Thursday, May 4, 2017

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshios Acharei Mos - Kedoshim

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 16:5 the Torah states that the Kohain Gadol took two goats as Chatas offerings. R' Frand quoted the sefer Shemen HaTov who asks the obvious question ---they are not both Chatas offerings! A Chatas requires shechitah by a Kohain and preparation and offering on a mizbayach. Although one of the goats was offered as a Chatas in the traditional manner, the second goat (the Se'ir L'Azazael) was brought to the desert and thrown off a cliff. So why does the Torah state that both goats were brought as a Chatas?

R' Frand answered by observing that the two goats were supposed to be "twins." The gemara explains that the two goats were to be equal in stature, size and value. The Kohain Gadol would then draw lots to determine which was brought on the altar and which was sent out.

But if the Kohain Gadol did not have both goats, then no goat could have been brought on the altar. It was only because he had two goats that he could do the lottery. So the second goat allows and enables the lottery, even if it is not brought as a true Chatas, because if you allow or enable something to occur, you get credit as well.

R' Frand then compared this to the Yissachar-Zevulun partnership, observing that one who supports and funds another person's Torah study, shares in the reward for the learning of Torah. The facilitator has the same halacha as one who does the act. So without the goat being brought to the desert, there would not be a goat brought on the altar.

R' Frand then tied this into the pasuk in Kedoshim ="V'Ahavta L'Reacha Kamocha" --taught as love your neighbor like yourself. R' Akiva famously observed that this is a major principle (Klal Gadol) of the Torah. Yet there is a different teaching of R' Akiva which on the surface would appear markedly different. The gemara in Bava Metzia 62 discusses two people walking in the desert with only enough water to sustain one of them. Ben Peturah stated that they should share so that one does not witness the death of the other. But R' Akiva there states --you drink it because your life comes first. 

How can this be the same R' Akiva?

R' Frand answered by quoting the Chidddushei HaRim who says that there is a different between gashmius (materialism) and ruchnius (spirituality). In the physical realm, your life comes first, because there is a possible loss. But in ruchnius, if I allow you to learn then I will get the reward as well --- I won't lose by this because the enabler gets reward. This is a klall gadol BaTorah -- in learning Torah. Similarly, the goat going to the cliff is the enabler which allows the other goat to be brought as a Chatas.

Rabbi Frand also said a second vort on the "V'Ahavta" pasuk. He quoted the Ramban who said that it is not possible to love another person as much as yourself. Perhaps if the other person was your spouse, or your child. But not a total stranger! And this would be why R' Akiva says that your life comes first, because he did not mean that it be taken literally.

But what does it mean then? The Ramban answers that a person should want someone else to have the same just as him. The same parnassah, the same nachas from children, etc. The Ramban writes that some people will say --you can be as rich as me, but not as smart, or as much respect/honor. Or maybe even a person will say you should have everything, but not on my level. But this is what the mitzva tells us ---you need to be happy that he has just like you and not be jealous of him.

R' Frand mentioned a study which observed that people who are on Facebook are generally less happy, because they see others and they are jealous that other people have things nicer than them. There was a story about a woman who went to a wedding instead of a beach party, but she spent the entire wedding checking Facebook for the beach party and she could not enjoy the wedding.

A good example of someone who lived this concept was Yehonasan who was happy and wanted David to be the king.

R' Frand closed the vort by quoting a Targum Yonasan who interprets the eulogy given by David for Yehonasan where he stated that his love for him was greater than the love "of two women." The Bobover Rebbi explains that these two women were Leah and Rachel. Although Rachel could have kept Ya'akov for herself, she gave the signs to Leah, even if the result could have been that she would have married Esav. This is the great love for another as oneself.

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