Thursday, April 16, 2015

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Shemini

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.

R' Frand first quoted from the Parsha's discussion of the tragic death of the sons of Aharon, Moshe's subsequent conversation with Aharon in which he said that the Mishkan would become holy through the death of the Kedoshim and Aharon's stoic reaction.

R' Frand prefaced his dvar Torah by saying that he wanted to say a vort from his 5th Grade Rebbi - R' Chaim Tzvi Hollander (who is still Rebbi in Eretz Yisrael!) who recounted the following explanation in the name of someone else. He stated that after the Holocaust there were Jews who lost all hope and their desire to be Jews. A Rav visited them and said a vort based on the Rashbam who had a different take on Bkrovai Akadesh in which Rashi explained that with the death of Nadav and Avihu the Mikdash would be holy. The Rashbam explains that Aharon did not want to serve as Kohain Gadol because of his pain. Moshe responded that by Aharon and his remaining sons putting away their personal pain and continuing to serve and make a Kiddush Hashem - that is Bkrovai Akadesh. The Rashbam explains that by continuing to be Ovdei Hashem despite seeing a terrible tragedy - they make a Kiddush Hashem.

R' Frand next quoted from an undated letter of the Chofetz Chaim which R' Frand said was from the other side of the spectrum. The letter was printed in a sefer of the Chofetz Chaim in which he wrote that he was pained by the fighting between Rabbis and their public articles/pamphlets in which they criticize and scorn each other's position. As a result, the entire Galus is lit up with the fire of machlokes and newspapers are filled with stories of the fighting and even Israel has fallen into the trap of machlokes.

The Chofetz Chaim wrote that these people who fight - even l'shem Shamayim - in the end, the human condition makes the dispute personal.

R' Frand tied this thought into the reason that Jews mourn during sefirah for the death of R' Akiva's 24,000 students who did not show respect for one and other. But why did they die? The failure to show respect is wrong and a lav in the Torah - but not something that is Chayav Missa! 

The Chofetz Chaim answered that people were Chayav Missa because they created a Chillul Hashem - that people looked and said - how can these people, how can Rabbis act like this? And the sin of Chillul Hashem is punishable by death. 

This is what we need to do during Sefirah - making Kiddush Hashem and avoiding Chillul Hashem.

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