solicit his opinion about whether he should accept the opportunity. He was advised to turn it down. When the director heard that the prospective hire was declining the position at the recommendation of the Brisker Rav, he was shocked and astounded. He immediately returned to the Rav's house to ask him why he had changed his mind after initially maintaining that this individual was qualified for the job. The sagacious Rav replied, "My opinion did not change at all. When you originally approached me, you asked whether it was in the best interests of your organization to hire this person, and I responded that it was. However, when he came to ask for my guidance, he didn't ask what would be best for the organization, but rather what would be best for him, to which I responded that it was not a good idea for him to accept the position. The Torah requires us to give advice that is in the best interests of the advice-seeker, and if I would have told him to accept the job, which would be good for you but not for him, I would have transgressed this prohibition," a lesson that we should bear in mind when our opinions are solicited and we are tempted to respond in the way that we would like the other person to act, even though it may not be the best advice for the questioner.

publicly desecrating Hashem’s name if a guest drives up to his house on Shabbos, so he should insist that the guest park at a distance so that it won’t be clear that he is specifically coming to visit the host. However, Rav Moshe Feinstein strongly disagrees and argues that if the guest lives at a distance which will cause him to drive, the invitation of the host is tantamount to commanding him to drive, and instead of educating him to observe Shabbos, he is teaching him to desecrate Shabbos. He further adds that if the guest lives so far away that it would be impossible for him to walk to the host’s house, inviting him for a Shabbos meal would transgress not only the prohibition against placing a stumbling block before the blind, but would be considered in the even more severe category of an inciter to sin (see Devorim 13:7-12). For all questions of practical halacha, a Rav familiar with the situation should be consulted. 3) The M’rafsin Igri offers several answers. First, if one sees that his initial reprimand was not accepted, he is obligated to continue rebuking as many as 100 times. However, he may not simply repeat his initial criticism, as there is a mitzvah to refrain from words which will not be accepted. Rather, he must seek out a new form of rebuke which will hopefully be heeded. Alternatively, one is only required to rebuke 100 times if he sees that the sinner is listening to his words, but is having a difficult time changing his ways. In this case, one must continue to rebuke him until he is able to stop sinning, but if he refuses to listen to the criticism, one is indeed exempt from continuing. Finally, the obligation to rebuke up to 100 times may refer to a case where the initial criticism was accepted, yet the person returned to his sin. In this case, one shouldn’t think that he is wasting his time and is required to continue as many as 100 times. However, if his initial attempt bore no fruit, he would be exempt from continuing with words that are ignored. 4) The Minchas Chinuch cites the Gemora in Kiddushin (32a-b), which rules that although a Torah scholar may waive the honor to which he is entitled, a king may not. The difference is that a scholar has acquired his

Parsha Points to Ponder (and sources which discuss them):

knowledge through his own exertion, and he may therefore relinquish the

1) How was Yaakov permitted to marry Rochel and Leah, two sisters, which is forbidden (18:18) by the Torah? (Ramban Bereishis 26:5, Moshav Z’keinim; Shu”t Rema 10, Nefesh HaChaim 1:21) 2) A person who causes another Jew to violate any of the commandments transgresses the prohibition (19:14) against placing a stumbling block before the blind. Is it forbidden to invite a non-religious Jew to come for a

respect to which his wisdom entitles him. The honor which one must show to the scholar’s wife does not intrinsically belong to her, but rather is a form of showing respect to her husband. Therefore, although he may waive the honor that others must show him, his wife may not give up the respect to which she is entitled.

Shabbos meal, as doing so will cause him to sin by driving back and forth? (Shu”t Igros Moshe Orach Chaim 1:98-99, Shu”t Teshuvos V’Hanhagos

Aish.Com - Rabbi Stephen Baars


Brainstorming With Baars

Heaven Meets Earth

3) A person who sees another Jew acting inappropriately is required to rebuke him (19:17). The Gemora in Bava Metzia (31a) rules that a person

required to show respect to the wife of a Torah scholar. In what way is the

is required to rebuke as many as 100 times until it is accepted. How can this be reconciled with the teaching of the Gemora in Yevamos (65b) that just as there is a mitzvah to say something which will be listened to, similarly there is a mitzvah to refrain from saying something which will be ignored (i.e. the first 99 rebukes)? (M’rafsin Igri) 4) The Torah commands a person (19:32) to rise in the presence of a sage to show him respect. The Gemora in Shavuos (30b) teaches that one is also

obligation to show respect to the scholar’s wife more stringent than the respect shown to the scholar himself? (Minchas Chinuch 257:8)

This week's parsha declares that it's through keeping the statutes and ordinances of the Torah that a person comes "To live" (Leviticus 18:5). My thoughts below are based on Rashi's commentary to this verse. I recently counseled a couple who were having marital issues. He wanted to keep kosher, and she didn't. After she told me how arbitrary she thought kashrut was, I explained that even if there were no "spiritual" reasons to keeping kosher, it would still be worth it in order to have Shalom Bayis (peace in the house). Needless to say, since keeping kosher often involves arguments over dishes, cakes, meals, and food in general, she was more than a little taken aback.

Answers to Points to Ponder:

Let me first point out, I do believe there are deep spiritual reasons for

1) The Ramban maintains that the Avos only kept the mitzvos in Eretz Yisroel, whereas Yaakov married them outside of the land of Israel. The Moshav Z’keinim answers that Rochel and Leah were only paternal sisters, and before the Torah was given relationships were determined through the maternal side. Alternatively, he suggests that Rochel and Leah were considered converts, and the Gemora rules (Yevamos 97b) that a person who converts is legally considered newly-born and no longer related to his blood relatives. The Nefesh HaChaim answers that the Avos only observed the mitzvos as a stricture not required by the law, with the flexibility to act otherwise when called for by the situation. In this case,

kashrut, but to understand those reasons, we first have to understand what "spiritual" really means. My Rabbi, Rav Noach Weinberg of blessed memory, would point out that people who come to Israel for the first time are often disappointed. I must confess that my first experience in Israel could have been described like this. "I just thought it would be more spiritual." "So," Rabbi Weinberg used to say, "While you were here, did you see any Bafoofsticks?" Obviously, we had no idea what a Bafoofstick is, and you can't know if you saw one unless you know what it is. The same is true with spirituality.



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People often expect that they are going to see something like multi-colored angels directing the plane down on its approach to Tel Aviv airport.

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In an effort to explain what spirituality is, I present to you Spirituality 101:

All You Need Is Love

"In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth." (Genesis 1:1) This sentence, as simple as it seems, makes a very important point. Whatever Heaven is, it's not Earth. Earth is everything we have seen, touched and felt. Everything we have read in books or seen on T.V. Whatever you know of Earth (meaning, just about everything), Heaven is not. Heaven is something completely different. It's not more Earth, it's not more physical stuff, it's not more of anything you have experienced here. It's something completely different. With that, Rashi (Genesis 1:1 & 8) explains what the Heavens were made out of - a combination of fire and water. Now that's a very odd mix. In fact, it doesn't really mix at all - they are physical opposites. Since fire is the antithesis of water, when the two meet the reaction is

is dirt. In and of itself, the dirt is of no value - its only value is in what you

Believe it or not, there is no specific Mitzvah (Commandment) to love your parents, your spouse (although it's a good idea) and even your children. In fact, there is no specific requirement that you even like them very much. Of course, these relationships fit under the generic requirement to "Love your neighbor" (Leviticus 19:18) but the Torah does not require more from us than that. However, we are specifically commanded in this week's parsha to love a convert (Leviticus 19:34). At first glance, that might sound strange. Why specifically to love a convert more than anyone else, even close family? My Rabbi, Rav Noach Weinberg, of blessed memory, used to explain the meaning of love:

invariably violent. Similarly, when spirituality meets physicality, the reaction is always disturbing. This might sound strange since there is a general perception that a spiritual experience is synonymous with peace and tranquility. This is simply wrong! That doesn't mean violence is spiritual. It just means that the process of introducing spirituality into our physical world creates intense pressure. When mixing heaven and earth, fire and water, or spirituality and physicality, there is an inevitable disruption of equilibrium. Let me explain. At its essence, Earth is not meaningful. In the extreme, dirt

do with it. Heaven is the opposite. It's the ultimate in value and purpose. Infusing meaning into this physical world (Earth) is not an easy task. It's a challenging process of unraveling mistaken thinking, challenging dysfunctional behavior and realizing pointless goals. All of these things rarely happen without strong outside pressure. In other words, it's not easy

Love is the pleasure we get when we focus and identify with another and his virtues. When you see the virtues in people, you will most certainly love them. This process is much more fulfilling and meaningful than even Hallmark could have envisioned. By loving we come to emulate. We in fact, become what we love. The process works like this: we will change our direction to become just like the virtues we admire. It may be slow and imperceptible to us, but subtly those changes will occur. The reason the Torah does not require us to love any specific person more than anyone else, is because those people may not have virtues greater than anyone else. As much as we would like to think of them as special, maybe our loved ones have no extra special virtues, and therefore the Torah does not go out of its way to tell us to love them more than anyone else. Of course, everyone is special, and has exceptional talents and qualities, and that is why we are commanded to love them and realize

one alive at his time. He was just the first who started as a pagan and left it

or comfortable

but it is definitely worth the effort.

those virtues. But a convert has something more then everyone else, that


the Torah specifically wants us to focus on and love. Rabbi Weinberg once asked a phenomenal question. He pointed out that the distance (in spirituality) that someone who converts to Judaism has to travel is further than the distance between anyone of us and one of the great sages of the Talmud (called a Tanna). In other words, it's more difficult to become a Jew, than it is for a Jew to become a Tanna. To go from a world in which you are required to keep seven commandments (the Noachide laws), to a world that revolves around 613 commandments, is an enormous leap. To become part of the Jewish people and its destiny is an immense undertaking. So Rabbi Weinberg asked, if people can do such things, i.e., convert, and can travel the distance to be a Jew, then why don't Jews travel the lesser distance to be a Rabbi Akiva? This is only my view, but I believe it's because we don't love converts (at least not enough). If we appreciated their emotional strength, if we understood their spiritual path, if we valued their arduous undertaking, and if we therefore loved them, we would become like them. "When I spent shabbat at Rabbi Winter's house a couple of months ago, there was a person staying there who was in the process of converting (under his direction) from Catholicism to Judaism. I found the person to be so inspiring that I must say that meeting this person at least in part helped focus me to try to come closer to Hashem (G-d). If this person was willing to come so far, why couldn't I take a few steps closer?" -- Oren Penn Believe it or not, Abraham was a convert. He was called the Hebrew. Hebrew means to cross over. Abraham crossed over from the pagan world to be a monotheist. He wasn't the first monotheist, and he wasn't the only

to become a monotheist. No one had done that. The message of Judaism and the recipe for great success, is found in this concept of converting. It's easy to appreciate a person for how they appear to us now, but maybe they were born into a loving home and that's who they have always been. The real value is to appreciate the person who traveled the longest distance. Thus the secret of becoming a Rabbi Akiva - or whomever you could possibly dream of becoming, is to identify with, and emulate a convert. To do that, all you need is love.

Brainstorming Questions To Ponder

Question 1: Who do you know that has traveled the longest spiritual distance? Question 2: Who is your biggest inspiration? Question 3: Think about the challenges you are facing now and try and compare it to the challenges of people in Question 1.

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Dr. Avigdor Bonchek

"Love your fellow-Jew like Yourself"(Pasuk 18). The Chasam Sofer deals with Rashi's above-mentioned problem by

On the contrary, G-d expects us to live with our fellow men, and by


What’s Bothering Rashi?

referring to the Chovas ha'Levovos in his definition of the Mitzvah of P'rishus (abstention) - which, according to Rashi and the commentaries, is

Parashas Kedoshim (73) We have a double sedra this week - Achrei Mos/Kedoshim. I have chosen a Rashi from Kedoshim Vayikra 19:15 You shall do no wrong in judgment; you shall not favor the poor and you shall not honor a great man. With righteousness you shall judge your fellow. Rashi With righteousness you shall judge your fellow: Rashi: Just as it sounds ("k'mashmaoh"). Another interpretation: Judge your friend by the scale of merit. Rashi offers two interpretations to this phrase. Questioning Rashi A Question: Why the need for two interpretations, the simple meaning ("as it sounds") would seem to be adequate? What's bothering Rashi here? What's Bothering Rashi? An Answer: Several suggestions have been offered to answer this question. 1) This verse has several parts to it. The first says "do no wrong in judgment". If we understand our phrase at it sounds, it would be redundant

translates to "your friend" - in the singular. (In Hebrew "Your friends" in

Another Question

synonymous with "Kedoshim tih'yu". The idea of p'rishus, explains the Chovas ha'Levovos, is not to go and live like hermits in the desert or in the forest, to separate oneself from mankind and reflect on the wondrous deeds of Hashem and to elevate oneself spiritually.

teaching them Torah, how to go in His ways - for "He did not create the world to remain empty, but rather did He form it so that one should inhabit it" (Yeshayah, 45:18), even if by doing so one minimizes one's own opportunities to grow in one's knowledge of Him. G-d Himself loves the people that He created, and He wants us to do likewise - 'to love His creatures and to bring them near to Torah' (Pirkei Avos, 1:12). The p'rishus that is favourable in the Eyes of G-d is to abstain from excessive worldly pleasures even as one lives in close contact with one's fellow men and brings them closer to Torah. And it is with this important lesson in mind that G-d commanded Moshe to gather all the people when he taught them the Mitzvah of Kedushah p'rishus. It was an object lesson that not only do p'rishus and functioning normally in a society not clash, but they go hand in hand!

- doing no wrong in judgment is the same as judging righteously; so what has this phrase added to our understanding? It is for this reason that Rashi seeks another interpretation.

