Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Tzav and Some Matza Crumbs

Traditionally, R' Frand does not give the last Thursday night shiur before Pesach. As such, I have attempted to reproduce a thought said over by R' Frand in his parsha shiur a few years ago. Same ground rules as always apply. Any perceived inconsistencies are the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

This week's parsha continues the discussion of the various sacrifices that are brought. One of the sacrifices mentioned is the mincha (meal offering). In Vayikra 6:7, the Torah begins a discussion of the mincha and specifies details of the process. In the middle of the discussion, the Torah states that the mincha offering is kodesh kodashim (most holy) like the chatas (sin offering) and asham (guilt offering).

The Klei Yakar asks - why does the Torah only compare the mincha offering to the chatas and asham, when there are many other holy sacrifices. The Klei Yakar then answers his own question, stating that the chatas and asham come as atonement offerings and are elevated to most holy status. By example, a person who is righteous is considered holy. However, a person who becomes a baal teshuva - i.e. he returns to the fold and repents for his sins, is considered most holy. Indeed the Talmud teaches us that baal teshuva reaches a level that righteous people cannot hope to attain as all of his sins are converted to righteous acts (Mitzvot).

I was reminded of a story that R' Frand told at the Siyum Daf Yomi in 2005. There was a boy who went away to yeshiva to learn. When he returned, he used to sit at the dining room table learning Talmud. Meanwhile, his father would sit in the living room and watch the fights on television.

One night, the father asked the son if he could learn Talmud with him. The son agreed and over the course of the next few months they were able to learn one page of Talmud together. When they completed the page, the father indicated that he wanted to make a party to celebrate his accomplishment. The son was skeptical as such parties are usually reserved for finishing a volume of Talmud, not a page. Nonetheless, the son went and asked R' Moshe Feinstein ztl. R' Moshe answered him that his father should make a party and furthermore R' Moshe said that he wanted to speak at the party.

Not long after the party, the father died. When R' Moshe heard, he said that he wanted to speak at the man's funeral. In the eulogy that R' Moshe gave at the funeral, he made an allusion to the concept that certain people can achieve eternal heavenly reward by a single act. [Usually this concept is applicable to people who are killed for being Jewish or who take other singular great actions]. R' Moshe explained that this father had achieved eternal heavenly reward through the act of learning one single page of Talmud.

We can see from the Torah's discussion of the mincha offering and the story involving the yeshiva boy's father who chose to learn Talmud late in life that the actions of those who return can entitle them to incredible rewards, merely because they chose to act.

Finally, for those looking for crumbs for the seder, I offer some Haggada vorts of my own. I learned these in the Haggadah Otzar Midrashim and have attempted to reproduce them to the best of my ability.

The question is asked yearly - why do we wash our hands for urchatz without a brocha while making a brocha when we wash for rachtza later on? R' Moshe Feinstein explains that the seder is a night of song and praise to Hashem for taking the Jews out of Egypt. Much as one washes his hands without a brocha before praying, on this night we wash our hands without a brocha before starting the praise of Hashem at the seder.

Another vort I saw asked the famous question - how is avadim hayeenu an answer to the Ma Nishtana? The Shibalei Haleket answers that avadim hayeenu answers the last question - why on this night do we recline? By saying avadim hayeenu we answer the question - because we were previously slaves and have been redeemed from Egypt on this night - thus we are celebrating our freedom.

One more quick vort involved the fourth son at the seder - the sheayno yodayah l'shol - the one who does not know how to ask. The Be'er Mayim asks - how do we know that he is unable to ask? Maybe he knows all the answers and therefore does not need to ask any questions. The Be'er Mayim answers - if he was truly a chacham he would be asking questions as the ba'al Haggadah wrote - v'afilu kulan chachamim - even if we are all chachamim there is a mitzva on us to tell over the story of yitzias mitrzayim.

I wish all my readers a chag kasher v' sameyach. KosherBeers will return (i'yh) on Thursday April 8, 2010.


Yaakov said...

looking forward to the seder will you be bringing this haggadah to the seder cant wait

Neil T said...

Looking forward to it as well. I hope to be bringing the haggada and many of its vorts.