Yahrzeit, the Churban, and Moadim
The Kiddush was sponsored by Sender Galbut לעלוי נשמת his father, Reb Boruch Tzvi Ben Reuven Nosson Z”L. Dr. Galbut had visited the shul twice when he was already terminally ill and nevertheless he had a captivating smile and radiated Simchah. He was Zocheh that his Yahrzeit be during the ימי המצרים which are anyways days of mourning so he didn’t add another day of sadness.
Every death is really connected to the Churban Habayis as we see when we comfort a mourner we say המקום ינחם אתכם בתוך שאר אבלי ציון וירושלים. The reason is because every Jew takes part in the mission of revealing כבוד שמים in this world which is the essence of the Beis HaMikdash. Therefore, every Jew with his life, in a sense, is connected with the loss of the Beis HaMikdash.
The Halachos of Aveilus appear in the Masechta Moed Kattan which is dedicated to the Halachos of Chol Hamoed which is called a Moed Kattan. It would seem that Aveilus as well, in a sense, is considered a Moed Kattan. This is apparent from the Halacha in Shulchan Aruch 131:4 which says one doesn’t say Tachanun in a בית האבל. The source for this Halacha is in the Shibolei Haleket, as quoted by the Beis Yosef, which says we don’t say Tachanun in a בית האבל because אבילות is איתקש לחג. The reason is because the Pasuk in Amos 8:10 says והפכתי חגיכם לאבל. This seems strange because all the Pasuk says is that Hashem will transform חגיכם into אבל which makes it sound like they are opposites so where do we see that there is a הקש?
It would seem that the idea of a חג that it’s a מועד is because it’s an opportunity for a human being to meet his creator like it says שלש פעמים בשנה יראה כל זכורך אל פני האדן ה'. The word מועדים also has a meaning of meeting, like the אוהל מועד. When we are busy with our daily routine, we don’t pay attention and we sometimes lose connection with the Borei Oilam. Whereas on the חגים, we meet the creator.
There is a meeting with the creator in the extraordinary festivities and there is a meeting with the creator in the negative experiences. When a person’s daily life is shaken up with a tragedy, it is also an opportunity to break out of his shell and see the Borei Oilam. This is why Aveilus and Chag are two sides of the same idea. This could be why the Halachos of Aveilus are placed in Masechta Moed kattan. Laslty, the three weeks always begin with Parshas Pinchas which includes the Korbanos for all the Moadim to express this idea as well.
The Tamid-Habitual Yet Fresh
The first of the Korbanos discussed in the Parshah is the Korban Tamid. Although we don’t have the Korban Tamid anymore, as it was בטל on י"ז תמוז, nevertheless the Gemara in Brachos says that our davening is כנגד תמידים תיקנום. The Tefilos of Shacharis and Minchah correspond to the תמיד של שחר and to the תמיד של בין הערבים. But what exactly are we sacrificing when we daven because after all, we are asking Hashem for a lot of things so where are we giving up anything when davening?
However, that which we are admitting that we are not in control of our own lives; that we have to come on to Hashem for everything, that is the ultimate sacrifice. To get rid of our ego and come to the realization that we can’t do it on our own. We as humans like to believe that we are independent and in control but when we say אתה חונן לאדם דעת, רפאנו ה' ונרפא, ברך עלינו ה', we are proclaiming that we are completely dependent on Hakadosh Boruch Hu.
The Zohar says שעת צלותא שעת קרבא (חלק ג רמג ע"א, חלק א רמ ע"א, תקונ"ז כט ע"ב) that when we go to daven, we are waging war. Additionally the Pasuk in Parshas Vayechi 48:22 says בחרבי ובקשתי and the Targum Onkeles writes בצלותי ובבעותי. Who is a person waging war against when he goes to daven? The answer could be that he is waging war with himself, his ego. Although the only way a person can function and accomplish is by having that sense of self, nevertheless the sense of self needs to be imbued with the realization that he is completely dependent on Hashem and it’s up to Hashem who is to be or not to be.
The Hakdamah to the Ein Yaakov brings a Machlokes Tanaim as to what Pasuk in the Torah is כולל יותר. After the Psukim of שמע ישראל and ואהבת לרעך כמוך are suggested, שמעון בן פזי says את הכבש האחד תעשה בבוקר וגו'. The reason why this Pasuk, expressing the aspect of consistency by the Tamid, is the most important כלל in the Torah is because Judaism puts an emphasis on habitual behavior. Although a person might be better off if he would start davening at a later stage of life when he has a deeper understanding of everything, nevertheless he starts as a child who lacks understanding. The reason is because Judaism has an emphasis on building a habit and doing things day in and day out. This is the principle of אדם נפעל לפי פעולתיו ואחרי הפעולתה נמשך אל לבבות mentioned in חינוך מצוה טז. Behavior is what shapes the human personality.
