The Parsha begins with the words “ Im Bechukosaye Teilech. If you will go in my ways.” We read this portion of the Torah every year before Matan Torah. This is in order to put the curses that are contained in this weeks Parsha behind us before the new year. In fact they are read twice. Once before Rosh Hashana and once before Matan Torah. The question is what is the connection of these curses to Matan Torah?

   We know that whenever a person sins he creates a Malach Rah, a bad Angel, that causes bad things to occur to him. Every time something bad happens to a person it's for a reason. Even the smallest thing such as pulling the wrong coin out of one’s pocket is a form of punishment for some transgression, or if a person were to stub his toe. All of these things are considered paying off the debts of sin. Except in the case where a person says all of these things are just happening by accident. They are not part of any master plan but just plain bad luck. If a person doesn't attribute these happenings to Hashem then Hashem say's I will leave you to your random luck. I won't play a hand in your fate. Then any misfortunes that occur are not removed as payment for the debt of his sins. This is born out by the verse (26:21) "V'Im Teilchu Imi Keri-If you will behave with me casually." The word "Keri" has the same numerical value as the words "Derech HaTeva. (She'ris Yisroel)

   This is why we read from this portion prior to Matan Torah. We want the curses to come in the meaning full way. So that they can reduce our debts and we can enter the New Year with a fresh beginning.

   (26:5) “V’achaltem Lachmacha L’Sova-You will eat your bread and be satisfied.” Rashi says that the blessing will be inside of you. Whatever amount you have will satisfy you. However the verse before says that Hashem will bless your crops to be abundant. If there is abundant food why do we need the blessing of “V’achaltem Lachmacha L’Sova-You will eat your bread and be saisfied.”? There is an additional blessing here. There are times when a person can have abundance and still not be satisfied. The blessing here is two fold. There will be plenty and you will be satisfied.

   (26:13) “V’ani Hashem Asher Hotzaisi M’Eretz Mitzrayim-I am Hashem who took you out of Egypt.” Why not proclaim the G-d who created the world? The previous verse mentions that Hashem will walk with us and we will be His people. What is the connection here? How can we reach such a level as to walk along side of Hashem? Because Hashem took us out of Mitzrayim, out from being mere slaves.

   “V’Olech Eschem Komimyus-And you will walk upright.”You will be able to go into Eretz Yisroel not horizontal as in a box. But rather upright.

      (26:31) “V’Lo Areyach B’Reiach Nichoach-I will not savor the fragrance of your sweet odors.” This phrase “Reiach Nichoach” is found frequently in the Torah. It is explained by Rashi to mean that Hashem is pleased that He commands and Yisrael follows. But if there is no temple and no sacrifices being brought, of course Hashem will not savor their sweet smells? The Ohr Hachaim explains this to mean that Hashem will not even be pleased with the good deeds of the Jewish people at that time.

     (26:40) "V'Hisvadu es Avonom ...B'Maalom Asher Mo'alu Bi Vaf Asher Holchu Imi Keri-You will confess your sins...for the unfaithfulness with which they betrayed me and also for  walking contrary to me." What is the difference between being unfaithful and walking contrary to Hashem? In Posuk 43 it gives two reasons for the curses. Shmita and not learning Torah. Perhaps this is referring to these two sins. Waking contrary to Hashem is not learning Torah as in the beginning of this Parsha "I'm Bechukosai Teylechu." Shmitah refers to being unfaithful, not believing that Hashem will provide during the Shmita year.

  (26:42) “V’zocharty es Bris Yakov V’af es Brisi Yitzchok V’af es Brisi Avraham Ezkor V’Haaretz Ezkor- I will remember my covenant with Yakov and also my covenant with Yitzchok and also my covenant with Avraham I will remember, and I will remember the land.” There are several difficulties that present themselves with this Posuk. 1. Why are the Avos mentioned in reverse order? 2. Why is the land mentioned? 3. Why is there no mention of remembrance by Yizchok? And why is Yakov’s name spelled full with the letter “Vav”?

   The Ramban develops a theme that the two Tochachot refer to two different time periods. The first, in this Parsha, refers to the destruction of the first Beis Hamikdosh. The second in Parshas KiSavo, predicts the conditions of the destruction of the second Beis Hamikdosh. The Ramban proves this theme by bringing many examples from the Posukim in the Tochacha. For example “Az Tirtzeh Ha’aretz es Shabsoseha-Then the land shall make up for it’s Shabosos” (26:34) in the first Tochacha refers to the Golus Bavel, the seventy years of Golus between the first and second Temples paralleled the seventy Shmita years that were not kept during the first Beis Hamikdosh. By contrast, in the second Tochacha it states “V’hefitzcha Hashem B’chol H’Amim Miktzei H’aretz V’ad K’tzei H’aretz- Hashem will scatter you among all the peoples from one end of the Earth to the other end of the Earth” (28:64) This occurred when Titus took captives from Eretz Yisroel and spread them across many countries. He took the younger captives and left their parents weeping as it says. “Bonecha U’binosecha Nosnim L’am Acher V’einechah R’ous Vein Lel Yodechah-Your sons and daughters shall be given to another people, your eyes shall see and your hands will be powerless.” (28:32)

    If we take the Ramban’s theme a step further we can suggest that there is a third Tochacha, which Rashi states was the harshest curse of them all. (31:18) “V’anochi Haster Aster Ponai-I will surely hide my face.” This is what Moshe Rabbeinu said, near the end of the Torah, before giving over the leadership to Yehoshua. The most often asked question about the Shoah was “How could Hashem let such unimaginable suffering befall his people?” In other words how could Hashem hide his face, as it were, from his people?

