Thursday, May 7, 2015

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.

In Vayikra (21:6) the Torah states "V'lo Sichalilu es Shem Kadshi." Rashi comments on the pasuk that a person who commits an aveirah on purpose has created a Chillul Hashem. 

R' Frand gave examples of modern day Chillul Hashem such as parking in a handicapped space when you are identifiable as a Jew. But there are examples of Chillul Hashem even in private.

Rashi continues - what is the meaning of "V'Nikdashti" in Vayikra (22:32) - there is a mitzva of Kiddush Hashem where a person gives up their life in the service of Hashem.

R' Frand again gave examples of modern day Kiddush Hashem - like when the Orthodox Jew bought a desk with a hidden treasure inside and he gave back the treasure.

R' Frand opined that one could say in today's era that it is difficult to make a Kiddush Hashem as B'H we live in an enlightened society where one does not have to give up his life to worship Hashem. However, there are ways that one can do this.

R' Frand quoted from the Rambam who writes that a person who commits an aveirah, not because of desire or weakness but because he wants to break a Torah rule - creates a Chillul Hashem. And if the person does this in front of ten or more people, he creates a Chillul Hashem B'Rabim.

But the Rambam writes that similarly, if a person does a mitzva or holds back from committing an aveirah - not because he wants to have a good image, or out of fear - but because he wants to keep Hashem's Torah - creates a Kiddush Hashem. Similarly - one who does a mitzva or refrains from an aveirah - where no one sees him is mikayaim Kiddush Hashem.

The Rambam gives an example - like Yosef HaTzaddik. He did not commit an avierah and not for honor or out of fear, just because it was wrong. The Rambam explains that this is called Kiddush Hashem because the person gives over himself to Hashem - he gives up what he wants, in order to serve Hashem. R' Frand observed that mesiras nefesh is translated in English as self-sacrifice - a person sacrifices what he wants in order to do what Hashem wants.

R' Frand stated that he used to dislike when people used the phrase meiras nefesh to describe someone who went out of his way to do a mitzva. The person is not giving up their life. But R' Frand said that he has a new understanding of this because the person gives up his individual needs or desires to some mitzva.

R' Frand next quoted R' Avraham Schur (sp?) who explains a Sfas Emes interpreting a Gemara in Yoma. The Gemara records the questions asked in judgment after death. They ask - why did you not learn Torah? If a poor person says that he was poor and had to work hard - they say - were you more poor than Hillel? If he was rich and says  that he was too busy in business - they will ask - were you more rich than R' Eliezer Ben Charsum? And if he was a rasha they will ask - were you more of a rasha than Yosef HaTzaddik? The gemara concludes that Hillel is mechayev the poor, R' Eliezer - the rich and Yosef - the resha'im.

The Sfas Emes asks - why does Yosef convict the resha'im? They would have the perfect answer - there was only one Yosef! Who else is called HaTzaddik? I'm not Yosef HaTzaddik!

The Sfas Emes answers that Yosef withstood the yetzer hara and in so doing implanted in our DNA the ability to fight the yetzer hara. Without Yosef, you would be right. But this is part of your ancestry and heritage and DNA. So when the Rambam writes that a person fights off the yetzer hara he is like Yosef HaTzaddik - because Yosef gave up himself and so can he.

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