Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Emor

The following is a brief summary of a thought said over by R' Mansour in a shiur on the parsha which can be found at 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' Mansour.

The first pasuk in Parshas Emor states that Hashem told Moshe to tell the Kohanim the laws of priestly purity. The Medrash on this pasuk states that Hashem had shown Moshe how King Saul would be killed by the hands of the Pelishtim. Moshe asked Hashem - why would King Saul be killed in this manner? Hashem responded to Moshe - because King Saul killed off the Kohanim of the City of Nov.

As related in Nach - King Saul thought that the Kohanim of the City of Nov had rebelled against him. As such, he had all of the Kohanim of the city killed. According to this Medrash, Hashem said to Moshe - you want to know why King Saul was killed - go ask the Kohanim (emor el hakohanim).

R' Mansour pointed out the obvious problem with this Medrash. In Shmuel, the Navi writes about how King Saul was Ordered by Hashem to kill all of Amelek, including the animals. King Saul did not listen to Shmuel and allowed the animals to live so that they could be brought as sacrificies. More importantly, King Saul allowed Agag the King of Amalek to live one more night. During that night, Agag fathered a child, thus allowing Amalek to perpetuate. Shmuel then found out about King Saul's actions and told him - because you did not follow the Order, you will be killed.

R' Mansour answered the obvious contradiction by stating that King Saul could have said to Hashem - I had too much mercy, I'm sorry that I could not kill them all. However, King Saul's actions later in life in killing off the entire City of Nov betrays this reasoning. Since King Saul showed no mercy to the Kohanim of Nov, he could not escape punishment by claiming that he was merciful in allowing Agag to live.

R' Mansour underscored this vort by tying this into the concept of how one does mitzvos. A person may seek to justify his actions/inactions based on the cost of the mitzva - but the person needs to be consistent. R' Mansour gave an example by making reference to matza. It is well documented that shmurah matza can easily run $20 a pound. A person can spend $100 buying matza for the seder and wind up with 40 pieces of matza. The man may then complain about the cost of matza and seek to rationalize why he is not spending the money. But how does the same person act when he goes out to a restaurant? Will he bat an eyelash at spending $30 on a pasta dish, even though the box of pasta costs one dollar? If he uses expense as an excuse not to do a mitzva on the mehudar level, he should be certain that he uniformly acts this way for permissive matters as well.

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1 comment:

Rishona said...

Yasher koach! Very enjoyable blog by the way :-)