Pure Olives

The Parshah begins ויקחו אליך שמן זית זך. Many people think that שמן זית זך means pure olive oil, the word זך meaning pure and it’s going on שמן. However, the simple explanation, based on the Rishonim, is not like that. On the word זך, Rashi writes בלי שמרים כמו ששנינו במנחות (פו א) מגרגרו בראש הזית וכו'. The Gemara in Menachos says הזית הראשון, מגרגרו בראש הזית which means the olive from the top of the tree was בלי שמרים. Additionally, the Ibn Ezra there writes שיבחרו הזית הזך, והטעם הגרגרים שאין בהם עפוש that זך refers to non-rotted olives. So according to both Rashi and the Ibn Ezra, the word זך is going on זית and not on שמן, meaning oil from a pure olive and not pure oil from an olive. שמן זית זך means that the olive should be pure and a pure olive is בראש הזית and שאין בהם עפוש which delivers clear שמן.

Tamid: Constant or Consistent?

The Pasuk says ויקחו אליך שמן זית זך כתית למאור להעלת נר תמיד. The end of the Pasuk, להעלת נר תמיד, could be read in two ways. Either the להעלת נר are read together and תמיד is going on the להעלת נר, or נר תמיד is read together and its להעלת- נר תמיד.

This has to do with the Machlokes Rishonim as to what נר is being referred to when it says להעלת נר תמיד. On the word תמיד, Rashi writes כל לילה ולילה קרוי תמיד, כמו שאתה אומר (במדבר כח ו) עולת תמיד, ואינה אלא מיום ליום וכו' אבל תמיד האמור בלחם הפנים משבת לשבת הוא. Rashi explains that תמיד in the Pasuk doesn’t mean constant rather it means consistent, and therefore the נרות of the Menorah could be considered תמיד even though they were only lit כל לילה ולילה because they were consistently being lit each night. This understanding is in contrast to תמיד by the לחם הפנים which were משבת לשבת הוא meaning there was constantly לחם on the שולחן. According to Rashi, להעלת נר תמיד is referring to all the נרות of the Menorah and therefore the Pasuk should be read להעלת נר together and then תמיד and תמיד is a description of how often the Menorah was lit.

However, the Ramban brings Rashi and disagrees and, quoting the Toras Kohanim, says that להעלת נר תמיד is referring to the נר מערבי which was תמיד. According to the Ramban, תמיד in the context of להעלת נר תמיד is constant and not consistent, like the תמיד by the לחם הפנים. Therefore, the Pasuk should be read להעלת- נר תמיד and תמיד is a description of the נר and not of the להעלת. Since Rashi understood the Pasuk להעלת נר תמיד to be referring to the מעשה הדלקה of the Menorah, therefore תמיד in the context of the Menorah means consistent as opposed to the תמיד in the context of the לחם הפנים which is constant. When describing a state of being of an object, then תמיד must mean constant. However, when describing an action, תמיד can mean consistent, an act that repeats itself on a steady basis. When describing the לחם הפנים, it’s a description of the state of being of an object in which case תמיד means constant. However, להעלת נר תמיד is describing the action of lighting the Menorah in which case תמיד means consistent and not constant.

There actually is a Machlokes regarding the placement of the לחם הפנים in the Mishna in Menachos 99b and Rashi, above on the words להעלות נר תמיד, is following in the opinion of the Rabanan that תמיד actually means the לחם הפנים should always be on the table. The Rabanan say אלו מושכין ואלו מניחין וטפחו של זה כנגד טפחו של זה שנאמר לפני תמיד that as the old לחם was being taken off, new לחם was being put on and there wasn’t a moment that the שולחן didn’t have לחם. However, Reb Yossi disagrees and says אפי' אלו נוטלין ואלו מניחין, אף היא היתה תמיד that there was a gap between when the old לחם was taken off and the new לחם was put on and therefore תמיד doesn’t mean that the לחם הפנים always needs to be on the שולחן. The Gemara in Menachos there continues and says the following:

תניא, רבי יוסי אומר: אפי' סילק את הישנה שחרית וסידר את החדשה ערבית - אין בכך כלום, אלא מה אני מקיים לפני תמיד? שלא ילין שלחן בלא לחם. א"ר אמי: מדבריו של ר' יוסי נלמוד, אפילו לא שנה אדם אלא פרק אחד שחרית ופרק אחד ערבית, קיים מצות לא ימוש (את) ספר התורה הזה מפיך.

The Gemara explains that according to Reb Yossi, even if the old לחם was taken off in the morning and the new לחם was put on in the evening, it is still considered תמיד. It would seem according to Reb Yossi that תמיד doesn’t mean constant but rather consistent. Based on how Reb Yossi understands תמיד, Reb Ami says that even if a person only learns פרק אחד שחרית ופרק אחד ערבית, he fulfils his obligation of Talmud Torah for that day.

The Rambam in Hilchos Talmud Torah 1:8 writes the following:

כל איש מישראל חייב בתלמוד תורה וכו' חייב לקבוע לו זמן לתלמוד תורה ביום ובלילה שנאמר והגית בו יומם ולילה.