Parshah Pearls Acharei Mos The Sheidim (Demons)

2) The Hebrew word for "your fellow" is "amitecha". Which literally

plural would have the letter 'yud' before the final chaf. But there is no 'yud'

"And they shall not continue to sacrifice to the demons after which they go

astray …" (17:7).

here so it is singular). But if we are speaking to a judge and telling him to judge his fellow in a law case - it should have said "your fellows" because there always two disputants. 3) Also the word "friend" is inappropriate for a judge and his disputants - they are not his friends! For these reasons (or any one of them) Rashi added the second interpretation which is not about a case in court; it is for every man and his

Citing the Ramban, the Rosh defines the Sheidim as follows: They are formed from the two basic elements fire and wind. When the lifespan of these two elements expires (like the four elements that comprise a human- being), they die. The Gemara in Chagigah (16a) explains that they resemble human beings in three ways - they have children, they eat and drink (the wind dries up the liquids, and the fire consumes the solids), and they die, like human beings. And they resemble angels in three ways - they

friend. Now that we know why the second interpretation was necessary, we can ask another question.

see but cannot be seen (due to the fine character of the two elements from which they are formed), they fly (due to the lightness of those elements) and they know the future (which they glean when they fly to distant places), like angels.

A Question: If so why do we need the first interpretation ("k'mashmaoh")? Understanding Rashi

"What's Bothering Rashi?" is a product of the Institute for the Study of Rashi and Early Commentaries. A Hebrew translation of the Bereishis "What's

Kedoshim The Source of Yisrael's Sanctity

An Answer: The whole context of these verses is one of a law case before a

" … you shall be holy, because I Hashem, am holy" (19:2).

judge, so we certainly need the simple meaning. So Rashi offered us both. Shabbat Shalom, Avigdor Bonchek

Bothering Rashi?" is published. It is greatly expanded and is call "L'omko shel Rashi" look for it in bookstores. This article is provided as part of Shema Yisrael Torah Network Permission is granted to redistribute electronically or on paper, provided that this notice is included intact. For information on subscriptions, archives, and other Shema Yisrael Classes, send mail to Jerusalem, Israel 732-370-3344

Hakadosh-Baruch-Hu declared 'Before I created My world, the administering angels were already praising Me through Yisrael and were sanctifying on account of you, when they said "Blessed be Hashem the G- d of Yisrael, from this world to the next!" When Adam was created, they

'And G-d answered 'No! He is a thief!' (since he ate from the tree which I

When a Child Begins to Learn Torah

HaRav Eliezer Chrysler

Midei Shabbos

asked 'Master of the World, is this the one through whom we praise You?


Vol. 20 No. 298

When No'ach was born, they asked the same question, and Avraham and

This issue is sponsored l'iluy Nishmas R' Yehudah ben Aharon z"l

Yitzchak. Each time, G-d answered 'No!' - No'ach, He explained, is a drunkard, whilst Avraham and Yitzchak love those whom I hate (Yishmael

Parshas Acharei/Kedoshim Why Specifically this Parshah Was Said Publicly

and Eisav, respectively). Until, when Ya'akov was born, when G-d answered 'Yes!', as the Torah

"Speak to the entire congregation of Yisrael and say to them 'You shall be

writes in Vayishlach (35:10). "And Your name will no longer be Ya'akov,

holy, because I, Hashem your G-d, am Holy' "(19:2). Rashi explains the command to gather all the people to the fact that 'most of the major issues in the Torah are connected with it'. In similar vein, R. Bachye, citing R. Levi citing a Medrash, explains that each of the Ten Commandments is mentioned in the first paragraph of Kedoshim. "Onochi Hashem Elokecho" … .. "I am Hashem your G-d" "Lo yih'yeh l'cho" … ... "Do not make for yourself molten images (Pasuk 2). "Lo sisso" … ..

"Do not go around slandering

" (Pasuk 16).

but Yisrael will be your name" 'and He called his name Yisrael'. All of Yisrael will be called after him, as the Pasuk writes in Yeshayah, 'Yisrael, through you I will be glorified!' So Hakadosh-Baruch-Hu said to Yisrael - 'Since you were sanctified by My Name even before the world was created, be holy like I am holy'. This can be compared to a king who betrothed a woman and said to her 'Since you are betrothed/sanctified on my name, I will be king and you, queen. So too, Hashem said to Moshe 'Go and sanctify the people'. Why? Because I am holy!" (Rosh citing the Medrash Tanchuma).

"Do not swear by My Name falsely" (Pasuk 12) "Zochor es yom ha'Shabbos" … .. "You shall keep My Shabboses" (Pasuk 30). "Kabeid es ovicha ve'es imecho" … .. "Each man among you shall respect his mother and father"(Pasuk 3). "Lo Tirtach" … .. "Do not stand on the blood of your fellow-Jew (Pasuk 16).

In chapter 19, (Pesukim 23-25), the Torah forbids the fruit that grows during the first three years of the tree's growth (Orlah), permits it to be eaten in the fourth year (under certain conditions [Neta R'vai]) and thereafter permits it to be eaten freely ("so that it will increase its crop for you"). The Da'as Zekeinim mi'Ba'alei Tosfos explains that this hints at how one should initiate one's sons into the Mitzvah of Talmud-Torah:

"Lo tin'of" … .. "Do not defile your daughter" (Pasuk 29). "Lo tignov" … ..

Until the age of three he is 'stopped-up' (he is Patur from learning Torah, since he cannot yet speak). During his fourth year, one begins to learn Torah with him. And from then on, one should 'stuff him like a bull', as the

"Do not steal (kidnap)" (Pasuk 11). ""Lo sa'aneh be're'acho" … ..

"Lo Sachmod" … ..

Gemara explains in Bava Basra (21a). And it is from here that the Mishnah in Pirkei Avos (5:21) 'At five years a child should study Chumash, and at ten, Mishnah'.

G-d's Sensitivity



haaBtu!Nztwer.zsIb!trcdk trcd ihc!

(Adapted from Rabeinu Bachye) Continued from last week

Aaron the High-Priest, and the Holy Ark (Aron) both appear in the same verse (Leviticus (16:2). They differ in their Hebrew spelling by only the

Only three times in the entire T'nach do we find that G-d's Name is

letter Hey, which has the numerical value (gematria) of five.

mentioned in connection with a curse:

Torah Teasers Parshat Kedoshim


In connection with a meisis (an enticer: someone who talks his victim


The name of our parsha means "holy." Where is the first place in the

into going astray); 2. in connection with someone who (deliberately) transgresses a Mitzvah de'Rabbanan (who is Chayav Miysah); and 3. in

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Torah that holiness is mentioned? Where is the second time that holiness is mentioned?

connection with somebody who places his trust in a human being. A meisis - This refers to the snake, about whom the Pasuk writes (in Bereishis 3:14) "And Hashem … G-d said to the snake, because you did

The first mention of holiness is mentioned is in parshas Bereishis in connection to the Shabbat (Genesis 2:3). The next mention of holiness is in parshas Shemos when Hashem appears to Moshe at the Burning Bush.

this you are cursed more than all the animals and the beasts …". This is because he en-ticed Chavah and said to her (3:14) "For G-d knows that on

Hashem commands Moshe to take off his shoes, since the place where he is standing is "holy ground" (Exodus 3:5).

the day that you eat from it (the Tree of Knowledge) your eyes will be


Which commandment in this parsha refers to the morning?

opened and you will be like Him" - 'Just as He builds worlds, so too, will

The law regarding paying a daytime worker states that a person must not

you be able to build worlds, and all craftsmen hate their competitors!' And

delay payment past the morning following the work (Leviticus 19:13).

because he en-ticed her and spoke Lashon ha'Ra, G-d mentioned His Name


In which two places is blood mentioned in this parsha (other than the

in connection with his curse. Someone who (deliberately) transgresses a

many times the Torah states "their blood is upon them" to describe a

Mitzvah de'Rabbanan - as the Pasuk writes in Yirmiyah (31:3) "So says



Hashem … 'Cursed be the man who does not hearken to the words of this

The verse states: "Do not stand idly by the blood of your friend" (Leviticus

covenant … !"

19:16), which is the requirement to save somebody in danger (Rashi).

Somebody who places his trust in a human being, as the Pasuk writes in Yirmiyah (17:5) "So says Hashem 'Cursed be the man who places his trust in man and who makes flesh and blood his strength, should he turn his

Another verse states: "Do not eat over the blood" (Leviticus 19:26), which is interpreted by our Sages in several different ways, including the command to pray in the morning before eating.

heart away from Hashem". When is he cursed? When he turns his heart


In this parsha, what three similar laws appear in the same verse?

away from Hashem.

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The three prohibitions of forbidden mixtures are all found in one verse: (1) not to mix animals when plowing one's field, (2) not to mix seeds when

planting, and (3) not to mix wool and linen in the same garment (Leviticus

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Torah Teasers


In this parsha, in what context is fire mentioned?

Any leftover meat of an offering (nosar) must be burned by fire (Leviticus

Torah Teasers Parshat Acharei Mot



Challenging questions for the Shabbat table.


In this parsha, which three laws refer to corners or edges (peyos)?

  • 1. Which three parts of the Tabernacle are listed in this parsha, and in what

Three laws refer to corners/edges: (1) Do not harvest the "corners of your

context are they mentioned?

field," but rather leave them for the poor (Leviticus 19:9). (2) Do not

These three parts of the Tabernacle appear several times: The paroches, the curtain separating the Holy of Holies; the kapores, the cover of the

round off "the edges [of hair] of the head, (3) nor destroy the "the edges of the beard" (Leviticus 19:20).

Holy Ark; and the Incense Altar (Leviticus 16:2, 12). They appear in


In this parsha, what law refers to the numbers 3, 4 and 5?

connection with the service of the High Priest on the Day of Atonement.

The law of orlah refers to the numbers 3, 4 and 5. Any fruit grown within

  • 2. In what context is dirt mentioned in this parsha? What other Torah

the first 3 years of planting may not be eaten. In the fourth year, the fruit

command involves taking some dirt? In what context does dirt (afar) first

from this tree must be eaten in Jerusalem. In the fifth year, the fruits are

appear in the Torah?

totally permitted (Leviticus 19:23-25).

In this parsha, when a bird or wild animal is slaughtered, its blood must


In this parsha, what law refers to a blind person? Which law in the next

be covered with dirt (Leviticus 17:13). In parshas Naso, the Kohen is

parsha (Emor) refers to a blind person?

required to take some dirt from the floor of the Tabernacle and mix it with

In this parsha, the verse states: "Do not place a stumbling block before the

water as part of the waters given to a suspected adulteress (Numbers 5:17). Dirt is first mentioned when Hashem takes "dirt from the ground"

blind " (Leviticus 19:14). In the next parsha (Emor), the verse states that a blind person may not serve in the Tabernacle (Leviticus 21:18).

and forms Man from it (Genesis 2:7).


In this parsha, which 3-letter Hebrew word appears four times in one

  • 3. In this parsha, part of the service of the High Priest on Yom Kippur


involves two goats (seir izim). In what context does a goat (seir izim - not

The word tzedek (correct) appears four times in one Leviticus 19:36: One

gadi izim) first appear in the Torah?

must possess correct scales, correct stone weights, correct dry measures,

In parshas Vayeshev, Yosef's brothers slaughter a goat (seir izim) and dip

and correct liquid measures.

Yosef's coat into its blood (Genesis 37:31).

10. In this parsha, which serious sin is described with a word that usually

  • 4. In what context is a lottery performed in this parsha? Where else in the

refers to a positive and commendable action?

Torah is a lottery performed?

Incest with one's sister is described by the Torah as "chesed" (Leviticus

This article can also be read at: Like what you read? As a non-profit

In this parsha, a lottery is performed to determine which goat will be

20:17). This word usually refers to a kind and benevolent act - e.g.

brought as an offering on Yom Kippur, and which goat is designated as the scapegoat (Leviticus 16:8). In parshas Pinchas, Hashem commands the Land of Israel to be divided among the tribes through a lottery (Numbers

Genesis 21:23, 24:12, 24:14.

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Rabbi Zvi Akiva Fleisher

  • 5. As part of the Yom Kippur service, the High Priest takes a handful of

incense and brings it into the Holy of Holies (Leviticus 16:12). Where else

Chamishoh Mi Yodei'a

in the Torah is a command to "take a handful"?

5 Questions And Answers On Parshios Acharei-K'doshim 5773 - Bs"D

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In parshas Bo, Moshe and Aaron are commanded to each take a handful of

  • 6. As part of the Yom Kippur service, the High Priest sprinkles blood

"seven consecutive times" (Leviticus 16:14). Where else in the Torah does

ashes to initiate the plague of boils (Exodus 9:8).

1) Ch. 17, v. 13: "Chayoh o ofe asher yei'ocheil v'shofach es domo

v'chisohu be'ofor" - An undomesticated animal or a bird that may be eaten and he spilled its blood and he shall cover it with earth - Why

2) Ch. 18, v. 18: "V'ishoh el achosoh lo sikoch" - And a woman to her

sister shall you not take - Why doesn't the verse straightforwardly state,

someone perform an action "seven consecutive times"?

does this law apply only to "chayoh" and "ofe," but not to "b'heimoh," a

In parshas Vayishlach, as Yaakov approaches his brother Esav, he bows down "seven consecutive times" (Genesis 33:3).

  • 7. What "land" appears in this parsha, but nowhere else in the entire


domesticated animal?

On Yom Kippur, a Kohen leads the scapegoat to the "land of Geziera"

"V'achos ish't'cho lo sikach," - and the sister of your wife you shall not take?

(Leviticus 16:22).

  • 8. In this parsha, which two countries appear in the same verse?

Egypt and Canaan appear in a single verse, as we are commanded not to

3) Ch. 19, v. 10: "Le'oni v'la'geir taazove osom" - For the poor man

and the convert shall you leave them - The next verse begins with "Lo signovu." What is the connection?

copy their actions (Leviticus 18:3).

  • 9. Which person and object, appearing in the same verse, differ in

numerical value (gematria) by five?

