Thursday, May 5, 2016

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Acharei Mos

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.

This week's parsha contains the aftermath of the death of the sons of Aharon, Nadav and Avihu. The Medrash Tanchuma writes four different reasons why these sons died: (1) They came close to the Ohel Moed when it was not an appropriate time; (2) They brought an unsanctioned sacrifice; (3) They brought an Aish Zara and (4) They did not consult one with the other before they brought the sacrifice. The Medrash

R' Frand asked - why is the failure to consult a reason for their being killed? Is there any reason to believe that consulting one with the other would have prevented the sin? R' Frand answered in the name of R' Dovid Soloveichik that this teaches a lesson about human nature. When a person does wrong, they may not realize that it is a wrongful act. But if you see another person doing the same thing, you might realize that it is wrong. And when that person asks you, is this the right thing, you can answer no its not - and prevent the wrong. R' Frand tied this into a homiletic explanation of a mishna in Negaim which states that anyone can view negaim, except the person himself. R' Frand explained - everyone can see what is being done wrong, except the person himself.

R' Frand next said a vort which compared the two different sections of this week's parsha which are read on Yom Kippur. The first four aliyos of the parsha are read on Yom Kippur morning and deal with the avodah done by the Kohain Gadol. Portions of the sixth and seventh aliyos are read later at mincha and deal with immoral activity. R' Frand asked - how is it that both of these are read on Yom Kippur? What happened between Shacharis and Mincha? R' Frand answered that when a person is on the highest possible level, that is when the yetzer hara makes a strong push to knock the person down. He quoted the Maharal who explains that it was no coincidence that the story of the Egel occurred right after Kabbalas HaTorah - because the yetzer hara was working overtime to try to bring the Jews down.

R' Frand also quoted a gemara in Yoma 19 which discussed a minhag that after the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash that they would reenact the keeping awake of the Kohain Gadol. But one year they stayed up in a group of men and women together and levity ruled the night. How is this possible? Because the yetzer hara was working hard to try to knock the Jews down from their heights, even on Yom Kippur, or perhaps especially because it was Yom Kippur. Because at the same time that there was a desire for purity, there was also a desire on the part of the yetzer hara to knock them down.

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