   If we now look at the Posuk, the order of the Avos makes sense. Each covenant refers to the three periods we discussed and in that order. Yakov represents the Midah of Emes. The first Beis Hamikdosh was destroyed because of Avodah Zorah, false Gods which is the opposite of truth. The second Beis Hamikdosh was destroyed because of groundless hatred.

   Yitzchok’s Midah was Gevura-strength. That generation had individual strength but they channeled it only towards themselves like Essav who took that Midah of strength and used it to conquer anyone who stood in his path. This could be why the punishment of the second Beis Hamikdosh, was carried out by the descendants of Essav namely Rome.

   Avraham had the Midah of Chessed. He was able to spread that Chessed to his surrounding nations without himself becoming assimilated. The European Jewry experienced tremendous freedoms to express their Yiddishkeit, but unlike Avraham, many who became involved with the building of their host nations became assimilated.

   This then explains the order of the Avos in this Posuk. But with regard to the mentioning of the land perhaps we can say that as we see today, the entire world is involved with the Mid-East. This tiny piece of land is the basis of conflict around the world. The fact that Klal Yisroel is connected to the land and will never again give it up, could be what the end of the Posuk is referring to. “V’Haaretz Ezkor- I will remember the land.” I will remember the sacrifice that Klal Yisroel makes to keep the land and perhaps through this the redemption will come.

   We now are left with two questions. Why the “Vav” in Yakov’s name? And why is there no mention of remembering by Yitzchok? Rashi explains both of these questions as follows. Yitzchok needs no remembering because his ashes from the Akeidah remain gathered before Hashem constantly. Secondly this is one of five places that Yakov took the letter “Vav” from Eliyahu Hanavi's name as collateral in order to insure the eventual redemption of his descendants.  The question remains though regarding Yitzchok as to why? Why was this act of the Akeidah different than so many acts of Kiddush Hashem that are recorded in the Torah? So different that it remains a constant reminder before Hashem? Was not Avraham’s self sacrifice at Ur Kasdim as great? The image of Yakov is said to be on the very throne of Hashem. Is that not enough of a reminder?

   The Maharal answers that Yitzchok so negated his physical existence that his soul actually left his body. He became the first case of Techiyas Hamaisim in the Torah. Yitzchok, the first Jew born of two Jewish parents, was the paradigm of all future Jews to follow. All of his R’mach Avarim were given over to the service of Hashem. This possibility of reincarnation had to be instilled into Klal Yisroel from the start.

    According to what we have said, that Yakov’s name is spelled with the letter “Vav” to insure the eventual redemption of his descendants. We may suggest that this Posuk hints to when that eventual redemption will take place. “V’zocharty es Bris Yakov-- I will remember my covenant with Yakov.” When will He remember? The Goan of Vilna writes that for every Posuk in the Torah there is a corresponding year in history. The world as we know it is predicted to remain for six thousand years. However there aren’t six thousand Posukim in the Torah. There are only 5846 according to the Bible Scholar. What does this mean? We have a principal that says Acharis K'Reishis-The last is like the first. Just as the first redemption, Yetzias Mitzraim was shortened by 190 years,(Originally we were destined to serve in Egypt for 400 years but we were redeemed after 210 years) so too perhaps the final redemption will be shortened as well. If we calculate the Gematria of this Posuk (26:42) “V’zocharty es Bris Yakov V’af es Brisi Yitzchok V’af es Brisi Avraham Ezkor V’Haaretz Ezkor” it equals 5288. What is missing to bring Moshiach is the Zechira of Yitzchok’s Mesiras Nefesh. The difference between 5846 (the amount of Posukim in the Torah) and 5288 (the Gematria of this Posuk) is 558 which equals Kol Ramach H’avarimAll 248 limbs. This represents the essence of who Yitzchak was. His willingness to sacrifice himself totally to Hashem. This willingness of Klal Yisroel to sacrifice their entire being, that Mesiras Nefesh is what is needed to bring the final Geula.

  (26:44) “V’af Gam Zos B’Hyosom B’Ertez Oyveichem Lo M’astim V’Lo Galtim L’Chalosom L’Hofair Brisy Itom Ki Ani Hashem.” All this notwithstanding even when they are in the land of their enemies I will not despise them and I will not loathe them to annihilate them, to break my covenant with them, for I am their G-D.” In every generation Klal Yisroel was able to restore Torah learning and Mitzvah observance by Hashem providing us with great Torah leaders. With every religious persecution , no matter how many pogroms, we have clung steadfast to our heritage. Each time we have witnessed an unbelievable resurgence of Torah scholarship and Mitzvah observance. Hashem has kept His promise as found in this week’s Parsha, and Jewery has always continued to experience a rebirth in both Gashmiyus and Ruchnius throughout this long Golus

