Thursday, March 31, 2016

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Shemini

The following is a brief summary of some of 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 (10:1-11) the Torah discusses the death of Nadav and Avihu, two of Aharon's sons who died on the first day of the Miluim. The Torah then writes in Vayikra 10:12 that Moshe spoke to Aharon's sons who were "Nosarim" - the surviving sons.

Rashi explains that Aharon's sons were all supposed to die because of Aharon's participation in the sin of the Egel. However, the prayers of Moshe saved two sons of Aharon from dying. But this is why they are referred to as Nosarim - because without Moshe's prayers they would have died as well.

R' Frand quoted the Shemen HaTov (R' Weinberger) who explains that the term "survivors" has a special connotation for Jews. We use that term for the Jews who survived the Holocaust. However, the term is being under utilized because all Jews are survivors. R' Frand noted that Hitler's plan was not just to kill all the Jews of Europe, he wanted to kill all Jews on the planet, but b'h he was stopped. In a sense, we are all survivors because Hashem allowed us all to live and not be wiped out by Hitler's plan.

R' Frand further explained that some people who survive a traumatic event view themselves as being survivor who have been saved and therefore need to dedicate their lives for a special purpose. He remarked that this should not be limited to those who were saved from the Holocaust in Europe as all Jews should understand that Hashem saved them for a reason.

R' Frand next quoted the pasuk in Vayikra 10:17 wherein it is stated that Moshe was "Darosh Dorash" about the Se'ir  for Rosh Chodesh which was burned.

R' Frand quoted the Gemara in Zevachim which explains that three sacrifices were brought on that date - the Se'ir for Rosh Chodesh, the sacrifice of Nachshon Ben Aminadav as the first of the Nese'im and the Chatas brought in conjunction with the Miluim. Based on halacha - an Onen normally cannot eat Kodshim, but Moshe told Aharon that he and his remaining sons could eat the korbanos as a Hora'as Sha'ah - a special dispensation because of the times.

The Gemara further explains that Moshe came to Aharon and saw that one of the sacrifices was burnt and not eaten ("V'Hinei Soraf"). This was the sacrifice for Rosh Chodesh. So Moshe asks - why did not you completely follow my directions and eat from this sacrifice? To this Aharon responded - the special dispensation was to the sacrifices which were for the dedication of the Mishkan. However, the sacrifice for Rosh Chodesh was not one of the special korbanos - so Moshe - you are wrong, I can't eat from this.

In response to this Moshe could have said, I'm wrong, or I heard it and I forgot.

R' Chaim Shmulevitz remarked that for anyone else, it would have been better to say - I'm wrong, then to say - I forgot. Indeed, by saying that he forgot, he could open himself up to questions as to what else he may have forgotten. Still, this was Moshe's derech, because a great leader needs to be able to admit that he made a mistake.

R' Frand tied this in to the concept of Yehuda being given the role of Malchus, as the Targum Yonasan explains the pasuk Yehuda Atah Yoducha Achecha (Bereishis 49:8) as - Yehuda you are worthy to be king because you admitted you were in the incident with Tamar.

R' Frand completed the vort by quoting a story about Rav Chaim Soloveitchik. When he was named as Rosh Yeshiva in Volozin there were those who thought that he was not worthy. The community arranged that he would have to give a shiur as a probba in front of three gedolim. R' Chaim came and gave the shiur and had the room mezmoriezed, but then abruptly sat down in the middle of the shiur because he realized that the concept did not synchonize with a Rambam. 

The assembled Rabbonim remarked - by admitting that you were wrong you have demonstrated that you are worthy to be the Rosh HaYeshiva.

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