The לחם משנה there asks on the Rambam that this Halacha is going with how Reb Yossi understands the word תמיד, that a person can fulfill his daily learning obligation by learning פרק אחד שחרית ופרק אחד ערבית. As opposed to how the Rabanan learn the word תמיד by the לחם הפנים that אלו מושכין ואלו מניחין וטפחו של זה כנגד טפחו של זה שנאמר לפני תמיד, a person would have to constantly be involved in learning all day in order to fulfil his חיוב of והגית בו יומם ולילה. But the question is that the Rambam in פ"ה הל' תמידין ומוספין ה"ד rules with the opinion of the Rabanan that אלו מושכין ואלו מניחין וטפחו של זה בתוך טפחו של זה שנאמר לפני תמיד. So how can the Rambam go like the Rabanan in the understanding of the meaning תמיד-constantly, and still rule that by one’s obligation of Talmud Torah, it’s sufficient to be פרק אחד שחרית ופרק אחד ערבית?

An answer for the Rambam could be from the Biur HaGra in Shulchan Aruch YD Siman 246, on the Mechaber who is quoting the לשון הרמב"ם, that he writes היינו בבעל אומנות, that for working individuals, they can fulfill their obligation of והגית בו יומם ולילה by being שנה פרק אחד שחרית ופרק אחד ערבית. But for non-working people, the obligation is constant, like the meaning of תמיד by the לחם הפנים. So even though in Hilchos Talmud Torah it would seem that the Rambam was going with Reb Yossi that תמיד means consistent, that is only for a בעל אומנות and really תמיד means constant, like the opinion of the Rabanan. Therefore, someone who is not a בעל אומנות needs to be learning constantly.

From the fact that the Gemara in Menachos compares תלמוד תורה to the לחם הפנים, we see that the תמיד of תלמוד תורה is not about how much a person should do the act of learning, because then the meaning of תמיד would be that of consistent and not constant. But rather since we are comparing the תמיד of תלמוד תורה to the תמיד by the לחם הפנים, it means that תמיד ofתלמוד תורה is about the kind of Torah that is meant to be learned. The Gemara in Sanhedrin 71a says כל הישן בבית המדרש - תורתו נעשית לו קרעים קרעים meaning that his Torah becomes torn apart Torah. So the תמיד in the context of תלמוד תורה is about what kind of Torah a person should be learning, that it should be a Torah of תמיד just like the תמיד by the לחם הפנים.

A person can reach a level where his Torah is תמיד-constant like the תמיד of theלחם הפנים even if he isn’t actually doing the act of learning, like the בעל אומנות, nevertheless his Torah can be a Torah of תמיד. If when his mind wanders, it wanders to the Gemara, as opposed to people, unfortunately, that when they are sitting in front of the Gemara, their mind wanders elsewhere, and that defines where his heart and mind really are. When a person’s heart and mind are really always in Torah, then his Torah is a Torah of תמיד, even if he isn’t always involved in the act of learning at all times. It’s much easier for a learning person to catch a schmooze while learning, than for someone who is schmoozing to catch some learning. A person who is learning and is fully absorbed by his learning, even when he breaks to schmooze with someone, his mind and heart is still by his Torah. As opposed to a person who schmoozes and try to catch some learning, his heart and mind isn’t really with his learning and he doesn’t have a תמיד type of Torah.

This Shabbos, יא אדר, is the Yahrzeit of the Sochatchover Rebbe who died in 1910 and in his Hakdamah to the אגלי טל, he writes the following:

ומדי דברי זכור מה ששמעתי קצת בני אדם טועין מדרך השכל בענין לימוד תוה"ק ואמרו כי הלומד ומחדש חדושים ושמח ומתענג בלימודו אין זה לימוד התורה כ"כ לשמה כמו אם היה לומד בפשיטות שאין לו מהלימוד שום תענוג והוא רק לשם מצוה. אבל הלומד ומתענג בלימודו הרי זה מתערב בלימודו גם הנאת עצמו. ובאמת זה טעות מפורסם, ואדרבה כי זה היא עיקר מצות לימוד התורה להיות שש ושמח ומתענג בלימודו ואז דברי תורה נבלעין בדמו ומאחר שנהנה מדברי תורה היא נעשה דבוק לתורה.

When a person has extreme enjoyment in learning, it creates a bond with him. Through this, a person can develop a learning of Torah that is תמיד, like the תמיד of the לחם הפנים.

The Rambam in the end of Hilchos Issurei Biah writes the following:

יפנה עצמו ומחשבתו לדברי תורה וירחיב דעתו בחכמה שאין מחשבת עריות מתגברת אלא בלב פנוי מן החכמה, ובחכמה הוא אומר אילת אהבים ויעלת חן דדיה ירווך בכל עת באהבתה תשגה תמיד

The relationship with the Torah is a love relationship. Just like a person thinks about his loved one’s even though they aren’t with him at all times, so too a person is expected to have such a relationship with the Torah.

The concept of תמיד is also connected to the coming days of פורים קטן. The last סימן in אורח חיים סימן תרצז discusses the Halachos of פורים קטן and the Rama, agreeing with the first opinion in the Mechaber, says that פורים קטן is אסור בהספד ותענית. The Rama continues י"א שחייב להרבות במשתה ושמחה בי"ד שבאדר ראשון ואין נוהגין כן מ"מ ירבה קצת בסעודה כדי לצאת ידי המחמירים. Even though the Minhag is not to be מרבה in משתה ושמחה, nevertheless one should be ירבה קצת בסעודה to fulfil the מחמירים. At the end, the Rama signs off with the Pasuk in Mishlei 15:15 וטוב לב משתה תמיד. The meaning of וטוב לב משתה תמיד is not that the drinking should be תמיד but that it’s an attitude and state of mind that should be תמיד.

