Thursday, February 6, 2014

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Tezaveh

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

Towards the beginning of the parsha, Hashem commands Moshe in Shemos 28:1 to bring Aharon and his sons close to Moshe. It is at this point that Aharon's family becomes designated as the Kohanim who will serve Hashem in the Mishkan and eternally.

R' Frand quoted a curious Medrash Rabbah on a pasuk in Tehillim that when Hashem told Moshe that Aharon's family would be the Kohanim, Moshe was bothered.  Hashem then said to Moshe - why are you upset? I gave you the Torah and without the Torah the world would be destroyed.

R' Frand identified two problems with the Medrash: (1) why was Moshe upset? How could he be jealous of Aharon, especially since Moshe was reluctant to be the leader when the Jews were leaving Egypt because Moshe was worried about hurting Aharon's feelings!

R' Frand's second question was on Hashem's answer to Moshe - how can this make Moshe feel better? And besides, the Torah was given to more than just Moshe!

R' Frand answered by quoting the Sefer Yismach Moshe which R' Frand had been alerted to by R' Avraham Bukspan of Miami. The Yismach Moshe explained that Moshe was upset because he thought that the reason that he was not named Kohen was because there was something wrong with him. Hashem's answer to Moshe was - no because there is nothing wrong with you, you cannot be the Kohain.

R' Frand cited the Yismach Moshe which explained that the Kohain assists those who sinned and have come to do teshuva and bring sacrifices to atone for their mistakes. Hashem said to Moshe - Aharon is better to serve this job because he can say "been there, done that" since Aharon had sinned at the Golden Calf.

This also explains Hashem's answer to Moshe. The gemara describes how when Moshe went up to shamyaim to receive the Torah the angels said - how can a man get the Torah. Hashem then said to Moshe - give them an answer. Moshe responded to them - the Torah says I am Hashem who took you out of Egypt - were you enslaved in Egypt? The Torah says don't worship other gods - do you have access to other gods? The Torah says keep Shabbos and don't work on Shabbos - do you work?

Hashem's answer to Moshe was - you received the Torah because you were able to say to the angels - I was there, I have been there and done that. But that is also why you cannot be the Kohain, because you cannot empathize with those who sinned. But Aharon can.

R' Frand closed the vort by making reference to a pasuk in Shemini (Vayikra 9:7) where Moshe told Aharon to come close to the mizbayach. Rashi on this pasuk explains that Aharon was embarrassed to come near the altar because Aharon had sinned. Moshe then tells Aharon - it was for this reason that you were chosen. In so doing, Moshe demonstrated that he was aware of the reason that he and his brother had their respective positions.

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