Illuminations #27, Nissan 5775, Parshat Tzav

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Illuminations #27, Nissan 5775, Parshat Tzav

Torah Gems

In Mesechet Avot (3:16), Rabbeinu Yona says that if a person is mechalel kodshim or mevazeh Yom Tov, he has no portion in the world to come. How do we explain the parallel between kodshim, which is korbanot, and Yom Tov? What is the comparison between desecrating Yom Tov and being mechalel kodshim?

Rabbeinu Yona beautifully explains that both kodshim and Yom Tov are referred to by Hashem as “kodesh,” and anyone who desecrates anything that Hashem calls “kadosh” loses his portion in olam haba because it is referred to as holy.

The gemarah in Pesachim says that anyone who is mechalel the moadim is considered as if he served avodah zara. However, the mishna says mevazeh, and the gemara uses the word mechalel. Rabbeinu Yona explains that the word mevazeh means “embarrass.” A person who is not careful about respecting chol hamoed and does not treat it as a day of Yom Tov is embarrassing the Yom Tov because it is as if he does not recognize it as a special day. It is worse for him to recognize the day as special and embarrass it by treating it as a regular day than not to recognize it at all.

A person is obligated to do his utmost to preserve the kedusha of Yom Tov. When Hashem refers to something as “kodesh,” there is an extra special responsibility to preserve the kedusha. Hashem commands us to protect and enhance the kedusha. There is the same level of importance between the korbanot and Yom Tov. One can either maximize it or minimize it. It is up to us to make the most out of the Yom Tov.


Parsha Pearls

צַו אֶת אַהֲרֹן וְאֶת בָּנָיו לֵאמֹר זֹאת תּוֹרַת הָעֹלָה

“Command Ahron and his sons, saying, ‘This is the law of the burnt offering.’”

The Midrash Raba on this pasuk says, “Hashem says, ‘Whoever gets involved in learning the laws of the korbanot, it is as if he sacrificed them on the altar.'”

The Midrash chooses this specific pasuk which talks about the burnt offering to bring out the comparison between korbanot and learning the laws of korban. Why doesn’t the Midrash choose a different pasuk that talks about a different korban, such as the sin offering, to bring forth the message?

Rav Moshe Chafetz zt”l offers the following beautiful explanation. A burnt offering is burnt completely on the mizba’ach and nothing of it is left for the kohanim or owners to eat, as opposed to other korbanot which can be eaten by kohanim or other people and therefore are not completely burnt and designated for Hashem. The Midrash compares Limud HaTorah to a burnt offering to teach us that learning Torah is completely for the sake of Hashem, just like a burnt offering.

This shows us the importance and chashivut of learning Torah. It not only educates us and brings us closer to Hashem, it also does the job of the korbanot and helps to atone for our sins as if we are bringing a korban on the mizba’ach to Hashem!


Glimpses of Greatness

There was once a bachur, a talmid in yeshiva, who came to R’Shlomo Freifeld zt”l for his farher, his test in learning. The Rav asked the boy if he wants to learn. When the boy responded, “No,” he asked, “Then why did you come? Why are you taking a farher?” He replied by saying that he wants to want to learn. Often a person does not have the desire to do something, whether it’s a mitzvah, a chessed, or simply to sit down and learn Torah. However, if a person has a desire to WANT the desire, it’s a totally different approach. The fact that the boy came to the Rav with his desire to WANT to learn was a big step in the right direction, as opposed to lacking the desire completely. We should all be zocheh to have the desire to want the desire which will show Hashem how eager we are to bring the Mashiach in our days.


Halacha Weekly

Q: Is one permitted to sell their chametz by way of fax?

A: According to Halacha, a Jew is not permitted to own chametz during Pesach, and if one has chametz during Pesach that was not destroyed or sold to a non-Jew, then a Jew cannot use that chametz after Pesach.

The idea of selling chametz is found in the Talmud, therefore one should sell their chametz if they cannot get rid of it before Pesach. Because not everyone knows how to sell their chametz properly, one should appoint their Rabbi to sell the chametz on their behalf.  Preferably, one should go to their Rabbi and make him a shaliach (messenger) on their behalf, appointing the Rabbi to sell the chametz.

If it is not possible for one to go to the Rabbi to do this, or one is living in a city where no Rabbi is present, then one could use a fax or email in order to appoint the Rabbi as a messenger to sell their chametz.  If one has no access to a fax machine or cannot email the Rabbi, one could use a telephone or write to the Rabbi by mailing a letter to make him an agent to sell their chametz.



In honor of Rabbi Abi and Devorah Nadoff by the Nadoff siblings.