4) Ch. 19, v. 17: "Lo sisno es ochicho bilvo'vecho" - Do not hate your

brother in your heart - When dealing with your brother all the Torah requires of you is to not hate him in your heart. Yet, the next verse demands more of you when dealing with your friend, "v'ohavto l'rei'acho


!haaBtu!Nztwer.zsIb!trcdk trcd ihc



komocho." You are required to actually love him. Regarding your relationship with a judge or tribal leader, the Torah seems to require the least, "Elohim lo s'ka'leil v'nosi v'amcho lo so'ore," - do not denigrate a judge and a tribal leader you shall not curse. Why does the Torah give us four distinct levels of behaviour towards these four different of people? 5) Ch. 19, v. 17: "Ho'chei'ach tochiach es ami'secho" - You shall surely rebuke your friend - What is the intention of the double

Ch. 19, v. 13: "Lo solin" - The Rebbe Reb Zisha's daughter was engaged to be married. Setting aside from his meager income, the Rebbe finally amassed sufficient funds to buy some fair quality material and pay a tailor for his work. When the tailor advised the Rebbe's wife that the dress was ready, she went to his tailor shop to pick up her daughter's dress. She lifted up the dress and scanned it from top to bottom, very pleased with the results. She said, "And now, let me pay you." The tailor let out a slight groan. After repeated requests for an explanation for his groaning he told


expression? Answers:

#1 The Rokei'ach in #319 says that this is based on a medrash that says that when Eliezer returned with Rivkoh to his master Yitzchok, he said that if Yitzchok finds that she has no virginal blood it is not because Eliezer violated her. It is because during their return she fell off the camel and her virginity was broken. They retraced a bit of their steps and found where this happened. The blood was protected by undomesticated animals and birds. The Rokei'ach says that because domesticated animals did not come to take part in the protection of the blood, they do not merit having this mitzvoh done with their blood. (Chid"o in Chomas Anoch) #2 The gemara P'sochim 119b relates that in the future the righteous personalities of the Torah will partake of a meal. At the end of the meal Yaakov will be asked to lead the grace after meals. He will decline, saying, "I do not deserve to lead the bentching because I have married two sisters, something that the Torah would in the future prohibit to ME. This is quite puzzling. The prohibition is not "to ME." It is a universal prohibition. We can say that the Torah should have said "v'achos ish't'cho lo sikach," but changed it to "v'ishoh el achosoh lo sikoch" to allude to Yaakov specifically. He intended to marry Rochel and not Leah. Once he was aware of the exchange he knowingly married Rochel afterwards. This is "v'ishoh," Rochel the "akeres habayis," the one Yaakov intended should be his wife, "el achosoh," in addition to her sister Leah. (Chanukas haTorah) #3 The connection is readily understood. People are drawn to thievery when they are totally destitute, and act out of utter desperation. If however, you leave over some of the produce of your field for the under- privileged, you can help avoid someone's being pushed into thievery. (Mahar"i Karo in Itu'rei Torah) #4 The gemara A.Z. 3a says that the Holy One does not demand from His creations beyond their ability, "Ein haKodosh Boruch Hu bo bitrunia al briyosov." In general people can have cordial relationships with their fellow man. The Torah therefore requires that we love our fellow man. When it comes to familial relationships, although they are usually the

the Rebbitzen that he too had a daughter who was to soon be married. The bridegroom was visiting when the tailor was close to finishing his work on this dress and thought that his future father-in-law was tailoring this gorgeous garment for his kallah. When advised that it was in the finishing stages for a customer, the bridegrooms face fell, obviously very disappointed. The tailor was so poor that he could not even purchase material from which to cut a dress. Upon hearing this, the Rebbitzen did not hesitate. She immediately put it

back onto the counter and told the tailor that it would be her gift for the kallah. The tailor was more than pleased and thanked her profusely. When she came home and related the story to the Rebbe, he immediately asked if she also paid the tailor his wages. His wife was incredulous. "I gave him the expensive material as a present, and I have to pay him for his work on his 'own daughter's' dress as well?" "Yes," said Rebbe Reb Zisha. "Once you picked up the dress it was yours and you owed him every last coin for his work. Independent of this was your decision to give the dress as a present." Ch. 19, v. 18: "V'ohavto l'rei'acho komocho" - Immediately after this we find the prohibition of certain mixtures in breeding, agriculture, and clothing materials. This teaches us that even though we are to love our fellow man, we cannot indiscriminately befriend just anyone. Oft times we are to distance ourselves from certain people for fear that they will influence us in a most negative manner. Ch. 19, v. 18: "V'ohavto l'rei'acho komocho" - "Komocho" can be sourced from the word form Kof-Mem-Hei, as in "komah l'cho vsori" (T'hilim 63:2, - my flesh desires for You. You should love your friend as much as your desire, "komocho," to have him like you and treat you with kindness. (Haksav V'hakaboloh) Ch. 19, v. 30: "Umikdoshi tiro'u" - The Sforno says that included in this mitzvoh is to properly hallow a place that is dedicated to Torah study or prayer. The second world war brought devastation upon the Ashekenazic Jewish world, while the Sfardic communities fared noticeably better. This can be attributed to the fact that among the Sfardim absolutely no idle talking or lightheadedness is tolerated during their prayers. Respect for their houses of worship and worship itself provided a shield for them.

strongest and warmest, sometimes there is strife that is worse than with an

(Rabbi Yaakov Landa who heard this from the Imrei Emes)

outsider, because of competition, inheritance, etc. The Torah therefore only commands us to not hate our brother. A judge can rule against you and this brings much anger, especially because people often truly feel they are in the right. Do not denigrate a judge. Even greater is the possible enmity towards a tribal leader, a spiritual head. On an ongoing basis he chides, scolds, and rebukes. Even though it is with true concern for his

Ch. 19, v. 36: "V'hin tzedek yi'h'yeh lochem" - The gemara B.M. 49a derives from "hin tzedek" that your YES should be righteous, i.e. that one only speak the truth. It is not enough to feel that "honesty is the best policy," but to totally internalize this as the only proper behaviour. This is the intention of the following words, "yi'h'yeh lochem," that honesty should become "lochem," part and parcel of your makeup. (Taam Vodaas) A Gutten Shabbos Kodesh.

charges betterment, but it is only natural that they will sometimes harbour extreme ill will towards him. The Torah therefore only asks of us to not

Rabbi Zvi Akiva Fleisher

curse him. (Rabbi Moshe Shatzkes Lomzer Rov) #5 Talmi'dei Baal Shem Tov relate from their master that when a person

Oroh V'Simchoh

sees another sin it is not by chance. It is a sign from heaven that he has been lax in a similar vein. When you see your friend doing something wrong, first there should be self rebuking, "ho'chei'ach," and then rebuking of your friend, "tochiach." Do not think that only he has done something wrong. "V'lo siso olov cheit," do not attribute the sin only to him. (Toras Bnei Yisos'chor) A Gutten Shabbos Kodesh.

Oroh V'simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh On Parshas Acharei - Bs"D Ch. 16, v. 4: "V'rochatz bamayim es b'soro ulveishom" - In all other places that the Torah prescribes immersion in a mikveh, the verse says "v'rochatz b'soro bamayim," first mentioning what is to be immersed, "b'soro," and only afterwards "bamayim." Here we find the order reversed, "bamayim es b'soro." The mishneh Yoma 34b relates that the Kohein Godol would descend to immerse himself, ascend, and sponge himself dry.

Rabbi Zvi Akiva Fleisher

The Mishneh L'melech hilchos avodas Yom haKippurim 2:2 questions the

Chasidic Insights

need to sponge himself dry. He offers that it is either because we fear that when he immersed himself in the mikveh he might have picked up some

Chasidic Insights Parshas Acharei Mose - K'doshim From 5764 Bs"D

object that stuck to his body, and halacha requires that nothing intervene

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between his body and his garments, or that the water itself might be an

Parshas Acharei Mose

intervening object.

Ch. 18, v. 3: "K'maa'sei eretz Mitrayim

lo saasu" - The Torah is

The Meshech Chochmoh explains that the gemara Z'vochim 18b derives

exhorting us to accept the authority of our leaders. Don't do like the STORIES of Egypt, for example, when Doson and Avirom said to Moshe, "Mi somcho l'ish." (Mo'ore Voshomesh)

from the word BOD in our verse that the garments of the Kohein Godol must be as good as new. This disqualifies using a garment that was soiled, even if it was laundered and there are no stains left. If the Kohein Godol

Ch. 18, v. 3: "K'maa'sei eretz Mitrayim

lo saasu uchmaa'sei eretz

were to not dry himself after immersion his wet body would detract from


the crisp newness of his garments.

Since we entreat Hashem for forgiveness we want to mention our merits. By reading this verse, where Hashem forbids us to behave as do the Egyptians and the descendants of Eisov and others who occupy Canaan,

This is why the verse switches the order of the words. By saying "bamayim es b'soro," the verse is stressing that the water should only go

we show that even if we did not behave properly, we are nonetheless much

better than the Egyptians, bnei Eisov, etc. (Zichron Aharon) Parshas K'doshim

Ch. 19, v. 2: "K'doshim ti'h'yu" - Rashi says that this parsha was taught to an assemblage. We see that not only when one is alone can he attain holiness, but even when among many people. (Bendiner Rov in Y'cha'hein P'eir)

onto his body and not onto the garments he will put on afterwards. This necessitates the need to dry himself.

Ch. 18, v. 28: "V'lo soki ho'oretz es'chem b'tamaachem osoh kaa'sher

ko'oh es hagoy" - The verse seems to contradict itself by saying that you will NOT be expelled when you DO contaminate the land. A number of interpretations:

You will not be treated as the heathen nations who have occupied this land before you and have been ejected, but rather:



haaBtu!Nztwer.zsIb!trcdk trcd ihc!

1) Not only will you be expelled, but you will also suffer the punishment of excision, "ko'reis," as stated in verse 29, "v'nich'r'su hanfoshos ho'osos.

However, when one keeps Shabbos he is not occupied with work on that day and has ample opportunity to sin. This is compounded when Yom Tov

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(Rabbi Moshe of Kutzi) 2) If you fulfill the words of verse 26, "ushmartem …… v'lo saasu," then you will be saved from punishment. Translate "V'lo" as LEST. (Rabbeinu Elyokim)

comes and he has even more free time, and added to this he mingles with women who come to the assembly at the houses of prayer and lectures, as per the gemara Kidushin 81a, "sakva d'shata rigla," - the most wobbly (insecure) time of the year is Yom Tov. This means that at that time of the

3) You will also be expelled, but in a manner which will be more severe than the expulsion of the heathen nations. (Rivo) 4) They have only been expelled, but did not suffer the punishment of "ko'reis." You, however, will not be expelled, but will be punished with "ko'reis." (Baalei Hatosfos) The Toras Kohanim 20:123 (mentioned in Rashi) compares sinning in E.Y. to a prince who had a sensitive digestive system, as he was used to only the finest of foods and delicacies. Any coarse alimentation would upset his system. Similarly, E.Y. is very sensitive to sins. Those who sin would be expelled. The Meshech Chochmoh says in the name of his father that according to the above parable, if the prince continued to eat coarse food he would eventually grow accustomed to it and would successfully digest it. Likewise, if E.Y. would ch"v be subject to continuous sinning, it would also become desensitized. This can be the meaning of our verse.

year one's spiritual level falters, as he mixes with women at public assemblies in the house of prayer. The Rambam hilchos Yom Tov 6:21 writes that community heads should appoint officers to see to it that men and women do not assemble for lightheadedness, as this can lead to severe sinning. This is the intention of our verse. "Es Shabsosai tishmoru," when you keep Shabbos properly, and thus have free time on your hands, "u'Mikdoshi tiro'u," make sure to behave with trepidation and fear in the places of public assembly. (Meshech Chochmoh) Ch. 19, v. 31: "Al T'VAKSHU l'tomoh vo'hem" - The prohibition against defiling oneself through involvement with the occult is expressed most unusually, "al T'VAKSHU," - you shall not SEEK to defile yourselves. The gemara Sanhedrin 68a says that the prohibition against involvement with the occult is limited to learning the subject matter with the intent to use it, but not if the intent is to learn what is prohibited and

The land will NOT vomit you even though you defile it, as it has expelled the previous occupants of the land. At that time the land was still sensitive. However, it has unfortunately become accustomed to the sins, and instead your punishment will be excision, as per verse 29, "v'nich'r'su hanfoshos." I believe that this interpretation fits in best with the 4th explanation offered above by the earlier commentators.

what is allowed. Rashi on Dvorim 18:9 says a similar point. This is why the verse ends with "ani Hashem Elokeichem." This expression is often used to indicate that even if a person has a loophole to do something that is basically prohibited, but with certain intentions it is allowed, Hashem knows all that is in a person's heart, and knows his true intention. If a person will study the occult under the guise of learning it to differentiate

Oroh V'simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh On Parshas K'doshim Ch. 19, v. 27: "Lo sakifU p'as rosh'CHEM v'lo sash'chis eis p'as

between the prohibited and the permitted, Hashem knows if it is really so, or if he really has in mind to learn this subject with the intention of using

z'ko'necho" - The first prohibition in this verse is expressed in the plural form, while the second is expressed in the singular form. The Meshech Chochmoh explains this with the gemara Nozir 57b. There is an opinion brought that there is a Torah prohibition to remove the sideburns of a minor. Tosfos d.h. "v'Rav Ada" says that according to this opinion it is likewise prohibited for a man to cut the sideburns of a woman. The Meshech Chochmoh says that this is why the verse says "rosh'CHEM," in the plural form, to indicate that it is also prohibited to do this to a woman. The later prohibition against shaving one's beard is limited to doing it to a man only, hence the singular form is used. Alternatively, he offers that according to the opinion in the gemara Nozir 41a that "hakofas kol horosh lo shmei hakofoh," - shaving all the hair of one's head including the sideburns is not a transgression of this law, there is no exception to this rule. Even when one shaves the head of a "metzoro" in his purification ritual, all the hair of the head is removed, and this does not push aside "lo sakifu." Therefore the Torah expresses the prohibition in the plural form, to indicate that it applies to all circumstances. When shaving the beard of a "metzoro" the prohibition of "v'lo sash'chis eis p'as z'ko'necho" is pushed aside, so to indicate the limited application of the prohibition, it is expressed in the singular form. While on the subject of shaving one's head and beard, the Meshech Chochmoh brings Breishis M.R. 11:6, where a philosopher asked Rabbi Hoshia, "Why do you shave the hair of your head but not that of your beard?" Rabbi Hoshia responded that the hair of the head grows in "shtus," foolishness, while the hair of the beard grows "in wisdom." On a simple level this is understood to mean that the hair of the head begins to grow when we are very young, a time when we are immature, while the hair of one's beard begins to grow when we have already reached the age of majority. However, the Meshech Chochmoh offers a much deeper understanding of the response of Rabbi Hoshia. He says that although the Torah sometimes gives us mitzvos that are a safeguard to avoid doing an even greater sin, Hashem has not built safeguards into the way the world functions. However, there is an exception with the sin of not mingling and

it. (Meshech Chochmoh) Ch. 19, v. 35 "Lo saasu o'vel bamishpot bamidoh bamishkol u'vamsuroh" - Do not commit a misdeed "with justice" by way of measurements, weight, or volume. You know that someone owes you money, but you cannot recover it. When he comes to purchase something from you that has to be measured or weighed, you might feel that it is justified to shortchange him in order to recover part or all of what he owes you. This verse tells us to not cheat to recover it. (Meshech Chochmoh) Ch. 20, v. 12: "V'ish asher yishkav es kaloso mose yumsu shnei'hem tevel ossu" - At first thought one would assume that the sin of having relations with one's own daughter, his own flesh and blood, is more severe than having relations with his daughter-in-law, who is only related to him through his son's acquiring her as his wife. Yet the punishment for relations with one's own daughter is "sreifoh," a less severe punishment than having relations with his daughter-in-law, where the punishment is "skiloh" (according to the first opinion in the mishneh Sanhedrin 49b that "skiloh" is stricter than "sreifoh," which is the halacha, as per the Rambam Hilchos Sanhedrin 14:1). The Meshech Chochmoh says that this question is predicated on the assumption that the reason for the prohibition by both one's daughter and daughter-in-law is because of closeness of the relationship. However, our verse says that the sin of having relations with one's daughter-in-law is called TEVEL. This word means a mixture, as we find "t'valul b'eino" (Vayikroh 21:20), a flaw of the eye where the dark iris colouring is mixed with the white colouring surrounding it. The prohibition to have relations with one's daughter-in-law is because the father and son both mix their seed in one person. Therefore it is a more severe sin than having relations with one's own daughter, and is deserving of a stricter punishment. See the Ibn Ezra on Vayikroh 21:20 who writes that "t'valul" means "destruction," and if it is the same word source as TEVEL, then TEVEL means the same. He adds that TEVEL could mean "mixture," but the word source is not TEVEL, but rather, BoLoL, as in "bluloh vashemen" (Vayikra 2:5).

