Illuminations #115, Nissan 5777, Parshat Tzav

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Illuminations #115, Nissan 5777, Parshat Tzav


Torah Gems

One of the taryag mitzvot is for a kohen to go up on the mizbeiach every morning and take a shovel full of ash from the mound, take it off the mizbeiach and place it nearby (6:3). There are many explanations about the significance of this particular avodah but I would like to share with you the approach of Rav Meir Habavli. He explains that this is symbolic of the fact that, after the one who sinned brought his korban for atonement and repented, it is like his sin no longer exists – the ash is removed and he has a fresh start! This teaches every one of us that even if we stumble in any transgression, we can get out of the mud and move forward! We don’t have to dwell on the past but instead, as Rav Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg, zt”l, always used to say, “Keep smiling and keep going!” Rav Yerucham Leibovitch, zt”l, explained that because of the great kedushah on Yom Kippur, that is the only day that one can think about and mention ones sins and there will be a positive outcome. But any other time one should move on and not be hindered by one’s past. We should always keep in mind that any thoughts that will bring simchah and result in a positive outcome, such as being closer to Hashem and helping us perform more mitzvot, are useful thoughts to have. Conversely, any thoughts we have that won’t have a positive outcome we should absolutely avoid, for they come from the yetzer hara, not from the yetzer hatov!

Parsha Pearls

The Kohen Gadol used to bring a korban minchah every day called minchat chavitin. Actually, this is the same korban that he brought the day he was inaugurated to become the Kohen Gadol. Rav Moshe Feinstein, zt”l, explains the significance of this as follows: Although Hakadosh Baruch Hu bestowed upon the Kohen Gadol this great honor, nevertheless, it is to be viewed in his eyes – everyday – as a new gift! And although it is true that his position as Kohen Gadol should remain his and his sons’ afterwards, this is not guaranteed. He may develop or receive a mum – blemish, become tamei – impure, die, or it is even possible that the beis din could deem him unfit to serve in his position and force him to step down. If so, he should indeed view his service as Kohen Gadol as a new and daily bestowed gift from Hashem. From this, continues Rav Moshe, zt”l, we learn that every berachah we receive from Hashem Yitbarach should not be taken for granted. Our health, family, home, community, occupation, position, in fact everything – we should review and contemplate anew, every day, how fortunate we are! In this way, hopefully we will not take anything for granted!

Glimpses of Greatness

A poor woman arrived at the door of a kollel family in Eretz Yisrael and asked for a piece of chicken. At first the father of the family resisted because he himself was not doing well financially and every piece of chicken prepared for Shabbat was carefully counted out. It was Thursday night, and he knew he did not have a piece of chicken to spare. The woman continued begging and turned down any offer of money or anything else to eat. Eventually, to put a stop to her pestering, the father agreed. He went to the fridge, opened it up, and found that his three-year-old son had gotten trapped in the refrigerator and was turning blue. Another few minutes inside and he would have died!

Halacha Weekly

Q. How does one act if one is in America and has chametz in Israel or vice a versa?  [ II-13-334]

A. There is a machloket regarding how one should act with regard to the time that chametz becomes prohibited. That is, whether one should determine the time of prohibition of chametz  based on the place where the owner of the chametz is, or based on the place where the chametz  is located. For example, if he is in America and his chametz is in Israel, the chametz becomes prohibited earlier. The majority of Poskim hold that one should be stringent and go after the place where the person is.

Minchat Yitzchak (7-25, R. Yitzchak Yosef Weiss Z”L) writes that in the first place (Lechatchilah) one should be stringent and go after whichever comes earlier. Thus, if one who lives in Israel is in America and has chametz in Israel, stringently speaking, he needs, or his agent needs, to sell, destroy and nullify his chametz in Israel before the time that it becomes prohibited in Israel. If after the fact (Bediavad) he does not do so, whether accidentally or intentionally,  according to the law he needs to sell, destroy and nullify his chametz by the time  it is prohibited in America. Igros Moshe (R. Moshe Feinstein Z”L) rules similarly (Orech Chaim 94-45).