Shemini 5782

Rabbi Reisman – Parshas Shmini 5782

1 – Topic – A beautiful lesson from (וַיִּדֹּם, אַהֲרֹן).

As we prepare for Shabbos Parshas Shmini which is also Parshas Parah as well as Shabbos Mevarchim for Chodesh Nissan which is almost upon us. Of course anytime we Bentch Rosh Chodesh Nissan it is a reminder to strengthen our saying of Tachanun because we will fall under the prohibition of saying Tachanun for a month according to our Minhag, and since we will have an Issur coming upon us, while we have the Heter still to say Tachanun we should be extra careful to say it with the proper Kavana.

Let us turn to this week’s Parsha Parshas Shmini and I would like to share with you a beautiful thought. Probably the most famous line in the Parsha is as is found in 10:3 (וַיִּדֹּם, אַהֲרֹן). Aharon being silent in the face of an awful tragedy where two great children die very suddenly.

We find in Rashi (ומה שכר קבל, שנתייחד עמו הדיבור). The Schar that he got for his silence was that he had a Nevua given to him alone, just him. (שנאמרה לו לבדו פרשת שתויי יין). When did this Nevua come? The Ramban at the beginning of Acharei Mos tells us that it was told to Aharon (ביום המחרת למיתתם). The next day after Aharon lost his sons he got this Nevua and the Ramban explains that the day that the sons died he was an Onein and (כי בו ביום אונן היה, ואין רוח הקודש שורה מתוך עצבות). The Shechina is not Shoreh on somebody at a moment of tragedy and sadness, so it was the next morning.

Still we are amazed that Aharon Hakohen the next day after he lost two such sons could be Mekabeil Nevua if the Shechina is not Shoreh only Mitoch Simcha. The great Elisha Hanavi when he got upset at the Aveiros of the Melech Yisrael it says as can be found in Melachim II 3:15 (קְחוּ-לִי מְנַגֵּן). They had to bring somebody to cheer him up because you have to be B’simcha to get Nevua. Aharon the day after was apparently enough B’simcha that he could get Nevua. Halo Davar Hu!

This brings to mind a Vort from Rav Simcha (Avrohom HaKohen) Sheps Zichrono Livracha one of the Rosh Yeshiva here in Torah Vodaath who said the following. He said what is the Inyan of the connection of the Nevua to Aharon not to drink wine, how is that Middah K’negged Middah for his (וַיִּדֹּם, אַהֲרֹן), for Aharon being quiet? It is very interesting that Punkt that Nevua should come as a Schar. Rav Sheps explained it as follows. He said that the nature of a person is that when a person has problems the problems take hold of him. The Aveilos, the sadness whether the Aveilos literally or any difficulty takes over. I remember seeing by the expression by the Steipler in the Chayei Olam that whatever degree of Tzarah a person has a person gets totally absorbed in his problems. The nature of a person is that drinking wine is something that people do to forget their difficulties, to forget their Tzarah.

Aharon HaKohen had a terrible Tzarah, the loss not only of two sons but two absolutely great children. His Gadlus of (וַיִּדֹּם, אַהֲרֹן) is not just being quiet but he was in control of his feelings. His Tzar and Aveilus didn’t fill him up. He felt the pain, he felt the Aveilus and he was saddened but it didn’t fill him. He was in control. He was able to get Nevua even though the Shechina is only Sheru’ya Mitoch Simcha because he had that aspect, that inner strength, that self-control. So therefore, says Rav Sheps it is very appropriate the Nevua that came to him was a Nevua not to drink wine. People drink wine for many reasons, but the only constructive reason to drink wine is when a person has terrible Tzaros and he drinks to forget his difficulties. Aharon HaKohen taught that a person is capable of separating his feelings by being able to go on and put his feelings aside.  

This lesson is a very important lesson. While we may not be on the level of Aharon HaKohen and G-d forbid, heaven forbid someone would have this type of Tzarah he couldn’t put it aside. But our challenge is with lessor Tzaros, difficulties and challenges with things that disturb us on a smaller level and at least there we could try to learn a lesson from Aharon HaKohen.

Rav Schwab puts it this way. A Malach can only do one Shlichus at a time, can only focus on one thing at a time. A human being has to be able to focus on more than one thing at a time. When a human being is upset about one thing, it shouldn’t fill him up and make him upset about everything.

The way I like to put it is that you have to have a big back pocket. You have to sometimes be able to take a challenge, a difficulty, something that upsets you and put it in your back pocket. Put it away for a little while. Go out among people and be Ish Bain Anashim, and behave the way you should behave. Nobody likes a complainer, people who are always upset. You need that big back pocket to put it aside. That is the strength of the personality of Aharon HaKohen, the lesson of (וַיִּדֹּם, אַהֲרֹן). To be able to separate things in order to live a life to its fullest and not let a challenge in life overcome the person.  

2 – Topic – A Yesod in the Nevua of Moshe Rabbeinu

We find also in this week’s Parsha a Machlokes between Moshe and Aharon. Moshe Rabbeinu held that an Onein should eat the meat of the Chattas Rosh Chodesh and Aharon HaKohen disagreed and said as is found in 10:19 (וְאָכַלְתִּי חַטָּאת הַיּוֹם, הַיִּיטַב בְּעֵינֵי יְרוָר). It is a Machlokes. Like we are used to Machlokes of Tannain and Amoraim this was Moshe and Aharon having dispute.