The Pasuk says עלת תמיד העשיה בהר סיני and Rashi gives two explanations on the words העשיה בהר סיני. Either העשויה בהר סיני is כאותן שנעשו בימי המילואים, or it’s to compare this תמיד to the תמיד at הר סיני that it says וישם באגנות to be מלמד שטעונה כלי. According to the first explanation, what is the Torah telling us by comparing the daily Korban Tamid to the Tamid that was done בימי המילואים. Even according to the second explanation that העשויה בר סיני is coming to teach us that the Korban Tamid is טעון כלי just like the Korban brought by Har Sinai, there probably is meaning to the fact that the source for this din is in the עלת תמיד that was done at Har Sinai.
The explanation could be that being that the תמיד is brought every day, there is concern here more than any other korban that it will become routine and regular and it will lose its meaning. Therefore we say that every day the תמיד is brought should be like that day by הר סיני which was the first time. Every day should be like the time בימי המילואים where they inaugurated the משכן and it should never become old, rather it should be fresh and new every day.
According to this, although the Korban Tamid represents consistency and habitual behavior, it nevertheless needs to be העשויה בהר סיני, with that freshness and newness. Therefore, being that our davening is כנגד תמידים תיקנום, the challenge is that every day’s tefilah should be done as if a person never davened before. Just like the Korban Tamid every day should be done as if it was never done before, so too when a Jew davens, he should try to make it new, fresh, and meaningful every day. As the Mishna in Avos 2:13 saysאל תעש תפלתך קבע אלא תחנונים לפני המקום that even though we daven the same tefilah every single day, we should do it as something new.
Moshe Rabbeinu as a Leader
As a leader, it’s clear that Moshe Rabbeinu was selfless and completely dedicated to the Jewish people. So much so, that by the חטא העגל, when Hashem suggested destroying the entire Jewish people and rebuilding with Moshe, Moshe Rabbeinu says מחני נא מספרך. However, Rashi says כיון ששמע משה שאמר לו המקום תן נחלת צלפחד לבנותיו אמר הגיע שעה שאתבע צרכי שיירשו בני את גדולתי. How could these two ideas be understood together?
The answer could be that there is nothing wrong with looking out for one’s own children, because chessed starts at the home. This teaches us that although Moshe Rabbeinu was a selfless leader of Klal Yisrael, he nevertheless did not neglect his own children. But once Hashem said לא כך עלתה במחשבה לפני, כדאי הוא יהושע ליטול שכר שמושו, he accepted it wholeheartedly.
פני משה כפני חמה פני יהושע כפני לבנה
On the Pasuk ונתתה מהודך עליו, Rashi פני משה כחמה פני יהושע כלבנה. The source for this is Baba Basra 75a which says as follows:
ונתתה מהודך עליו - ולא כל הודך, זקנים שבאותו הדור אמרו: פני משה כפני חמה, פני יהושע כפני לבנה, אוי לה לאותה בושה, אוי לה לאותה כלימה
The Rashbam understands this to mean that the זקנים שבאותו הדור were lamenting the התקטנות הדורות that within such a short time, the successor, Yehoshua, was not as great as Moshe Rabbeinu- שבזמן מועט נתמעט הכבוד כל כך שהרי יהושע היה נביא ומלך כמשה ולא יכול להגיע לכבודו. They were saying אוי לה לאותה בושה, אוי לה לאותה כלימה about Yehoshua.
However, Reb Itzeleh Volozhiner in a הגה at the beginning of Ruach Chaim has a different explanation. He says that the זקנים שבאותו הדור were saying אוי לה לאותה בושה, אוי לה לאותה כלימה about themselves that if they would have made the effort like Yehoshua did, then they could’ve become like him. Just like the moon shines because it reflects light from the sun, so to Yehoshua is כפני לבנה because he made the effort and was מקבל from Moshe Rabbeinu and was a reflection of Moshe who was כפני חמה. The זקנים שבאותו הדור weren’t embarrassed that they weren’t like Moshe because they understood that Moshe was like a gift from God, something they couldn’t become. But Yehoshua who was only כפני לבנה was something they could’ve become. So they were saying about themselves אוי לה לאותה בושה, אוי לה לאותה כלימה because they were embarrassed that had they tried like Yehoshua, they could’ve reached his level.
