Thursday, June 11, 2009

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Beha'aloscha

The following is a brief summary of a thought said over by R' Frand in his shiur this evening. I have attempted to reproduce this vort to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

In Parshas Beha'aloscha (9:1-14), the Torah discusses the Pesach offering brought by the Jews in the second year in the desert. The Torah then tells over the story that men who were tamei meis came to Moshe and asked why they should be less than other Jews ("Lama Nigara") because they could not offer the Korban Pesach. In response, Hashem tells Moshe that these people can have a do-over, as they are permitted to bring a Pesach sheni.

The Sifri relates that these men were k'sheirim (pure) and tzadikim, who were "chareidim" on the mitzvos.

Rabbi Frand then asked - what is the true meaning of chareidim? In modern Israel that is a term used to describe the "ultra orthodox", but what does it mean?

Rabbi Frand answered by making reference to a vort from R' Yitzchak Zilbershtein. He related that a man once came before R' Yitzchak and told him that the doctor had insisted that he must eat on Yom Kippur. The man was distraught and wanted to know what to do. R' Yitzchak then sat down with the man and taught him the rules of eating on Yom Kippur and how to eat the pachos mikishiur so that he would not violate the proscription against eating.

The next day the man returned and apologized to R' Yitzchak. He explained that he had forgotten the rules and wanted to know whether R' Yitzchak could review them with him again. R' Yitzchak agreed. However, the following day and the day after that, the man again returned and asked R' Yitzchak to review the laws with him. The man finally explained to R' Yitzchak that he was "nervous" about eating on Yom Kippur and the stress from thinking about it had caused him to forget the rules after R' Yitzchak taught them to him.

R' Yitzchak said to the man - its good that you are nervous about this. We see from Devarim 29:3 that Moshe says to the Jews that Hashem has not given them a heart to know or eyes to see or ears to hear until this day. Rashi explains that on this day, Moshe gave a sefer Torah that he had written to shevet Levi. The rest of the Jews then came to Moshe and said - we also stood at Har Sinai and accepted the Torah, why did you only give this to Levi? Moshe then became very happy and said to the Jews, today you became a nation (Devarim 27:9) - today I see that you cling to and desire Hashem.

R' Yitzchak said to the man, I see that this eating on Yom Kippur is very important to you. It so goes against your fiber to eat that it makes you nervous in that you want to make sure that you perform everything properly. This is merely a sign that it is important to you and of course I have no problem reviewing the laws with you.

R' Frand then compared it to a person who buys an esrog and takes it to a Rav to check. The Rav looks at it for a few moments and says "mihudar." The following day, the man returns to the Rav and says are you sure you saw this spot? The Rav again looks at the esrog and says "mihudar." The man returns another day to show another dot on the esrog and gets the same response.

R' Frand said that this is the true meaning of chareidim. It does not mean someone who is trembling in fear. A charedi (in the positive sense) is someone whose complete being is tied up in trying to make sure that he is doing the right thing l'shem shamayim.

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