Connection Between Vayikra and Zachor

In a שנה מעוברת, which occurs seven times in nineteen years, we read Parshas Zachor together with Vayikra. In spite of the fact that the reading of Vayikra is based on the yearly cycle of פרשה השבוע and the reading of Parshas Zachor is מעיניא דיומא as the Chinuch writes in מצוה תרג that Zachor should be read the Shabbos before Purim because Haman was a descendent of Amalek, nevertheless we can find a connection between the two.

However, it’s interesting that the connection seems to be a contradictory connection because the whole Parshah of Vayikra is about Korbanos and the Haftorah of Zachor seems to negate the idea of Korbanos. After Shaul tells Shmuel that they saved some animals from Amalek for Korbanos, Shmuel says to him החפץ לה' בעלות וזבחים כשמע בקול ה' הנה שמע מזבח טוב להקשיב מחלב אילים, as if to be saying that Korbanos are not that important.

The simple reading of the words הנה שמע מזבח טוב להקשיב מחלב אילים means following the instructions of Hashem is more important than זבח אילים. But it could also be read differently based on what Rashi says in the Parshah. When the Pasuk says ריח ניחוח לה' (א,ט), Rashi writes נחת רוח לפני שאמרתי ונעשה רצוני which means that what qualifies bringing Korbanos is because אמרתי ונעשה רצוני. Therefore the reading of הנה שמע מזבח טוב doesn’t have to mean that שמע is better than a זבח טוב rather that which is טוב in the זבח is the שמע. That which is good in a זבח is the שמע and the good thing in the חלב אילים is the להקשיב, both because the נחת רוח לפני ה' is the שאמרתי ונעשה רצוני. So if a Korban is brought not following the instructions of the Ribbono Shel Oilam, then the basis for the Korban is lost. Therefore, the Haftorah is expressing what qualifies Korbanos which is the לשמוע and the להקשיב in the זבח and חלב אילים.

This idea is expressed in Tehilim 51:17-21: אדני שפתי תפתח ופי יגיד תהלתך: כי לא תחפץ זבח ואתנה עולה לא תרצה: זבחי אלהים רוח נשברה לב נשבר ונדכה אלהים לא תבזה: היטיבה ברצונך את ציון תבנה חומות ירושלם: אז תחפץ זבחי צדק עולה וכליל אז יעלו על מזבחך פרים.

The connection between אדני שפתי תפתח ופי יגיד תהלתך which is about Tefilah and the following Psukim which discuss Korbanos is the fact that Tefilah corresponds to the Korbanos, as the Gemara in Brachos says. So the Pasuk is saying that once the Beis HaMikdash was destroyed, לא תחפץ זבח ואתנה עולה לא תרצה that Hashem no longer wants our Korbanos. The reason is because זבחי אלהים רוח נשברה לב נשבר ונדכה אלהים לא תבזה. Meaning, the Ramban explains the idea of Korbanos is that a person should realize that really he should be sacrificed on the alter and it’s just Hashem is מרחם on him and allows him to bring an animal as substitute for himself. Bringing a Korban is really about זבחי אלהים רוח נשברה-about breaking one’s גאוה and to give us an experience of sacrificing ourselves which we symbolically act out. But when Korbanos no longer had this meaning, then it comes to a point of לא תחפץ זבח ואתנה עולה לא תרצה that Hashem doesn’t desire our Korbanos and instead he wants אדני שפתי תפתח ופי יגיד תהלתך, our Tefilos, which are meant to bring us to the point of זבחי אלהים רוח נשברה. When a person davens, he is recognizing that it’s only the Ribbono Shel Oilam who is חונן לאדם דעת, who is רופא חולים, and who is מברך השנים. He is admitting that he is nothing without the Ribbono Shel Oilam and therefore he is actually doing that which Korbanos were supposed to accomplish.

The חובות הלבבות שער חשבון הנפש פרק ג expresses this idea about Tefilah when he writes כי כוונתנו בתפלה אינה כי אם כלות הנפש אל האלהים וכניעתה לפניו עם רוממותה לבוראה ושבחה והודאתה לשמו והשלכת כל יהביה עליו. By praising Hashem and asking him for what you need, one is being מכניעה himself.

