Parshas Acharei begins immediately following the death of Aarons two sons, נדב ואביהו as the Pasuk says וידבר ה' אל משה אחרי מות שני בני אהרן. The באר היטב in אורח חיים סימן תרכ"א brings in the name of the Zohar and the Arizal that when the Psukim discussing the death of Aarons sons is being read on Yom Kippur, יש להצטער על מיתתן ולהוריד עליהם דמעות. The question is obvious that how can it be expected of us to feel saddened over the death of Aarons sons to the point of ולהוריד עליהם דמעות if we never knew them nor Aaron in a personal way. Furthermore, the death of Aarons sons was a tragedy that occurred thousands of years ago and there have been many tragedies worth crying over since. Therefore how can we connect to the צער of מיתת שני בני אהרן?

Besides for the difficulty to connect to such a tragedy, the entire request is difficult to understand because there is never such a request regarding any גדולי הדורות. In fact such a request would appear to be against Halacha because the Halacha is אין בוכין על המת יותר משלושים יום.

Lastly, we could ask why is it specifically on Yom Kippur that we are to be מצטער על מיתתן ולהוריד עליהם דמעות if there death was on ראש חדש ניסן. And once we are supposed to מצטער על מיתתן ולהוריד עליהם דמעות, it would seem to make more sense to be required to do so when we read Parshas Acharei as the פרשת השבוע and not when we read those Psukim on Yom Kippur, especially because those Psukim don’t really have to do with Yom Kippur and it is only brought אגב the reading that deals with the עבודה.

Perhaps the answer to these questions is as follows. The Gemara in Eiruvin 54b brings a Braisa which says as follows:

כיצד סדר משנה משה למד מפי הגבורה, נכנס אהרן ושנה לו משה פירקו. נסתלק אהרן וישב לשמאל משה. נכנסו בניו ושנה להן משה פירקן, נסתלקו בניו, אלעזר ישב לימין משה ואיתמר לשמאל אהרן. רבי יהודה אומר: לעולם אהרן לימין משה חוזר. נכנסו זקנים ושנה להן משה פירקן, נסתלקו זקנים, נכנסו כל העם ושנה להן משה פירקן. נמצאו ביד אהרן ארבעה, ביד בניו שלשה, וביד הזקנים שנים, וביד כל העם אחד וכו'.

It comes out according to this Braisa that the children of Aaron had the unique קבלת התורה from Moshe Rabbeinu three times. Therefore, had Aarons two sons not have died, Klal Yisrael would’ve had two more people who experienced this unique קבלת התורה from Moshe Rabbeinu three times.

According to this, it could be said that the pain we are obligated to feel, to the point of ולהוריד עליהם דמעות, is not for the loss of the actual individuals or for Aaron’s personal loss, rather the צער comes from the loss of not having that high level of מסירת התורה. When Aarons two sons died an untimely death, Klal Yisrael lost two links in theשלשלת הקבלה of Torah on the level of those who learned Torah from Moshe three times. That loss is the pain that we should be feeling over the loss of the מיתת בני אהרן.

Furthermore it could be understood why specifically on Yom Kippur we are expected to be מצטער על מיתתן ולהוריד עליהם דמעות because on Yom Kippur we received the Luchos Shniyos. While we celebrate the שמחה of קבלת התורה, receiving the Luchos Shniyos, we mourn that what we lost in מסירת התורה with the death of נדב ואביהו. Especially since the Yerushalmi in Shekalim says that if not for the breaking of the Luchos Rishonos, all of Torah would’ve been written down on the Luchos, including תורה שבעל פה. Therefore it was only through the Luchos Shniyos which we have תורה שבעל פה meaning that which we have a תורשבע"פ is a consequence of the שבירת הלוחות. Therefore, the day of Yom Kippur, which we received the Luchos Shniyos, is befitting to be מצטער על מיתתן ולהוריד עליהם דמעות which is about mourning what was lost in מסירת התורה.

This idea is befitting as well during the ימי הספירה because on one hand they are days of happiness because we are counting towards מתן תורה. But on the other hand, they became ימי אבילות because we are mourning the loss of Reb Akivas 24,000 students. But as mentioned above, the mourning is not for the individual’s כי הרי אין בוכין על המת יותר מדאי rather the mourning is for the loss of the מסירת התורה which could have been, especially since Reb Akiva was the יסוד of תושבע"פ.

This all is very much connected with the beginning of Parshas Kedoshim as well. Kedoshim begins דבר אל כל עדת בני ישראל ואמרת אלהם קדשים תהיו and Rashi, quoting the Toras Kohanim, saysמלמד שנאמרה פרשה זו בהקהל מפני שרוב גופי תורה תלויין בה. What is so unique about Parshas Kedoshim that it specifically needed to be said at הקהל and what is the meaning of מפני שרוב גופי תורה תלויין בה because all though there are many Mitzvos discussed in the Parsha, it does not contain the majority of all Mitzvos?

Based on the Ramban understanding of קדושים תהיו, a person could follow all the do and the do nots in the Torah and yet the person could still be a נבל ברשות התורה. Comes along the Mitzvah of קדושים תהיו to teach us the inner meaning of Mitzvos and how they are to shape a holy personality. The do and do nots are the letter of the law and the קדושים תהיו is the spirit of the law. Therefore, the connection between the positive and negative commandments to the commandment of קדושים תהיו is like the connection between a גוף and a נשמה. The Mitzvah of קדושים תהיו is the inner soul that the גופי תורה, all the מצוות עשה ולא תעשה, are dependent on. Without the inner soul of קדושים תהיו, the מצוות עשה ולא תעשה which are the גופי תורה are just lifeless empty bodies.

This Mitzvah of קדושים תהיו needed to be said in the situation of הקהל where the women and children as well were able to hear it directly from Moshe Rabbeinu without a middle man. Although גופי תורה are able to be transmitted from person to person, but the נשמת התורה needs to be heard directly from Moshe Rabbeinu, to see exactly how he said it, which is the idea of גדולה שימושה יותר מלימודה. This is why the Parsha of קדושים תהיו needed to be said specifically at הקהל.

This could be an explanation of the Pasuk from ישעיהו (נט,כא) that is said in davening every dayואני זאת בריתי אותם אמר ה' רוחי אשר עליך ודברי אשר שמתי בפיך לא ימושו מפיך ומפי זרעך ומפי זרע זרעך אמר ה' מעתה ועד עולם. We are asking that not only should the דברי which is the גופי תורה be לא ימושו but the רוחי אשר עליך, the נשמת התורה, should be forgotten as well.


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