Thursday, April 26, 2018

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshios Acharei Mos-Kedoshim

The following is a brief summary of some of thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parshios 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.

R' Frand began discussing Parshas Acharei Mos by noting that the beginning of the parsha is read on Yom Kippur. Some machzorim have an introductory quote from the Zohar which states that anyone who cries over the death of Nadav & Avihu will be saved from (r'l) the death of a child. 

[I heard a shiur once from R' Mansour about this where he noted that the Sefardim have a pizmon which is read before the Kriah on Yom Kippur which is meant to evoke such feelings].

R' Frand noted that there are many sad events which take place in Chaumash, so why is the only event where there is a segualh if one mourns over it? R' Frand answered by quoting the Rav of Ponovich (sp?) who explains that Nadav & Avihu were exceptional people, to the point that Moshe remarks that he thought that either he or Aharon would need to die, but Nadav & Avihu were holier then them.

Based on this, one should wonder, what would have happened to the Jewish people had Nadav & Avihu not died and instead were able to instill their kedushah in the Jewish people? For that matter, the Rav continued, think about all the great tzaddikim and anshei ma'aseh who died in the Holocaust. Although it has recently been written that the Jews are approaching the makeup point for the death of the six million, think about how much more Torah and kedushah we would have if these people had not died in the Holocaust. Or what about the talmidim of R' Akiva - 24,000 tanaim who perished and did not have the opportunity to teach Torah. This is the tragedy one should mourn, that the people, be they Nadav & Avihu, or the Karbanos in the Holocaust or the students of R' Akiva did not have the chance to make an impression on the Jewish people.

R' Frand's second vort related to the Avodah on Yom Kippur. He quoted the Gemara in Yoma which talks about how the Kohain Gadol was kept awake all night by the young Kohanim, while outside the "Yakirei Yerushalim" - the precious one- would walk around noisly in order to keep him awake. 

R' Frand asked - why are these people called the precious ones? If anything, the young Kohanim who actually sat with and occupied the Kohain Gadol should be given the accolades!

He answered by quoting the Tolner Rebbi, who explains that the young Kohanim had a personal satisfaction in their acts as they could "tell their grandchildren" one day about what they did that night...But the people on the outside did not have that satisfaction. They did what they did, without seeing the Kohain Gadol or even knowing whether he could hear them. 

R' Frand's final vort related to the actions of Nadav & Avihu. The Medrash Tanchuma quotes Bar Kappara who explains the four reasons they were punished: (1) they came close without permission; (2) they brought a sacrifice without permission; (3) the fire itself was from a foreign source and (4) they did not consult one with the other before bringing their sacrifices.

The final answer is curious, as there is a Medrash that they each independently decided to bring the sacrifice. But if that was the case, why would their consultation have accomplished anything?

R' Frand answered by quoting R' Dovid Soloveitchik who explains that if one had asked the other, he would have gotten a response of --why are you doing this, there is no permission to do so! He connected it to the rule as to blemishes that a Kohain can view all blemishes to determine if they are tamei, except for his own. He read into the statement of law that a person can see blemishes in others, but not his own.

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