Torah Teaser – Parshat KiTisa Questions & Answers – March 17 2117-5777

Moshe’s Finally Gets His Kitores Hashem tells Moshe (Ki Sisa 30:34), “Kach Licha Samim; Take for yourself fragrances.” Why does Hashem say, “Licha; For you” The Maharal MiTzintz (Milo HaOmer) answers that the medrash tells us that when Moshe went up to Shamayim to take the Torah, each Malach gave him a special gift. Even the Malach HaMaves gave Moshe a gift, the gift of life. He revealed to Moshe the secret to stop a plague, and that was with the Kitores. Moshe later used this secret to stop a plague that threatened to wipe out Klal Yisrael after the Machlokes of Korach. “There is no question that gift of saving Jewish lives was the most precious gift of all to Moshe Rabbeinu,” says the Maharal Tzintz. “However, Moshe had no ability to use this gift since there is an issur, punishable through Kares, to make your own private Kitores. Now when Hashem finally told Moshe to make the Kitores, Hashem said make it for yourself, since this is the realization of your present that you received from the Malach HaMaves.”
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Shabbos, If You Take Down The Sign Why is Shemiras Shabbos considered the litmus test if a person is religious or not? Hashem says regarding Shabbos (31:13) “Ois He; It is a sign.” The Chofetz Chaim explains with a Mashal of a sign on a person’s store. “Every business has a reputation and the name on sign tells the whole world who the owner of the store is. Even if the owner travels away for a while, as long as the sign is still up, we can rest assured that the owner will eventually return. If the owner takes the sign down and leaves town, then it is clear that the owner has left with no intention of returning. Similarly, with Shemiras HaMitzvos. Keeping Shabbos is a sign that the Jewish spirit resides in the person. Even if a Jew leaves the path, as long as he keeps Shabbos, we know the Ruach HaTorah is still in him and he will one day return. However, once a person is Michalel Shabbos, he has taken down his sign and we know that the Ruach HaTorah has left them.”
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The Big Party The Morning After After the Eigel came out of the fire, Aharon declared (Ki Sisa 32:5), “Chag Lashem Machar”. The next morning it says, “Vayashkimu… Vayeishev HaAm Le’echol… Vayakumu LiTzachek, They woke up early, ate and drank were very jovial.” The Shnayim Mikra brings from the Kerem HaTzvi that the Eigel was made at midday after the Mun already fell. Aharon was convinced that there is no way the Mun will fall again the next day after they made an Eigel. He, therefore, wanted to push off the party until the next day, so when the Mun wouldn’t fall they would see their error and do tshuvah. However, the Medrash Tanchuma tells us that Hashem doesn’t work that way and He sent Mun even on that historically dreadful morning. The Medrash continues and says that they even took the Mun and were Makriv it before the Eigel. After hearing Mussar from the Maaminim, the entire previous day, that the Mun would not fall and they would starve, they spent a tense night waiting to see what the morning would bring. After they saw the Mun did indeed fall, they were drunk with victory and began to party and laugh at those who admonished them.
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The Oheiv Yisroel Defends Himself When Moshe asked Aharon how the Eigel could have happened under his watch, Aharon answered (Ki Sisa 32:22), “Ata Yadata Es HaAm Ki BiRa Hu”, you know that the nation is bad. Aharon then goes on to tell Moshe how they forced him to make the Eigel. It seems quite uncharacteristic of Aharon, who was beloved by all of Klal Yisrael for always finding the good in others, to blame the people rather that take responsibility himself. The Malbim explains that we must read the pasukim with a deeper understanding and see that every word of Aharon’s was a defense of Bnei Yisrael and an acceptance of the blame on his part. “Ki BiRa Hu,” says the Malbim, “means you know the difficult circumstances of their existence in the barren wilderness and now they thought their leader was dead.” Aharon then says, “They asked me to make something, ‘Asher Yeilchu Lifaneinu.” They wanted a leader who would replace Moshe, and not a replacement for Hashem chas v’shalom. Aharon did not blame it on the Chartumim since Bnei Yisrael would have been guilty for believing in a calf made by the Chartumim, Rather, he says, ‘I was the one who asked them for their gold. They didn’t do anything as I threw it into the fire, and, miraculously, a golden calf emerged. How can they be blamed for believing in a miracle made a Navi V’Kadosh? The Torah says that Moshe saw through the tzidkus of Aharon, “Vayar Moshe Es HaAm Ki Parua Hu.” Despite all of Aharon’s stories, Moshe knew the guilt belonged to the nation. “Ki Pira’oi Aharon;That which Aharon took the blame, Lishimtza B’Kameihem; because he was scared of the embarrassment in the eyes of our enemies.” This was the tzidkus and devotion of the real Aharon.

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