   (26:45) “Vzocharty Lochem Bris Reshonim Asher Hotzaisi Osom M’Ertez Mitzrayim L’Aynei H’Goyim Lihiyos Lochem L’Elokim- And I will remember for them the covenant of the First ones, those who I have taken out of Egypt before the eyes of the nations to be G-d unto them.” This verse needs expounding. Who is the remembering connected to? Rashi says it is the Tribes. But the Posuk says “who I have taken out of Mitzrayim”? The twelve tribes never left there, but rather died 


(25:1) “Vayidabaer Hashem el-Moshe Behar Sinai-Hashem spoke to Moshe on Har Sinai.” Rashi asks why is this din of Shmita mentioned as coming from Sinai, weren't all the Mitzvos from Sinai? He answers that just as here the details were given, so too all the Mitzvos that were given at Sinai even if the details weren't mentioned, they were given at Sinai. But there is another reason for it's being mentioned. At Sinai Benei Yisroel reached a level so great that they would not have needed to worry about earthly pursuits. This too was what the Shmita year meant. If they keep the Mitzvos, then in the year of Shmita they would not need to worry about food. It was this Mitzvah that encompassed the idea of totally relying on Hashem. Of leaving one’s means of sustenance entirely in the hands of his own Emunah. This is also why the Posuk refers to the Shmitah year as Shabbos L’Hashem. In so doing the Torah likens it to the weekly Shabbos. Just as Shabbos is a day that should be devoted to Hashem through prayer, Torah study and refraining from empty pursuits, so too the Shabbos year should not be a time of idleness and emptiness, but spiritual growth.

   We need a weekly Shabbos to remind us of our purpose in going through the six work days. But we also need a Shabbos of years to absorb the Emunah into our bones. The Shmita year resembles the earth before the sin.. Just as the earth before the sin produced food without labor. So too the Shmita years provide sustenance without labor.

   The word Shmita has the numerical value of 364. If you calculate the number of Shabbosim there are in 7 years (52 x 7) it equals 364. But since the solar year has 52 weeks plus one day, it comes out that every seven years there is one extra Shabbos? This could be why when referring to Yovel the Posuk says Shabbos Shabbosom an extra Shabbos.

   The Amida of the week days contain the same eighteen blessings for all three daily prayers. Shacharis, Mincha and Maariv. The same is true with regards to the Amida of Yom Tov. However Shabbos is the exception. Each of the Shabbos prayers are different. The evening prayer corresponds to the original Shabbos of creation. A perfect time void of sin. The Morning prayer is a reminder of the giving of the Torah at Sinai, where Klal Yisroel attained the level of Adom before the sin. The afternoon prayer corresponds to the future Shabbos, when Moshiach will herald in the new world order.

   There are three types of Shabbosim. The first is the weekly Shabbos we have that represents the end of physical creation. The second is Shmita it is the Shabbos that happens every seven years. This is the Shabbos that is embedded in history. It represents the end of time when Hashem will be able to rest from the labor of moving history to its destiny. Just as the weekly Shabbos is a time to reflect on our goal in life, so too the Shmita is reminiscent of our ultimate goal in Messianic times. The Yovel is the third Shabbos. It comes every fifty years and presents the Shabbos as the contact point between creation and Hashem, when all of mankind will once again unite with the creator. It is the Shabbos of the higher world, the realm of eight which is beyond our natural world of seven..

The first Mishnah in Avos wites “Moshe Kibel Torah M’Sinai-Moshe received the Torah from Sinai.” The question is didn’t Moshe receive the Torah on Sinai. What is the meaning of “from Sinai”? The Nesivos Sholom answers that Sinai here does not refer to the mountain but rather the experience. The heavens opened wide and the entire nation experienced Hashem in a way that was never again repeated. The sages teach that they had such absolute clarity of faith that they 'saw' the words of Hashem. They had no doubts about Hashem’s existence. This is what the Mishneh is teaching. Moshe received the Torah from Sinai Of course the Torah was received from Hashem. But the level of Emunah that was reached through the experience at Sinai served as the conduit through which the Torah could and would flow down to us all.

(25:2) “Veshavsah Haaretz Shabbos L’Hashem- The land shall observe a Shabbos rest for Hashem.” Rashi says for the name of Hashem, just as it was stated by the Shabbos of Bereishis. What does this mean? What is the connection to the Shabbos of Bereishis? We know that the first Shabbos was not commanded to anyone. It was a Shabbos to Hashem. The purpose of the creation of the physical world was for the spiritual, represented by Shabbos. The Ramban writes that the comparison between Shemitah and Shabbos is that both bear testimony to Hashem’s creation of the universe in six days and His rest on the seventh. The years of the Shimitah cycle allude to the six thousand years of this world’s existence climaxed by the seventh millennium, which will be a period of Moshiach, of peace and tranquility. If Shmita relates to Shabbos and the six days of the week relate to the 6,000 years the world is destined to exist, what then does Yovel relate to?

   Rabeinu Bachya writes that seven times seven years refers to the ultimate Yovel after 49,000 years which is the lifespan of the universe. This concept in turn could incorporate the concept discussed at length by the Ohr Hachaim in which the author is at pains to prove that our universe is not the first of these seven cycles but is already the fifth such cycle, previous cycles having contained lower forms of life only, including prehistoric man.

