Torah Teaser – Parshat Emor Questions & Answers – May 20 2116-5776

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.
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The Torah Means An Eye For 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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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The Attractive Beard And Payos Of A Kohen It is assur for every Jew to cut off his Payos or cut his beard with a razor. Why then does the Torah (Emor 21:5) say this issur in Parshas Emor when speaking of special issurim that apply only to a Kohen? Rav Yehonoson Eibshitz answers that the Kochos of Tumah grab on to a persons hair. This is why Eisav was so hairy and Yaakov was so smooth. This is why a Mitzora must shave all his hair in the Tahara process. This is why the Levi’im were shaved when they entered into their service. In biblical times the nations would shave themselves when someone died. They very much wanted the dead spirit to enter their actual bodies so they can use this power for speaking to the dead and other forbidden practices and they didn’t want the power of Tumah buffered by their hair. Since during aveilus the koach of the niftar attaches itself to the Aveil, an Aveil does not shave or cut his hair for thirty days in order to let the tumah grasp onto that rather than his body. Because of Tumah’s natural attraction to hair, says Rav Yehonoson Eibshitz, one would think that a Kohen who must maintain a high level of Kedusha, must shave his hair so as not to be easy prey for the Kochos HaTumah. Therefore the Torah

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