Points to Ponder

Tzav/Hagadol 5777

Tzav (6:2) – Rashi quotes the Toras Kohanim which explains that only things that are commandments with ramifications for the future as well as the present are considered Mitzvos – as opposed to those which only have relevance at the present which would be Horaas Shaah. Moshe Rabbeinu was unique  among the Neviim because, as we have noted before in the name of the Brisker Rav, he offered both Nevuah and Horaah L’Doros. However, as the Novi Malachi notes in  regard to Hashem, Hashem explains that Ani Hashem Lo Shaneesee. Rav Schachter Shlita  added that since our tradition has it that the Torah is a description (even if only by way of moshol) of Elokus, and the prophet Malachi tells us that G-d's essence cannot be affected by change, it therefore follows that the laws of the Torah can never change. While there certainly is a concept of "lifnim mishuras hadin", that one goes further than the halacha requires, all in the same direction as indicated by the Torah. But one cannot go contrary to the halacha and consider that lifnim mishuras hadin. The concept of "lifnim mishuras hadin" only applies when one is going in the same direction as the halacha requires, but even past the point of requirement. When one acts contrary to the din, this does not constitute chassidus.

Command Aharon and his sons saying this is the Torah of the olah (6:2) – The Tanchuma (13) on this possuk notes that when one sins s/he brings a Korban Olah to atone. The Midrash explains the sin of Miriam and Aharon (of speaking about Moshe in Parshas Behaalosecha)in detail in an attempt to expand. First, says the Midrash, Hashem answered them and then, his anger flared and then he punished them. Rav Pam ztl. explained that this teaches us that one should not first punish or flare in anger until one explains why he is angry with him. Rav Pam added that this lesson is especially important prior to Pesach when the tension is high and things could go wrong. Focusing on making sure that we are clear and understood goes a long way to curbing a temper.

And the Kohein shall wear his linen clothes (6:3) – Why are clothes called Mido? The Gr”a (Shir HaShirim 1:5) explains that one’s Middos are referred to as the clothes of the Torah. They are the reflection outward of a Torah personality internally.

In the place that you slaughter the Olah you should also slaughter the Chatas (6:18) – Why does the Torah seem to go out of its way not to tell me where to Shecht the Chatas? Simply state in the north and finished!? The Talmud (Sotah 32a) explains that it is done this way not to embarrass the sinner. It is for that reason we also daven silently. Rav Avraham Rivlin Shlita added that this type of process not only protects humiliation, it establishes one’s self-esteem. When one has to bring a Chatas and come to grips with his missteps s/he will find a million reasons not to do so. By giving him a place to go – a place that one could also be bringing an olas Nedava, one gets a chance to turn his life around and be in the company of others of righteousness which will hopefully impact him positively in the future.

 Haftorah: You have wearied Hashem with you talk. But you ask by what have we wearied him? By saying all those who do evil are good in the sight of Hashem and in them he delights or else where is the justice of Hashem (Malachi 2:17) – Rav Chaim Angel notes that Malachi is attempting to address the Righteous who seem despaired from the fact that those who bring inferior Kobanos, intermarry, and violate other laws of the Torah seem to benefit economically and socially from their Aveiros. Those who stayed Torah-true seem to suffer. How do the righteous allow themselves to complain? Abarbanel & Malbim suggest that it is not the Tzaddikim but rather the Reshaim who complain (My friend Rav Shay Schachter Shlita likes to quote the Alshich on the possuk Ki Yirchak Mimcha Hamakom that when Mitzvos are heavy on you, then you lose out on them. He added, in the name of the Chofetz Chaim that one should take time out of his schedule – daily, weekly or at least once a year – to think about how Mitzvos bring him Simchas HaChaim – it helps. My friend Rav Aryeh Leibowitz Shlita added (I think in the name of Rabbi Isaac Bernstein ztl) that when it comes to making differentiation between Avodas Hashem and Avodah Zara the difference is BaShomayim Mimal (if it is a heavenly matter look forward and upward – strive and BaAretz Mitachas (if it is a matter in the mundane – look at what those who have less have and be sufficient).