sinning with women. Beyond the physical differences between a man and

Rabbi Zvi Akiva Fleisher

a woman that are required for their specific functions, Hashem created man with the nature of growing a beard, while a woman does not. This is

Sedrah Selections

done so that one can immediately differentiate between a man and a woman. This creates a safeguard against sinning. This is the intention of Rabbi Hoshia when he said that the beard grows "in wisdom," meaning that is purpose is to safeguard against sin.

Sedrah Selections Parshios Acharei-K'doshim 5773 Bs"D Acharei Ch. 17, v. 10: "V'hichrati osoh mi'kerev amoh" - And I will excise her

The gemara N'dorim 9b relates the story of a young man who had very beautiful hair that brought him to Narcissian self admiration. To avoid

from within her nation - Excision is always done by Hashem. However, there are times when the verse spells out that Hashem is doing it and times

having this attractive feature bring him to sin, he vowed to become a Nozir, which necessitated his totally shaving his head (Bmidbar 6:18), thus removing enticement. We see that hair of the head can bring one to sin, hence Rabbi Hoshia's response that hair of the head is grown in "foolishness," as any sin is done only when a spirit of foolishness enters a person (see Rashi on Bmidbar 5:12). Ch. 19, v. 30: "Es Shabsosai tishmoru u'Mikdoshi tiro'u" - The mishneh in Pirkei Ovos 4:2 says that Torah study in tandem with pursuit of a livelihood makes one forget (distanced from) sinning. Either this is because the combination of the two totally occupies a person, leaving him with no strength to sin (Rabbi Ovadioh of Bartenura), or because Torah study teaches one to not sin, and coupled with pursuit of a livelihood, a person avoids being tempted to steal for lack of sustenance (M'iri).

not. Here we are discussing the consumption of blood, prohibited by the Torah and punishable by excision. Since blood is disgusting to drink (gemara Makos 23b), it must be that the transgressor is drinking it to make a statement, that he simply wants to transgress Hashem's mitzvoh. Here the punishment of excision is expressed in a more powerful manner, mentioning that Hashem is doing it. Earlier by the sin of consuming prohibited fatty sections of an animal, something that is tasty, the verse expresses itself only with the excision, "V'nich'r'soh" (Vayikra 7:25), as one might eat it not to spite Hashem, but because his epicurean drive has overtaken him. (I do not know why the previous verse is not cited, "V'el pesach Ohel Mo'eid lo y'vi'enu," where it says, "V'nichras ho'ish hahu." There too he might simply not want to go the distance to the Mikdosh to bring his offering.)


!haaBtu!Nztwer.zsIb!trcdk trcd ihc



Rashi on the gemara M'nochos 21 says that blood that is cooked is disqualified from holiness and when the Torah says that blood that is to be placed on the altar that is drunk carries the excision penalty it must be raw blood. This is why the verse says that Hashem will do the excision, as just mentioned. In Vayikra 7:26, where it talks about drinking blood of a non- sacrificial animal, it is possible to have the blood cooked and even mixed

with some other drink in a manner where it is not nullified, and is a decent drink. This is why the verse there mentions excision without mentioning Hashem doing it, "v'nich'r'soh." Similarly, by the excisions mentioned in parshas K'doshim by prohibited unions, "v'nich'r'su" is used, because people have a drive for these matters. By the idol worship of molech and the use of the occult ove and y'doni

(Haksav V'hakaboloh)

Medrash Shochar Tov on T'hilim #20. Rabon Gamliel came to Chalfa ben Kruyoh and asked him to pray for him. Chalfa responded with, "May Hashem give you as is in your heart," or "May Hashem fulfill all your requests." The medrash goes on to say that this response is inappropriate

for the common man as he might be planning to steal or do another sin. It is only because Chalfa knew that Rabon Gamliel's heart was totally submissive to Hashem that he responded thusly. Sefer Chasidim #485 similarly says that one should never bless someone with "May Hashem grant you your request." Perhaps this person wants to take revenge on someone or overpower an adversary. Rather, one should respond with, "May Hashem fulfill your wishes for good in the service of Hashem."


(Vayikra 20:3,5,6), where there is no lust for them, we again have "v'hichrati," and even stronger "V'samti ani es ponai." By the prohibitions of Yom Kippur (Vayikra 23:29), by eating, an act that one lusts, it says, "v'nich'r'soh," while by doing work on Y.K., again a matter that is not driven by lust, it says, "V'haavadti es ha'nefesh" (verse 30). (Meshech Chochmoh) Ch. 17, v. 13: "Chayoh o ofe …… v'shofach es domo v'chisohu be'ofor" - An undomesticated animal or a bird …… and will spill its blood and he shall cover it with earth - Kayin killed Hevel and just left him lying there. Birds and undomestivacted animals dug into the ground, buried him, and covered him over with earth. This is why they merit having their blood covered. (Breishis Raboh 22:8) Ch. 18, v. 5: "V'chai bohem" - And live through them - In reality, a person who lives by the Torah's guidelines lives no longer than a person who fulfills none of its precepts. It is obvious that these words refer to the spirit of a person, as Targum Onkelos says, "V'yeichi v'hon l'chayei alma."

Ch. 19, v. 17: "Hochei'ach tochiach es ami'secho" - You shall surely rebuke your friend - A traveling preacher came to a community and while discussing the importance of mitzvos in which people were lax he strongly criticized the Jewish nation as a whole. A person in the audience, Rabbi Dovid, a student of the holy Baal Shem Tov pushed him off the platform where he was speaking and brought the talk to an abrupt end. This "darshan" went to the holy Baal Shem Tov to complain about the behaviour of his student. The holy Baal Shem Tov called his student who then explained to him what happened. The holy Baal Shem Tov sided with his student, citing the verse in Mishlei 3:11, "Musar Hashem bni al timos," chastisement my son do not loath. "Musar Hashem," one should offer chastisement to act as Hashem asks of us, but, "Bni al timos," do not make my son repulsive when you offer the "musor." (Tzror Hachaim, M'kore Mayim Chaim) A Gutten Shabbos Kodesh.

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This is a source in the Torah for spiritual reward in the world-to-come.

Rabbi Yissocher Frand

Ch. 18, v. 21: "Umizaracho lo si'tein l'haavir lamolech v'lo s'chaleil es


Parshas Achrei Mos – Kedoshim

sheim kodshi" - And from your children you shall not give to pass through for molech and you shall not desecrate My holy name -

Hashem only accepts offerings of one's property, be it inanimate, vegetable, or animate, but not one's child. By offering one's child to molech, which is a greater sacrifice, one desecrates Hashem's holy name.

(Ramban, Sforno)

K'doshim Ch. 19, v. 2: "K'doshim ti'h'yu" - You will be holy - Note that they verse does not use the command form, "heyu," but rather "ti'h'yu," indicating that you will be holy as the result of something. This is the Torah, which sanctifies a person. This is so because the Torah and Hashem are one. Toiling in Torah study becomes purified as well. This is the intention of the following words of the verse, "Ki kodosh ani Hashem."

(Holy Zohar) Ch. 19, v. 3: "Ish imo v'oviv tiro'u" - A man his mother and his father shall you fear - The verse begins in the singular and ends in the plural. The gemara M.K. 17 relates that a father hit his adult son. The gemara says that by doing this he has transgressed the sin of "V'lifnei I'veir lo si'tein mich'shole," not to put a stumbling-block in front of a blind man. This means that the father has caused his son to transgress, as the son will likely hit him back. We derive from this that the mitzvoh of fearing one's parents is a shared mitzvoh. Not only the child, but also the parent has to behave in a manner that the child will not transgress, hence the plural form. (Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh)

These divrei Torah were adapted from the hashkafa portion of Rabbi Yissocher Frand's Commuter Chavrusah Tapes on the Weekly portion: Tape # 810, The Prohibition of Hating Another Jew. Good Shabbos!

Who Has To Honor Whom?

The beginning of Parshas Kedoshim contains a pasuk which presents a very interesting juxtaposition of mitzvot: "Every man shall revere his mother and his father and you shall observe My Sabbaths – I am Hashem your G-d." [Vayikra 19:3]. Rashi wonders about the connection between Shabbos observance and revering one's parents. Rashi cites the Toras Kohanim which teaches, based on the juxtaposition in this pasuk:

"Although I enjoined you about revering a parent, if your parent should say to you, 'Desecrate the Shabbos', do not listen to them. And so too it is with regard to other commandments." This is a halachic principle brought down several times in the Talmud, which is also codified in the Shulchan Aruch. Rav Yaakov Kaminetsky adds that the Torah is teaching us another message here as well. We believe as Jews that G-d created the world in six days and that on the seventh day He rested. Prior to Creation the world did not exist and obviously people did not exist. This "Creation scenario" is not universally accepted. There are many people who in fact deny any role of G-d in creation. The Darwinian Theory and others posit that human beings evolved from lower species and reject the "story of Creation" as

Ch. 19, v. 6: "V'hanosar bayom hashlishi bo'aish yiso'reif" - And that which is left over on the third day shall be burned in fire - This is an allusion to the law regarding non-consecrated meat. It must be salted by the third day since the slaughter or else the blood contained therein dries and cannot come out with salting. It can only be roasted over fire (see Sh.O. Y.D. 69:12). This is"V'hanosar bayom hashlishi bo'aish yiso'reif."

spelled out in the beginning of the Book of Bereshis. This is a philosophical-theological dispute of how one views the world. There is a practical difference between these two world views. The difference boils down to who needs to honor whom? Should older people need to honor younger people or should younger people need to honor

(Kisei Rachamim) Ch. 19, v. 9: "Uvkutz'r'chem" - And with your harvesting - This word can be split into "Uvkotzer Kof-Mem. When there is harvesting Kof-Mem

older people? If one believes that man has evolved from the lower forms of life, then presumably the further one gets away from that "original man" the higher form of life one would expect. If man evolved from a monkey,

= 60, that one must leave over the corner of the field unharvested for poor people. The amount left over should be a sixtieth of the field (Mishnoh Pei'oh 1:2).

then the first generations of men were not very far removed from monkeys. Later generations have "evolved more" than earlier ones and hence the earlier generations must honor the later on es. The bottom line is

The following words of the verse, "P'as sodochoh" have the numerical value of "HaPei'oh echod meichamishim." (Baal Haturim) Ch. 19, v. 11: "Lo tignovu" - You shall not steal - Numerous explanations are given for the plural expression, "lo tignovU." The Rambam hilchos g'neivoh 5:1 writes that it is prohibited to by from a thief an item he has stolen. This is a grievous sin as it strengthens the hands of a sinner and propels him to steal again, since if he would find no purchaser for the ill-gotten goods he would not steal. The verse in Mishlei 29:24 refers to this when it says, "Choleik im ganov sonei nafsho." Based on all this the Sheima Shlomo and Kli Yokor explain that this is the meaning of the plural "lo tignovU." Both the thief and his customer are considered thieves. Ch. 19, v. 11: "Lo tignovu" - You shall not steal - A petitioner's kvittel was brought to the Hornesteipler Gaon. The request was that he be successful in all his endeavours. The Hornesteipler Gaon responded that he would not pray for this since there is a possibility that he might want to steal or do some other wrong-doing. His response is actually found in the

that parents should honor their children. If on the other hand, -- as we believe -- the Almighty created the First Man, it follows that the First Man was the most perfect human being that the world has ever seen. He was without flaws because he was the handiwork of the Master of the Universe Himself. No one can improve upon that! As we get further away from that First Man, man diminishes in stature. If we are going down, rather than up, it is clear that the younger generations need to honor the previous generations. With this introduction, the pasuk now is crystal clear. "A man shall revere his mother and his father." Why? It is because "My Sabbaths you shall keep – I am Hashem your G-d." There is a link between these two parts of the pasuk. Since there was a Creation – which you testify to by observance of Shabbos on the seventh day of the week, then parents who are a generation closer to creation and to the original man who was created by the Almighty need to be revered by the younger generation!



haaBtu!Nztwer.zsIb!trcdk trcd ihc!

