פ’ צו – שבת הגדול תשע”ז
Volume 18, Issue 2
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.
צו את אהרן ואת בניו
“Command Aharon and his sons…” (6:2)
In the previous parsha (Vayikra) the precepts pertaining to the offerings are addressed only to the “children of Aharon,” and not to Aharon. This is the first time that Aharon’s name is mentioned in this context. Why?
The previous parsha deals with various offerings, but none that were brought in the Wilderness. Since Aharon died before Bnei Yisrael entered the land, he brought offerings only in the Wilderness, therefore his name is not mentioned. This verse discusses the Olat HaTamid, which was the only offering in the Wilderness (Sifri, Bamidbar 9:5), and therefore includes Aharon’s name in the directive. (Divrei Yehonasan)
ואש המזבח תוקד בו
“The fire of the Altar must burn throughout the night.” (6:2)
The Altar fire that was kept burning throughout the night was kindled during the day. The Altar alludes to the Jewish heart. Even when we find ourselves in situations of spiritual darkness, we must keep the Divine fire of enthusiasm for G-d, His Torah, and His commandments, always burning in our hearts. (Likutei Sichot)
ויקח משה מדמו ויתן על תנוך אזן אהרן הימנית
“Moshe took some of its blood and placed it upon the middle part of Aharon’s right ear, upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the big toe of his right foot.” (8:23)
As part of the procedure by which Aharon and his sons were consecrated as Kohanim, Moshe took some of the blood of a ram and placed it on the parts of Aharon delineated in this verse. What lesson can we derive from this seemingly strange act?
Rabbi Avraham ben HaRambam explains that this verse is symbolic of the various ways in which we are to serve Hashem. The ear represents an obligation to listen to Hashem’s instructions. The hand represents activity – that we must never forget to translate Hashem’s will into practical action. The foot represents movement, as a reminder that we must be energetic in our carrying out the ratzon Hashem.
Although this instruction was given regarding the Kohanim, these are lessons for every Jew. We have to incorporate all of these facets into our Yiddishkeit. Unfortunately, some people close their ears and refuse to become aware of what a Jew is supposed to do. Others listen but never taken action with their own two hands. And there are others who are committed to carry out actions of goodness, but only do so in a lackadaisical fashion. All three of these elements – listening, action, and alacrity – must be the hallmark of our service of G-d. (Something to Say)
Why is the Shabbat before Pesach called “Shabbat HaGadol” – the Great Shabbat?
The first mitzvah the Jewish people were commanded prior to their leaving Egypt was to prepare the sheep for a Pesach-offering and other details pertaining to celebrating the Pesach Yom Tov. Our patriarchs Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov fulfilled all the mitzvoth of the Torah (see Yoma 28b), and undoubtedly they, too, made a Pesach-offering on the fourteenth of Nissan and celebrated Pesach.
Nevertheless, there is a big difference between us and them in regard to pertaining mitzvoth. The Gemara (Kiddushin 31a) says that “Gadol hametzuveah ve’oseh mimi she’eino metzuveh ve’oseh” – The one who is commanded and fulfills is greater than the one who fulfills without a command.” The reason is that the one who is not commanded has the option of not performing the action at all, while the one who is commanded is worried and under pressure due to his obligation (see Tosfot). Thus, on this Shabbat the Jews exhibited the greatness of one who is commanded, and therefore this Shabbat is called “Shabbat haGadol” – the great Shabbat.”
Alternatively, the Pesach-offering and the Yom Tov of Pesach emphasize the mitzvah of “ve’ahavta le’eiacha kamocha” – “love your fellow as yourself”. The Pesach-offering is a communal get-together. Not only does the family share, but also neighbors gather to partake in the offering, as the Torah says “He and a close neighbor…Everyone according to what he eats shall be counted for the lamb” (Shemot 12:4) Ahavat Yisrael is also demonstrated by the special mitzvah of ma’ot chitin – extending financial assistance for Yom Tov to enable everyone to celebrate the holiday properly.
Regarding the mitzvah of “love your fellow as yourself”, Rabbi Akiva says, “Zehu klal gadol ba’Torah” – “This is a great rule in the Torah”. Thus, the Shabbat is called “Shabbat HaGadol” because on this Shabbat the great mitzvah of loving your fellow as yourself is emphasized.
Alternatively, the Jews were liberated from Egypt in the year 2448 after creation. They had their first real taste of freedom on the Shabbat before Pesach, when they prepared the sheep for the Korban Pesach. The words “שבת הגדול” remind us of the redemption: “ש” stands for Shabbat, “ב” = 2,000, “ת” = 400, and the word “הגדול” has the numerical value of 48. (Iturei Torah)
Shabbat Shalom & Chag Kasher V’Sameach
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