The Shaarei Teshuva brings בשם הגהות תשב"ץ שרבינו יחיאל מפאריז would be רגיל להרבות בסעודה ולהזמין בני אדם כמשמעות לשון המשנה אין בין אדר כו'. Being that the Mishnah in Megilah 6b only says אין בין אדר הראשון לאדר השני אלא קריאת המגילה, ומתנות לאביונים, the implication is that regarding the obligation of משתה ושמחה, there is no difference between אדר הראשון לאדר השני. The Shaarei Teshuva continues and writes the following:

ושפי' מסיים רמ"א וטוב לב משתה תמיד ועיין בר"י שכת' מור"מ ז"ל בחכמה יסד חתימה מעין פתיחה שני תמידין בכסדרן הוא פתח בריש הגהותיו שויתי ה' לנגדי תמיד וחתם וטוב לב משתה תמיד כו' ע"ש

The Rama begins his commentary with תמיד by saying שויתי ה' לנגדי תמיד and he concludes his commentary on OC with תמיד by saying וטוב לב משתה תמיד. But they are תמידין בכסדרן because only if a person begins first with שויתי ה' לנגדי תמיד will he be able to reach the טוב לב משתה תמיד. If it’s the other way, he probably will not reach the level of שויתי ה' לנגדי תמיד.

The Baal Shem Tov says an explanation in שויתי ה' לנגדי תמיד that שויתי is from the word השתוות-equally. Meaning, when a person lives with ה' לנגדי תמיד, then it’s שויתי because he is able to live a balanced life. When things aren’t so good, he can understand that it’s not so bad and when things seem very good, he can realize that it’s not as good as he thinks it is, rather it’s in the middle. So through שויתי ה' לנגדי תמיד, that is how a person can reach the state of mind of טוב לב משתה תמיד because he knows that he is in the hands of the Ribbono Shel Oilam and therefore he has a positive attitude regardless of the ups and downs and changes that he experiences.

The full Pasuk in Mishlei 15:15 says כל ימי עני רעים וטוב לב משתה תמיד. The Gemara in Ksubos 110b says כל ימי עני רעים והאיכא שבתות וימים טובים כדשמואל דאמר שמואל שינוי וסת תחלת חולי מעים.

(Side note, the Gemara in Ksubos 110b says כל ימי עני רעים והאיכא שבתות וימים טובים כדשמואל דאמר שמואל שינוי וסת תחלת חולי מעים. There is a joke that in Yiddish there is an expression a gezunta arum man. What does this mean? So the Gemara in Ksubos asked why are כל ימי עני רעים if there are שבתות וימים טובים where even a עני eats well so the Gemara answers that even שבתות וימים טובים are bad because since he doesn’t eat well all week, when he does on Shabbos, it gives him a stomach ache. That’s why its כל ימי עני רעים. But a gezunta arum man is someone that even on Shabbos he doesn’t have what to eat and therefore he’s healthy and doesn’t have the חולי מעים.)

But what is the meaning of כל ימי עני רעים וטוב לב משתה תמיד because if he’s poor, then he’s poor and he can’t be a טוב לב משתה תמיד? So whether the Pasuk is referring to someone who is poor in financial terms or not actually financially poor but a עני בדעת, the meaning could be that if he has a positive outlook and attitude, then he is משתה תמיד. Somebody that has a better understanding of the meaning of life can develop an attitude of טוב לב משתה תמיד even if כל ימי עני רעים, meaning he can turn his days which are objectively bad into subjectively good.

Function of the Bigdei Kehuna

The Parshah begins with the בגדי כהונה and the Pasuk says ועשית בגדי קדש לאהרן אחיך לכבוד ולתפארת. This Pasuk seems to say that the purpose of the בגדי כהונה were לכבוד ולתפארת. However, the very next Pasuk says ועשו את בגדי אהרן לקדשו לכהנו לי. Rashi explains that לכהנו לי is ולשון כהונה שירות הוא. (Side note, it’s clear that כהונה does not mean priesthood rather it means שירות-services. Therefore, ממלכת כהנים means servants.)

These two explanations for the function of the בגדי כהונה, on the one hand being לכבוד ולתפארת and on the other hand being לקדשו לכהנו לי are a slight contradiction. But even if this duality could exist, it would make more sense for the Pasuk to say the function is לקדשו לכהנו לי which is seemingly the more important description and then only afterward say לכבוד ולתפארת. Why does the Torah first say the בגדי כהונה are לכבוד ולתפארת and then say they are לקדשו לכהנו לי?

An answer could be based on what the Ran writes in Drashos HaRan Drush Chamishi. He is discussing the Gemara in Nedarim 38a that says אין הקדוש ברוך הוא משרה שכינתו אלא על חכם גבור ועשיר ועניו, וכולם ממשה וגו'. The Ran is bothered by all these qualities, such as חכם גיבור ועשיר ובעל קומה are all physical qualities, so why is it necessary for a Navi to have all these qualities?

(Side note, the Rav mentioned that he had a Rebbe, Reb Shalom Menashe Gottleib who was the Rosh Hayeshiva of Beis HaTalmud, who was very short. At his Levyah, the Rav was walking with Reb Yisrael Meir Weiss, who is the Rosh Hayeshiva of Nachlas HaLeviim in Haifa, and he shared the following about Reb Shalom Menashe. He said that he was once walking with Reb Leib Malin on the street in east New York where Beis HaTalmud used to be, and Reb Shalom Menashe was walking at the end of the block. Upon seeing him, Reb Leib said to Reb Yisrael Meir Weiss that this reminded him of a story that he was once walking with Reb Yerucham and they saw the Chofetz Chaim from a distance and Reb Yerucham took out his hand and pointed with his finger to the distance and said “give a kook, azoi klein…un azoi grois”- take a look, so small and so big!)

