פ’ אחרי מות-קדושים תשע”ז
Volume 18, Issue 6
INSIGHTS from the SEDRA
Insights from the Sedra is a project of the Scholar’s Kollel of Great Neck. It aims to provide several questions and answers about the Sedra, culled from various commentaries, including the following: Baal Haturim, Darash Moshe, Vedebarta Bam by Rabbi Moshe Bogomilsky, Torah Treasures by Dov Furer, Wellsprings of Torah by Alexander Friedman, and Kol Dodi by Rabbi Dovid Feinstein, Great Torah Lights by Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Goodman, Something To Say by Dov Wasserman, The Vilna Gaon, and Growth Through Torah by Zelig Pliskin.
ומאת עדת בני ישראל
“And from the congregation of the children of Israel…” (16:5)
M’lo Ha’Omer notes that Scripture interrupts the description of the Kohen Gadol’s Yom Kippur service to describe the offering brought on behalf of the community. From this digression we can discern that man’s primary efforts should never be only directed toward his own needs. As the Mishnah (Avot 1:14) teaches: And when I am for myself, what am I?
Moreover, the greater the efforts that one makes on behalf of others, the greater will his own benefit be. We see this from Aharon himself; the greater the effort that he made on behalf of the community, the more was his sacrifice acceptable before G-d. (Parsha Anthology)
ושמרתם את חקתי ואת משפטי אשר יעשה אתם האדם וחי בהם
“You must safeguard My rules and My ordinances, which a person must do to live by them.” (18:5)
The Hebrew phrase “to live by them” can also be read, “in order to imbue them with life-force.” This teaches us that not only do G-d’s commandments enhance our lives; by observing them, we bring them to life. For example, even the most carefully crafted tefillin cannot accomplish their purpose – thereby effecting a positive change in reality – until a Jewish man wears them. Thus, we bring G-d’s plan for creation to fruition through fulfilling His commandments. Of course, in order to “enliven” G-d’s commandments, we ourselves must be “alive”, i.e., healthy, strong, happy, enthusiastic, and optimistic. (Likutei Sichot)
קדושים תהיו כי קדוש אני
“You shall be holy for I am holy.” (19:2)
The Ohr HaChaim points out that the verse specifies “Kedoshim Tihiyu” – you shall be holy – using the future tense. This teaches us that the mandate of holiness has no boundaries. No matter what level of sanctity one has achieved, one can grow further and reach an even more elevated plateau. The Torah compares the holiness that man is mandated to strive for to the holiness of G-d Himself. Just as G-d’s sanctity is infinite, so too is man challenged to strive to achieve even greater levels of holiness. It is in this sense that man’s sanctity can be seen as being comparable to that of G-d. (Parsha Anthology)
איש אמו ואביו תיראו
“Man shall fear his mother and father…” (19:3)
The Ksav Sofer notes that the verse stresses the word “ish”. This teaches us that even when one has matured, married, established his own home and is no longer dependent upon his parents, the commandment of honoring and fearing one’s mother and father is no less obligatory than it was when he was young. No matter what age or station one has reached, the honor due to one’s parents is still incumbent upon him.
The Netziv observes that the Torah uses the formal “ish”. Even if a person is considered great and has achieved status, he is no less obligated to hold his parents in awe than he was before.
The Shelah HaKodesh points out that the verse begins with the singular “ish” and then uses the plural “Tira’u”. He explains that the verse alludes to the fact that parents should be careful that they never place their children into a position wherein it becomes difficult for them to pay the proper respect to their father and mother.
לא תשנא את אחיך בלבבך…ולא תשא עליו חטא
“You shall not hate your brother in your heart…and you shall not bear a sin on his account…” (19:17)
A Jew is enjoined to love his fellow Jew and not despise his brother in his heart. Hatred is a terrible attribute, for it can cause a person’s heart to sour on everyone and everything that he comes in contact with. One who constantly finds things to hate will become a bitter person who will never know happiness.
The Michtav M’Eliyahu, Rav Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler tz”l, writes in the name of the Maharal of Prague, that a person who has a lev tov, a good heart, is one who wishes good upon his friend. He is happy for him and hopes he will succeed in every aspect of life. However, one who has an ayin tov, a good eye, is not satisfied with merely wishing happiness and success upon his friend. He will do whatever it takes to ensure that his friend receives what he wants and will not rest until he makes it happen.
A Wise and Successful Man once said: “In war, and in life in general, a man is not finished when he is defeated. He is finished when he quits!”
This week’s Divrei Torah are sponsored by Dr. Chaim Anfang and family in memory of his mother, Basha Leah bat Elimelach z”l. For future sponsorship opportunities please call Steve Zuckerman at 516 652 5266 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or Rabbi Lichter at email@example.com. Sponsorships in memory of or in honor of someone are $50.00 per issue.