Another explanation was heard from Simcha Raz (author of the book A Tzadik in our Times) in the name of Reb Aryeh Levine based on the Medrash that says Yehoshua was Zocheh to take over the position of Moshe because he was מסדר את הספסלים in the Beis HaMedrash. So when theזקנים שבאותו הדור were saying אוי לה לאותה בושה, אוי לה לאותה כלימה, they were saying since they were too embarrassed to be מסדר את הספסלים, therefore they weren’t able to reach the greatness of Yehoshua.
Lastly, when the late Satmer Rebbe, Reb Moshe Teitelbaum, was inaugurated to take over for his uncle Reb Yoelish Teitelbaum, he said the following idea in his drashah. In Parshas Breishis, Rashi brings that since Hashem minimized the moon after it complained, he was מפייס the לבנה by giving it the stars to accompany the לבנה to be מאיר בלילה. So the זקנים שבאותו הדור were saying that Moshe was כפני חמה and provided the entire אור himself. But now that Yehoshua is just כפני לבנה, so he needs the כוכבים to accompany him in being מאיר which are obviously the זקנים שבאותו הדור. So they were saying אוי לה לאותה בושה, אוי לה לאותה כלימה because they didn’t feel worthy of being the accompanying כוכבים to the לבנה, who was Yehoshua.
Small Actions Bear Great Results
In his Sefer on the Chumash, the Chofetz Chaim makes the following point. He says that the tribe of Binyamin total count was forty five thousand, six hundred. However the tribe of Dan was totaled at sixty four thousand, four hundred. The tribe of Dan ended up having almost twenty thousand more people than the tribe of Binyamin. Binyamin had ten children and Dan only had one son, חוש, who was deaf (Sotah 13a). In spite of this fact, Dan still managed to have almost twenty thousand more people in their tribe then Binyamin who had ten children. The Chofetz Chaim concludes with the following:
ומכאן יש ללמוד שמי שה' חפץ בו יוכל להצליחו מבן אחד יותר ממי שיש לו עשרה בנים. וכן הדין עם נכסים יש לך עני מצליח ושמח בחלקו, ולהפך יש עשיר שאינו מצליח כ"כ, ועושה כולם ה'.
Sometimes a person pushes himself to do something and he feels he wasn’t so successful. He feels that it didn’t come out right and specifically the small point which he did didn’t even come out right. But nevertheless it’s specifically that action that bears more fruit than the big actions he did which he thought would be so much more successful.
People say that sometimes חקת and בלק are together and sometimes they are separate, as are מטות and, מסעי but פנחס is always by itself because the קנאי is always by himself.
קנאות is a word that is one of the most misused terms in Jewish life. Because if you look in the Mishna in סנהדרין צא ע"א you see that there are only four things that we say קנאין are פוגעין בו and the הלכה is אין מורין לו. Which means even though it is the הלכה, nevertheless we won’t pasken it. So there are four instances where the הלכה is קנאין פוגעין בו yet we won’t pasken that a person should do so. As Rashi says on צב ע"א in סנהדרין that the Halacha is only for someone who is מקנא מעצמו and not because we tell him to. So these four instances are interesting that on the one hand it’s the Halacha yet on the other hand we say אין מורין כן. As opposed to by all other mitzvos, if we say אין מורין כן, then the halacha is against it, and if it’s מורין כן then you don’t have to be a קנאי to do it and every Jew is obligated to do it. הוכח תוכיח is a mitzvah that is given to every Jew and you can’t exempt yourself by saying that you are not a קנאי. On the other hand, even if you are a קנאי, you are not allowed to do anything that is beyond the guidelines of Halacha except for these four things where even though we would say not to do it, he is allowed to. So קנאות is a very specific word that only appears in a particular context and it’s not something broader than that.
Similarly, there is a din thatכך מצוה שלא לומר דבר שאינו נשמע (יבמות סה:) כשם שמצוה לומר דבר הנשמע. So we see it’s not a הידור or קנאות to say things that are אינו נשמע , rather it’s a mitzvah שלא לומר. Sometimes people say, “Who is that רשע מרושע to decide whether or not it’s a דבר הנשמע or not rather I decide if it is or not”. But that is really stupidity because determining whether or not it’s נשמע or not is obviously up to the listener and not the sayer.