The Ran answers that if the Navi needed the נבואה for himself and nobody else, then the Navi would only need to be complete and whole in spiritual qualities and he wouldn’t need the physical qualities mentioned above. But being that the Navi has to preach the word of Hashem to the people, he needs to be accepted by all different types of people. He needs to be accepted by the אוהבי החכמה in order for them to accept his נבואה and he needs to be accepted by the אוהבי העושר ואוהבי הגבורה in order for his נבואה to be accepted. Therefore, even though all these מעלות on their own aren’t מעלות, but in order for his נבואה to be accepted by everyone, he needs to be all encompassing in order for him to get the respect from everyone. (The Rav jokingly added, this is why rich people are only משדך with other rich people, because that is all they know. Also a גביר thinks he’s greater than a חכם and his proof is because the חכם comes to the גביר and the גביר never goes to the חכם. But really, the חכם is greater because he recognizes and understands every quality, even the quality of עשירות. Whereas the גביר only understands the quality of money and he doesn’t understand other qualities, especially not the quality of חכם.)

According to this, we can understand the function of the בגדי כהונה. In essence, their main function is לקדשו לכהנו לי. But in order for the Kohanim to be accepted and respected by all, the בגדי כהונה needed to be לכבוד ולתפארת. Therefore, the Torah puts the כבוד ולתפארת before the לקדשו לכהנו לי because the Torah puts the means before the ends. Of course the תכלית is לקדשו לכהנו לי, but the היכא תמצא to be able to fulfil that role, he must have לכבוד ולתפארת first.

On His Shoulders and on His Heart

Aharon HaKohen carried the names of Shevatim in two places. He carried them on the two אבני שוהם on the אפוד dividing the Shevatim up into six and six and he carried their names on the Choshen Mishphat and they were divided up into twelve, each Shevet being on their own stone.

When it comes to the אבני שוהם which rested on Aharon HaKohens shoulders, the Shevatim are in two groups of six. However, when it comes to the Choshen which was Aharon carrying the names of the Shevatim on his heart, then each name individually is place on a stone. The message could be that when it comes to his responsibility and doing for Klal Yisrael, then he carries them all grouped together on his shoulders, because he has equal responsibility for all. However, when it comes to having a place in his heart, then every individual has to have an independent place in his heart. In feeling, he has to feel and have a warm spot in his heart for every individual independently and individually.

In Parshas Shemos 4:14, Hashem says to Moshe וגם הנה הוא יצא לקראתך וראך ושמח בלבו that Aharon will rejoice in his heart when he finds out that you Moshe were chosen to lead the Jewish people. Rashi writes לא כשאתה סבור שיהא מקפיד עליך שאתה עולה לגדולה. ומשם זכה אהרן לעדי החשן הנתון על הלב. Because Aharon was ראך ושמח בלבו, therefore he merited to wear the Choshen which rested on his heart.

Reb Tzadok in צדקת הצדיק אות קצח expresses this idea about Aharon and he writes the following:

וכן האוהב ישראל הן אוהבין אותו כמו שאמרו באהרן (אבות דר' נתן) אוהב את הבריות ולכן נאמר בו (במדבר כ' כ"ט) ויבכו אותו כל בית ישראל כדרשת חז"ל (אבות דר' נתן פרק י"ב הובא ברש"י) וכמו שנאמר (משלי כ"ז י"ט) כמים הפנים וגו' ומגלין לו כל רזין הגנוזין בנפשות ישראל: וזה טעם (שמות כ"ח כ"ט) ונשא אהרן את שמות בני ישראל וגו' כי השם הוא שורש כח חיות נפשו במקורה ומקום אצילותה למעלה מעלה. וללב אהרן האוהב ישראל גלויים סודות כל הנפשות בשורשן. ועל ידי זה מתגלין לו כל חללי עלמא שהיו שואלין באורים ותומים והאותיות בולטין פירוש שיש בליטה בלב להאוהב ישראל על ידי שמות בני ישראל לדעת רצון השם יתברך בהנהגת העולם דבר בעתו בכל דור ודור. שעל זה מורין נפשות ישראל שבכל דור והתורה היא לימוד דרך כלל אבל בפרט בעתו באותו זמן ונפש ומקום זהו בבני יששכר יודעי בינה לעתים שנמשך מן הבינה שבלב ששם הוא הרחמנות והאהבה לבריות.

The Halachic answers can’t just be text based, but rather they have to take into account the generation and the particular שואל. The connection between the generation and the individuals who are asking the question is essential to give the right answer in the right time to the right person.

The Choshen had the element of Mishpat as well. But only a person who is a אוהב ישראל and isn’t wrapped up in his own egotistical self can be involved in Mishpat because he can see another person. He is able to remove any bias and look at a person objectively.

