lluminations #23, Adar 5775, Parshat Tetzaveh

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Illuminations #23, Adar 5775, Parshat Tetzaveh

Torah Gems

In this week’s parsha it describes the avoda  of the kohanim bringing the karbanos in the mishkan. All of this is an expression of the close relationship Hashem has with us. After all this it says:

“בכבודי ונקדש ישראל לבני שמה ונועדתי”

The pasuk is teaching us that the mishkan, the place where the karbanos are brought, is a resting place for Hashem’s Shchina and a meeting place for Hashem and Bnei Yisroel.

Rashi brings a midrash on the words בכבודי ונקדש that it is hinting to the deaths of Nadav and Aviyhu. Nadav and Aviyhu were killed in the mishkan and through them Hashem’s name became sanctified.

Why when discussing the mishkan is it hinting to the deaths of Nadav and Aviyhu?

In order to understand this, we must understand why Nadav andAviyhu were illed. Rashi in parshas Mishpatim explains that Nadav and Aviyhu were punished because, on their exalted level, they showed a lack of respect for the Shchinah at the time of matan TorahWhile we cannot understand how it was a lack of respect, and it obviously is not referring to something we would see in our eyes as a lack of respect, nonetheless, we can learn a vital lesson. Therefore, precisely here, the Torah hints to Nadav and Aviyhu to teach us that the presence of the Shchinah demands both love and fear. Hashem in His extreme love for Bnei Yisroel gave us a place where He rests his Shchinah. And we are definitely supposed to love Hashem. But we must realize that this closeness that we all crave also demands of us a higher proper level of respect and yiras Hashem. And we see that having this closeness without the proper respect can lead to disastrous results.

Parsha Pearls

In this week’s haftorah it speaks about how Shmuel hanavi told Shaul to wipe out every last bit of Amalek, and subsequently how Shaul did not fully comply and let Agag and some of the animals live. The question is: how can it be that Shaul, who was a tremendous tzaddik, failed to  complete an explicit commandment of Hashem?

Rav Shach zatzal explains that when Shmuel first came to Shaul to tell him to kill Amalek of course Shaul planned on complying. But Shaul thought to himself that there is a big danger over here. He was concerned that through so much killing he would come to the point that he would acquire the trait of cruelty. In order to avoid this, Shaul, before going out to kill Amalek, worked on himself so much to be merciful. Seemingly Shaul went too far so that when it came time to wipe out Amalek, Shaul was too merciful and did not fully kill them out. Rav Shach derives from here a very valuable lesson. Shaul was no doubt right for being concerned that the killing may negatively affect him. It was right of him to want to prevent that. The mistake Shaul seemingly was guilty of was that righteous cheshbonos can never in any way, shape, or form come to the point that because of them he will not come to fulfill Hashem’s commandment. All of his fear of being negatively impacted should fall by the wayside if it will impede him from doing what Hashem commands in any way.

While we are definitely obligated always to work on our middos, we must also bear in mind what Hashem commands of us, and must always go full force into doing them, trusting Hashem that we are doing the right thing, and not go too far in making our own cheshbonos to prevent what we perceive as bad outcomes.

Glimpses of Greatness

Rabbi Aryeh Levin was known to be able to influence people in a gentle way. One time, two people knocked on his door because they had seen a man in the act of stealing from a store but were afraid to confront him. Reb Aryeh went to the store and found the thief with all the merchandise already off the shelves. Reb Aryeh said, “How dare you steal when the Torah says not to.” The thief was moved by the way Reb Aryeh said it and asked Reb Aryeh what to do. Reb Aryeh said he should return everything to the shelves, and he proceeded to help him. Then Reb Aryeh made a special mishebeirach for someone who is able to fulfill the commandment of returning stolen goods.

Halacha Weekly

Q: Is one allowed to give from his maaser (Tithes)  to matanot l’evyonim (Gifts to the Poor on Purim)?
A: One is not allowed to give from the maaser money to any other mitzvah that one is obligated to do. For instance, one is not allowed to buy tefillin with maaser or buy a mezuzah with maaser because in both cases one is obligated to have tefillin and mezuzah. The same applies as regards the mitzvah of matanot l’evyonim: everyone is obligated to give matanot l’evyonim, but there is a limit  to this obligation. If one gives more than the limit one is allowed to give from maaser.  The halachah tells us that one should give an amount of money to two different poor people. Each poor person should get about 3-4 dollars which totals 6-8 dollars.  If someone wants to give 20 dollars, then they can take the extra 12 dollars from maaser.
Q: Is it better to divide the matanot l’evyonim to a lot of aniyim (poor people), or is it better to give a bigger sum to only a few aniyim?
A: It is better to give a smaller amount to more aniyim rather than giving a bigger sum to fewer aniyim.  We see that mishloach manot (sending of Purim gifts) is to one person but matanot l’evyonim is to two people.  We see from this that our Sages wanted more people to get the tzedaka (Charity) and that is why matanot l’evyonim is given to two people, not only one like mishloach manot.

In loving memory of
HaRabbanith Ruth Menashe (Ruth bat Ahuva) A”H,
by Dovid and Devorah Kapenstein