Torah Teaser – Parshat Emor Questions & Answers – May 12 2117-5777

The Problem with A Family Business A Kohen may become Tamei to his close relatives. A Nazir may not. Why? The Shem MiShmuel says in the name of his father the Avnei Nezer that the Kedushas Kohen is inherited. It is a family kedusha. Therefore, just like he received his kedusha from the family, he may not turn his back on them, even if dealing with them would make him Tamei. The status of a Nazir is reached purely by the individual, through his holy aspirations. It is not received in any way from other family members. He has no debt to pay and, therefore, may not defile himself to bury a family member. Similarly, to become Kohen Gadol one must elevate himself through his own efforts. Therefore, the Kohen Gadol also may not become tamei to family.

The Torah Means an Eye for an Eye “Ayin Tachas Ayin Kasher Yitein Moom BaAdam Kein Yinasein Bo; An eye for an eye when you maim your friend the same should be done to you.” (Emor 24:20) The Halacha L’Moshe MiSinai tells us that despite what the words appear to say, the Torah means that the perpetrator pays for the injury rather than Bais Din maiming him. If so why does the Torah clearly say that we avenge him in kind? The Iturei Torah brings from Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik that had the Torah told us the halacha explicitly, we would become less sensitive to the value of a person’s limb. We would see it as a price tag. We would get the feeling that you can injure someone, if the math added up, and it was worth your while. When the victim will be angry, the perpetrator will ask him why he is so angry since he will compensate him for the full value. The Rambam clearly says that a person who maims his friend deserves to lose his limb but the Torah allows him to pay Kofer. The Torah is teaching us that Min HaDin, if someone takes from his friend the incredible gift of sight that Hashem bestowed upon him, justice demands that his ability to see be taken away as well. Even though the Torah limited the punishment to a monetary value, surely it is not a fair trade.

Kohanim and Divorcees “They shall not marry a woman who has been divorced by her husband.” The Shach explains the reason why a Kohen may not marry a divorced woman. He says that a Kohen symbolizes unity. He brings Klal Yisrael close to Hashem. Aaron was Ohaiv Shalom V’ Rodef Shalom. Therefore, he should not marry a woman that went through a process of Pirud – separation. When a woman gets divorced, not only is there separation on this world; the couple’s souls are separated in Shamayim, too.

One Stone Kills the Mikallel When the Mikallel was taken out to be stoned to death for his crime, the Torah says (Emor 24:23), “Vayirgimu Oisoih Aven,” using the singular one stone. By the Mikoshesh Eitzim, who was Michallel Shabbos, and was also put to death by stoning, it says, “Avanim,” he was killed with many stones. What was the difference? The Iturei Torah brings from Rav Yeshayahu Mushkat, that there is an opnion that the Mikoshesh was Michallel Shabbos L’Shem Shamayim. He had a point to make and was ready to sacrifice his life for the sake of Heaven to teach the lesson of the sanctity of Shabbos. Some people understood this, and threw their stones with a heavy heart and great sadness. Others did not, and threw it with a vengeance. Many stones had many different intentions behind them. When it came time to kill the Mikallel, everyone had the same Kinas Hashem. Their stones may have been different but they were all cut from the same cloth. They all were meant to eradicate the evil sinner.

The Kohen Gadol’s Wife “V’Hu Isha Bibsuleha Yikach” (Emor 21:13) When the Torah tells the Kohanim who they may marry it gives lists of women that are forbidden to them. Similarly, we find this with the Kohen Gadol. Why does the Torah speak twice about a Bisula for the Kohen Gadol and mentioning it also as a Mitzvas Aseh? Rav Itzele Volozhin says that the Torah forbids Bnei Yisroel, because of their Kedusha, to marry the Arayos. Kohanim are even more Kadosh and are forbidden from women that other Jews are permitted to marry. The Kohen Gadol is the most Kadosh of them all and one would think that he should refrain from marriage altogether. Therefore, the Torah tells us that indeed the Kohen Gadol is forbidden from certain women that a Kohen Hedyot may marry. However, to remain alone is also forbidden. He must get married… but to the right girl.

The Greatest Mitzva For Sitting Idle “Ushmartem Mitzvosai VaAsisem Oisam Ani Hashem. V’Lo Sichalilu Es Sheim Kadshi V’Nikdashti” (Emor 22:31-32) Hashem commands us to keep all the Mitzvos and to be Mikadesh Sheim Shamayim. These are two great tasks that require Siyata Dishmaya. Not always do we have the opportunity to do every mitzva at any time. What can we do? The Chasam Sofer says that these pasukim instruct us. “Ushmartem” aside from meaning to keep the mitzvos, also means to bide our time. We must bide our time anxiously awaiting an opportunity to do each and every mitzva. Rebbi Akiva while being raked with iron combs he said that he waited all his life for this chance. If you yearn for this opportunity then Hashem gives you credit as if you actually did the mitzva. This is the
meaning of the next pasuk V’Lo Sichalilu Es Sheim Kadshi. Even if you don’t have a chance to be Moser Nefesh Al Kiddush Hashem, just make sure not to be Michalel Shem Hashem and Hashem will consider as if V’Nikdashti, you were Mikadesh His name.

Created By Rov Avrohom Sherman

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