The Mishna in Avos 2:9 says:

אמר להם צאו וראו איזוהי דרך ישרה שידבק בה האדם רבי אליעזר אומר עין טובה רבי יהושע אומר חבר טוב רבי יוסי אומר שכן טוב רבי שמעון אומר הרואה את הנולד רבי אלעזר אומר לב טוב אמר להם רואה אני את דברי אלעזר בן ערך שבכלל דבריו דבריכם (ב,ט)

The basic question is on the opinion of רבי שמעון. What does it mean הרואה את הנולד? How does someone become a seer of the future and how is that a דרך ישרה שידבק בה האדם? Also that which he says that a לב טוב is most befitting because it includes all the other things needs an explanation because how in the world does a לב טוב include a רואה את הנולד?

The answer seems to be that a רואה את הנולד means that I can see how A leads to B and B leads to C, and how it will eventually evolve. Why is it that we don’t see? It is because we don’t see that which is front of us. If we would see what is in front of us, objectively the present as is, then we would be able to see how A is going to lead to B and how B will lead to C. The reason we don’t see the end results of what is in front of our eyes is because we don’t see that which is in front of our eyes. The reason is because our vision is biased and tainted by our own נגיעות and therefore we don’t see the objective reality as is. We see what we want to see and therefore we don’t see the present as is and as a result, we don’t see the future.

If someone has a לב טוב, which means he has the ability to step out of the self-interest and see beyond what he wants, than he can be a רואה את הנולד because he can see the present objectively, and if one can see the present objectively, than he can see the future. On the other hand, if someone is wrapped up in his own ego, the opposite of the לב טוב, then he can’t see anything that interferes with his wishes.

People generally assume that Torah is pure intellect and that it’s all in the mind. However, it’s not true and if a person allows for the Torah to affect him, then it’ll go to his heart and enable him to be sensitive and in touch with other people’s needs.

This Shabbos, יא אדר is also the Yahrzeit of the Rogatchover who died in Vienna in 1936. At the end of his life, he suffered tremendously from cancer and they say that he said he would take all the pain for 23 hours if he would be able to think in learning for just one hour a day. The Rogatchover is always known as being a world class iluy. But the following story was written by a writer of the leftist publication called Davar in the 1950’s whose name was Noach Zevuloni (a changed last name). He writes that as a boy, his family moved from Lita to Dvinsk where the Rogatchover was a Rav. When people would come from Lita to Dvinsk to see the Rogatchover, they would often ask him to take them to the Rogatchover. One Shabbos morning in the beginning of the winter, he brought someone to meet the Rogatchover and the conversation immediately got very heated in learning and the boy left. Later that night, a message was sent to this boy that the Rav, the Rogatchover wanted to see him. So the boy was nervous, because there was a rumor that the Rogatchover was suspicious of people stealing his כתבים, and the boy thought maybe the Rav suspected him of that. When he came to the Rav’s house, the Rogatchover said to him that earlier when he came over, he noticed that he wasn’t wearing a coat and if he wasn’t wearing a coat in the beginning of the cold winter in Dvinsk, he probably didn’t have one. Therefore, the Rav took out his new fur coat and he insisted on the boy taking it and he explained that he has a perfectly good older coat and the boy should take this coat. The boy argued with him but the Rogatchover didn’t let up so he had no choice but to take the coat. Noach Zevuloni ended the story by saying that he wore this coat as he escaped the Nazis and when he was in Siberia for years and he brought it to Eretz Yisrael and he still has it up until this day. He said the coat warmed him up physically but he always felt an inner warmth from the Rogatchover.

We see from this story that although the Rogatchover was the iluy that he was, it didn’t make him oblivious to his surroundings and unaware. On the contrary, it was because of all his learning that he had a heightened sensitivity to people in need.

The same is said about Reb Chaim Brisker. It’s said about Reb Chaim that most of his day was spent doing Chessed. Children who were born out of wedlock were dropped off in front of Reb Chaim’s house and he would raise them. There once was a fire in Brisk and many house burned down. Although Reb Chaim’s house didn’t’ burn down, he nevertheless slept in the shul because he felt if people will see him sleeping on a bench in the shul, then people will give money for people to rebuild their houses.

The Rogatchover and Reb Chaim Brisker are known for being the two greatest Gaonim and ilium in the previous century, and yet their Chessed was of something unimaginable today. The Rav heard from Reb Yisrael Chaim Kaplan, who was the son in law of Reb Yerucham Levovitz and the Mashgiach in Torah Vodaas and in Beis Medrash Elyon in Monsey that a person who learns Torah and doesn’t move his heart is like putting Teffilin on his shoulder. As if to say that if one’s heart doesn’t move from learning Torah, then he isn’t doing it right and it’s like a person who puts Teffilin on his shoulder that it’s in the wrong place.

5781 פורים משולש


In Megilah Esther, the Pasuk says קימו וקבלו היהודים עליהם ועל זרעם ועל כל הנלוים עליהם (ט,כז). The Gra says on the words ועל זרעם that it’s referring to קטנים, that the Jews were מקבל on themselves and their children. But קטנים are פטור from all Mitzvos so how were they מקבל for their children. It would seem that this Mitzvah, קריאת מגילה, is an exception to the rule and the Mitzvah of Megilah was taken upon the קטנים as well.

