Thursday, April 25, 2013

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Emor

The following is a brief summary of thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parshios this evening. I have attempted to reproduce these vorts 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. 

Vaykira 24:10-23 contains the story of the mekallel - the person who blasphemes by cursing G-d. The Chumash begins by telling us that there was a man who had an Egyptian father and a Jewish mother and that this man got into a fight with another Jewish man. The son of the Jewish mother then cursed Hashem and he was put under guard until they could figure out what to do with him. Hashem then tells Moshe to take the man out and that everyone who heard him curse should put their hands on him and then stone him. Immediately thereafter, the Torah repeats the punishment, stating that whether one who curses is a Jew or a convert, he will be put to death. Next the Torah recites that the punishment for killing another Jew is death. Afterwards the Torah recites that a person who injures the property of another must pay. The Torah then states that one who who injures another should have the same done to him, with various specifications. Finally, the Torah gets back to the story of the mekallel and indicates that he was stoned. 

R' Frand asked - why did the mekallel curse Hashem? R' Frand answered by quoting R' Bechayei who quotes the Zohar who explains that the mother of the mekallel was Shlomis Bas Divri who was married to Dasan. One morning in Egypt, Dasan was sent to work by an Egyptian and the Egyptian snuck into Dasan's home and pretended to be him. When Dasan found out, he fought the Egpytian and Moshe saved Dasan by using Hashem's name to kill the Egyptian. 

The story then fast forwards to this week's parsha. Why was the mekallel cursing Hashem? Because the mekallel meets Shlomis' current husband and the man tells the mekallel - do you know how your father died? He died when Moshe said Hashem's name. The mekallel is so mad that he blasphemes by cursing Hashem. 

R' Frand then asked - why are these rules about property damage and punishment for killing inserted after the rule for killing the mekallel and before he is actually killed? Also, why does the Torah recite that the convert has the same rule as a Jew? This is usually written when there is a doubt!

R' Frand answered by quoting  a sefer (I am unclear as to the name of the sefer but believe it may involve the word Tzror) who explains that Hashem is saying that He takes the honor of the Jews as seriously as His own honor. The one who curses Hashem will be killed, but also one who kills another will be killed because it is like an attack on Hashem. 

R' Frand then quoted the Tolner Rebbi who explains that the reason the Torah specifies that the rule applies to a convert and a Jew is to make clear that the convert is treated just like a Jew born from Jewish parents - both types of people are taken seriously by Hashem because they are both created in Hashem's image.

R' Frand also mentioned an answer given by R' Moshe Feinstein in Darash Moshe. R' Moshe explains that the reason that these other laws are quoted here is because a person is about to be put to death and that this is very serious. Before killing a person, the Torah recites all the laws of killing or hurting another Jew to show that this act normally has severe consequences. Only because this man cursed Hashem do we dispense with punishing those who will injure and kill him.

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