This insight of Rav Yaakov comes with a story as well. In his later years, Rav Yaakov attended a Kenesiah Gedolah of Agudas Yisroel in Eretz

the Torah, a very significant part of this mitzvah is overlooked by many people. He writes that while many people recognize how it requires a

greatest kindness in the world that one can do for another


There are a number of ways of helping others in the spiritual realm. The

Yisrael. He was already an older man at the time and was accompanied on his travels by one of his sons. As we all know, the trip to Eretz Yisrael is a long trip and Rav Yaakov was an older man. His son waited on him hand and foot throughout the journey. There was a person on the plane sitting nearby who was astounded by the love, respect, and dedication the son was showing to his father. At one point, he commented to Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky, "My children do not treat me like that. What is your secret in child-raising that your son treats you like a King?" In effect, Rav Yaakov told him the above quoted idea. We implant in our children the belief that the further we are removed from Sinai, the more one has had to endure the phenomenon of "yeridas haDoros" [lessening of th e generations]. Therefore, they understand that the older generation is a "better generation" and hence they honor and respect us. "If your children do not act this way", Rav Yaakov told the gentleman on the plane, "perhaps it is because they feel that they are more advanced than you are and that on the contrary, you should honor them."

person to help his fellow in terms of his physical well-being, they are less aware that it also obliges him to help his fellow's spiritual health. Indeed he argues that helping his friend in the spiritual realm (ruchniut) is a far greater fulfillment of the mitzvah than benefiting him in the physical realm (gashmius). He explains: "When one helps his friend in a physical sense, he expresses his care for his friend's body, however, man's body merely consists of a combination of blood and flesh! The main aspect of a person is his Godly aspect, his soul, and the soul gets no benefit from kindness in the physical sense. However, if one rebukes his fellow and prevents him from transgressing God's mitzvot, then he bestows a great kindness on his friend's soul, and love for one's fellow's spiritual side is far more important than love of his physical being." (4) The Ben Ish Chai teaches that in order to most effectively fulfill the mitvzah to love one's neighbor he cannot limit his kindness to the help in gashmiut, rather he must strive to help his spirituality to an even greater degree.

Rabbeinu Dovid Abudraham: What's In A Name?

In this vein, the Orchot Tzadikim tells us that there are three main types of

The pasuk in the parsha says, "You shall not steal, and you shall not deny falsely, and you shall not lie to one another." [Vayikra 19:11] Rashi points out that the theft mentioned in this pasuk refers to monetary theft, while the prohibition "Thou shall not steal" in the Ten Commandments refers to the capital offense of kidnapping. This fact is not widely known in the world at large. The average person who is not versed in the traditions of the Oral Law, believes that "Thou shall not steal" in the Ten Commandments refers to monetary theft. I would like to relate an incident which teaches how careful a person must be to avoid stealing money (or property). There is a famous Sephardic commentator known as Rabbeinu Dovid Abudraham. Rabbeinu Dovid wrote a commentary on the Siddur, which is one of the classic commentaries on Jewish liturgy. How did he get the name Abudraham? This is not a common name, even among Sephardic Jews. There is a story that goes with the name. Rabbeinu Dovid was a merchant. I do not know exactly what he sold, but whatever it was, people would give him their money and he would measure out the commodity he was selling and give them what they purchased, based on weight. In those days, the scales were far more primitive than today. Also, they did not weigh in pounds or ounces, kilos or grams. The unit of weight in those days in his country was something called the dram. However, when someone ordered 10 drams of merchandise, Rabbeinu Dovid would not put 10 drams on the scale and measure it all at once; he would put one dram at a time on the scale. With each dram that he would sell, he would give a little more than the exact measure, to be sure that he was not near the borderline of possible theft. He would repeat this slight perk for the customer with each dram he weighed out. One day a Gentile entered the store and told Rabbeinu Dovid that he wanted 9 drams of merchandise. So Rabbeinu Dovid wen t through his ritual and weighed out a dram nine times, wrapped up each dram, and gave the package to the customer. However, when the customer left the store, Rabbeinu Dovid began to think, "Maybe I only wrapped up 8 packages; not 9. Maybe I short-changed the customer on this order!" He ran out of the store to catch the customer before he got too far down the block, to tell him he might have only received part of his order." The truth is he probably gave him 9 drams worth of merchandise even if it was only in 8 packages because of his practice of giving extra; and most likely, he had given him the full number of packages anyhow. At any rate, the Gentile was so impressed with the honesty of Rabbeinu Dovid that he converted to Judaism.

This write-up is adapted from the hashkafa portion of Rabbi Yissocher Frand's Commuter Chavrusah Torah Tapes on the weekly Torah Portion. Tapes

giving: Giving of one's money; giving of one's body and giving of one's wisdom. He goes on to discuss all three but he ends the chapter focusing on the giving over of Torah to others: "One must be especially giving with his Torah wisdom; to teach all men knowledge and to draw their hearts to heaven. This is the greatest of all the types of giving - giving to another to bring him to the life of the World-to-Come." (5) Similarly the Meiri in Pirkei Avot states; "there is no kindness in the world that compares to the one who gives merit to the many." (6) Likewise, Rav Aharon Kotler writes: "The main kindness one can do for others is to give over to them Torah and mitzvos and to distant them from the evil inclination. This is the "

Ben Ish Chai mentioned the greatness of rebuking others, however, in this generation, it is very difficult to rebuke in the correct way and therefore there is the risk that rebuking can do more harm than good. A less threatening way of helping others spiritually is by sharing one's Torah with them; Indeed there are many Rabbinical sources that indicate that teaching Torah is a fundamental part of each person's purpose in life: The Gemara in Rosh Hashana 23b says that one who learns and does not teach is like a myrtle tree in the desert. The Maharal explains that the myrtle is the most pleasant smelling tree and it is in the world for people to benefit from its pleasant smell. A myrtle that is in the desert does not fulfill its purpose because no-one can benefit from it. So too, Torah is there to be taught over to others and one who does not do so cannot fulfill his purpose in life. He writes: "The main aspect of the Torah is wisdom that by its very nature is there to teach others and if it is not taught over then it is a waste, because the essence of wisdom is to be given over to everyone." (8) Similarly, the Mishna in Pirkei Avot states: "If you have learnt much Torah, 'al tachzik tova' to yourself, because that is why you were created." (9) The simple understanding of this Mishna is that a person should not be proud of his achievements in Talmud Torah because learning Torah is his purpose in life. However, many commentaries suggest a different explanation. They explain the Mishna to mean that if a person has learnt much Torah he should not keep its goodness for himself, rather he should teach it to others - why? Because his purpose in creation is to learn and teach." (10) There are many ways in which a person can share his Torah with others; he (or she) can strive to develop chavrutot (study partners) with people on a lower level of learning. There are numerous outreach organizations, Yeshivas, shuls etc who are in need of people to take out a short time from their schedule in order to teach those less learned than themselves. A mere

In Arabic the name preface "Abu" means "father of" (similar to the Hebrew word Aba). That is why he had the name "Abudraham" – it meant in Arabic "Father of the Dram," because he was so meticulous in his business dealings that he m easured out each order dram by dram.

or a complete catalogue can be ordered from the Yad Yechiel Institute, PO Box 511, Owings Mills MD 21117-0511. Call (410) 358-0416 or e-mail or visit for further information. Transcribed by David Twersky Seattle, WA; Technical Assistance by Dovid Hoffman, Baltimore, MD RavFrand, Copyright © 2007 by Rabbi Yissocher Frand and Join the Jewish Learning Revolution! The Judaism Site brings this and a host of other classes to you every week. Visit or email to get your own free copy of this mailing. Need to change or stop your subscription? Please visit our subscription center, -- see the links on that page. Permission is granted to redistribute, but please give proper attribution and copyright to the author and Both the author and reserve certain rights. Email for full information. The Judaism Site Project Genesis, Inc. 122 Slade Avenue, Suite 250 Baltimore, MD 21208 (410) 602-1350 FAX: (410) 510-1053

phone call to one of these organizations may be all the effort necessary to find a suitable chavruta. Moreover, one need not restrict himself to teaching people face to face; with the added technology available now, one can easily learn with someone in another country on the phone or other mediums. Furthermore, the written medium is another effective way of teaching many people at the same time by writing a short Dvar Torah on the weekly Torah portion or some other topic. It is also important to note that teaching Torah need not be limited to formal settings - there are

driver, or with friends.


Aish.Com - Rabbi Yehonasan Gefen

countless opportunities to share Torah wisdom with others in one's daily

The Guiding Light

interactions in life, whether it be with colleagues at work, with the taxi

We learn from the lesson of the Ben Ish Chai that in order to properly

Love Your Neighbor "Do not take revenge; do not bear a grudge; love your neighbor like yourself." (1)

fulfill the fundamental mitzvah of 'Love they neighbor' one must strive to help others in spiritual matters as well as physical matters.

The mitzvah of 'love your neighbor like yourself' is described by Rabbi

  • 1. Kedoshim, 19:18.

Akiva as being a great principle in the Torah.(2) Similarly, when a prospective convert asked Hillel to sum up the Torah 'on one foot' he answered him with this mitzvah, adding that the rest of the Torah is an explanation of it.(3) The Ben Ish Chai writes that, given it's centrality to

  • 2. Rashi, Kedoshim, 19:18.


!haaBtu!Nztwer.zsIb!trcdk trcd ihc



  • 3. See Maharsha, Shabbos, 31a, as to why Hillel stressed the 'negative'



R’ Leib.





I thought.

A young

man is


aspect of the Mitzva (how not to treat one's fellow) as opposed to the

presented with the chance to improve his Avodas Hashem by doing a true

focusing on doing kindness for its own sake, he chooses to focus on other

Did You Know?

One of the most famous verses in the Torah, “V’ahavta l’rayacha

Torah's emphasis of the 'positive' aspect.

  • 4. Divrei Chaim, quoted in 'Penini Ben Ish Chai, Kedoshim, p. 108.

kindness and bringing a feeble old man a cup of tea. But instead of

  • 5. Orchot Tzadikim: Shaar Nedivoos.

considerations like serving Torah scholars, which in my case is

  • 6. Avos: 5:20.

  • 7. Mishnat Rebbe Aharon: Shaar Asiri; p.250 See also 'Yaarot Dvash'

Drush 7 of Rav Yonasan Eibeshitz; Introduction to Shaar Yosher of Rav


Shimon Shkop for similar approaches to the centrality of giving to others in one's life with special emphasis on giving in ruchniut.

kamocha,” You shall love your fellow man like yourself, is in this week’s parsha. Many people know that Rabbi Akiva said this was a “great principle of the Torah.”

  • 8. Maharal: Chiddushei Aggados 23b. Also see Netiv Torah Ch.8 for a

What is not as well-known is the beginning of that verse: Do not take

lengthier discussion of this topic.

revenge, and do not [even] bear a grudge, [and you shall love your fellow

  • 9. Avos, 2:9.

man like yourself.]

10. Avos, 2:9: Medrash Shmuel. See Medrash David, Lev Eliyahu, Parshas

So, the person I am commanded to love is NOT just someone who I

Tazria-Metzora for an identical explanation. It was also heard from R.Zev Leff in the name of the Klausenberger Rebbe.

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admire, nor even someone who I have very little to do with. The person I am to love is the very person who has wronged me in the past and I have reason to dislike! While Jews do not “turn the other cheek” and forgive any wrongs against

Rabbi J. Gewirtz

them unilaterally, and the Torah requires recompense, when the other

Migdal Ohr

person wishes to move forward, even if they haven’t apologized as fully as we might like (or at all) we are supposed to move forward with them. But how?!

Volume 15 – Issue 26 Parshas Achrei-Kedoshim 5773

By loving them the way we love ourselves. When we do things wrong,


make mistakes, act selfishly, or hurt others, we understand that we are inherently good people who were under specific circumstances that made

A publication dedicated to Harbotzas Torah



us act that way. If we understand the same about others, we will be able to forgive them for succumbing to the moment (or decade) and acting less than perfectly.

“You shall be holy people… a man shall fear his mother and father,

and guard My Sabbaths, I am the L-rd your G-d.”

From a parsha with the lofty name, “Kedoshim – Holy Ones,” we would expect a list of demands that would cause the most ascetic of souls the sublime pain of denying his flesh some exquisite desire. We would expect

R’ Leib Chasman was speaking to a boy who had come to him asking how

Thought of the week:

We don’t get to decide truth. We only get to decide if we will accept it.


to hear about illicit relationships that must be avoided, but we don’t. In fact, those relationships, read each year on Yom Kippur, were already

©2013 – J. Gewirtz Free pass to paradise! Print, e-mail, and share Migdal Ohr with friends and family. You’ll be glad you did. E-mail Subscribe to The wedding is coming Oh, what shall I say? Can anyone help me Prepare for this day? Yes, there is help. Your Thoughts, the Perfect Words

mentioned in the previous parsha, Parshas Achrei Mos. In this parsha, we

Rabbi Nosson Greenberg

are enjoined to be holy, but the directions include much tamer topics. Let’s begin: “You shall be holy – so listen to your parents.” Huh? “Oh yes,

Khal Machzikei Torah

and keep Shabbos carefully.” Shabbos? That’s great, but it’s not the stuff

Kedoshim - Entitlement

of which holy hermits are made. “Do this because I am G-d.” I know you’re G-d, so why not give me the tough commandments, like fasting and wearing burlap, or putting rocks in my shoes? “Don’t turn to empty gods and idols; I am HaShem, your G-d.” OK, I’m not worshiping idols but when do we get to the holy part? “When you sacrifice an animal, plan to do it properly, willingly, and try to give Me nachas.” What about the intricate special ceremonies we should do? Come on G-d, make it hard so we know we’re becoming holy! It seems that no matter what we do, this parsha about becoming Kedoshim, holy people, is counterintuitive. Instead of giving us challenges, the Torah sounds like a farmer’s almanac giving us crop advice! Perhaps that’s exactly the point. Being holy isn’t about suffering, and it’s not about divesting ourselves of all earthly pleasures. On the contrary, Judaism says we should enjoy the world that HaShem created, and we should elevate the physical when we do. Rather, being holy is about controlling ourselves, even when it involves going against our intuition. We are commanded to listen to our parents. They have a tradition of serving HaShem and how to learn the Torah. Though we may think we know better, that we’re smarter, that we’ve got it figured out, HaShem says, “Listen to your folks. They know better.” We think the way to serve G-d is through extending ourselves beyond our comfort level. HaShem says, “Just keep Shabbos, eat, sleep, study, sit back, enjoy, and make the statement that you’re not the real mover and shaker behind the world, I am.” That will make us holy because it takes self-control to be able to negate our egos and relinquish control. “Don’t serve other gods, and serve Me with joy,” because that’s what will work best for us. Not jumping through hoops, not practicing convoluted, painful rituals, just building a strong, warm relationship with our Creator, our Father, and the only One in the universe dedicated completely to us and our benefit. It goes on, saying that we should include the poor in our successes, forgive others their flaws, and be honest in our business dealings. This is how to be holy. And yes, the advice sounds like a farmer’s almanac because it is simple, sound advice from someone who knows how the world works: HaShem, Who created it and devised its operating systems. Just as water makes plants grow, keeping the Torah is what makes us grow.

to improve his service of HaShem. After some discussion, R’ Leib asked the bochur to go to the Rebbetzin in the kitchen and ask her for a cup of tea for him. The boy jumped up to do as he was asked. As he did, R’ Leib grabbed his arm. “Wait! Why did you jump up so quickly?” The boy hesitated, thought a moment, and then replied, “I ran because I have the opportunity to serve a Talmid Chacham!”