   (25:2) "Ki Sovo el H’aretz Asher Ani Nosain Lochem V’Shovsah H’aretz Shabbos L’Hashem-When you enter the land that I will give to you, then the land will keep a Shabbos to Hashem" Why is the first year upon entering the land, a Shabbos year? The Shmita year mirrors the earth before the first sin. Produce came without effort. This is the ideal, to take us back to Adom before the sin. An entire year was needed to drive home the message that everything comes from Hashem. After spending forty years of having all of their physical needs provided for them by Hashem, Klal Yisroel knew that upon entering the land they would be required to come back to reality. Perhaps this is the reason for the Shabbos year at the start. To highlight that this is the goal.

   The words “V’Shavtah Ha’artez Shabbos L’Hashem” equal “Vayishbos B’Yom Ha’Shevii M’Kol Melachto.” (1767)

(25:9) “Vehavartah Shofar Teruah B’chodesh Hashevi Basser Lachodesh B’Yom Hakipurim-And you shall sound the shofar in the seventh month on the tenth day on Yom Kippur.” The Posuk is telling us that we must blow shofar to herald in the Yovel year. The question is why wait until the tenth? Why isn’t it counted from the first of the month, from Rosh Hashana? The Midrash says that this was done in order for the slaves to prepare themselves for freedom. From Rosh Hashana on they no longer worked but they were not yet free. They would sit at their masters table and eat from their food until Yom Kippur. This has a dual effect in that it also softens the blow for the master who goes through the hardship of relinquishing his slave.

   The Maharal explains that just like Yom Kippur returns things to their original state, so too does Yovel. When a person sins he falls under the rule of the Yetzer Horah and is no longer under the domain of Hashem. The Yetzer Horah rules over the physical body. So by going through a Yom Kippur, where a person negates the physical to the extent that he is compared to an angel, he returns to Hashem and is now able to accept freedom.

   (25:19) "V'ochaltem L'sova-You shall eat your fill." Rashi says that the blessings will be in the stomach, such that a person will be satisfied with less. The Kasav Sofer asks why should the blessing be to be satisfied with less? Why shouldn't there be plenty of food for everyone? He answers that people who become accustomed to excessive amounts of everything, whether food, money or luxuries, can never really feel secure. Having become dependent on more than enough they will feel deprived with anything less. Therefore the blessing is that people will not gorge themselves to excess but still be satisfied.

   The Soforno distinguishes between one who trusts in Hashem, who does not question, "what will we eat in the seventh year?" and he who questions. The one who does not question will indeed, have less produce, however, it's nutritional value will far exceed that of a regular year. He will have less, but he will require less. Less will be more. The believer whose belief is not as strong will ask the question and will receive a Heavenly response in the way of a greater yield in the sixth year. His crops will be plentiful, enough to last him through the following year. Nonetheless, these crops will be of normal quality, un-enhanced by Heavenly intervention.

   (25:38) “Losase Lochem es-Eretz Canaan L’hiyos Lochem L’elokim-To give you the land and to be your G-d.” Rashi comments that whoever lives in Israel, Hashem is his G-d and whoever leaves Eretz Yisroel is likened to an Idol worshipper. One can only be fully Jewish in Israel and one who leaves loses part of his Jewish identity. (Oznayim L’Torah)

(25:30) “B’Iyar Asher Lo Chomah-In a city that has a wall.” Rashi writes that the word Lo is read with a “Vav” but is written with an Aleph. This would mean that the Torah writes “no wall” but it means “there is a wall.” What is the meaning of this? Why would the Torah write it one way but mean the opposite? To understand this we must first understand what the walled cities were. When Yehoshua entered Eretz Yisroel he sanctified all those cities that were walled at the time. This miracle represented the fact that no human effort could stand in the way of the will of Hashem. On the other hand those walls built by the Jews contained no Kiddusha because they represented the lack of faith placed in Hashem’s ability to protect them. So it comes out that the walls built by the gentiles, Lo spelled with an aleph, are viewed by the Torah as “Lo Chomah” no wall.. When read with a Vav meaning a wall built by the Jews, it is saying Lo-to him Chomah- a wall. In other words this wall was built for him (Lo) for his security which is a lack of/ Emunah in Hashem. The selling of a house referred to here is not your typical sale where someone wishes to move up to a nicer home. Anyone who sold an ancestral dwelling did so only under the pressure of financial concerns. This follows after the warnings of a person who sells himself as a slave. Any home sold of the walled cities that were sanctified by Yehoshua could be redeemed in the first year only. After that they were lost and would not return to its original owner even at Yovel.

The Parsha goes on to speak about the need to support the poor. When a person gives charity he gets more than he gives. He gives a small material amount but receives an inestimable wealth of spiritual merits. In Pirkei Avos it says there are ten things that were created each stronger than the next-1.Rock, 2.Iron, 3.Fire, 4.Water, 5.Clouds, 6.Wind, 7.The Body, 8.Fear, 9.Death, 10.Tzedaka, which is stronger than all of the rest. The Maharal asks “Why is Tzedaka stronger than the other things listed?” He explains that the first nine are naturally strong, whereas Tzedaka's strength is not a physical one. It bears the Kiddusha of a Mitzvah. Therefore it can even overpower death, which is bound by the confines of nature.


