Thursday, May 12, 2016

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Kedoshim

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 19:14, the Torah states "Lo Sikalel Cheresh" - you shall not curse a deaf person. Rashi asks the obvious question - if a deaf person cannot hear, why is it that the Torah tells us not to curse him? Rashi answers that there is another pasuk in Sefer Shemos (22:27) which teaches that you should not curse anyone in your nation. As such the use of the deaf person teaches us that since the deaf person is alive, so too are you banned from cursing anyone alive, to exclude the dead.

The Ramban has a different view of the pesukim and explains that the pasuk in Shemos discusses a Nasi - a leader should not be cursed. There are many people between the level of Nasi and Cheresh. Thus the use of the two polar opposites teaches a binyan av - that anyone regardless of their stature should not be cursed. Furthermore, since the person who cannot even hear cannot be cursed, then someone who can hear and would be aware of the statement certainly should not be cursed. 

R' Frand next quoted the Sefer HaChinuch who had a more mussar oriented view. He explains that the question can be asked - why is cursing someone a sin - they are only words (ala sticks and stones). He answers that whether by Jews or non-Jews - people believe that words have value and that curses should not be verbalized. Occasionally, someone will say something and the result will come true. As such, the Torah is teaching us that even if the person cannot hear what is being said, do not curse him, because the words have meaning and affect.

R' Frand further explained that the power of speech is what sets humans apart from animals. The Torah states in Bereishis 2:7 that Hashem blew into Adam's nostrils when he was created. Targum Onkelos explains that this breath transformed Adam from a living creature to a human as it was a Ruach MiMallela - loosely translated as a Heavenly spirit which gave Adam the power of speech.

R' Frand closed the vort by stating that this is why berachos are important. People go to gedolim for blessings because they are closer to Hashem. However, the gemara teaches that he blessing of a commoner should not be light in your eyes. The reason why both are important is because words do have meaning and affect.

R' Frand also told a second vort which was based on the Sefer Kesav V'HaKabala. The Torah states in Vaykira 19:17 "Lo Sisna Es Achicha B'lvavecha" - that a person should not hate his brother in his heart. The pasuk also states "HoCha'ach Tochich'ach Es Amisecha" - that one should rebuke his fellow. However the second part of the pasuk should have been written L' Amisecha - to the fellow. So why is it written this way?

R' Frand explained that with the word L', the Torah would have made the rebuke on the person, whereas the word Es describes an object, not a person. When rebuking a person, it is important that they don't feel like they are criticized, just the sin itself. A person can say - you did xyz wrong, or he could say - I think that xyz might be a sin. If you tell the person that he did wrong, you would in all likelihood provoke a negative reaction. But if you say - I think this activity might be wrong, the person would be more willing to accept it.

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