The Mishnah in Megilah 19b has a Machlokes about a קטן. The Tana Kama says that a קטן cannot be מוציא a גדול and Reb Yehuda says a קטן can be מוציא a גדול. Tosfos discusses what קטן the Mishnah is talking about. If it’s a קטן שלא הגיע לחינוך, then how could Reb Yehuda say he can be מוציא a גדול because if he himself is not obligated, then he can’t be מוציא others. And if its קטן who is הגיע לחינוך, then why does the Tana Kama say he can’t be מוציא a גדול if the entire חיוב of מגילה is only מדרבנן. So Tosfos answers that really the Mishnah is dealing with a קטן שהגיע לחינוך and Reb Yehuda holds that תרי דרבנן could be מוציא חד דרבנן that even though the חיוב of the קטן is weaker, but since there are two, one being חינוך and one being קריאת מגילה, therefore he can be מוציא the גדול who has one חיוב דרבנן. According to this, it could be the Gaon was going like Reb Yehuda that a קטן could be מוציא a גדול because the קטן is actually מחוייב in מקרא מגילה and not because of חינוך.

However, this is difficult to say because the Gaon doesn’t seem to be getting involved in a Machlokes, but rather he is explaining according to everyone.

Tosfos in Megilah 4a says in the name of the בה"ג that נשים are מחוייב in Megilah but only in שמיעה and not קריאה and therefore can’t be מוציא men who have a חיוב קריאה. When Tosfos in Arachin 3a quotes this בה"ג, he says נשים וקטנים. So the בה"ג is saying that קטנים are only מחוייב in שמיעה but not קריאה and it’s based on the fact that both of their חיובים Are because אף הן היו באותו הנס. But it’s clear that the בה"ג is not discussing the חיוב חינוך because חינוך is to be מחנך the קטן to do the Mitzvah that the גדול is obligated to do. Therefore he is saying that קטנים have an independent חיוב just like women do of שמיעת המגילה.

Perhaps this could be the explanation for the Gaon. When the Gaon says that קטנים are מחוייב in מגילה, he could be referring to this independent obligation of שמיעת המגילה. This can be according to both Tanaim mentioned above in the Mishnah in Megilah 19b because their Machlokes regarding whether or not the קטן can be מוציא the גדול was within the חיוב קריאה which could be only with his obligation of חינוך because that חיוב has a חיוב קריאה. For that there is a Machlokes about תרי דרבנן being מוציא a חד דרבנן. However, this independent חיוב mentioned in which קטנים are like נשים only carries a חיוב שמיעה in which case he for sure wouldn’t be able to be מוציא a גדול who has a חיוב קריאה. So Tosfos, explaining the Machlokes Tanaim, was only discussing the obligation of a קטן in קריאת המגילה which came from Chinuch, but not his own independent חיוב because his own independent חיוב is only חיוב שמיעה and just like women can’t be מוציא men because they only have a חיוב שמיעה, the same would be by קטנים.

It comes out that a קטן is מחוייב in Megilah more than other Mitzvos because by other Mitzvos, he is obligated because of Chinuch whereas by Megilah, he is actually obligated because of אף הן היו באותו הנס. According to this, we could understand מיחייב איניש לבסומי בפוריא עד דלא ידע בין ארור המן לברוך מרדכי because every adult also has within themselves the immature child. The פרסומי ניסא of Purim has to be not only grasped by the mature adult but also by the immature child. Within every גדול is the טף level and on Purim it shouldn’t only be understood as ידע which is the adult level but it should also be לא ידע which is the level of the minor that is incorporated in every גדול.


In the end of the Megilah, the Pasuk says קימו וקבלו היהודים עליהם ועל זרעם ועל כל הנלוים עליהם ולא יעבור להיות עשים את שני הימים האלה ככתבם וכזמנם בכל שנה ושנה. The Gemara in Megilah learns from the words לא יעבור that the latest day one can read the Megilah is on the 15th but not later. That is the reason this year on a Purim Meshulash, the Megilah was read on Friday, the 14th.

The next Pasuk says והימים האלה נזכרים ונעשים בכל דור ודור משפחה ומשפחה מדינה ומדינה ועיר ועיר וימי הפורים האלה לא יעברו מתוך היהודים וזכרם לא יסוף מזרעם. On the words לא יעברו, Chazal say that לעתיד לבא all the Yomim Tovim will no longer exist except for Purim, as the Pasuk says לא יעברו.

From the first ולא יעבור we learn that the Megilah cannot be read past the 15th of Adar and the קבלה was they wouldn’t celebrate Purim past the 15th. The next Pasuk that begins והימים האלה seems to be saying and so it will be-ולא יעברו that this commitment they took upon themselves will actually materialize. Seemingly, the connection between these Psukim is the first Pasuk is about the commitment they took upon themselves and the following Pasuk-ולא יעברו is stating how it will actually materialize; this commitment of not celebrating Purim past the 15th and not that Purim will never cease to exist. But on these words לא יעברו in the second Pasuk, Chazal say that לעתיד לבא all the Yomim Tovim will no longer exist except for Purim, which seems to be separating these two Psukim. How could this be understood?

It is interesting that which the Gemara says the כפרים are מקדים ליום הכניסה because they can’t do it on their own as opposed to being pushed off until after Purim, until ט"ז. The Gemara says the reason is because ולא יעבור and therefore it’s because of this ולא יעבור that instead of reading the Megilah after the בני הכרכים, the בני הכפרים read it before. It’s interesting that the simple Jew is the one who ushers in Purim before the עשרה בטלנים-the תלמידי חכמים who define an עיר. Instead of them following the עיירות גדולות, they actually take in the Purim earlier.