Haman, the descendent of Amalek, was all about גאוה, as it says in Maoz Tzur: כרוֹת קוֹמַת בְּרוֹשׁ בִּקֵּשׁ, אֲגָגִי בֶּן הַמְּדָתָא וְנִהְיָתָה לוֹ לְפַח וּלְמוֹקֵשׁ, וְגַאֲוָתוֹ נִשְׁבָּתָה and the Medrash says זד יהיר is referring to Amalek. Haman expressed his גאוה when he said למי יחפץ המלך לעשות יקר יותר ממני. (From here it would seem that Haman was the first one to reach עד דלא ידע בין ארור המן לברוך מרדכי because the King really wanted to give the honor to Mordechai and Haman confused himself with Mordechai.) Also, it says in אשר הניא that is said after the Megilah, it says about Hamanנתגאה בעשרו. Lastly, the Pasuk in Mishlei 29:23 says גאות אדם תשפילנו and the Bamidbar Rabbah 13:3 says this is referring to Amalek.

Being that Amalek and Haman are all about גאוה, so Shmuel was saying to Shaul that you left a זכר of Amalek in order to bring Korbanos, but Korbanos is the idea of הכנעה andרוח נשברה לב נשבר ונדכה and Amalek is the exact opposite of that. So leaving a זכר of Amalek really undermines the whole concept of Korbanos and therefore Shmuel said to Shaul החפץ לה' בעלות וזבחים כשמע בקול ה' הנה שמע מזבח טוב להקשיב מחלב אילים that the idea of Korbanos is הכנעה since leaving Amalek is leaving גאוה, so it undermines the whole idea of Korbanos.

Establishing a Relationship

The Parshah begins ויקרא אל משה וידבר ה' אליו מאהל מועד לאמר. The need for the ויקרא, for Hashem to call Moshe, is not clear. The וידבר ה' אליו is clear that it’s going on the subsequent commandments that were to follow but why was it necessary for there to be a קריאה first and then the וידבר?

The Ramban discusses this point and writes the following:

אמר הכתוב בכאן ויקרא אל משה וידבר ה' אליו - ולא כן בשאר המקומות, בעבור שלא היה משה יכול לבא אל אהל מועד, להיותו נגש אל המקום אשר שם האלהים רק בקריאה שיקרא אותו, שכבר נאמר למשה (שמות כה כב) [ונועדתי לך שם] ודברתי אתך מעל הכפורת (אשר אועד לך שמה), וכיון שידע שהשם יושב הכרובים שם נתירא לבא באהל כלל עד שיקרא אליו כאשר עשה בהר סיני שאמר (שם כד טז) ויקרא אל משה ביום השביעי מתוך הענן וכו'.

The Ramban explains the reason why specifically here ויקרא was necessary before the וידבר as opposed to all other times it says וידבר is because Moshe wasn’t sure if he was allowed to approach the אהל מועד and therefore Hashem had to call to him first.

However, Rashi, quoting the Toras Kohanim, has a different explanation and writes the following:

ויקרא אל משה - לכל דברות ולכל אמירות ולכל צוויים קדמה קריאה, לשון חבה, לשון שמלאכי השרת משתמשים בו, שנאמר (ישעיה ו ג) וקרא זה אל זה וכו'.

The reason why Hashem had to first call to Moshe was because he first needed to establish a relationship with Moshe Rabbeinu. It was a לשון חבה. Once Hakadosh Boruch Hu established a relationship with Moshe, then there could be דברות, אמירות and צוויים. A relationship first needs to be established between a speaker and a listener. Without a relationship, then even אמירות which are לשון רכה are not heard and when there is a relationship, then even דברות which are לשון קשה are heard and received.

The Pasuk in Malachi 2:7 says כי שפתי כהן ישמרו דעת ותורה יבקשו מפיהו כי מלאך ה' צבאות הוא. About this Pasuk, the Gemara in Moed Kattan 17a says אם דומה הרב למלאך ה' - יבקשו תורה מפיו. ואם לאו - אל יבקשו תורה מפיו. But how should a person know if his Rebbe is דומה למלאך if they’ve never seen a מלאך? It must be that if the Rebbe uses קריאה לשון חבה which is לשון שמלאכי השרת משתמשים בו, then he knows his Rebbe is דומה למלאך and יבקשו תורה מפיו.

