Thursday, March 17, 2011

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits Parshas Tzav

Due to the late running fast, Rabbi Frand did not give a live shiur this evening. Rather than go without divrei torah tonight, I have reproduced a vort that he said on Parshas Tzav a number of years ago. Usual rules apply - I have attempted to reproduce the vort to the best of my ability. 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.

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