In this weeks parsha the Torah tells the judges of Bnai Yisroel Lo sa’asu avel ba’mishpat.” (Vayikra 19,15)- “You shall not do wrong in justice.” This mitzvah is commanding judges to be honest, upright and impartial in their renderings of all decisions. Rashi, quoting Chazal tells us furthermore that a judge who deliberately renders a wrong decision is referred to by the Torah with no less than five derogatory titles: wrongdoer, hateful, repulsive, banned, and an abomination. This is a reaction we do not find the Torah expressing by other sins. So why is a judge’s dishonest behavior so loathsome that we throw the proverbial book of insults at him? Perhaps the answer to this can be found in the way the aforementioned Rashi/Chazal determines that the Torah actually uses all these titles for a corrupt judge. For truth be told the Torah only calls him a wrongdoer. We extrapolate the other four terms as being germane to a judge by cross- referencing and equating him to another situation where the Torah calls someone a wrongdoer. And that is with a dishonest storekeeper. He is not only called a wrongdoer but also an abomination (Devarim 25,16). Hold that thought! An idol-worshipper is also called an abomination, plus he is slapped with three other names; hateful, repulsive and banned (Devarim 7,26). Ergo, a judge who is a wrongdoer is by extension also an abomination and thus also hateful, repulsive and banned. This is not your average d’rasha from Chazal. This is a rare kind of d’rasha, a double gezairah shaveh! It is multi-tiered in its pursuit of names. And all to give him five (deservedly) disdainful titles. What is the message here Rabboisai? I believe that Chazal is hinting to us that these titles are all appropriate to apply to a rotten judge even though one has to maneuver through several stages, because that is exactly what happens to society when its judges are evil. The immediate fall-out will be one angry litigant who knows he has been wronged. But it does not end there. The next time that individual has an issue he won’t go back to a judge, as the saying goes “once bitten, twice shy.” He will pasken for himself, many times incorrectly so. But it does not end there. The next time this misdirected individual has a query of a non-monetary nature, say in Hilchas Shabbos, he will cross-reference his past experiences in court and will feel free to disagree with the psak of the Mishna B’rura. And before he knows it his life and its necessity of having emunas Chachomim has slowly unravelled, until he has sunk to unfathomable depths. This scenario is not a stretch; I have nebach seen this happen to people who have been wronged. They equate and compare all upcoming questions in their lives to their past bitter experience, and continue to make unfortunate choices.



haaBtu!Nztwer.zsIb!trcdk trcd ihc!

This is what Chazal is saying to the corrupt judge. What you did was not just an isolated travesty to another jew. Because it did not end there. It caused a horrific multi-tiered effect. And therefore, you too, will be cross-

that the Zohar mentions is when a couple does not observe the laws of family purity. Towards the end of the second of last week’s two parshios, the Torah teaches how one becomes impure and when one can immerse in

referenced and equated to other evildoers and abominations. Any title they deserve will be attached to you, too. Truly a d’rasha that fits the crime. Have a great Shabbos, Rav Nosson Greenberg,

a mikvah (ritual bath) to become pure again. In the first of this week’s two parshios, the Torah gives a list of prohibited relationships. Most of these illicit relationships are close relatives that even the gentile and secular communities consider being totally unacceptable.

Rav, Khal Machzikei Torah, Far Rockaway, N.Y.

Rabbi Sender Haber

Out of the Loop

Divine Punishment

However, the prohibition of the laws of family purity is also part of this

list (see Vayikra 18:19). In the second of this week’s two parshios, the Torah warns that if a couple does not keep the laws of family purity, they will suffer severe Divine punishment, either in this world or in the World

Garden of Eden

Avoiding Pitfalls

to Come (see Vayikra 20:18).Obviously, one always has the opportunity to

The Gemara in Bava Kammah (50a) speaks about digging pits. It is illegal to dig a pit and leave it uncovered and accessible. If there are any

repent, and even later in life one can do teshuvah and immerse in a mikvah.

damages, the digger is liable. However, if the person digging the pit donates the pit to the public, he is free of all responsibility. This was the

Why is this transgression so serious, and why does it bring about such

practice of Nechuniah Chofer Boros. He would dig wells and donate them for public use. The rabbis praised Nechuniah for his actions, despite the danger that they potentially posed. One day Nechuniah’s daughter fell into a pit that he had dug. The people ran to Rav Chanina ben Dosa and asked him to pray for her. “Don’t worry”, he said, “she’s fine”. An hour passes and the girl hadn’t been rescued so they came to Rav Chanina again. “Don’t worry”, he said, “she’s fine”. Another hour passed and again the people returned. “Don’t worry”, he said, “they just pulled her out”. Indeed, the people raced back to the pit to find the girl safe and sound. She explained that an old man with a ram had come by and rescued her from the pit. Terribly impressed by Rav Chanina ben Dosa, the people began to call him

severe consequences? Maybe we can gain some understanding if we go back to the Garden of Eden. When G’d created Eve, He said (Bereishis 2:18): “It is not good for the Adam to be alone. I shall make him an assistant corresponding to him.” For two people to match and correspond to each other they must be similar but not exactly the same. G’d therefore created Eve with a mind of her own, but ready to accept instruction and assist Adam in his endeavours. The snake, which represented the evil inclination, also known as the Satan and the Angel of Death, manipulated Eve’s readiness to accept instruction to entice her to eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. And as Adam’s assistant, she made sure to share it with him as well. This fruit brought an impurity into their bodies. From then on the evil inclination became an integral part of their being with which they and their descendants would have to struggle on a constant basis.

a prophet. “I’m not a prophet”, he corrected them, “it was just obvious to

Atone For Spilled Blood

me that the girl would not be harmed by a pit that had been so generously and meticulously dug and donated by her father. How could the daughter come to suffer from a mitzvah that her father has done”.

The Midrash Tanchuma (Noach 1) explains that when Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge and gave it to Adam, she caused their death and spilled their blood, for had they not eaten from the forbidden fruit, they would

The story could end here with a beautiful thought about the reward and protection that comes from fulfilling mitzvos, but it does not. The Gemara is painfully honest. Rav Acha shares with us that although Nechuniah’s daughter was saved miraculously from a well, his son actually died of thirst. This is to teach us that Hashem protects those who do mitzvos, but he is still very exacting in his judgement. The commentaries struggle to reconcile the confidence of Rav Chanina

have lived forever (see Bereishis 2:17). The Midrash quotes from later in Parashas Noach where it says (Bereishis 9:6): “Whoever spills the blood of man … his blood shall be spilled” and explains that this is a hint to Eve and her descendants who with their monthly cycle must keep the laws of family purity to atone for the blood that she spilled. Adam aptly referred to Eve as “the mother of all the living” (see Bereishis 3:20). But when she accepted the instruction of the snake, she also became an accomplice of the angel of death.

Accept Instructions

ben Dosa and the fate of Nechuniah’s son, but I think that the lesson here is very simple:

We hear and experience many wonderful stories about people who are saved as a direct result of their good deeds. We ourselves do many good deeds. Still, we do not have a license to sit back and relax. We need to constantly examine and re-examine our actions. Nechuniah had dug wells around the whole Yerushalayim. He had rabbinic

Rabbi Avraham Kahn

G’d did not create only Eve with a nature to be ready to accept instructions. Rashi (Bereishis 3:15) quotes the Talmud (Shabbos 33b) that explains that this is a general character trait that most women possess. On the one hand, every woman can use this to build her home and ensure

domestic peace. On the other hand, she can fall prey, as Eve did, to the evil inclination and be enticed to sin.

endorsement and blessing. He even had a miracle to back him up. Still, he

Constant Reminder

was not immune. Even as he was out digging wells, his own son died of

Every child-bearing woman has a constant reminder of her special mission

thirst. Something went wrong. We are in a period of mourning for the students of Rabi Akiva. They were sages, scholars, and righteous men. Yet they were punished all the same. We can never be complacent. There is always room to examine and to grow.

in life, and when she and her husband observe the laws of family purity, they participate in rectifying the sin of Adam and Eve. The impurity of the snake is represented in her monthly cycle, and when she immerses herself in a mikvah, she purifies herself and elevates her marriage to a level of sanctity. By structuring their relationship according to the laws of family purity, they ensure that their children are better equipped to live up to what it says in the beginning of the second of this week’s two parshios (Vayikra

Created Anew

Torah Attitude

19:2): “You shall be holy”, and to withstand the many temptations of life.

Parashas Acharei Mos - Kedoshim: Return to the Garden of Eden Summary

The Kabbalists explain that when one immerses in the natural pool of water that the mikvah contains, one rids oneself of any prior impurity and

The Torah teaches how one becomes impure and when one can immerse in a mikvah (ritual bath) to become pure again. The Torah warns that if a couple does not keep the laws of family purity, they will suffer severe Divine punishment, either in this world or in the World to Come. The snake, which represented the evil inclination, also known as the Satan and

the Angel of Death, manipulated Eve’s readiness to accept instruction to entice her to eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. Eve and her descendants have to keep the laws of family purity to atone for the blood

Immerse In A Mikvah

one exits as if just being created anew. It takes the person back to before the sin of Adam and Eve at the beginning of Creation where it says (Bereishis 1:2): “And the Divine Presence hovered over the surface of the waters.” A child conceived after such an immersion is in a spiritual sense starting its life in the Garden of Eden with its pure water.

Merit Divine Presence In Home

When a couple conducts their marriage according to these laws, they comply with G’d’s original vision for this world and merit the Divine

that she spilled. Most women possess a nature to be ready to accept instructions. Every child-bearing woman has a constant reminder of her special mission in life and when she and her husband observe the laws of

Presence in their home (see Talmud Sotah 17a). When they do not follow the Divine plan, they obviously cannot expect the Divine Presence to be there for them and must accept the consequences that the Torah describes.

family purity, they participate in rectifying the sin of Adam and Eve. The

Ways Of Pleasantness

Kabbalists explain that when one immerses in the natural pool of water

King Solomon discusses the beauty of a life based on Torah values and

that the mikvah contains, one rids oneself of any prior impurity and one exits as if just being created anew. When a couple conducts their marriage according to these laws, they comply with G’d’s original vision for this

says (Mishlei 3:17): “Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peaceful.” This manifests itself par excellence in a marriage based on the laws of family purity.

world and merit the Divine Presence in their home. “Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peaceful.”

These words were based on a talk given by Rabbi Avraham Kahn, the Rosh Yeshiva and Founder of Yeshivas Keser Torah in Toronto. Shalom. Michael Deverett P.S. If you have any questions or enjoyed reading this e-mail, we would appreciate

In last week’s Torah Attitude we quoted from the Zohar that enumerates three sins that push the Divine Spirit away from this world. The first sin

hearing from you. If you know of others who may be interested in receiving e-mails similar to this please let us know at .


!haaBtu!Nztwer.zsIb!trcdk trcd ihc



Rabbi Shlomo Katz


holiness. As a result of even that small measure of holiness, a person can expect a great deal of Divine assistance in serving Hashem. (Likkutei Amarim Tanya, ch.27)

“You shall not hate your brother in your heart; hochei’ach tochi’ach /


Parshas Acharei Mos-Kedoshim

Volume 27, No. 27 10 Iyar 5773 April 20, 2013 Daf Yomi (Bavli): Eruvin

you shall reprove your fellow

.” (19:17)

The Other Day of Atonement

What is the difference between “hochei’ach” and “tochi’ach”? R’ Yitzchak ben Sheshet Perfet z”l (Rivash; Spain; 1326-1408) explains:


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“Hochei’ach” (“hochachah”) refers to proving to one side of an argument that the other side is correct, as Yaakov said to Lavan (Bereishit 31:37),

Di-zahav.” On the one hand, Rashi z”l comments about the phrase “Di-

Below are excerpts from a letter written by R’ Moshe ben Maimon z”l

(Rambam/Maimonides; 1135-1204), who lived in Egypt, to R’ Yehonatan

members a”h Martin and Michelle Swartz on the 60th yahrzeit of Martin's great- grandfather Barnett Kalikow (Dov Ber ben Pesach Yehoshua) a"h (15 Iyar)

“V’yochichu / let them decide between the two of us.” “Tochi’ach” (“tochachah”) refers to rebuking an individual for his bad deeds. (She’eilot U’teshuvot Rivash No.431) R’ Shmuel Shmelke Guntzler z”l (1834-1911; rabbi of Oyber Visheve