(14:2) “Zos Tihiyeh Toras Hamitzora B’yom Taharoso-This shall be the Torah of the Metzora on the day of his cleansing.”

   The Chovos H’livovos writes that when someone speaks Loshon Hora against his friend his Mitzvos are taken away and given to the person about whom he spoke. When the Torah writes “This shall be the Torah of the Metzora on the day of his cleansing.” it means that only after he becomes Tahor is his Torah really his. Up until this time it belonged to the one whom he spoke Loshon Hora about.

When a person’s home became afflicted with Tzaras he would have to summon the Kohen to check if the house was Tameh. But first the house would have to be emptied of all of its contents to avoid making them Tameh. Rashi says that the Tzaras that afflicts a person’s house was really a blessing for Benei Yisroel because during the entire forty years that they spent in the Midbar the residents of Canaan hid their valuables in the walls of their homes. So when they would break the walls they would uncover the treasures hidden within.

   The question is if the Tzaras came because of a sin that was committed why would he receive a reward? Perhaps the reason that the Tzaras came in the first place was because this person was stingy with his possessions. If he were asked to borrow a saw he would answer that he has no saw. If we were asked to borrow a set of dishes he would answer that he had no extra set of dishes. Now when this house became afflicted and the entire contents had to be removed everyone was able to see his possessions. This was a correction for his stinginess. The treasures that were found also became a correction for him because he was not permitted to keep all that he found but rather since it belonged to all of Klal Yisroel he was required to distribute it all, a little at a time. This would help correct his stinginess by forcing him to be generous.  

   (14:21) "V'Im Dal Hu Vein V'Yado Maseges- If he is poor and his means are not sufficient." This seems somewhat redundant? The Chizkuni writes that there are two types of "Dal" one physical the other spiritual. The Kol Torah writes that he might be spiritually poor doing Mitzvos by rote.This teaches us that a rich man bringing a poor man's offering is not fulfilling his obligation. The word "Dal" can also mean his fortune has become depleted. This can be expected from someone who has been isolated from his community. He may still have means to live a rich life but not what he had become accustomed to.            

(14:33) "“Vayidabaer Hashem el-Moshe Vel Aharon Ki Sova el Ha’aretz-Hashem spoke to Moshe and Aharon when you enter the land.” Moshe and Aharon were not going to be entering the land?

   The Chasam Sofer offers a different explanation. He says that the posuk begins with “Vayidabaer Hashem el-Moshe Vel Aharon Ki Sova el Ha’aretz-Hashem spoke to Moshe and Aharon when you enter the land.” We know that since Moshe was a Levi and Aharon was a Kohen neither of them would be receiving a share of Eretz Yisroel. He therefore explains the verse to be speaking about the future.

   A person who contracts Tzoras is considered dead. “B’yom Taharoso-On the day of Purification” means it is as if he was resurrected. In the days of Moshiach after reincarnation when both Moshe and Aharon will be living in the land they will have received a portion of it. At that time all the treasures will all be revealed. This is why the verse uses the word “Tihiyeh” in the future tense.

   What does it mean to have Tzoras in the times of Moshiach and to break walls to find treasure? Perhaps we can say that it means in the days of Moshiach we will break through the barriers that prevented us from seeing how the Tzarus we had to endure really was a part of arriving at the point Hashem wanted us to be at all along. This is the treasure that awaits us all. Only the Jewish nation was subject to this type of outbreak. Only the pure Jewish nation received rewards. If not for Pharoh’s refusal to let Yisrael go, there would never have been the revelation of the 10 Macos. Only through the Tzarus were we able to arrive at the destination. The words “Toras Hamitzora equals 1411 in Gematria the same as the words “V’Yadu Kol H’aretz Ki Yesh Elokim B’Yisroel-All the world will recognize that G-d (Elokim) is amongst Israel.”

   The word Metzorah comes from the words Motze Rah- to bring out evil. The Kli Yakar writes that there are three sins punished by Tzaras, Haughtiness, Loshen Hora and Ayin Hora. In order to purify oneself the Metzorah must shave off the hair from his head because he was haughty and wanted to be the head of everything. Next he must shave of his beard because it failed to guard his mouth, which it surrounds, from uttering Loshon Hora. Finally he must shave his eyebrows that failed to keep his eyes from Ayin Hora. He then must shave off all of the hair from his body and go to a Mikveh to purify himself and once again have off all of the hair from his body removed. This is to prevent him from once again speaking evil about another.

   The question is why must he repeat the shaving procedure and how does removing hair relate to his speaking evil? The Ben Ish Chai addresses these questions. He says that the person who speaks evil is lacking in his Emunah. He thinks that his fellow man is his competition. That whatever his friend has takes away from what he could have had. But the truth is that no man can touch even a thread of hair from someone else unless it was preordained by Hashem. When one looks at a persons hair it appears as one unit. Only when separated can we see that each hair was rooted in the skin. This is meant to teach this lesson. It only appears to be as one but in reality each follicle of hair has its own root. This process is repeated to drive home this message.

