Thursday, April 12, 2007

Parshas Shemini

וְאֵת שְׂעִיר הַחַטָּאת, דָּרשׁ דָּרַשׁ משֶׁה--וְהִנֵּה שׂרָף; וַיִּקְצף עַל-אֶלְעָזָר וְעַל-אִיתָמָר, בְּנֵי אַהֲרן, הַנּוֹתָרִם, לֵאמר.

"Regarding the goat of the sin-offering; Moshe made a detailed inquiry and behold! It was burned. He was angry with Elozor and Isomor, the remaining sons of Aharon, saying..." (Sefer Vayikra, 10:16)

Rashi (c.v. Darash): Two inquiries:Why was this one burnt? And why were these eaten?

The source for this topic is found in the Gemara in Zevachim (101a) where it mentions that on the day of the erecting of the Mishkan, 3 Karbanos/sacrifices were brought: one for the inauguration of the Mishkan, one for Rosh Chodesh, and one brought by Nachshon (prince of the tribe of Judah, and was the first to offer his installation donations and offerings; see Badmidbar 7, 12-17). Also, on this day, Nadav and Avihu were killed by the hand of G-d for bringing a "foreign fire." The halacha is that for one who has a close relative die, the period of time between their death and their burial is called a state of "Aninus", and one is exempt from all positive commandments (davening, tefillin, tzitzis, etc.). Thus, Aharon and his sons, on this day, were not allowed to eat from the Karbanos. Nevertheless, the Gemara records that Moshe came to these Kohanim and told them that even though this was the Halacha, that special day warranted and permitted their eating of the Karbanos. Thus, we now understand the Rashi above: if they were permitted to eat from the Karbanos today, why was this one burnt (instead of eating it)? Aharon responded to him that that which Hashem had permitted them to eat were only Karbanos that had to do with the random nature of the day. However, the Karbanos that are always brought (ie, the Rosh Chodesh sacrifice), they weren't permitted to eat.

Later on in the Parsha, the story picks up (10:20), where it says, "And Moshe heard and it was good in his eyes", with Rashi saying that "He admitted [the justice of Aharon's argument], and was not ashamed to say: it wasn't the case that I hadn't learned this, but rather, I learned this, and forgot this." Furthermore, the Medrash states that Moshe went out to the entire camp and admitted that he was mistaken on this matter.

R' Avraham Bokrat in his Sefer haZikaron (perush on Rashi) gives an insight into the different ways humans work when one has an argument with his friend, and then subsequently realizes that he is wrong (similar to Moshe and Aharon's case). The first, and worst reaction is when one refuses to admit to the truth at all. How often do we know that we're wrong, yet still argue our point anyway? How often does someone ask us a good question that we are unclear of an answer to, yet we try to make something up on the spot? The next reaction is to admit to the truth, but while being saddened and/or embarassed to be wrong. How often do we get in an argument and get upset when we realize that we have "lost"? Finally, the best approach, which was Moshe's approach, is to not only admit to the truth, but to be happy by the fact that the truth has been revealed.

There is a famous story with R' Chaim Brisker when he was named a Maggid Shiur in Yeshivas Volozhin. There was a contigency that was opposed to the way he gave a shiur and thought he was only appointed because he married the granddaughter of the Netziv, the Rosh Yeshiva. So, one day, this contingency came to listen to a shiur of his and rule whether or not he was, in fact, worthy of this position in the Yeshiva. He was giving an interesting shiur on a certain position on the Rambam, and in the middle of the shiur, he suddenly went silent. He realized that there was a Mishna that completely contradicted everything that he was saying. However, even though nobody in the crowd understood how this Mishna went against his shiur, he retracted all of his words - this was R' Chaim's love of the truth. He was able to see the truth at a time in which he was being judged on his teaching worth. The contigency who had been opposed to him said that a man who had such a desire for the truth was worthy to be a Maggid Shiur in their Yeshiva.


Blogger nyfunnyman said...

curisou where you picked this up from b/c someone who you quote often, Shalom Rosner, said something very similar over shabbos.

5:34 PM, April 15, 2007

Blogger AlanLaz said...

I get all of my shiurim from either R' Simon's Imrei Baruch, or his Parsha shiurim that are found on In this case, he gave this shiur over a couple years ago, and it's also found in Imrei Baruch Vayikra.

How's the wife and kid?

6:34 PM, April 15, 2007


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