Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Emor

The following is a brief summary of a thought said over by R' Frand on the parsha 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.

The second pasuk of this week's parsha states that Moshe was commanded to tell the Kohanim that they should not allow themselves to become tamei. In so doing, the pasuk uses the verb "emor" (tell) twice. Rashi quotes the Gemara in Yevamos which asks why does the Torah use the verb twice? The gemara answers that the pasuk is telling the fathers that they should teach their children to be careful not to come in contact with tumah of dead bodies.

R' Frand quoted R' Sorotzkin in Aznayim L'Torah who notes that the Torah has two other places where parents are advised to teach a specific rule to their children. One of these is in connection with consuming blood while the other is not to eat vermin. In regards to each of these two other issurim, the gemara does not use a double language to learn that the father must teach the child not to transgress these commandments and only in connection with tumah does the Torah teach the rule through a redundancy.

R' Sorotzkin asks - why is it that only in connection with tumah is a repetition used to instruct the parent that he must teach the child not to have contact with tumah? He answers that a child learns from his parents and from what they see in the street/school. If a child is in a positive environment, the child will learn from the parents and the street/society will reinforce it. However, in a society which does not have the same values, it will be more difficult to teach the child.

In connection with not eating blood or vermin, the street teaches the same values as the kohain. Therefore, there is reinforcement to the child. However, when the child's friends want to play near a cemetery and the friends are not kohanim, the child will be subject to ridicule or peer pressure - why don't you want to play with us here? It is in this situation that the child needs the reinforcement of a double instruction from the father to be reminded that he is different.

R' Frand then quoted R' Isaac Bernstein who enhanced this vort by quoting R' Yaakov Kaminetsky. A later pasuk teaches that if a kohen's daughter has an affair while engaged, she gets the penalty of seraifah - burning, which is the most severe form of death. Why? Because she embarrassed her father. But why does she get this severe penalty?

R' Frand quoted a gemara in Sukkah which he used to answer the question. The gemara discusses Miriam the daughter of the house of Bilgah. The house of Bilgah was punished in their receipt of Lechem Hapanim because of the actions of Miriam. What happened? Miriam left the religion and married a greek general. When the greeks invaded the Beis Hamikdash, Miriam came with them and hit the altar with her shoe and said "Lukus, Lukus" (wolf, wolf) how long will you steal the Jews' money? The gemara then asks - why is her family punished for her actions? The gemara answers that she must have heard the complaints of Lukus, Lukus at home, therefore her family was punished.

R' Kaminetsky noted that only the daughter of a Kohain was punished for her actions as being reflected of her father. Why only the daughter? Because during those times the daughter was only at home and did not go to school. As such, any actions that she took which were off the derech were solely reflective of her home as there was no environment to influence her.

R' Frand also quoted the Satmar Rav who explained the Miriam story. He asked - why is that the parents were only punished for Lukus Lukus and not because she converted out and married a non-Jew? The Satmar Rav answered that it happens that a girl meets a boy and is led astray because she has fallen in love with him. This cannot be blamed on the parents. But the fact that she said Lukus Lukus is reflective of her home environment and it is for this reason that her family was punished.

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