The atonement for the Metzorah is to bring a sacrifice of two birds. One bird is slaughtered and the other is set free. Rashi explains the choice of birds, as opposed to any other animal, is because birds are always chirping and chattering. Thus to cleanse the person who was always chattering to people, we slaughter the chattering bird. But if that is the case why do we need the second bird. If we are to set it free why bother going through the procedure in the first place? The answer is that there are two types of speech. The negative, destructive speech and the positive inspiring form of speech. There are many ways to use speech in a positive way. For Mitzvos, making Brochos, for learning Torah, The lesson we are to take from this is that it’s not enough to guard your tongue from negative speech. One must actively use the power of speech in a positive vain to make a difference in the world.


The Parsha begins with the laws of Tumeh. Just as the original creation of the world, humans were created after the animals, so too the laws of man follow the laws of the animals.(Rashi)

The words Tamey and Tahor have no real parallels in English or in any other secular language, and we have to delve more deeply into the Hebrew in order to even begin to comprehend how it can be applied to the concept of Kashrut. The following is based on the work Derech Hashem, authored by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzatto, better known as the"Ramchal,".

   The word Tamey originates in the Hebrew word Atum, which means "impermeable" or "sealed off." When the Torah employs the concept of being sealed off it does so in a spiritual sense; Tamey refers to a person or creature or substance that is sealed off from the spiritual; it is impermeable to Divine emanation or light.

   When Hashem created the world, He was faced with a dilemma. If He created a universe completely open to His Divine light, such a universe would be overwhelmed by the brightness of this light and would cling to Hashem, unable or unwilling to separate. On the other hand, if creation was impermeable to Divine light it could not survive. A created universe has no inertia. It needs the constant input of the fresh energy that we describe as the Divine light in order to continue to exist.

   Besides, not only were these extremes impractical, they also defeated the purpose of creation. Hashem wanted the universe to contain the possibility of connecting to Him through a process of free choice. This required a built in possibility of separating from Him and still continuing to survive. Some restriction to the need for constant exposure to the emanation of the Divine light had to be part of the universe's basic design.

   So Hashem made a creation that is a mixture of Tamey and Tohar, of substances that are porous mixed with those that are impenetrable. The part of creation that is permeable to His Light is known as Tahor; but a portion was designed to exist in a state of spiritual darkness; the portion we call Tamey. Since both parts are combined into a single entity, creation as an entirety can function without either being totally overwhelmed by Hashem's emanations or in any way bereft of tdd so that creation may continue to exist.

   Not only does this solve the problem of maintaining the universe in existence in a state of partial separation, it also offers the built in possibility of free choice. As anyone can connect to the Tamey, a part of the universe that exists only in a state of separation from Hashem, there is a built in existential alternative to clinging to the Divine Presence.

   Kashrut is an excellent way to bring this down to earth. We derive the energy for continued life from the things we eat. If we eat the Tamey, we are choosing to live in separation from Hashem by definition; if we wish to connect we must only consume that which is Tohar.

   There is a Midrash which states if a person merits it, then they say to him, “you preceded all the works of Creation.' And if not then they say to him, 'the mosquito preceded you.”

We know that in Bereishis, the creation of man is last. So how can one say to a person "you preceded all the works of Creation?" We also need to explain what's wrong with being last. On the contrary, "saving the best for last" comes from an old saying of our Sages: "the last is most important!"

   The Bais Yitzchak answers these questions, with a story of a gathering of philosophers   devoted to studying and understanding all of the components of the natural world. They determined that everything in the world has a purpose. As we know today, complex ecosystems depend upon the interactions of every plant and animal within them, and the disappearance of even a single species can throw an entire system out of balance.

   Other species are especially valuable in the service of man: horses and donkeys, for example. Various plants provide us with food; even poisonous varieties often have medical value when used externally.

   This conclusion was finally reached after great effort over a long period of time. They were delighted to have discovered a true structure in all that had been created, and were ready to celebrate. One of them, however, was not satisfied. When they had all gathered at the party, he stood up and reminded them that they had failed to determine the purpose of one extremely important species: Homo-sapiens. “What was the purpose of creating humans, and does the world need us?”

   So they chewed on that one for a while, and came up with no physical contribution made by humans to the rest of the world. We are not providers of natural resources -- we consume them. We cut trees and slaughter animals, destroying and eating while contributing nothing in return. Even human waste is useless, unlike the waste of many animals.

   What do we conclude from that? If we decide that there is no great purpose to Creation, that it represents merely the random quirks of natural selection, then we conclude that humans are indeed destroyers. But the real purpose of man is not physical, but spiritual. We know this, however, not because we invested years of study into the natural order, but because the Torah tells us that had no nation accepted the Torah, the Creation of the world would have had no purpose. We exist not to provide physical contributions to the world, but spiritual.

   When a person makes bread and separates challah from it, makes the blessing when slaughtering an animal, or makes a blessing upon kosher food on his or her table, this sanctifies the act of eating and consumption, and in so doing brings spiritual value to all the natural phenomena that went into the production of those foods. The person is then not a mere consumer or destroyer, but the provider of final perfection.

   This being the case, then we understand the Midrash with which we began. "If a person merits it" - if he or she invests in spiritual pursuits and brings spiritual perfection to the world, then they say "you preceded all the works of Creation." Meaning, the world was created for the sake of this person and what he or she has done with the physical resources it provides. So although the physical Creation of all else came first, the reason for it all, the initial consideration upon which all of Creation was based, was indeed this person. And if not, if a person ignores the purpose of Creation, then "the mosquito preceded you." Even the lowly mosquito was here on earth first, so what right do you have to come and dominate and destroy it, or any other thing, afterwards? Every one of us has the tools in hand to bring perfection to the world!