The source that person should teach Torah is from ושננתם לבניך and Rashi writes אלו התלמידים and that many places תלמידים are referred to as בנים as it says בנים אתם לה' אלהיכם. The fact that the Torah, in the context of the obligation to teach Torah, describes תלמידים as בניך is indicative of the fact that such a relationship, of that of a father to a son, is necessary between a Rebbe and a Talmid. The קריאה לשון חבה is necessary in establishing the relationship and connection and through that, a Rebbe will be able to teach Torah and be heard.

Torah in the Inside

On the words מאהל מועד, Rashi writes מלמד שהיה הקול נפסק ולא היה יוצא חוץ לאהל. That which Hashem told to Moshe was heard only by him and it was נפסק and didn’t leave the אהל מועד. What is the significance and message of this?

The Medrash Tanchuma in the beginning of Parshas Bechukosai says as follows:

חכמות בחוץ תרנה ברחובות תתן קולה (משלי א) שאל רבי שמואל בר נחמני את רבי יונתן בר' אלעזר שהיה עומד בשוק א"ל שנה לי פרק אחד, א"ל לך לבית הלמוד ואני אשנה לך שם, א"ל רבינו לא כך למדתנו חכמות בחוץ תרונה, אמר ליה יודע אתה לקרות ואין אתה יודע לשנות מהו חכמות בחוץ תרונה בחוצה של תורה, א"ל המרגלית היכן נמכרת היא לא בחוץ אבנים טובות ומרגליות היכן הן נמכרות לא במקום הידוע, אין מוליכין אותן לא לבעלי ירקות ובצלים ושומים, אלא במקום סוחרים אלא לא בחוץ, כך התורה בחוץ היא נאמרת שנאמר חכמות בחוץ תרונה ברחובות מהו ברחובות במקום שמרחיבין והיכן מרחיבין לה, בבתי כנסיות ובבתי מדרשות, לכך נאמר ברחובות תתן קולה.

Although the Pasuk says חכמות בחוץ תרנה ברחובות תתן קולה which seems to indicate that Torah could be taught and discussed outside the Beis Medrash, רבי יונתן בר' אלעזר explained that ברחובות means מקום שמרחיבין which is in the Beis Medrash. But the beginning of the Pasuk still says חכמות בחוץ תרנה which still implies that on some level, there is Torah for the חוץ so how could that be understood?

The Gemara in Brachos 28a says the following

תנא; אותו היום סלקוהו לשומר הפתח ונתנה להם רשות לתלמידים ליכנס. שהיה רבן גמליאל מכריז ואומר: כל תלמיד שאין תוכו כברו - לא יכנס לבית המדרש. ההוא יומא אתוספו כמה ספסלי. אמר רבי יוחנן: פליגי בה אבא יוסף בן דוסתאי ורבנן, חד אמר: אתוספו ארבע מאה ספסלי; וחד אמר: שבע מאה ספסלי. הוה קא חלשא דעתיה דרבן גמליאל. אמר: דלמא חס ושלום מנעתי תורה מישראל. אחזו ליה בחלמיה חצבי חיורי דמליין קטמא. ולא היא, ההיא ליתובי דעתיה הוא דאחזו ליה.

On the day that Rabban Gamliel was removed from being the head and Reb Elazar Ben Azaryah took over, all Talmidim were allowed into the Beis Medrash. Because Rabban Gamliel had a policy כל תלמיד שאין תוכו כברו - לא יכנס לבית המדרש. But once he was removed and Reb Elazar Ben Azrayah took over, he allowed anyone to come in and there is a Machlokes how many benches were added to the Beis Medrash, if it was four hundred or seven hundred. As a result, the Gemara says that Rabban Gamliel was חלשא דעתיה. So they showed him in a dream white barrels that are full of ashes, meaning they look nice on the outside, but on the inside, they are full of ashes, But the Gemara concludes ולא היא, ההיא ליתובי דעתיה הוא דאחזו ליה that really he was wrong and they only showed it to him to calm him down.

