פ’ שמיני תשע”ט

Volume 28, Issue 3


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, Growth Through Torah by Zelig Pliskin and The Call of the Torah.         

כאשר עשה ביום הזה צוה ה’ לעשות לכפר עליכם

“As he did on this day, so Hashem had commanded to be done to atone for you…” (8:34)

The word in the verse “la’asot” – to be done – is referring to the para adumah. How do Chazal learn this? Chazal established that Parshat Para is read prior to Parshat HaChodesh, to teach us the proper way to do teshuvah. First, we have to cleanse ourselves from our sins, and then we can continue with the “asei tov.” Transgressions create a barrier between the sinner and Hashem; if one performs mitzvot without first purifying himself or previous sins, those mitzvot are not fully realized because they are “blocked.” First, we read Parshat Para; we learn about purification. Only then can we read Parshat HaChodesh and fulfill mitzvot which will be dear to Hashem. “La’asot” – bring the para adumah in order “la’asot” – to do the mitzvot of Hashem in the ideal manner.                                                                                                                                                                                        (Maharam Shick)

שעיר עזים לחטאת

“A male goat for a sin offering…” (9:3)

The MIdrash expounds that the goat was taken as an atonement for Yosef’s brothers selling him into slavery, for on that occasion they slaughtered a goat and dipped Yosef’s coat in its blood. (Bereishit 37:31) What is the purpose of the allusion to this sin at the time of the joyous dedication of the Mishkan?

The Mishkan and the encampment surrounding it, and the Beit HaMikdash and the pilgrimages to Yerushalayim on the three regalim, were meant to mold the Jewish people into one nation and to eliminate the last vestiges of divisiveness, acrimony and hatred. Without a doubt, animosity and brotherly hatred reached a historic climax in the selling of Yosef. The moment of the dedication of the Mishkan, the symbol of unity, was the appropriate time to bring to mind the goat, to inspire Bnei Yisrael to repent for the selling of Yosef and for the divisiveness it represented.                                                                                                                                                                             (Oznayim LaTorah)

וכפר בעדך ובעד העם

“And thus atone for yourself and for the people…” (9:7)

Bnei Yisrael were the cause of Aharon’s sin. They pressured him into making the Golden Calf. The Gemara (Shabbos 149) states that he who causes someone to commit a sin must share the responsibility for that transgression. Thus, aside from their own sin of worshipping the Golden Calf, Bnei Yisrael also bore part of Aharon’s guilt. By the same token, Aharon’s atonement represented an atonement for all of Israel – for their part in Aharon’s sin.

This is the intent of the present verse, “And atone for yourself and for the people.” Your offerings, Aharon, will atone not only for your sin, but also for Bnei Yisrael’s who gave rise to your sin.                                                                                                                                                    (Meshech Chochmah)

ולהורת את בני ישראל את כל החקים אשר דבר ה’ אליהם ביד משה

“And to teach the Children of Israel all the decrees that Hashem had spoken to them through the hand of Moshe…” (10:11)

The letters of the word ולהרות are the same as those of ולתורה, and to the Torah. The gematria of the word אליהם is 86, which is equivalent to that of זה ההלכה – “This refers to the law.” The gematria of the phrase ביד משה is 361, which is equivalent to that of היא המקרא – “This refers to Scripture.”                                                                                                                                               (Ba’al HaTurim)

כל מפרסת פרסה ושסעת שסע…מעלת גרע

“Everything among the animals that has a split hoof, which is completely separated into double hooves, and that brings up its cud…” (11:3)

                This could be taken to mean that an animal with either one of the two kosher signs may be eaten, or it may mean that both signs are necessary. Ramban clarifies: The meaning of this verse is that every animal that has two signs you may eat, but you shall not eat an animal with only one of them.

                But if it is that both kosher signs are necessary to render an animal permissible, why does the Torah single out the four examples in verses 4-7 for special mention, since they all follow the general rule expressed in verse 3, that one kosher sign is not enough?

                Ramban further explains, now that it would have been fitting for the Torah to state this in a general manner, without specific examples, but the Torah instead specified as forbidden animals the camel and the hyrax and the hare regarding possessing only the sign of the cud, and the pig regarding possessing only the sign of the split hoof, since there are no other animals in the world with only one sign.                                                                                                                                           (Ramban)

                                                                      SHABBAT SHALOM

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