In our double parashah, we read about both Yom Kippur and Shabbat. R’ Moshe Yechiel Halevi Epstein z”l (1890-1971; the Ozhorover Rebbe in New York and Bnei Brak) writes: There are many similarities between Yom Ha’kippurim and Shabbat. Both are days of atonement. [The connection between Yom Kippur and atonement is well-known.] Regarding Shabbat, the Gemara (Shabbat 119b) teaches: If one prays on Friday night and recites “Vy’chulu,” the two angels who accompany a person place their hands on his head, and say (Yeshayah 6:7), “Your iniquity has gone away and your sin shall be atoned for.” The Gemara (Shabbat 118b) also states: If one observes Shabbat according to its law, even if he is an idolator like the generation of Enosh, he is forgiven. In the zemirot for motzaei Shabbat we say, “He Who separates between holy and secular, may He forgive our sins.” At first glance, it is difficult to see what connection this request has to Shabbat. [For this reason, some

suggest that this zemer was intended to be sung on motzaei Yom Kippur.] The Ozhorover Rebbe explains, however, that because Shabbat is a day of atonement, yet it is forbidden to mar the joy of the day by mentioning sin, therefore we make this request on motzaei Shabbat. Nevertheless, the Ozhorover Rebbe continues, there is a difference between Shabbat and Yom Ha’kippurim. On the latter, we attain atonement through active teshuvah / repentance. We are required to deprive ourselves of food, drink and certain other pleasures. And, in the time of the Bet Hamikdash, the kohen gadol brought many special sacrifices. In contrast, the atonement that we obtain on Shabbat is incidental to the holiness of the day. We do not need to do anything special to obtain it other than to observe Shabbat properly. (Esh Dat Vol. VIII p.521)

“He shall don a sacred linen tunic; linen breeches shall be on his flesh,

he shall gird himself with a linen sash, and cover his head with a linen turban.” (16:4)

Hungary; his yahrzeit was this week) writes: In light of Rivash’s interpretation, we can explain our verse to be teaching that successful rebuke has several parts. First, do not hate your “brother” even if he has sinned; then you will be able to give “hochachah,” i.e., to prove to your “brother” that his behavior was wrong and the Torah is correct. At the same time, speak to Hashem in defense of your “brother,” even if it means that you must give “tochachah” / rebuke, i.e., pointing out to Hashem that He actually bears part of the blame for man’s sins. This is what Moshe Rabbeinu himself did. We read (Devarim 1:1), “These are the words that Moshe spoke to all Yisrael, on the other side of the Jordan, concerning the Wilderness, concerning the Aravah, opposite the Sea of Reeds, between Paran and Tophel, and Lavan, and Chazerot, and

Zahav”: This should be interpreted to mean, “sufficiency of gold,” i.e., he reproved them on account of the golden calf which they had made because they had an abundance of gold. [Until here from Rashi.] On the other hand, the Gemara (Berachot 32a) interprets: Because of the abundance of gold which You gave them,” i.e., Moshe was rebuking Hashem, so-to- speak, in order to lessen the sins of Bnei Yisrael in His eyes. Both of these are included in the commandment in our verse. R’ Guntzler adds: This is why the book of Devarim is called by our Sages, “Mishneh Torah.” The word “mishneh” is related to “shnayim” / “two.” In Devarim / Mishneh Torah, Moshe Rabbeinu had two intentions: on the one hand, to rebuke Bnei Yisrael, but, on the other hand, to lessen their sins in the eyes of G-d. (Meishiv Nefesh: Parashat Pinchas) Letters from Our Sages

Hakohen z”l (approx. 1150-1215) in Lunel, Provence (southern France).

When the Kohen Gadol enters the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur, he does not wear the usual “uniform” of the Kohen Gadol; rather, he wears all- white linen garments. The reason, say our Sages, is that the everyday garments of the Kohen Gadol contain gold, which is reminiscent of the sin of the golden calf. Wearing them would violate the principle: “Ain kategor na’aseh saneigor”/ “A prosecutor [i.e., gold] may not become an advocate for the defense.” R’ Moshe Leib Shachor z”l (Yerushalayim; 1894-1964) notes that this principle was not derived by our Sages from any verse. Rather, it’s a matter of decency; one person shouldn’t be prosecuting another unless he

The letter was a response to a series of letters posing questions about Rambam’s halachic code, Mishneh Torah, and his Moreh Nevochim (Guide to the Perplexed). I, Moshe, inform you, the rabbi and kohen, R’ Yehonatan, that when I received your letter and your questions, I rejoiced a great joy, and I said to myself [borrowing Ruth 4:14]: “Thank G-d that He has not left you [i.e., himself--Rambam] without a redeemer.” I knew then that my words had reached someone who knew what they were about, who understood their secrets, and who will discuss them properly. I said to myself [borrowing Ruth 4:15]: “He will become your life-restorer, and sustain your old age.” Everything you asked was worthy of being asked, and everything that you

person who is not in danger. Most of the day, I recline in bed, and the yoke

is certain in the depths of his heart of the latter’s guilt. How then could a prosecutor ever switch sides?! Furthermore, even if the prosecutor now doubts his former certainty and believes the accused is innocent, the lingering vestiges of his past beliefs will limit his effectiveness as a defense counsel. That is human nature. [While these concerns don’t literally apply to the Kohen Gadol’s garments, the Torah did not “design” the avodah / Temple service in a way that violates principles of decent behavior.] How does a person become an effective spokesman for the defense of the

challenged was worthy of being challenged. Do not fear, for I am with you, and I have already answered your questions today [in an enclosure to this letter]. As for the fact that the answers were delayed for several years, it was only because of illness and other troubles. I was sick for approximately one year and, now that I am cured, I am still like a sick

of the gentiles is on my neck to heal them. They have weakened me and do not leave me alone for even an hour, not during the day and not at night. What can I do, since my reputation has spread to many lands? Moreover, I

Jewish People or in defense of individual sinners? R’ Shachor writes: One

am not like I was in my

Therefore, do not be upset that I dictated

can be an effective advocate if he has previously been in the shoes of the

the answers to others and they are not in my handwriting, for I don’t have

person for whom he is advocating. If he has overcome certain bad traits, he understands the other person’s challenges and feels his pain. Alternatively, an effective advocate is someone who appreciates the beauty and unity of Creation as a whole and therefore values each of its separate parts. He knows that nothing in the Universe lacks a purpose; therefore, he feels obligated to advocate for every person. (Koach

time for this due to my weakness and my shortness of breath caused by those who trouble me constantly. --To be continued--

Copyright &copy 2013 by Shlomo Katz and The editors hope these brief 'snippets' will engender further study and discussion of Torah topics ('lehagdil Torah u'leha'adirah'), and your letters are appreciated. Web archives at start with 5758 (1997) and may be retrieved from the Hamaayan page. Hamaayan needs your support! Please consider sponsoring Hamaayan in honor of a happy occasion or in memory of a loved one. The low cost of sponsorship is $36. Donations to HaMaayan are tax-deductible. Questions or comments? Email Join the Jewish Learning Revolution! The Judaism Site brings this and a host of other classes to you every week. Visit or email to get your own free copy of this mailing. Need to change or stop your subscription? Please visit our subscription center, -- see the links on that page. Permission is granted to redistribute, but please give proper attribution and copyright to the author and Both the author and reserve certain rights. Email for full information. The Judaism Site Project Genesis, Inc. 122 Slade Avenue, Suite 250 Baltimore, MD 21208 (410) 602-1350 FAX: (410)

Ha’teshuvah p.20)


Rabbi Dov Kramer

“Speak to the entire assembly of Bnei Yisrael and say to them, ‘You shall be holy, for holy am I, Hashem, your Elokim.” (19:2)

R’ Moshe ben Nachman z”l (Ramban; Spain and Eretz Yisrael; 1194- 1270) writes: After the Torah has commanded us regarding kashrut, prohibited relations, etc., a person still could be a glutton or a drunkard within the confines of the law. Thus, the Torah commands, “You shall be holy,” i.e., you shall refrain from excess pleasures even when they are permitted by halachah. (Ramban Al Ha’Torah) R’ Shneur Zalman of Liadi z”l (1745-1812; first Lubavitcher Rebbe) writes: This holiness is not an all or nothing proposition. If a person subdues his urges even briefly, for example, by delaying his meal for a short time and studying Torah during those minutes, or if one conquers his urge to engage in idle chatter even for a short time, that, too, is a form of

Taking A Closer Look

“And G-d spoke to Moshe after the death of Aharon’s two sons, when they approached G-d and they died” (Vayikra 16:1). The death of Aharon’s sons is mentioned twice in this verse, even though the same information could have been relayed by referencing it only once (“and G-d spoke to Moshe after Aharon’s two sons died when they approached G-d”). Why is their death referred to twice in the same verse if one would have sufficed? Netziv points out that when someone is guilty of a sin that is punishable by death, their death is usually not immediate, thereby giving the sinner time to repent. In this case, however, Aharon’s sons died right away, because



haaBtu!Nztwer.zsIb!trcdk trcd ihc!

their sin was done in the inner sanctum of the Mishkan, “before G-d.” The second reference to their death is part of one clause, telling us that “they died on the spot (rather than after some time had passed) since their sin was done when they approached G-d.” Nevertheless, why was this point made here, before the Yom Kippur service is described, rather than in the narrative about Nadav and Avihu’s death? The obvious connection is that the next verse (16:2) includes a warning for Aharon (and, by extension, every Kohain Gadol after him) not to enter the inner sanctum of the Mishkan (or Temple) at will; only on the prescribed days (Yom Kippur), after doing the necessary Temple service (bringing the Yom Kippur offerings, including the incense offering). The punishment for not following these instructions is death, and G-d reminded Moshe that since this transgression would occur “before G-d,” in the inner sanctum, it would be enacted immediately, as had occurred with Aharon’s sons. A closer look at Rashi (on 16:2) may add another dimension to this connection. When Moshe is told to warn Aharon “not to enter the holy, inside the curtain, in front of the ark’s covering (referring to the Kodesh HaKadashim, the Mishkan’s inner sanctum) whenever he wants so that he should not die,” an explanatory clause is given; “for in a cloud I will appear upon the [ark’s] covering.” Rashi explains this clause to be saying “for I constantly appear there with the pillar of My cloud; and since My presence manifests itself there, he should be careful not to become accustomed to coming [inside].” Although Rashi includes G-d’s “cloud

“And a fire went out from before G-d and consumed.” What did it consume? The first time these words appear in the Torah (Vayikra 9:24), it consumed the offerings that were on the altar. The second time these same exact words appear (10:2, two verses later), it consumed Nadav and Avihu. Rashbam says there weren’t two different fires; it was one heavenly fire that descended into the inner sanctum of the Mishkan and then exited through the Mishkan’s doorway to the courtyard, where it consumed the offerings on the altar. Unfortunately, Nadav and Avihu were inside the Mishkan at the time, and were consumed by the fire as it went from inside the Mishkan to the courtyard. Their unauthorized entrance, done before G- d’s divine presence had descended onto/into the Mishkan, led to their deaths because they were inside when G-d entered. The fact that G-d had not been there when they started to go in did not matter. “And G-d spoke to Moshe after the death of Aharon’s two sons, when they approached G-d and they died.” The first mention of their deaths is a chronological reference; this conversation occurred after they had died. The second reference describes why they died, as they “they approached G-d,” even though G-d wasn’t in the Mishkan when they “approached.” There was a precedent to entering a then-empty inner sanctum to find that G-d entered afterwards, with disastrous consequences. After reminding Moshe about the circumstances under which Nadav and Avihu had died, G-d told him to tell Aharon that he shouldn’t enter the inner sanctum whenever he wants either, even if there was no “cloud pillar,” as there was no guarantee that G-d wouldn’t descend after he had already entered.

pillar” because the verse mentions G-d's cloud, the way Rashi explains it makes its inclusion seem unnecessary. The point is that G-d’s presence

Rabbi Moshe Krieger

dwells within the inner sanctum, so Aharon can’t just come in anytime he wants; that G-d's divine presence is accompanied by, or covered by, G-d’s

Bircas HaTorah Parsha Sheet

cloud, should be irrelevant. Additionally, the verse doesn’t mention the “cloud pillar,” only the “cloud;” why does Rashi add the “pillar” aspect? Although numerous commentators on Rashi say that the divine presence was always in the Mishkan (between the K’ruvim that were on the cover of the ark in the inner sanctum), I am not convinced this was so. For one thing, when our sages, of blessed memory, used an analogy to describe why G-d commanded us to build a Mishkan for Him (Sh’mos Rabbah 33:1), they compared His giving us the Torah to a king's only daughter marrying another king (or prince). The king knew he couldn’t make his new son-in-law live with him, so asked that living space be built for him in his son-in-law’s country, thereby enabling the king to visit his daughter anytime he wanted to. The king obviously wouldn’t permanently move out of his own country to reside in his son-in-law’s country; he only wanted to be able to drop by whenever he wanted without having to first make reservations. If this is analogous to G-d asking us to build a Mishkan for Him, it would similarly be so that His divine presence could join us whenever it was appropriate, not that He would abandon His heavenly abode and live with us permanently. Additionally, the “cloud pillar” was where G-d resided when His presence was made noticeable (see Sh’mos 13:21), and what descended when G-d wanted to speak to Moshe (see Sh’mos 33:9-11). If G-d’s divine presence always resided in the Mishkan, His “cloud pillar” wouldn't need to “descend” or suddenly “appear;” it would already be there. Yet, there are several instances where G-d’s “cloud pillar” either “appeared” or “descended” before G-d spoke (see Bamidbar 12:5 and D’varim 31:15; see also Bamidbar 11:25, 17:7 and 20:6). The very notion that G-d had to specify that He would speak to Moshe “from between the K’ruvim that are on the Kapores” (Sh’mos 25:22) implies that G-d wasn’t always there, or it would be obvious where G-d’s “voice” would emanate from (see Bamidbar 7:89; see also 30:6, where the implication is that G-d will meet Moshe there, not that He was already there). The verses (Sh’mos 40:34-38) are rather explicit that G-d’s divine presence rested on/over the Mishkan in its entirety; it would seem that the “cloud pillar” descending from “G-d’s cloud” to reside in the inner sanctum was not a constant. This is implicit in Rashi’s wording as well; he doesn’t say “since My presence constantly manifests itself there,” but “for I constantly appear there with the pillar of My cloud,” indicating that what was “constant” was not G-d’s divine presence being in the inner sanctum, but that whenever His presence was there, it was within His “cloud pillar.” If G-d’s divine presence wasn’t always manifest in the inner sanctum, and whenever it was, it was within His “cloud pillar,” there would be an easy way to tell if G-d’s presence had descended into the inner sanctum--seeing His “cloud pillar!” In essence, G-d’s “cloud pillar” was like a giant “do not disturb” sign; G-d was in there, and unless He called for you or it was time for the Yom Kippur service, you better stay out! And if there was an easy way to know whether or not G-d was in the Mishkan’s inner sanctum, one might think that when it was empty, there would be no problem going in. When G-d told Moshe to tell Aharon that he can’t just enter the inner sanctum anytime he wants to, He didn’t mean “only when I’m there,” but anytime, even if G-d wasn’t there. Since G-d’s divine presence does descend there, and it might do so after Aharon had checked that His “cloud pillar” wasn’t there, he has to stay out even if there had been no “cloud pillar” before he started to enter. In other words, to avoid the dangerous possibility that G-d would enter the Mishkan’s inner sanctum at the same moment that Aharon did, entrance was forbidden even if there was no “cloud pillar.”