So there was a Machlokes if Torah should be taught to everyone or should it be kept for the elite few. Rabban Gamliel was demanding that they should be תוכו כברו that their insides should be like their outside because if they are Talmidim whose outsides are more than their insides, then they are like outsiders and they don’t belong in the Beis Medrash. But Reb Elazar Ben Azaryah disagreed and held that whoever comes to the Beis Medrash, at the end of the day, really wants to become an insider and therefore we can assume that he will become an insider. But nevertheless, the Beis Medrash has to be a place for insiders only and the only question is can everyone become an insider if they try hard enough or not.

The Medrash said that the Beis Medrash is מקום שמרחיבין and that is the Torah of the Beis Medrash. Of course Torah should be taught to everyone, even to the outsiders, however we must make sure that the Torah of the Beis Medrash is not diluted by outsiders inside. So the קול ה' that is in the אהל מועד must first be absorbed and internalized in the inside by Moshe Rabbeinu and only then could he teach it to those outside the אהל מועד. If it would be heard by everyone, than each person would have their take and interpretation and it would water down the meaning of the קול ה'. That is the significance of הקול נפסק ולא היה יוצא חוץ לאהל that it first must be absorbed, analyzed, and internalized by Moshe who is in the inside and only then could he teach it beyond. That is the idea that the בני בית המדש that learn Torah in a way of שמרחיבין and then they could teach it to the outsiders.

Lately, there were many siyumim worldwide on a new edition of Mishna Berurah which contains many Likutim of contemporary poskim. As astounding as it might sound, a Rav that spoke at one of these siyumim said the following. The Beer Heitiv updated the Psakim of the Shulchan Aruch up until his time and then came the Mishna Berurah who added Psakim of the Acharonim that were written in the hundred years from the time of the Beer Heitiv until his time. And the same was done with this new edition of the Mishna Berurah where they collected all the recent Psakim since the time of the Mishna Berurah until today. How ridiculous! How could one compare the genius and creative work of the Mishna Berurah to the shallow collection of psakim done by a few Yungerleit? The Mishna Berurah is far beyond a Likut. It’s a magnificent and creative commentary on the Shulchan Aruch.

This is just an example of how daas balei batim could completely take over even thinking of Rabbanim and it creeps into the Beis Medrash. Unfortunately, Balei Batim who want to do something for Yiddishkeit, instead of doing what a Bala Bus should do which is creating a Hatzlah or a Bikur Cholim, they want to reorganize the learning of Bnei Torah in Yeshivos and Kollelim. This is all about the outsiders infiltrating the inside of the Beis Medrash and transforming the Beis Medrash into a שוק של בצלים.

Purpose for the Second Bird

Towards the end of the Parshah, the Psukim discuss the קרבן עולה ויורד. An עשיר brings a בהמה, דלות bring שתי תורים one for a חטאת and one for a עולה, and דלי דלות bring עשירת האיפה. Why is it that a עשיר only needs to bring one בהמה as a חטאת but דלות need to bring two birds, אחד לחטאת ואחד לעולה?

The Ibn Ezra discusses this and quotes רבי יצחק who says כי טעם אחד עולה בעבור שלא תגיע ידו אולי עלה על רוחו מחשבה. Meaning, because he is poor, there is a concern that he has bad thoughts and feelings towards Hashem for making him poor and therefore he requires the עולה to atone for such thoughts.

But according to this, then the דלי דלות should also need to bring a עולה because he is even poorer than the דלות and yet we don’t find that he brings such a Korban, only the עשירת האיפה for a חטאת. Why is that?

The Chidah answers this and writes that if a person is so poor that he could only afford a עשירת האיפה, then Hashem doesn’t have any טענות on him if he has bad thoughts towards Hashem for making him poor.

After quoting רבי יצחק, the Ibn Ezra offers his own explanation and writes והקרוב אלי שהאחד כנגד האימורים והשני חטאת כמשפט. Meaning, since in the עוף there are no אימורים, so one of the עופות is an עולת העוף which is completely burned and that stands in the place of the אימורים in the חטאת הבהמה and the other עוף is the חטאת העוף.

