Rabbi Reisman – Parshas Vayikra 5782

1 – Topic – A Thought on the Parsha Regarding Cheilev

As we prepare for Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Vayikra which is also Parshas Zachor and leading up as Parshas Zachor always does to the wonderful Yom Tov of Purim. Let me begin with something on Parshas Vayikra and then we will move on. Let me start with something that sounds a bit technical. In 3:9 it talks about putting onto the Mizbaiach (חֶלְבּוֹ הָאַלְיָה תְמִימָה) which means the fats of the tail. The complete tail. Rashi doesn’t say that. Rashi says (חֶלְבּוֹ) that is (המובחר שבו). (חֶלְבּוֹ) doesn’t mean fat, it means the best part of it. (ומהו זה, האליה תמימה). That is the fatty tail. (חֶלְבּוֹ) doesn’t mean fat it means something like the fat of the land, meaning the excellent part.

Why is Rashi doing this? The Ramban explains as follows. We know that there are two words in Hebrew for animal fats. Cheilev and Shuman. Both of which are usually translated as fat, however, Cheilev refers specifically to those fats that are prohibited by the Torah, that are Assur, and Shuman refers to permitted fats. Zagt the Ramban, all Cheilev is fat which is not mixed into the meat, but all Cheilev D’oraissa is fat which comes as a strip of fat either on the diaphragm where we pull off the fat like on a skirt steak or a string of fat in the ribs, wherever the fat that we use and we make the animal to be Kosher it is never mixed in to the meat.

In the case of the tail there is no such string or strip of fat. As a matter of fact, the Ramban says, any part of the body, be it fingers or feet, parts of the body that are constantly moving, never have strips of fat in them. The tail which moves also doesn’t. So it can’t be that this is referring to Cheilev. Therefore, says the Ramban, and he brings from many Pesukim that Cheilev means the Muvchar Shebo, the excellent part and that is why Rashi Teitches the Posuk of (חֶלְבּוֹ) as (המובחר שבו), its excellent part.

What is of particular interest is that the Ramban says (והוצרכתי להאריך בזה) I have to say this ( לסתום פיהם של צדוקים ימחה שמם) because there are Apikursim out there. Meaning to say that there were people then as there are today who say that Chazal didn’t know the physical facts. Or G-d forbid they say it about the Torah itself. That the physical facts don’t match. Since the physical facts don’t match so you see that the Torah is not from the Ribbono Shel Olam or you see that Chazal don’t know what they are talking about. The Ramban says that there were those who said that Cheilev is a strip of fat, you see it says (חֶלְבּוֹ) and there is no such fat, so it must be that Chazal don’t know what they are talking about because they never looked into fats and they never saw fats, they were busy in the Beis Medrash and they never looked at animals. To answer back the Apikursim the Ramban says that we have to show from numerous places that (חֶלְבּוֹ) could mean the fat of the land.

Today we have this all the time. We have the so called experts saying that Chazal don’t know what they were talking about. I am privileged and honored to have a Mispallel who is a professor of Biology and has taken it on himself to examine many of these scientific or biological facts which are disputed by those who are busy saying that Chazal never saw these creatures and don’t know what they are talking about.

What comes to mind particularly as I am sitting here today, Chazal say that the pregnancy period of a snake is 7 years. A big fuss has been made of it that it is not true that snakes don’t carry their offspring for 7 years. Chazal didn’t know snakes and they are ridiculed and are dismissed. This professor, my dear friend, brought me an article. The article has nothing to do with Chazal. It was an article about snakes. It remarked about how snakes have the unusual capacity to carry in their bodies the Zera of the male and become pregnant almost at will and give birth much later. Therefore, it says in the article that it happens up to 7 years later after the mating of the male and female snake that the snake first gives birth. So there is an article that shows that Chazal do know what they were talking about.

It is a shame that there are those people out there who need some gentile scientist to say that you see Chazal knew what they were talking about, but they need it. This is just one of many examples. The Gemara in Niddah 27a (19 lines from the top) says (מעשה ונשתהה ולד אחד אחר חבירו ג' חדשים והרי הם יושבים לפנינו בבית המדרש ומאן נינהו יהודה וחזקיה בני רבי חייא). There was a pair of twins that were born a couple of months apart. Rav Chiya’s two sons Yehuda and Chizkiya. There are those who ridicule it that it can’t be.  A woman doesn’t give birth to children a few months apart. So this dear friend of mine brought me an article about women who have split uteruses that do give birth separately. It is rare, but a woman can go into labor and give birth to one child and separately later go into labor and give birth to the second child. My point here is there is nothing new under the sun.

What we see today that there are people saying that Chazal don’t know what they are talking about because they never saw Elephants or they never saw snakes and they don’t know. The Ramban had such people too and the Ramban says this Pshat that Rashi brings.

2 – Topic – A Thought on the calendar regarding Purim

A thought for the extraordinary Yom Tov of Purim which is coming upon us. Purim is what you make of it. Make sure to go to your Rabbeim and Rabbanim. Go and get Berachos and get Ge’benched. It is a time of extraordinary Beracha because Kol Hapasaiach Yad Nosnin Lo. Whoever asks the Ribbono Shel Olam gives him. You have to feel the Simcha and the joy of Chag HaPurim.