(12:2) “Isha Ki Sazria V’Yalda Zachor V’tameh Shivas Yomim-If a woman conceives and bears a child she shall be impure for seven days.” The period of impurity differs for the birth of a male child versus that of a female. Many Torah critics complain of the Torah’s bias towards the male. But this concept of impurity needs clarification. Impurity sets in when a void of Kiddusha occurs. When a woman gives birth the soul she had been carrying in the form of that child leaves her creating a void of Kiddusha and Tumah automatically replaces it. An example of this is in the body of man. Man has been endowed with a soul. But when a man dies and that soul leaves his body, a tremendous Tumah sets in. This is why a Kohein is not permitted to enter a cemetery. The Kohein represents man at his highest and most holy point. For him to be in contact with Tumeh would go against his role in this world to be a connecting point to Hashem.

   Another example is that of the Tumah one experiences upon waking up in the morning. There is a need to wash the hands to remove that Tumah. The reason is because when a person sleeps a part of his Neshama leaves his body. This is why sleep is considered one sixtieth of death. Since part of the Neshama leaves, a void is created which is immediately filled by Tumah.

   The first childbirth ever recorded in history was when Chava gave birth to Kayin. The name Kayin is explained to come from her declaration (Bereshis 4:1) “Kanisi Ish es-Hashem-I have acquired an attribute of Hashem.” Just as Hashem has the ability to create, woman now has exhibited that ability to create. It is for this reason that the period of impurity for a female child is twice that of a male. For when a female soul is removed from the mother a greater degree of Kiddusha is lost. A Kiddusha that is more likened to Hashem in its capacity to create, than a male.

   After the birth of a son, a woman is Tameh for seven days. The very next Posuk records that on the eighth day he should be circumcised. The close proximity of the seven and eight teaches us that the woman who observes the seven day Niddah laws will be blessed with sons who will be circumcised on the eighth day.

   The previous Parsha ended with the details of kosher and non-kosher animals. But for eating non-kosher animals one is not punished with Tzoras. Hashem causes that public rebuke for the gossip and slander that devours people and their reputations. We can see people being very careful about what they eat but lax about what they say. Yet Hashem does not bring Tzaras on someone who devours pork, only one who devours people.

 Tzaras was not a physical disease, it was spiritual. It revealed a hidden aspect of creation that was unique to the nation of Israel. The words “Toras HaMetzora” equal 1411 which also equal “Vayeidah Kol H’Eretz Ki Yesh Hashem B’Yisroel-All the world will know that Hashem is with Yisroel.

   Tzaras was brought on the people in an era when few people spoke Loshon Hora. Yet today when there is little care taken about what people say we don’t see Tzaras? Tzaras was a divine warning to a person who was basically healthy; that he had done a bad thing It was a blessing as much as a punishment because it alerted him to a problem and forced him to deal with it. Now we live in a time where people are on a level where the sins that cause Tzaras are rampant. They don’t deserve this Divine reminder that something is wrong.

   (12:8) “V’Lokcha Sh’tai Sorim...Echod L’Olah V’Echod L’Chatos V’chepaer Oleha HaKohein V’toharah -Take two Turtle Doves..One for an elevation offering and one for a sin offering and the Kohein shall make atonement for her, and she shall be clean.” The actual order of the sacrifices is reversed? First we must remove the sin, only then can we come closer to Hashem through the elevation offering. Why then does the Torah write them listing the elevation offering before the sin offering? Perhaps we can say that coming closer to Hashem is the goal. Even though we must remove sin to get there, by listing the elevation offering first, we proclaim our intent from the start.

There are two forms of Loshon Hora. The Ohr Hachaim says one that is true but forbidden to say brings about Tzaras that is called Baheress, which comes from the word to clarify. The person wants to clarify his gossip. The second type is the slander which is totally untrue. This is punished by Seis a worse form of Tzaras. One is just on the surface the other is below the skin indicating that there is a more severe problem with the person.

   (13:13) "V'Roh Hakohein V'Hinei Kisiso Hatzoras es Kol H'Basar-The Kohein shall look and behold the affliction has covered the entire his entire flesh." Why does the Kohein declare the person pure when his entire flesh becomes covered with the affliction? The Talmud in Sanhedrin (97a) explains that the Moshiach will only come after all governments of the world become total heretics. This verse supports this as G-d's salvation is closest to man when his ordeal reaches its greatest intensity. It is then that the turning point in his destiny occurs.

   (13:33) “V’hisgaloch-He must shave.” The person wishing to become pure must shave his entire body. The word “Hisgalach” is spelled with a large letter Gimmel. The Otzer Chaim says that this is a hint to the law that permits taking a haircut on the 33rd. day of the Omer because this is the 33rd Posuk. The Arizal says that from here we have a Remez that a boy receives his first haircut in his third year corresponding to the large Gimmel which has a numerical value of three.

   (13:47) "Wool and Linen" (13:48) "Linen and Wool" regarding wool listed first it is the material further from the body. The Tumeh comes first on what is more distant from the person. In the second case the order is what's is more valued.