תומ ירחא תשרפ- םישודק In this week’s parsha we learn about the famous mitzvah to “love your neighbor as yourself.” Although many may view this mitzvah as beyond the call of duty and only for the most pious, loving another Jew like one’s self is just as obligatory and expected from a Jewish person as putting on tefillin. Rebbi Akiva was emphatic about the implementation of this statute, claiming it to be a primary principle of the Torah. The gemara (Shabbos 31a) illustrates the fundamental importance of loving others as well. The gemara relates the story of how a convert once came to Hillel requesting to be taught the entire Torah while standing on one foot. Despite the dubious intent of the questioner, Hillel proceeded to teach the convert, “That which is hateful to you, don’t do to your friend. That is the entire Torah.The rest is the explanation. Go learn!!!” The immortal concept of loving one’s neighbor changed not only the Jewish people, but the entire world. However, it still needs to be understood why this principle is so important in the eyes of Chazal. How could Hillel have asserted that the entire Torah is almost a symbol of this idea and every law is in truth just another expression of loving other people? What about G-d, and all the mitzvos that do not relate to other people? Moreover, the Torah contains much diverse subject matter and a lot of the content doesn’t seem to focus on the subject of loving others at all! How could Hillel say that loving other people is the foundation of the entire Torah? Rav Chaim Friedlander teaches us that in essence, the obligation of loving others as one’s self really requires one to extend beyond himself. The natural disposition of a person is to only think about his own needs and to only act in the way he sees fit. Man by nature is very self-centered and self-absorbed. However, the Torah was designed in order to refine us. The Torah encourages us to extend beyond our selfish natures and to outgrow the little world that we have made for ourselves. For instance, if one wishes to perform any mitzvah, he must have the intent that he is doing so solely for the sake of G-d. If one lacks such intent, by definition, he is unable to keep the Torah. In order for one to fulfill the Torah, one is forced to think about something besides himself. Therefore, when Hillel was asked to explain the entire Torah while standing on one foot, he told the convert that the Torah was simple. To appreciate the Torah one must care for the other. Every single detail of the Torah brings us to a greater love either of other people, the creation, or Hashem Himself. If one doesn’t care about the world around him, whatever wisdom the Torah tries to bestow upon him will seem meaningless and irrelevant. A person has to develop a love external to himself in order to embrace what the Torah is all about. So what is the best way a person can develop a love of others? I believe that we can find an answer to this question in the Rambam. The Rambam writes in Hilchos Deos 6:3 that since one is expected to love every Jew like himself, it logically follows that one must care for their honor and money as if it were his own. In other words, the Rambam is claiming that basic love of another person involves caring for both his spiritual and physical needs. If we train ourselves to become sensitive to a person’s most fundamental needs, we are exercising an incredibly deep love and concern for another human being. We are giving to others in the intimate way that we ourselves would love to be given to. This is truly extending beyond one’s self and touching another person’s heart. If we can train ourselves merely to behave this way and act with these lofty intentions in mind, we will evolve into the loving people that Hashem wants us to be.


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Exhibiting such tender loving care for others will ultimately plant a love for them in our hearts. Rav Shimon Shkop has another piece of advice to help us cultivate a love of other Jews. He claims that we just need to shift our perspective a little bit. The reason many find it so hard to love others as themselves is simply because others are not themselves. To feel abundant love for a separate being in a separate body who lives a life with different challenges, tastes, hopes, dreams, etc., is naturally foreign. However, if we can relate to other Jews as extensions of ourselves, which is the real truth, loving them can be a lot easier than we may think. A human being is very capable of developing incredibly powerful feelings of love for his spouse, children, and friends. Why is this? The answer is that the closer one is to a person, the more he feels a unity with them. We should realize that the Jewish people are one big family and that we are all members of Hashem’s Chosen People. Moshe Rabbeinu teaches us in Devarim 14:1 that “You are sons to the Lord your G-d.” That makes us all brothers! If one can look at

Rabbi Eli Mansour

to take money from this distinguished person. The Sadik passed away before the issue was resolved, and so he returned to his granddaughter in a dream to ensure that this tailor received his wages. Remarkably, even though the tailor explicitly waived his right to payment, the Sadik’s soul still knew no rest until the wages were paid in full, due to the severity of the sin of withholding wages. This requirement applies as well to pledges and our other financial responsibilities. Too often, people make handsome pledges to synagogues, for example, over the phone or at an auction, but fail to meet their pledges. It also happens, unfortunately, that people fail to meet their obligations to schools or their other financial responsibilities while spending money on personal luxury items. The Torah strictly warns us in Parashat Kedoshim, “Lo Ta’ashok Et Re’acha” – if we made a commitment, we are bound by Torah law to fulfill it. The Torah’s code of honesty and ethics requires that we meet our financial responsibilities and not try to avoid them out of convenience or indifference.


his wife as an extension of himself, then his children as an extension of himself, then his neighbors, and then the entire Jewish People as just an

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extension of himself, of course he will love them as himself! The more a person pushes himself in this direction, the bigger he becomes. One can

Weekly Dvar Torah

Parshat Acharei Mot-Kedoshim

ultimately one’s self to a point of realization that the entire world is really just a part of himself.

Daf Yomi: Eruvin 43

Guest Rabbi: Rabbi Chaim Lobel, Young Israel of Aberdeen, NJ

I was privileged to have received a brilliant insight into this matter from a psychologist who gave a shiur in the yeshiva a short while ago. This man was very successful in his field and had a profound understanding of the human condition. He told me that he was once counseling a patient who had extreme feelings of jealousy. The patient wanted to know how he could break the terrible habit which was just causing him grief. The psychologist answered by saying that he remembered that when he was a young bucher in 1958, he was privileged to have attended the Super Bowl game between the Baltimore Colts and the New York Giants. The game was later called “the greatest game ever played,” filled with drama and excitement down to the very last seconds when the Colts made the game- winning touchdown. The psychologist pointed out that when the Colts won, the fans exploded in jubilation, shouting “WE WON!!! WE WON!!!” Was it really a “we”? Did the fans really win the game? Did they even know any of the players on the field personally? The truth is that human beings have it within their capacity to find joy in others. What made the fans so excited was that they viewed the team’s success as their own. Jews can do the same thing with each other. We are all on the same “team,” so to speak. When witnessing another’s success, we can and should immediately grasp the moment as an opportunity to rejoice. May we all be zoche to love others as we do ourselves!!!

Ve’ahavta Le’reiacha Kamocha “Love your fellow as you would yourself” (Vayikra 19:18). Rebbe Akiva famously proclaims: “This is a great precept in the Torah” (Toras Kohanim). On another occasion, Hillel explained to a convert that the concept of “what is distasteful to you, do not do to your fellow” is the crux of the entire Torah and the rest is commentary; go and study (Shabbos 31a). It is understood and we do not need any further reasoning that loving your fellow as you would yourself is a very noble achievement when perfecting personal character traits. However, an explanation is needed for why our great leaders, such as Rebbe Akiva and Hillel, made statements placing this rule as the cornerstone of Judaism. To properly understand the emphasis placed on Ve’ahavta Le’reiacha Kamocha, two prerequisites are needed: To Rebbe Akiva’s statement of “this is a great rule in the Torah,” Ben Azzai claimed to have found a “greater” precept in the Torah “This is the book of the generations of man…in the image of G-d He created him” (Bereishis 5:1). Both are profound concepts – Love your fellow as yourself, and we are all created in the image of G-d. But why does Ben Azzai insist one is “greater” than the other? The Da’as Zekeinim (Bereishis 5:1) offers the following scenario: What if an individual does not like himself? How then should he fulfill the obligation to love his fellow as himself? Or, perhaps he should be exempt from this obligation. The answer lies in the verse, “in the image of G-d He created him.” When one sees his fellow as being

Weekly Perasha Insights

created in G-d’s image, it obligates him to respect his fellow for that alone. Why? Because it is easier to view your neighbor’s greatness than your

Parashat Kedoshim: Paying Workers on Time

own. Even though one does not recognize his own positive attributes, he can still respect his friend properly; as Ben Azzai explains, an individual

One of the many laws presented in Parashat Kedoshim is “Lo Ta’ashok Et Re’acha,” which forbids withholding wages. If somebody owes money to a worker for services that the worker provided, he is obligated by the Torah to pay the worker when the wages are due. Although this obligation might appear straightforward and intuitive, there are, unfortunately, many people who transgress this Torah law by failing to pay the money due to their employees in a timely fashion. A woman in the community once owed her housekeeper wages just before Pesah, but she decided she would delay payment until after the holiday. She wanted to make sure the housekeeper would continue working through Pesah, and she thus figured she would withhold payment as a guarantee that her housekeeper wouldn’t leave her. When the woman mentioned to her Rabbi that she had done this, her Rabbi, insightfully, remarked, “You are so worried about your housekeeper leaving – aren’t you worried about G-d leaving you? Withholding wages is a Torah violation, and thus results in driving G-d way. Who would you rather risk losing – your housekeeper, or your Creator?” The story is told of a certain Sadik in Bneh Brak who passed away, and during the first night of Abelut (mourning) he appeared to his granddaughter in a dream and said, “The belts! What about the belts?” The granddaughter did not know what this was all about, and so she told the family about the dream. Nobody knew why this man would be asking about belts, until they mentioned the dream to the Sadik’s widow. After hearing about the dream, she remembered that shortly before her husband’s passing, he was not well and lost some weight. She gave his belts to a tailor and asked him to make new holes in the belts so they would fit the ailing man, whose waistline was now narrower. When he returned the belts, the Sadik wanted to pay him, but he refused, saying it was an honor to do a favor for such a distinguished individual. The Sadik, however, was uneasy about the situation. He was not sure whether this tailor refused to accept money because he would not generally charge for this kind of simple job, or if he normally did charge but was embarrassed

can still fulfill “loving his neighbor” without loving himself when he sees that person as G-d’s image. Following the Da’as Zekeinim, we understand that, implicit in the commandment “love your fellow as you would yourself,” is the obligation to love yourself. According to Rebbe Akiva, the great rule in the Torah is to not only love your fellow, but to also love yourself. As the verse states “love your fellow as you would yourself.” It is understood that, first and foremost, mankind was created in G-d’s image and building the personal character traits of respecting oneself is crucial. Rebbe Akiva’s great rule of the Torah is in seeing the greatness of who the personal individual is. “Loving your fellow” can be accomplished by using Ben-Azzai’s logic. The difficult part, and the great rule of the Torah, is the latter half of the verse – to love oneself. The first prerequisite understands that Rebbe Akiva’s statement of “this is a great rule in the Torah” takes on a new dimension. The great rule is valuing the self-worth and importance of our deeds and performance of our Mitzvoth. It is first loving ourselves not loving ourselves selfishly, but loving ourselves for who we are and what we stand for. The second prerequisite uses the Sforno’s question: If properly translated, the verse is understood as “love to your (Ve’havta Le’reiacha) fellow as you love yourself.” What is the extra reference of the word “to”? The Sforno juxtaposes the verse “Love to your fellow as you would yourself” with the verse that follows, “My (G-d) statutes you shall keep” (Leviticus 19:19). The term “statutes” refers to laws whose reasons are beyond human comprehension and the statute in the above verse refers to not mixing animal breeds, keeping apart different crops in the field so they don’t mix, and not wearing a garment of wool and linen. How do you love your fellow as yourself? When you recognize that your fellow has submitted himself to the will of G-d and even upholds those precepts he cannot possibly understand; when you look at what he has achieved and recognize that you share those very same goals then you will look at him with awe and love him as you do yourself.Loving your fellow must begin with a sense of awe. It is an awe that springs from an


haaBtu!Nztwer.zsIb!trcdk trcd ihc!

understanding of what your fellow strives to achieve, and has achieved, and there is a kinship because you aspire to achieve the very same. The Torah cannot command you to have a certain emotion, particularly one as difficult as loving another as you would yourself. Rather, the Torah commands you to recognize the greatness in your fellow to the point that you will be in awe of his achievements and will naturally come to “love your fellow as you would yourself.” The Torah neither asks nor desires a baseless love for our fellow man, but rather wants a love derived from our recognition of the greatness in others. The combination of first achieving the self-respect necessary to properly function as an “Oved Hashem” builds an awe and mutual respect for our fellow man who aspires to do the same. Because you love what you do, you respect the greatness of your fellow’s same aspirations. Rebbe Akiva was not trying to build a euphoric society by making statements that “loving your neighbor as yourself” is a great rule. Rebbe Akiva was giving us the most basic foundations to value ourselves and respect those who aspire the same. Shabbat Shalom.

fellow Jews; indeed he called the sefer he authored Ohev Yisrael which translates as “lover of Israel”. One of his followers once came to him and asked if an allusion to love your fellow Jews is to be found in Parshas Balak. A casual reading of this parsha will uncover no such reference. The Rebbe looked at the disciple in surprise, and told him there was an evident indication: the name Balak is an acronym for the words V’ahavta L’reacha K’amocha (You shall love your neighbor as yourself)! The Chossid looked at the Rebbe with bewilderment, "But Rebbe, how can this be? Balak is spelled Beis, Lamed, Kuf and the words in the pasuk teaching we should love our neighbor begin with the letters Vov, Lamed, Chaf? Although the sounds that are pronounced through these letters are indeed similar, you are however matching different letters (a Beis with a Vov and a Kuf with a Chaf) in order to make this allusion!" The Apter Rav responded with a very profound concept. "You have been a student of mine for many years. Have you not yet grasped the idea that when it comes to 'Ahavas Yisrael', y ou cannot be so particular regarding the exact lettering"?

sees in his friend. For if these same flaws were to be his own, would he not


Dvar Torah — Ac