There is a Sefer called מקור ברוך written by Reb Baruch Ginzburg who was one of the great Rabbis in Europe and he died in the Holocaust. His nephew, Reb Chaim Stein-the late Rosh Yeshiva of Telz Cleveland, wrote a Hakdamah about his uncle in the beginning of the Sefer and he writes the following story that his uncle told him.

He once went to Dvinsk to visit Reb Meir Simchah and he found him very elated and Reb Meir Simchah explained that he had come up with an unbelievable Chiddush in Torah. When he dozed off for a little, he saw in a dream that all the Gedolim of the previous generations were sitting in the פמליא של מעלה and they were discussing how there wasn’t anyone in the world anymore who could be מכוון על האמת. Immediately, the Rashba stood up and said that in Dvinsk there is a Rav who was learning and he was מכוון על האמת יותר ממני. He was referring to the תשובת הרשב"א ס' רעו where the Rashba asks on the Gemara in Chullin 22a. The Gemara says that an עולת העוף could only be brought by day like a חטאת בהמה and it’s learned out from the Pasuk that says ביום צוותו. The Gemara explains that one might have thought that only a חטאת העוף has to be brought by day, but an עולת העוף could be brought by night קמ"ל the Pasuk. The Rashba couldn’t understand the הוא אמינא of the Gemara that an עולת העוף could be brought at night and therefore concluded that the גרסא is משובשת and must be edited. However, the Ohr Sameach explained the הוא אמינא of the Gemara with this Ibn Ezra that because the necessity to bring the עולת העוף was in place of the אימורין that are by a חטאת בהמה, therefore the עולת העוף should be able to be brought at night just like הקטרת אימורין can be brought קמ"ל.


(Written by R’ Yehuda Fish)

Severity of Sinning Accidentally

דבר אל בני ישראל לאמר נפש כי תחטא בשגגה מכל מצות ה' אשר לא תעשינה ועשה מאחת מהנה (ד,ב)

The Medrash Tanchuma on this Pasuk says that one who sinned accidentally (בשוגג) is as if he violated all of the prohibitions in the Torah. How is that possible? Perhaps if he violated something intentionally you could say that it’s as if he violated all of the Torah prohibitions like we say that one who violates Shabbos is as if he worshipped Avodah Zara, but why is accidentally sinning such a terrible thing?

The answer seems to be that if a person sinned intentionally it could be because he had a very strong urge for that Aveirah but it does not tell us anything about the person’s relationship to other mitzvos. But when a person sins accidentally because he forgot the Halacha that shows us that he is somewhat careless when it comes to mitzvah observance. If he really cared then he would not have allowed himself to forget the law. Thus, if he let down his guard in one area of the Torah it is likely that he is lax in other areas as well and therefore it is as if he violated all of the other prohibitions of the Torah if not now then he eventually may.

This idea is also expressed in the Mishna in Ksubos (52b) that says that if a woman is widowed she has the right to continue to be supported from her ex-husband’s estate until she gets remarried. The Gemara discusses different actions that would terminate this support. One opinion says that if she had a relationship with another man then she is no longer considered as attached to her ex-husband and has no further claim on his estate. Another opinion says if she begins putting on makeup then that is evidence that she no longer feels emotionally attached to her deceased husband and is ready to move on. The Gemara then states that the opinion who says that if she had a relationship with another man then she is no longer entitled to support would certainly agree that if she begins putting on makeup she can longer claim support but the opinion that if she puts on makeup means she can no longer be supported by the estate would not necessarily agree that if she had relationship with another man then she is on her own because maybe she just gave in to an irresistible urge. Putting on makeup is illustrative of her mentality while being with another man may have been just a fleeting feeling.