To highlight this point, there is a story with the Vizhnizter Rebbe, the אהבת ישראל, that once they needed money for an important tzedaka and the rebbe said he’s going to ask this very rich man who was a miser who never gave to anyone. The Rebbe went and knocked on his door and the miser was surprised but walked him in. The miser asked the Rebbe what he was here for and the Rebbe didn’t say. The miser asked again what the Rebbe was here for and he responded, “I can’t say”. The miser started getting all nervous so the Rebbe said that I am not allowed to say because Chazal say כך מצוה שלא לומר דבר שאינו נשמע כשם שמצוה לומר דבר הנשמע so therefore I can’t say because what I want to say is a דבר שאינו נשמע. And just like if I would be coming to say a דבר הנשמע I would come to say it, so too I came to not say a דבר שאינו נשמע. Finally, he got out of the Rebbe what he wanted to say and the miser gave him the money.
So קנאות is something that you have to know what it means and it doesn’t mean to go beyond the guidelines of Halacha. Just it happens to be that there are four places where a קנאי is פוגעין בו even though the Halacha says not to. But besides for these four cases, the halachic guidelines are very clear and if a Jew is obligated to do so, then he is, and if he isn’t, then no Jew is allowed to do it.
The Shinener Rav in his sefer Divrei Yechezkel says why does the Pasuk says תחת אשר קנא לאלקיו as opposed to ?אלקים The answer is because the קנאות has to do with how you are connected to Hashem, and it’s not an objective thing, rather it’s how the person feels about it.
This week’s Haftorah talks about Eliyahu, and the impression you get is that Eliyahu did the right thing. However the Rambam in the אגרת השמד brings a Medrash in שיר השירים that Hashem is actually complaining to Eliyahu because he is speaking negatively about his children as Hashem says are they your מזבח or are they my מזבח, and is it you or is it me? And the idea from the Medrash is that Hashem is saying to Eliyahu let me take care of it. The Medrash concludes that when Hashem say to Eliyahu go to דמשק, he is saying if you want to talk negatively, then go talk negatively about the goyim.
According to this, if you reread the Haftorah, one can see that it repeats itself twice that לא ברעש etc. And the point is that Eliyahu didn’t get the message and Hashem repeats to him לא ברעש, rather the approach should be an approach of קול דממה דקה, without all this fanfare and without all this anger. But because Eliyahu didn’t get it, Hashem repeats the whole vision again. Then the Rambam goes on ranking out a Rabbi whose gave a harsh response to people who were forced to convert to Islam. He tells them that they are worthless and they shouldn’t even go to shul because they are desecrating the shul and the Rambam ranks out this Rabbi with this Medrash from שיר השירים.
After the מגפה, the Pasuk says וידבר משה ואלעזר הכהן אתם (כו,ג). Rashi says that אתם means עמם that speak to the people about which Hashem said to count them. The חזקוני brings two explanations for the meaning of אתם in the Pasuk. The first explanation is that אתם is going on the צווי from Hashem to count the Jews. The דבר אחר is that אתם means עמם. See the שפתי חכמים on Rashi that wants to explain Rashi like the דבר אחר in the חזקוני which is a דבר אחר and not the simple meaning of the Pasuk which is very odd.
The כתב והקבלה has an interesting explanation on this Pasuk that וידבר משה ואלעזר הכהן אתם means that he brought them, he led them. Like it says דבר אחד לדור and ידבר עמים תחתינו that he brought them in front to ask them if they are twenty years old.
Find Meaning in the Daily
The Parshah begins with something that is rare and out of the ordinary but later in the Parshah we have something that’s the most ordinary, and its actually daily, the קרבן תמיד.
We learn from the Pasuk העולה- עולה הראשונה that no korban can precede the תמיד של שחר in the morning. And from here we learn the Halacha that תדיר ושאינו תדיר תדיר קודם, and that is why the קרבן תמיד precedes all other korbanos, because it is the most תדיר (זבחים צא ע"א).
However this would appear counterintuitive because we would have thought that something that is rare and less often is something we get excited about and has more religious significance like לולב on ,סוכת as opposed to something that we do all the time and is daily which has less of a religious significance. But from here we see that it is not so, rather something that is daily, such as the קרבן תמיד, has more religious significance.
Judaism believes that the habitual and repetition has much more impact on shaping our personality than the occasional great מעשים that we do. Even though we don’t experience it as a peak religious experience, nevertheless it becomes ingrained in who we are and it changes our personality. That is the principle of אדם נפעל לפי פעולתיו ואחרי הפעולתה נמשך אל לבבות mentioned in חינוך מצוה טז.