This could be understood that the inyan of Purim is the Mesiras Nefesh the Jews had for Yiddishkeit at that time, not giving up one’s identity even in a situation where one’s life is being threatened. The Chassid Yaavetz in his Sefer Ohr HaChaim says about the Spanish Inquisition that it was the simple Jewish women who were ready to give up their lives rather than convert to Christianity as opposed to Jewish men who were much more learned. When it comes to Mesiras Nefesh, sometimes it’s the simple Jew who comes before the Talmid Chacham. It’s in the context of not giving up one’s identity even in a situation where one’s life is being threatened that sometimes the simpletons can come before the Talmidei Chachamim. Therefore, from the Pasuk ולא יעבור that teaches us not to read the Megilah after the 15th is where we learn that the כפרים are מקדים ליום הכניסה and are not מאחרים to after when the עיירות גדולות read the Megilah. The reason being because Purim is a celebration of simplicity in Emunah and therefore the בני הכפרים come before. This is connection to the next Pasuk of לא יעברו that Purim will never cease to exist because when something is attached to a deep understanding, sometimes a person has it and sometimes a person doesn’t have it. But when something is based on אמונה פשוטה, then it doesn’t depend on one’s level of understanding.


This week’s Parsha, Parshas Tetzaveh, is connected to Purim in the following way. In describing the מעיל, the Psukim say the following:

ועשית על שוליו רמני תכלת וארגמן ותולעת שני על שוליו סביב ופעמני זהב בתוכם סביב, פעמן זהב ורמון פעמן זהב ורמון על שולי המעיל סביב , והיה על אהרן לשרת ונשמע קולו בבאו אל הקדש לפני ה' ובצאתו ולא ימות (כח, לג-לה)

On the bottom of the מעיל were bells that made noise when the Kohen Gadol would walk around. The Pasuk says the function of these bells was for the Kohen Gadol to be heard when entering- ונשמע קולו בבאו אל הקדש לפני ה'. Regarding these פעמונים, the Ramban writes the following:

ומה שאמר למעלה ונשמע קולו בבואו אל הקדש ולא ימות, הוא על דעתי ביאור למצות הפעמונים, כי מפני שאין בהם צורך בלבישה, ואין דרך הנכבדים לעשות להם כן, לכך אמר כי צוה בהם בעבור שישמע קולו בקדש, ויכנס לפני אדוניו כאלו ברשות, כי הבא בהיכל מלך פתאום חייב מיתה בטכסיסי המלכות, כענין אחשורוש. The Ramban writes the ringing of the bells served as if knocking on the door before entering, כאלו ברשות because for someone to come in to the inner chambers of the king without permission is punishable by death like is seen by Achashverosh.

Chazal say that whenever the Pasuk refers to Achashverosh as just המלך, it is really referring to the מלכו של עולם. By Achashverosh, no one was allowed to enter his inner chambers without being invited and to go uninvited without permission was punishable by death. However, the one time a person could enter without invitation/permission was if the king granted permission with the extension of his scepter as the Pasuk says ויושט המלך לאסתר את שרביט הזהב אשר בידו. Similarly, there is one time a year that the Kohen Gadol was allowed to enter without “knocking”, meaning without the פעמונים, and that was on Yom Kippur when he would go into the קודש הקדשים without the מעיל.

Chazal say that יום הכיפורים is כ-פורים. On Yom Kippur, the Kohen Gadol was allowed to enter into the לפני ולפנים without knocking, but nevertheless a שתויי יין was still אסור. However on Purim, we are able to enter the לפני ולפנים as a שתויי יין.


On Purim the Minhag is to wear a mask, to cover our identity. Chazal sayכשם שאין פרצופיהם שווים, כך אין דעותיהם שוות. The fact that every human being looks differentl reflects on the fact that there is not one mind similar to another אין דעותיהם שוות. It’s sometimes difficult for people to get along because אין דעותיהם שוות. However, on Purim when we wear a mask and cover our faces, it’s no longer שאין פרצופיהם שווים because we all look the same and therefore it’s no longer אין דעותיהם שוות and we can unite. This is really the idea behind the Pasuk in the Megilah when Esther tells Mordechai לך כנוס את כל היהודים וכו'. It’s a message about unity.


On the Pasuk in the Parshah mentioned above, it says ונשמע קולו בבאו אל הקדש. The Baal HaTurim (who needed to be known as the בעל הטורים, even though a person usually doesn’t usually need to be referenced by something he wrote, but in this case nobody would take it seriously if it wasn’t writer by the Tur) writes the following:

ונשמע. ג' במסורה. ונשמע קולו בבאו אל הקדש. כל אשר דבר ה' נעשה ונשמע (לעיל כד ז). ונשמע פתגם המלך (אסתר א כ). והיינו דאמרינן במגילה (ג ב) אמר רבה מקרא מגילה ותלמוד תורה מקרא מגילה עדיף. מקרא מגילה ועבודה מקרא מגילה עדיף. והיינו כל אשר דבר ה' נעשה ונשמע, דהיינו תלמוד תורה ועבודה דכתיב בה ונשמע קולו. ונשמע פתגם המלך והיינו קריאת מגילה וסמך ליה כי רבה היא (אסתר א כ), אלמא דעדיף טפי. וגם רבה קאמר לה.

5780 Zachor

Confidence To Bounce Back

The Mitzvah of זכירת עמלק is not just to incite the שנאה towards the people of Amalek but towards the evil aspect that which they represent, as the Maggid from Koznitz says that every Jew needs to eradicate the Amalek, that which it embodies and personifies, from within. There have been many enemies of the Jews in our history but we are only commanded to remember that which Amalek in order to not lose the שנאה over generations. Therefore it must be understood what is it about Amalek that is so critical to never forget in order that we can eradicate the essence of that which Amalek represents and personifies?