Let me share with you a couple of thoughts on Chag HaPurim. On the 13th day of Nissan Haman drew lots. There was then three days of fasting and then the Mishta of Esther, perhaps two nights in a row were the Mishta of Esther, and then Haman was hanged. There is a Machlokes as to exactly what day it was. Were the three days the 13th, 14th and 15th of Nissan. The Rashash understands that Haman was hanged on the 15th of Nissan. Rashi both in the Gemara and (Maseches) Megillah understands that it was the 16th of Nissan. The question is why don’t we have a Yom Tov then, why were they not Kove’a the day of the Neis that Achashveirosh ordered the hanging of Haman and the elevation of Mordechai? Why do we have it on Purim?

Of course, the typical answer would be that Pesach is not the time to do it. However, I would like to suggest a different answer. In dealing with this period of time, we realize that Haman sent out messengers and the messengers traveled wide and far to tell them the decree. It was 14 days travel just from Eretz Yisrael to Chutz L’aretz and who knows to Paras Uma’dai. So it could be that it took a month or two months. When the Shluchim came let’s say on Rosh Chodesh Nissan to a city and said that there was a decree against the Jews, they did not yet know that Haman had been hanged by then. They knew nothing about it. Because the messages that went after he was hanged was three days behind them. So what happened? There was a rolling time of Aveilos. By rolling I mean, in Shushan it was the three days and then they found out right away about the fact that Haman was hanged. But in every country, all the way down to Eretz Yisrael it was later. It could be that in Eretz Yisrael it didn’t happen until in middle of Iyar that they heard the tragedy and maybe they fasted also three days and then three days later they heard of the Yeshua. So that the original Yeshua was spread out over time, and therefore, it is not an appropriate time to celebrate. The appropriate time to celebrate is therefore the day that was Shava Lakol in Adar, and by the time Adar came around everyone had gotten the message about the special opportunity afforded Klal Yisrael to destroy their enemies on the 13th day of Adar, and everybody celebrated at once. That may well be why the celebration was in Adar.

3 – Topic - A Mussar idea regarding Purim.

In 8:3 Esther comes to Achashveirosh (וַתִּפֹּל, לִפְנֵי רַגְלָיו; וַתֵּבְךְּ וַתִּתְחַנֶּן-לוֹ). Esther comes, when is that? Later in the Perek it tells us that it was the 23rd day in the month of Sivan. She comes and she cries in front of Achashveirosh. She says help the Jews. Isn’t it strange that in 7:3 where she is first having her Mishteh she doesn’t cry (וַתַּעַן אֶסְתֵּר הַמַּלְכָּה, וַתֹּאמַר) and here 3 months later after Haman is hanged already and Mordechai is in control of Beis Haman, now she cries? Why does she cry now more than before?

There is an incredible thought in the Sefer Yosef Lekach, from a Kadmon, on Megillas Esther. He says human nature is that when you have a Hisorerus you let it out onto something. The nature is if you let it out if they ask you for something big and you have Hisorerus and you are hesitant, you give something small, you don’t give something big and with that you satisfy the Hisorerus, you satisfy the feeling that you have.  

Esther was frightened. She said what happened? I asked to save the Jewish people and Achashveirosh hanged Haman and elevated Mordechai but he didn’t make a decree to protect the Jewish people yet. Now she was really frightened. A person doesn’t get a strong Hisorerus twice. It happens once. Achashveirosh was awakened to the reality, the right thing to do, but he didn’t do everything. Now she had to plead with him and beg with him to get a new awakening, a new Hisorerus.  

This is such a Mussar. There are times in our lives that we have a Hisorerus to do things properly. There are times in life that world events shake us up or personal events shake us up and we say that we have to Daven to Hashem, we have to awaken to Hashem. What does the Yeitzer Hora do? He lets us Patur it with Pachim Ketanim. He says oh okay, put a $20 bill in the Pushka and then it is all over. No! When you have a Hisorerus go for the prize, go for the big thing. That is the message here.  

One Bakasha is to please tell the one who is Leining the Megillah, that it is not Shisha Chadashim B’shemen Hamor, it is not 6 new ones in Shemen Hamor. It is Shisha Chodoshim B’shemen Hamor. It is 6 months in Shemen Hamor. Many Baalei Kriya say it wrong. Chodesh means a month. Those who say Shisha Chadashim B’shemen Hamor are saying 6 new ones. What is 6 new ones talking about in Shemen Hamor? Therefore, it is a very important, significant and worthwhile thing to tell your Baal Korei unless he is an excellent Baal Korei and he knows it anyway. Be careful because if you are going to wait until the Laining he won’t know what you are talking about. You will have to point it out to him.

An absolutely wonderful Purim to one and all. Next Thursday is Purim you have to come in person to hear the Dvar Torah. My home will be available from 11 in the morning until whatever time it is in the evening. I would love to see you and rejoice with you. On Wednesday night Leil Purim as in every year we will be having a Simchas Purim in my house. One and all are invited to come and join us. I want to thank Rabbi Yitzchok Bald who will be there once again with the music to celebrate B’ezras Hashem the falling of the enemies of the Jewish people and the uplifting of Klal Yisrael the Kimu V’kiblu. We should do it all again the whole Klal Yisrael, a M’ain of that as we celebrate Purim. A Gutten Shabbos to one and all!