Points to Ponder

Shmini 5775

Take for yourself an Eigel (9:2) – Rashi comments that the Eigel was to be used as a Kappara for the eigel HaZahav. Rav Eliyhau Mizrachi asks why an Eigel for this purpose does not violate the principle of Ein KaTeigor Naaseh Saneigor? He answers that the rule of Ein Kateigor only applies to Avodas Pnim (in the Kodesh Hakodoshim) as opposed to outside where the Kohein Gadol regularly wore gold vestments and the Eigel of Aharon was offered.  But what about the Shofar about which we do apply Ein KaTeigor? Rav Avraham Rivlin Shlita cited the Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh who explains that there is a magical quality to the kappara in the Kodesh Kodashim (Hu Muflah) and in order to effectuate it, there cannot be any hint to the Avairah in the Teshuva process. Perhaps the same can be said about the Shofar – its magical wakeup cannot contain the traits of sin. (See the Kli Yakar for a different spin)

Come close to the Mizbeiach (9:7) – Rashi notes that Aharon was scared and Moshe encouraged him asking him why he was to be embarrassed if he was chosen for this purpose. What does being chosen have to do with embarrassment? Rav Gershon Edelstein Shlita explains that Aharon was chosen BECAUSE he was embarrassed – he had a certain sense of humility. Moshe told him that it was exactly this humility that was the antithesis of sin. Sin happens as a result of Gaava. Aharon had no reason to be embarrassed for coming close to atone on behalf of the people for he was the opposite of the trait that brought on their sin.

Moshe and Aharon went in (VaYavo) and they came out (VaYetzu)(9:23) – Why is the singular VaYavo used in describing their entrance INTO the Ohel Moed but the plural is used on the exit? Rav Isaac Ausband Shlita explains that that when they went in, Aharon gave respect to Moshe’s singular authority – allowing Moshe to go in alone first. However, upon exit, it is not the same respect that he come out alone first – hence they left together.


This is what Hashem stated Bkrovai Ekadeish (10:3) – We do not find any reference from Hashem to Moshe telling him to make this declaration. How then, did Moshe know that this was the reason for their deaths? Rav Moshe Feinstein ztl. suggests that the day of huge celebration was so great that there should not have been death allowed in this time (Similar to Shmuel I 11:13 and Shmuel II 19:24). However, there are times that even when a generation is Tahor and Kasher, that Hashem takes the Tzaddikim for his own needs. Hence the depth to B’Kerovai Ekadeish.

The Seir HaChatas Darosh Dorash and was burnt (10:16) – Why was it that the first korban Tzibbur offered – that of Rosh Chodesh – needed to be burnt? Rav Moshe Wolfson Shlita notes that the Chatas of Rosh Chodesh is brought as a Chatas for the shrinking of the moon and the understanding of the fact that the Tikkun is not complete. It is the ideal message for the Jew in the Galus --- the Levana is not full yet. At the midway point in the Chumash, one gets the reminder that the kappara will still yet come in the future.

The Daah, and the Daya according to its type (11:14) – The Gemara (Chullin 62a) notes that the Da’ah, the Raah and the Aya are all the same bird. Why is it known as a Ra’ah? Because it dwells in Bavel and can see the Neveilah in Eretz Yisrael. It has phenomenal vision. Why does that make it a bird that is Tamai? Rav Meir Shapiro ztl. notes that when the bird sits in Bavel, in Eretz HaAmim and only sees the Tumah in Eretz Yisrael, it is a Tamai bird. He adds that the Possuk of Yigar Hashem Bicha HaSatan and Yigar Hashem Bicha HaBocher B’Yirushalayim applies here as well – a Satan sees evil everywhere but it takes a special negativity – deserving of a special GaArah for not seeing the Satan everywhere EXCEPT for Yirushalayim.

I am Hashem who brought you up from the land of Egypt (11:45) – What is the significance of being brought “Up” from Egypt? Rav Wolbe ztl. explains that it refers to the fact that the very bodies of Bnei Yisrael were elevated to a plane of holiness (See Bava Metzia 61b). In other words, when the Jew left Mitzrayim and elevated his being, the body itself became more refined and inclined toward spirituality. Thereafter the body itself would be unable to tolerate coarse behavior and concepts.

Haftorah – Machar Chodesh – And Shaul did not speak that day assuming that perhaps it is a mikreh and Dovid was not Tahor (Shmuel Alef 20:26) – The Abarbanel explains that Shaul intended on embarrassing Dovid and thus chose to assume that Dovid was not Tahor instead of that he was ill. The Dubno Maggid asks how Shaul could have intended to embarrass Dovid if he never spoke the words? He quotes Rav Yerucham Perlow who suggests that in fact on the first day, Shaul gave Dovid the benefit of the doubt – mikreh – a chance, one time Tumah – does not make the person Biltee Tahor as a title.