As Rashi says Aharon argued, but it is logical that Im Shamanu B’kadshei Sha’a Ain Lecha L’hakeil B’kodshei Doros. He said there is a logical reason to make a distinction between a one-time Korban which we are commanded to eat and a monthly Korban which we should not be eating. (וַיִּשְׁמַע מֹשֶׁה, וַיִּיטַב בְּעֵינָיו). Moshe Rabbeinu agreed.

There is a thought in the Sefer Torahs Ha’ohel which is also a Yesod of the Meshech Chochmo. They say that since the Torah was given to Klal Yisrael through Moshe Rabbeinu, Moshe Rabbeinu had no permission to say any Chiddushim with his own Sevara. Whatever came out of the mouth of Moshe was Halacha L’moshe MiSinai, it was something given to Moshe Rabbeinu directly. If there was a new Shaila we find throughout Chumash that Moshe Rabbeinu doesn’t answer, he asks the Ribbono Shel Olam.

We find by the Mekaleil the Posuk says in Bamidbar 15:34 (וַיַּנִּיחוּ אֹתוֹ, בַּמִּשְׁמָר) that they put him in jail, (כִּי לֹא פֹרַשׁ, מַה-יֵּעָשֶׂה לוֹ) so that G-d would tell them what to do. We find this by the daughters of Tzelafchad that Moshe didn’t Pasken based on Sevara. This can be found in Bamidbar 27:5 (וַיַּקְרֵב מֹשֶׁה אֶת-מִשְׁפָּטָן לִפְנֵי יְרוָר). Why didn’t Moshe Rabbeinu Pasken based on Sevara? Because Moshe Rabbeinu had to have the integrity that everything that came out of his mouth was directly from HKB”H and nothing else.

The Gemara (In Yevamos 62a top of the Amud) does say that (דתניא שלשה דברים עשה משה מדעתו). There were three things that Moshe Rabbeinu did on his own but the exception proves the rule. There were three occasions where he had a reason to do something special, something unique. But the point is that he didn’t routinely do that. Anybody who sits and learns says a Sevara all the time. That is the way we learn. We learn by thinking and applying ourselves. Moshe Rabbeinu while he no doubt in hs mind applied Sevaros, he was careful to say things to Klal Yisrael only that they heard from Sinai.

With this, the Meshech Chochmo answers a Navi Kasha. We find in Nach that after Moshe Rabbeinu died that during the Aveilos of Moshe Rabbeinu 300 Dinim were forgotten. (Ed. Note: Look at the Gemara in Temurah 16a). Chazal say that Yehoshua was not told an answer and somebody Osniel who was the next Shofeit he answered the 300 Shailos with his Pilpul. Why didn’t Yehoshua answer some of them through Pilpul?

Says the Meshech Chochmo this is because Yehoshua was a continuation of Moshe so the same way in Chumash it says (וַיְדַבֵּר יְרוָר, אֶל-מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר) so too in Sefer Yehoshua it says (וַיֹּאמֶר יְרוָר אֶל-יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בִּן-נוּן, מְשָׁרֵת מֹשֶׁה לֵאמֹר). Because the Dinim were given through him. Mimeila, he was not allowed, he didn’t have the right to be Masbir Davar B’pilpulo. This is a Yesod in the Nevua of Moshe Rabbeinu and it explains that Aharon was Mechadeish Al Pi Sevara and Moshe was Maskim. Moshe Rabbeinu did not have the right to be Mechadeish a Halacha Al Pi Sevara.     

3 – Topic – Rav Chaim Kanievsky Zatzal

All of Klal Yisrael is thinking about the Aveilos of the Sar Shel Torah, the Sar Hatorah of our generation. Somebody great on the level of previous generations Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky a most incredible Malach among men. A Malach among human beings. During the numerous times that I have had the occasion to speak about Rav Chaim in different settings, I think what came to mind is what is the most significant takeaway is the fact that I am thousands of miles away from Rav Chaim and yet there were a number of occasions where I heard that Rav Chaim said this or that and I changed my behavior based on that.

What comes to mind very specifically is that I once heard that it was publicized that Rav Chaim once said to somebody that L’asid Lavo in the Yom Hadin you will understand that there were certain Nisyonos that you had in this world, certain Aveiros that you may have done or certain Mitzvos that you didn’t do but when they are going to ask you why didn’t you wash for Melave Malka you will have no answer as it is just a laziness.

Rav Chaim tried to push people to wash for Melave Malka as it says in Shulchan Aruch. It is a separate Siman in Shulchan Aruch. To give the honor to Shabbos with Melave Malka. Since that day Bli Neder I have always without exception washed for Melave Malka except of course when it is a fast day on Motzoei Shabbos when Tisha B’av comes out. Whenever I could I wash for Melave Malka. It is a beautiful behavior.

I once mentioned this and a good Yedid of mine who is a Rosh Yeshiva in one of the big Yeshivos in our area said interesting I heard the same story and since then I also wash for Melave Malka. When you hear from an Adam Gadol that something is important, you do it. Rav Chaim had the power to push the types of Segulos that are Halacha, Hiddurim in Halacha maybe, but Halacha. Yehi Zichro Baruch. A Gutten Shabbos to one and all!