Another instance of this type of phenomenon is the first word of this Parsha. ויקרא is written with a small aleph. Rashi explains that Moshe, out of his humility, wanted to write ויקר implying that Hashem merely happened to speak with him but there was nothing special about him. But Hashem told him to write ויקרא with an aleph. So Moshe wrote it with a small aleph. Some poskim bring a proof from here that the size of the letters is not fixed by Halacha. But how could Moshe change the font size on his own? Hashem said to write ויקרא so how did Moshe have the audacity to write it differently than any other word?

The Rav’s father explained that Moshe likely intended to write the word ויקרא in the normal fashion but due to his humility his subconscious guided his hand and he wrote a small aleph. His actions were an expression of his inner feelings.

Children Begin with Sefer Vayikra

Sefer Vayikra begins now and it is in sharp contrast to the previous two Chumashim because nothing really happens is Sefer Vayikra (except for the death of Aaron’s sons). But there is still a Minhag that children begin learning Chumash with sefer Vayikra- “let those who are pure come and learn the laws of purity.” But pedagogically this seems very strange. Vayikra is a challenging enumeration of Korbanos and laws of טומאה and טהרה, why would we start teaching children this Chumash first?

We see that on Pesach we make a Seder to pique the interest of the children. Because usually Judaism is highly improvised so when the children see that we have a whole order to how we do things on Pesach night they are curious. Interestingly, Pesach night was a night that was the most disordered. There were many miracles that night- a miracle is above nature and the opposite of order. But we make an order out of it.

With Torah, it is the opposite. We say אין סדר למשנה- there is no order to the Mishna. This sounds very strange. Torah is highly logical but we teach it in such a way as to make it almost illogical. For example the first Mishna in Sukkah starts with “A sukkah that is higher than 20 Amos is Pasul” without telling us what a sukkah is or how big or tall it should be. Similarly the first Mishna in Makkos asks how witnesses become false witnesses and proceeds to teach the exception to the rule and the Gemara explains that in fact the Mishna was relying on a Mishna in a previous Masechta. And the first Mishna Brachos jumps right in to a discussion of the recitation of Krias Shema at night in reference to the time that the Kohanim begin eating Teruma after going to the mikva to purify themselves from tuma. The gemara then needs to explain that the Mishna was relying on your knowledge of the pasuk regarding krias shema and taught about the kohanim so that tangentially we can learn that that too takes place when the stars come out at night. Every teacher would tell you that this is not pedagogically sound.

This is the paradox of Torah, we want you to get lost in the sea of Talmud. We throw you right in to the deep part and you have to try to stay afloat.

The Chasam Sofer speaks about this- תורת משה פרשת בשלח קצת מדרוש תקע"א- that we might think that first we should learn pashut pshat of the Psukim and only later learn the drashos, or first learn the ways of the world and the wisdom of man and only then learn Torah. But that way will not succeed, instead we need to teach our children drashos and only later teach them the simple meaning of the words. This is what Hashem did when he took us from Mitzrayim. He did not build us up by removing us from slavery and then teaching us derech eretz and gradually civilizing us, rather he immediately brought us to Har Sinai where we experienced a whole new and totally different conception of the world through Matan Torah. He did this in order to completely separate us from the nations of the world so that we would be His nation, different than all others and prepared for our special mission.

This can be illustrated by the Gemara in Shabbos 63b, where Rav Kahana says that when he was 18 years old he had learned all of Shas and did not know that a verse can always be understood based on its simple meaning- אין המקרא יוצא מידי פשוטו.

Purpose of the Mishkan/Beis HaMikdash

There is a Machlokes between the Rambam and the Ramban whether the purpose of the Mishkan/Beis HaMikdash is to bring down the divine presence or to offer sacrifices. The Ramban says that the purpose is to make a place for the divine presence- as it says ועשו לי מקדש ושכנתי בתוכם whereas the Rambam says the purpose is to offer sacrifices. However, the truth is that there is no dispute here. Even the Rambam agrees that we are trying to bring the divine presence but the way we do that is through sacrifices.

We find this in the context of marriage as well. When a man and a woman live together in harmony the divine presence rests with them- איש + אשה creates the י"ה. This is possible only through making sacrifices for one another. (One can only look at what he must sacrifice for his wife and not what she should be sacrificing for him.) In a house where each is making sacrifices for the other, the divine presence can call it a home.


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