The Pasuk in בלק says ראשית גוים עמלק ואחריתו עדי אובד. The Pasuk indicates that there is a connection between the fact that Amalek is ראשית גוים that there אחריתו is עדי אובד. But it’s not only because they were chronologically first to attack the Jews coming out of Mitzrayim rather there is something more fundamental about what they represent that is a contradiction to us and this aspect is the reason why there is no place for their existence in the end of days.

The Pasuk says ויזנב בך את כל הנחשלים אחריך ואתה עייף ויגע וכו'. Rashi says חסרי כח מחמת חטאם שהיה הענן פולטם. It’s clear that sin alone would not have been a sufficient reason to be attacked by Amalek rather it was only because of the חסרי כח because of the חטאם that allowed Amalek to attack. The idea of חסרי כח is the feeling of discouragement one feels and his inability to bounce back after he sins. But this feeling only comes from an impression of himself that he feels small and unworthy.

This התקטנות was the reason why שאול was unable to fully destroy Amalek. The Pasuk in Shmuel says ויאמר שמואל הלא אם קטן אתה בעיניך וכו'. From שמואל statement to שאול, we see what שאול issue was regarding being unable to defeat all of Amalek, which was this feeling of קטנות ושפלות. The Psukim earlier indicate that שאול struggled with this from the beginning when he was approached to be the king and his response was that he was from among the קטני שבטי ישראל. The fact that עמלק survival was made possible through this aspect of a person feeling lowly and small is no coincidence, and on the contrary, its whole existence stems from this trait.

The Pasuk in משלי says לץ תכה ופתי יערים (יט,כה). The Medrash says לץ תכה is Amalek and פתי יערים is Yisro. Chazal describe Amalek with the מדה of ליצנות. It’s a mistake to think that ליצנות is just being מזלזל in others. Rather the reason why a person is מזלזל in others is because he has not self-value and he is not מחשיב himself and therefore he can’t be מחשיב others. This is the idea behind איזהו מכובד המכבד את הבריות because if he himself is not מכובד because he has no self-worth, then he will not be able to be מכבד אחרים. Amalek is the descendent of Eisav and we see that Eisav lacked this self-worth and confidence. The Pasuk says ויבז עשיו את הבכורה. The ביזוי was because he said הנה אנכי הולך למות ולמה זה לי בכורה. Rashi says כמה אזהרות ועונשין ומיתות תלויין בה וכו' הנה אנכי הולך למות על ידה וכו'. Eisav lacked the self-confidence and that led to him being מבזה the Avodah. The ז' עממין represent ז' מידות רעות which all correspond to ז' מידות דקדושה. Each of these מידות are inherently good just depending on how they are used they can be used for bad and therefore there is a תיקון for these nations. However, Amalek which is the מידה of ליצנות which has no purpose or function except for ליצנותא דעבודה זרה. Therefore, in the future where there won’t be any עבודה זרה, all of ליצנות will be eradicated from the world, which is the meaning of אחריתו עדי אובד.

Reb Tzadok in צדקת הצדיק says just like a person has to believe in Hashem, so too he has to believe in himself that he has purpose and Hashem has a mission for him that only he can accomplish. This is the explanation in the Pausk ויאמינו בה' ובמשה עבדו, that Moshe encompasses all ששים רבוא נפשות ישראל in that generation. They all believed in themselves and had the self confidence that they had a purpose and were wanted by Hashem.

The שינאת עמלק is the hatred against ליצנות and זלזל which comes from a person feeling lowly of himself. Therefore, מחיית עמלק can only be possible by getting rid of the התקטנות and having self-confidence and self-worth.

Embracing Doubt

Many want to suggest that the Gematria of עמלק is ספק and the Avodah is to have no ספק. But it’s hard to say that there should be no ספק because it’s human nature and the human condition to have doubt so it can’t be that the goal and focus is to live without doubt. (It’s interesting to note that even within the Parshah of Zachor we have the ספק of whether we read it “zecher” or “zeicher”. Similarly, in regards to Purim and Megillah, there are עיירות מסופקות in regards to which day to read the megillah. Also, the Gemara in Yoma discusses ה' פסוקים שאין להם הכרע, ono of them being on the word מחר - וצא הלחם בעמלק מחר. Even Mordechai wasn’t sure of the outcome when he said to Esther מי יודע.)

But really a person is not supposed to get rid of the ספק rather he is supposed to embrace ספק and learn to live with the ספק. There are people that can’t live without uncertainty and they have to know everything but it’s those people that don’t really know. On the contrary, only when a person come’s to the realization that he doesn’t know can he really know. Haman in the Torah is by the עץ הדעת where it says המן העץ. The חטא of Adam was that he needed to know-יודע דעת אלוקים and he couldn’t live with uncertainty. The זוהמא that came into the world at the time of the חטא was פסקא by Matan Torah because when Klal Yisrael said נעשה ונשמע, they were accepting something without certainty. They heard and understood to the best of their abilities and knowledge and made an intelligent decision based on what they knew even though they didn’t know for sure. However, by the חטא העגל, that זוהמא came back because Klal Yisrael said האיש משה לא ידענו מה היה לו and they weren’t able to live with that uncertainty. Therefore, the Avodah in this world is to be able to live with uncertainty and doubt and understand and know that we really don’t know.


Thursday Night Parsha Shiur 5782


Parshas Zachor 5772