Prologue: Aneinu B'yom Koreinu.
When we Daven, we often recognize the need to have Hashem answer us. When we hit a particularly difficult period in our lives, we need him to answer us more quickly. During these periods we often turn to Teshuva, to Tzom and to Selichot. As we beseech Hashem for that which we need, we cite numerous reasons and instances where he has come through for us before. We remind him of Avraham at har Hamoriah, Yitzchak on the Mizbeiach, Moshe on Har Sinai and eliyahu at Har HaCarmel. In each instance, the personality called to Hashem and received a proper answer leading to salvation. Yet, Aharon was also included in the list recited during the Selichot. Mee She'ana l'aharon b'michtah Hu Yaaneinu (He who answered Aharon in Michta, he should answer us as well). However if one gazes at this week's Torah reading, one finds that it was Moshe and not Aharon who was told how to bring about the salvation. Thus, although Aharon did the saving, the answer was given to Moshe. Why then cite Aharon?
The truth is, answers don't only come in the verbal form. The best answers are often realized when they are practiced or in the messenger sent to provide/practice the answer. Elisha provided Geichazi with his staff in order to heal the young child who had passed away, and was instructed verbally as to how the answer would lead to the salvation but to no avail. If the messenger is not Raui (worthy) of providing the salvation, the answer is incomplete.
Thus, notes, Rav Moshe Feinstein (Darash Moshe II), when Moshe was given the advice about how to stop the plague after the Korachinian debate, it was not enough to stop the illness. Until the plan was carried out, and carried out by one worthy to bear the burden of salvation, the Magaifa would continue. Aharon was such a man. It was Aharon and Aharon alone, who would be able to bring the end to the Mageifa and it was through Aharon that the answer was provided. Thus, when we recognize the salvation of Michta, it is to Aharon that we give the credit.
The debate of Korach and subsequent taunts of the people could have made a lesser man wipe his hands clean of the dying. But Aharon was not such a man. He stood up to the challenge and worked to save the people. This week's Chaburah examines a different of wiping hands. It is entitled:
Wiping the Hands Clean of the mess: Using Soap on Shabbos
The Mishna in Shabbos (73a) records the prohibition of Mimachek among the 39 Avos Melachos of Shabbos. Rashi notes that Mimachek refers to the activity of removing the hairs from a hide of an animal in order to smooth it out. The Talmud (75b) expands the prohibition to include all examples of smoothing things out. In fact, the Gemara later notes that one who smears (Mimareiach) ointment on a wound is Chiyav for Mimachek. Clearly, the Talmud is noting that Mimachek includes all forms of spreading whether on the body or in one's field.
When discussing the prohibition, the Beis Yosef (Orach Chaim, Siman 314) notes that Mimachek and Mimareiach only apply to things that are spreadable like wax. Hence, Mimareiach includes 3 things:
1) Things that are totally spread (like wax) - These are biblically prohibited to be spread on Shabbos
2) Things that are spread somewhat (like thick oil) - These are prohibited Rabbinically.
3) Things that are not spread at all (like other oil)- These are totally Mutar to use since they aren't called "spread".
This issue becomes increasingly important when one deals with the issues of mimareiach as they apply to the use of soap on Shabbos. When one takes soap into his hands, he spreads it all over the hands (and other parts of the body) in order to lather it up. He further complicated matter because he changes the form of bar soap (which is a solid) into liquid/lather (Molid). Is this Mutar?
The Rema (O.C. 326:10) notes that one cannot use salt or Borax as a cleanser on Shabbos because he is in violation of Molid when he changes the form. However, there is no problem of Mimachek since the borax remains hard and does not spread.
The Mishna Berurah (326:30) quotes the Tiferes Yisroel who notes that our modern soap DOES spread and using it on Shabbos would violate the Issur of Mimacheik. Shmiras Shabbos K'Hilchaso (14:27:49) notes that acceptance of this position would prohibit the use of liquid soap or shampoo as well because of Mimareiach. Shmiras Shabbos hols that this cannot be so, because Mimareiach in terms of liquid soap is not the smoothing of the Mishkan. Therefore, he maintains (citing Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach shlita,) that liquid soap or shampoo can be used on Shabbos without a problem of Molid (as it is in liquid form already) or Mimareiach (as this is dissimilar to the smoothing of the Mishkan).
Rav Ovadiah Yosef (Shut Yichaveh Daas II:50) holds that soap was never meant to remain in the soap bar position. As such it is not included in items that are to be smoothed and also not seen as something that is in a set state (like a solid). Thus, he Paskins that for the Sephardim, one can use bars of soap on Shabbos. However, out of deference to the Rema, he holds that Ashkenazim must be Machmir and when wiping their hands clean, should do so with liquid soap.