Thursday, May 1, 2014

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Emor

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. 

[During this evening's shiur, R' Frand spent the overwhelming majority of the hour on the halachic portion of the shiur. Although the topic was fascinating, the end result was that the parsha portion of the shiur was quite short.]

This week's parsha contains a discussion of the lechem hapanim - the twelve loaves of bread which were baked fresh each week and remained warm from the moment they were placed on the shulchan, until they were removed one week later.

R' Frand said a vort in the name of R' Boruch Simon's sefer, Imrei Boruch, which quoted a gemara in the end of Meseches Chaggiga. The gemara recounted that at the end of a holiday when Jews were oleh regel to visit the Beis Hamikdash, the Kohanim would lift up the shulchan to show everyone the table with the lechem hapanim on it. The reason for lifting the table was to show the viewers that Hashem loves the Jewish people and as a result He miraculously keeps the bread warm and fresh for the entire week.

But the question can be asked - there were many miracles in the Beis Hamikdash - why was this the miracle which was chosen to show the Jews that Hashem loved them?

The Imrei Boruch answered the question by quoting the Pri Tzadok who writes that the warmth of the bread was an indicia of Hashem's warm feelings for the Jews. The lechem hapanim consisted of 12 loaves of bread which were parallel or symbolic of the twelve tribes of Israel. By keeping the 12 loaves of bread warm and fresh for the week, Hashem was showing that he loves all 12 tribes.

R' Frand noted that there is a minhag that a shul have 12 windows. Why? Because each tribe has its own derech to serve and come close to Hashem. No one path is more correct than another and all twelve tribes can serve Hashem in their own way. Similarly the 12 loaves of bread stayed warm because all 12 tribes and all their different minhagim are dear to Hashem.

R' Frand closed the vort by explaining that the message to the visitors who were oleh regel was - you will soon be returning to your home towns where there may be many different shuls and customs. Each of these customs and nuschaos are dear to Hashem and accepted by him, so do not disparage another for being different. 

R' Frand observed that this is yet another timely lesson for the period of sefiras ha'omer, when we mourn the death of 24,000 students of R' Akiva who died because they did not show respect for each other.

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