This is the same idea said by the Rambam in Avos on the Mishna that says הכל לפי רוב המעשה (ג,טו). The Rambam says that the Mishna does not say לפי גודל המעשה rather לפי רוב המעשה. He explains that if a person has an opportunity to give small amounts of Tzedaka on a daily basis or a onetime large sum of money, it’s better for him to do the daily small amount. That’s the idea behind רוב המעשה, that we acquire the מידה of נדיבות by doing small acts of נדיבות over and over again and not by doing one large act of נדיבות. The more times we repeat simple acts of kindness, that’s what will make us into a better person.
This is the idea behind תדיר ושאינו תדיר תדיר קודם that תדיר takes precedence because even though we might not realize the effects that it has, nevertheless it’s like the water dripping on the rock, that repetition over time of small acts is what makes the difference.
It’s our job to make the daily doings as meaningful as we can even though we repeat them every day. Now the Pasuk says להקריב לי במועדו and Rashi says במועדו thatהוא מועד התמידים בכל יום. But this seems impossible to understand because it says you should bring the קרבן תמיד every day so what does it mean that every day there is a designated time because מועד is a designated time, but it’s not that it’s a designated time, rather it’s just that you have to bring the תמיד every day?
It must be that it’s not just that you have to bring the תמיד every day, rather just like on סוכות it’s a designated time for the korbanos of סוכות, and same for פסח, so too, every day is a designated time for the תמיד. A person has to recognize, realize, and understand that it’s not just that he’s doing the same thing over and over again. Rather, every day requires and creates a new opportunity for a korban which brings closeness to Hashem and it’s unique to today that can’t be done tomorrow and couldn’t have been done the day before. Every day is unique and every day is a new opportunity and if לא ברא הקב"ה בעולמו דבר אחד לבטלה that means every day there is something to be accomplished today that couldn’t have been done any other day in the history of the world. That’s why every days is the מועד התמיד.
The Gemara in זבחים דף צא ע"א says that the תמיד on Rosh Chodesh has the קדושה of Rosh Chodesh. That shows that the תמיד is the תמיד specifically of today, and that’s why it takes on the character of Rosh Chodesh. As opposed to if it would just be a continuous ongoing Mitzvah, then there would be no difference between the תמיד on Rosh Chodesh and any other ordinary day. But we see that every day is really an individual, unique, and new obligation of the תמיד.
Therefore, a person should realize that even what he does תמיד, it’s really unique and special every time he does it. The נפש החיים שער א פרק ב הגה"ה says that even though we don’t see a difference between today and yesterday, really every day is a onetime occurrence and today never happened and never will happen again. This is the idea that כל היום הוא מועד התמיד.
But not only should today and every day be the first day of a person’s life, rather it’s the only day in a person’s life because Chazal say שוב יום אחד לפני מיתתך. But since a person doesn’t know when that is, he has to live each day as if it’s his last. At the same time, the רבינו יונה ביסוד התשובה writes that a person should consider that today is כאילו נולד, that every day it’s as if he was born. So a person has to feel as if he was born that day, but that tomorrow he may die. Therefore every day, is just today. People always have a tendency to think about the past and plan for the future. But the truth is, that it’s really about the now and the today. There is no future, and the future is only an accumulation of all the nows, and therefore if you’re thinking about the future, then you won’t have a future.
When we talk about מועד, it also has the meaning of a meeting, a get together like the אוהל מועד. The idea is that every מועד is a time of meeting with Hashem and every day which is a מועד התמידים, therefore, is like a יום טוב where there is a time of meeting with the creator.
This we find in the ירושלמי פסחים in the beginning of פרק מקום שנהגו that asks how is it permitted to do מלאכה every day if each day is a יום טוב because the day a person brought a קרבן, it was a personal יום טוב. Therefore every day that the תמיד was brought was a יום טוב so there should be a איסור מלאכה? The Yerushalmi answers that since otherwise it would be impossible as it says ואספת דגנך, therefore מלאכה is permitted. We see that in reality, every day is a יום טוב because the תמיד is brought and every day obligates its own korban תמיד. So on one hand, the תמיד is regular and frequent, but at the same time we realize that every time is not the same time. We recognize that every day is really unique and special, and never was and never will be a day like today.
The Pasuk says העשויה בהר סיני and Rashi gives two explanations. Either העשויה בר סיני is כאותן שנעשו בימי המילואים, or it’s to compare this תמיד to the תמיד at הר סימי that it says וישם באגנות. But what is Rashi trying to say with this?
The explanation is, being that the תמיד is brought every day, there is concern here more than any other korban that it will become routine and regular and it will lose its meaning. Therefore we say that every day the תמיד is brought should be like that day by הר סיני which was the first time. Every day should be like the time בימי המילואים where they inaugurated the משכן and it should never become old, rather it should be fresh and new every day.