lluminations #30, Iyar 5775, Parshat Emor

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lluminations #30, Iyar 5775, Parshat Emor

Torah Gems

Rabbi Akiva’s 24,000 students died during the period which we are currently in the midst of, yimei hasefira.Yimei hasefira begin on Pesach and end on Shavous. The gemarah tells us that the students died because they did not treat each other respectfully.

Why was such a seemingly small misstep deserving of such a catastrophic punishment? Also, why did they die specifically between Pesach and Shavous?

In order to understand this, we must understand what it means that they did not treat each other respectfully. Rav Shlomo Wolbe explains that the Torah is not something to be learned alone. A person as a whole is supposed to grow through learning Torah. The key to achieving the growth is through kavod for TorahRav Wolbe explains that one gives kavod to that which he values and respects.  A lack of kavod shows a lack of respect and value. The lack of value” for Torah shows that one does not look at the Torah to change their entire being. Therefore no matter how much he actually learns he will not grow as a whole.

While we cannot understand what exactly the students did wrong, it was obviously not something we would perceive as being a lack of respect. According to Rav Wolbe, the students’ lack of respect was, in fact, somehow a lack of respect for the Torah. The fact that these students were going to be the ones giving over Torah to the next generation demanded utmost perfection. The slightest imperfection was reason for them to die so that the Torah would not be given over with the slightest imperfection. Indeed, it was better to have only five students to give over the Torah but with the utmost perfection.

From here we can learn a very profound lesson. While we try to prepare ourselves for kabalas haTorah, grow through Torah, and give Torah over to our children, we must realize how much kavod for Torah is required of us in order to be successful. We see this all the more so from the fact that it was precisely during this time that the students died.

Parsha Pearls

At the end of this week’s Parsha we read about the story of the mekalel. Moshe Rabeinu did not know what his punishment should be. Hashem told Moshe the mekalel should be stoned.

How is it that Moshe seemingly forgot such a straight-forward halacha? Surely Hashem must have told him what to do with someone who curses Hashem.

Rav Schwab answers that the way a person remembers something is by conjuring an image of that which he is trying to remember. The reason someone would curse Hashem is not because he does not believe that Hashem exists and controls everything, but rather that he would prefer if Hashem didn’t have control over everything. This was an image that Moshe, in his great awe of Hashem, could not picture in his mind. Because of this, Moshe forgot the halacha.

Glimpse of Greatness

A talmid of the Atler of Slabodka once spent a lot of money to buy a very mehudar pair of tzitzis. Upon learning about this the Alter berated him, “Do you know how much chessed and tzedaka you could have given with that money instead?!” The confused talmid went to Rav Isaak Sher, the Alter’s son in law. He told Rav Isaak that he did not understand what the Alter wanted from him. Rav Isaak explained that had he used the money to do chessed and tzedaka the Alter would have told him that he could have used the money to beautify a mitzvah. What the Alter wanted to teach the talmid was that when you do something you have to think of things from all sides and take all aspects into consideration.

Halachah Weekly

Q: What type of cheese requires one to wait 6 hour before eating meat?

A: Halacha states that after drinking milk or eating dairy products, one is required to clean the mouth, hands and table they ate upon, as well as say the end blessing on the food they ate, and then one can begin eating meat. Some people have a custom to wait one-half hour after eating dairy before eating meat.

All of the above practices are concering if one eats soft dairy product. However, there are opinions that state specifically that if one ate cheese which has aged for 6 months, then the halacha would require a person to wait 6 hours before eating meat.  There are different customs regarding this. According to Ashkenazim, the custom is to wait 6 hours after consuming hard cheese.

Today, an example of hard cheese would be Parmesan cheese, which even if cooked or placed on pizza, requires waiting 6 hours before beginning to eat a meat meal. According to Sephardim, the custom as brought by Rav Ovadia Yosef, ZT”L, is that it is not necessary to wait 6 hours after eating hard cheese to eat meat.

The custom according to Rav Abba Shaul Ben Hzeion, ZT”L, is that one is required to wait only one hour after eating hard cheese that has been aged for 6 months in order to begin to eat meat.  All other cheeses that one knows that underwent the aging process for at least 6 months would require an Ashkenazi to wait 6 hours before consuming meat.


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ויעל בת רחל
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