Points to Ponder

Tzav 5779

צַ֤ו אֶת־אַֽהֲרֹן֙   Command Aharon and his sons (6:2) - Rashi notes that there needed to be a command because there was a potential financial loss. Financial losses are often difficult for people to accept and therefore there was a need for Ziruz. How could one fathom that a Kohein would need an additional incentive when serving Hashem. Really? A KOHEIN? Rav Henoch Leibowitz ztl. Answers that indeed this is the case when we are faced with a financial loss — EVEN a Kohein Even in the Avodah. He cited a proof text from the Yirushalmi  that retold an episode concerning Rav Yochanan who could not answer Shaylos on a particular day since he had been robbed of his money and his head was in his heart which at that time was in the money he had been robbed of.

זֹ֥את תּוֹרַ֖ת הָֽעֹלָ֑ה   This is the Torah of the Olah (6:2) - Rav Wolbe ztl. noted that in Parshas VaYikra we do not find the word Torah used in relation to the Korbanos while in Tzav, each Korban is introduced as Toras -- Torah Olah, Toras Mincha and Toras Shelamim. Why? Rav Wolbe explains that when something is explained in its entirety then it can be called Torah. In Vayikra we get but the basic rules. These are given elaborately in Tzav.

וְהוֹצִ֤יא אֶת־הַדֶּ֨שֶׁן֙ אֶל־מִח֣וּץ לַמַּֽחֲנֶ֔ה And he shall remove the cleared ashes (6:4) - The Gemara (Yomi 22) notes that that originally there was no lottery for Terumas HaDeshen, rather there was a race up the ramp of the Mizbeiach. This was the case until someone came along and pushed his friend off the Mizbeiach in order to win. Rav Pam ztl. noted that when a person thinks only about his own רוחניות s/he will come to push a friend off the ramp.

וּמֹרַ֥ק וְשֻׁטַּ֖ף  And purged ad rinsed in water (6:21) - Why is it that the 2 times that Hechsher Keilim is discussed in the Torah it is in regard to Kashering Kodesh and of kashering from gentile use? Rav Yosef Carmel Shlita suggested that Keilim can technically have absorbed problematic substances, in which case, technical solutions (including waiting) suffice to solve the problems. However, utensils can also represent the activity with which they were involved. The Midyanite idolaters’ utensils represent their heathen lifestyle and the lack of concern for the purity of what they eat. Thus they should be cleansed, both through hagala and tevilla (immersing) before we can use them for our activities. On the other hand, in the same way that the meat of kodashim needs to be dealt with diligently and not allowed to become stale and stagnant, so too its keilim need to remain fresh, thus requiring switching of klei cheres and renewing other keilim. In other words, we live in a world with tools that can promote sanctity, impurity, or some combination thereof. We must ensure that ours are being used in a manner consistent with the desired result.

אִ֣ם עַל־תּוֹדָה֘ יַקְרִיבֶ֒נּוּ֒  If he brings the Korban as a Korban Todah (7:12) - Why must he bring a Todah. Why can’t he just verbally say thank you? Rav Dessler ztl. explains that the true Todah is one that takes the entire sense of being of the person. A simple “Thank you” does not really express the full sense of the person’s gratitude. When one brings a Korban s/he is stating that the animal replaces the entire sense of the person being offered at this time.

קַ֤ח אֶת־אַֽהֲרֹן֙ וְאֶת־בָּנָ֣יו Take Aharon (8:2) - Rashi explains that Moshe was instructed to encourage Aharon in word. Rav Boruch Sorotzkin ztl. explained that it was not only the regular Kohanim who needed to be encouraged to recognize the great office they were ascending to and to understand that which they would be giving up in the process -- the Kohein Gadol needed the encouragement too. It is difficult for any human to give his whole life to spirituality, understanding that this is his purpose in life serves as encouragement.

וַיַּ֥עַשׂ אַֽהֲרֹ֖ן וּבָנָ֑יו   Aharon and his sons did  (8:36) - Rashi explains that he is deserving of praise because he followed without veering. We find a similar statement in Parshas Be’Haalosecha. Why is it so praiseworthy that Aharon stayed on course? Rav Moshe Rosenstein ztl. (Mashgiach of Lomza) explained that part of the praise of a Tzaddik is that he also does not have the Yetzer HaRa of even a simple person. He could have chosen to be a simple person with simple values and he chose to rise to the level of a Tzaddik but that does not mean he does not get the reward due to the simple person too. That is the Torah’s intent here too -- Sachar for not veering is applicable to the Tzaddik as well -- even though we have come to expect that from him.

Haftara - אַל־יִתְהַלֵּ֚ל חָכָם֙ בְּחָכְמָת֔וֹ וְאַל־יִתְהַלֵּ֥ל הַגִּבּ֖וֹר בִּגְבֽוּרָת֑וֹ אַל־יִתְהַלֵּ֥ל עָשִׁ֖יר בְּעָשְׁרֽוֹ:  Do not praise the Chacham for his wisdom (Yirmiyahu 9:22) - Rav Schachter Shlita reminded us that the Talmud notes that everything is pre-determined prior to birth except Yiras Shomayim. The proof is from this verse -- wisdom, strength and wealth -- it is all there. The Rambam includes all human decisions in Yiras Shomayim. This would seem to preclude the idea of the Shidduch being set 40 days before a child is born. The Meiri says that it depends if this is Zivig Rishon or Zivig Sheni. He further explains that Zivig Rishon is the Shidduch when people are young. Rav Schachter added today, when we get married later than 12 and 13,  this is not Zivig Rishon -- it is part of the Yiras Shomayim of Zivig Sheni and involves Bechira Chofshis.