   (9:1) “Vayehe Bayom Hashimini Koroh Moshe L’Aharon U’Vanav U’Lziknai Yisroel-It was on the eighth day that Moshe called to Aharon and his sons and to the elders of Israel.” Rashi comments that it was to announce that it was by divine command that Aharon entered the Mishkon and served as the high priest. That they not say he did this on his own authority. But even though Moshe proclaimed that he was acting only at Hashem’s behest, how could he make the people believe him if they had doubts? The Tiferes Shlomo writes that Moshe had within himself the spirit of the entire nation. When he served Hashem with all his heart, all the people were inspired with him. When he announced that he was carrying out Hashem’s command, the people felt a surge of enthusiasm at the service that was about to be carried out. When they became conscious of this spirit of holiness, they realize that it could be possible only because it was indeed Hashem’s command that was being performed. (Otzar Chaim)

(9:1) “Vayehe Bayom Hashimini-And it was on the eighth day.” The word “Vayehe” always hints to some sadness. Here it is the death of Aharon’s two sons. Nadav and Avihu. Many reasons have been given for their death by many commentators. Actually in Parshas Mishpatim by the giving of the Torah, we learned that Nadav and Avihu gazed at G-d while they ate and drank (Shemos 24:10) for this reason they may have deserved death but Hashem delayed their punishment not to mar the joy of the giving of the Torah. Instead He waited until this day, the day of the dedication of the Mishkon. It’s quite puzzling that this eighth day would be chosen since it is considered the most joyous day since the creation of the world?

R.Avigdor Miller gives the following explanation. Based on the Mesilas Yesharim he explains that in this world happiness is fleeting. In order for us to focus on the next world, Hashem’s plan is to interject sadness into people’s lives as a sobering experience. To teach us that you must always remain focused on the principal that true unadulterated joy will only come in the next world. What better time to insert this lesson than the most joyous day in the history of creation.

   One answer is given by the Dubneh Maggid who gives the following parable. There was once a king who wished to build a great city. He wanted to spare no expense in having the finest of everything. He would bring the best craftsmen to build his palace and the most expensive materials were used. But it would not be complete unless they also included the finest people. So they went to seek out the most competent professionals. They found a doctor who had a reputation for being able to cure all types of ailments. Not long after he arrived, one of the elders of the city took ill. When the doctor went to visit him, he saw this man was gravely ill but the doctor said he would take the position and cure him. But soon after he began treating him he died. The king said to him “What kind of doctor are you? You said you could heal him?” To which the doctor replied “ If the people will think I can heal any type of illness, they will begin neglecting their health and only rely on me to cure them. Thus my coming here would be a disservice to the city. Now that they know that I cannot fix everything they will take heed of their health.”

   The same is true regarding the Mishkon. The Mishkon was a place to reconnect the sinners with Hashem. But if they thought it can cure every sin they would begin neglecting the Torah and Mitzvos that is incumbent upon them. Therefore on the very first day of the functioning Mishkon Hashem needed to demonstrate this fact. This sent the most powerful message to Klal Yisroel. That even the most righteous sons of Aharon Hakohen are not above such judgements.

   (9:1) “Vayehe Bayom Hashimini-And it was on the eighth day.” This was actually the first working day of the Mishkon. Why is it referred to as the eighth day? R. Dovid Feinstein writes that it comes to show how the preparations leading up to the dedication of the Mishkon are just as important as the dedication itself. The Gemarrah in Megillah point out that there are similarities between the wording here and the wording found at the six days of creation. The word “Hashimini” with the letter “Hey” indicates a special day just as the word used by the first Shabbos uses the “Hey”to express the uniqueness of “Yom Hasheshe” the sixth day of creation. Being that this was the culmination of what the world was created for, to bring the Shechinah back down to the physical world, it means that this was the continuation of Masser Bereishis. Seven represents the Tevah, the physical laws of the world, and Shimini represents above the physical, beyond the laws of nature.

   But perhaps we can suggest an alternative explanation. Man was created on the sixth day. He sinned on that same day and death was introduced into the world. However that sentence was delayed. In fact man was not expelled from Gan Eden until after Shabbos (MiMochros HaShabbos) which was actually the “Eighth” day of creation. We now have come full circle. Now we return to the “Eighth” day, the day the Shechina returned to this world for the first time since it left on the very first Eighth day!

“Vayehe Bayom Hashimini-And it was on the eighth day.” is equal to 504 in gematria. The same as the word “V’Solachtah- I have forgiven you.”

   Rashi quotes the Gemarrah that says this day was as joyous to Hashem as the day the heaven and earth were created. We learn this from the similarity of words in Bereishis, which uses the word “Vayehe”and the opening of our Parsha where the word “Vayehe” is used as well. The Shem M’shmuel writes that really this was the first day of the working Mishkon.

   We usually find that the number “eight” is more valued than the number seven. It is known that seven represents nature and eight is considered above nature. However here it seems to be reversed. All of the seven days of the inauguration of the sanctuary the Kohanim had to remain inside the tent of meeting and sacrifices were considered the holiest of holy only being allowed to be eaten in the courtyard of the Ohel Moed. On the eighth day the priests were not restricted to one place and the sacrifice was plain Kodesh and was permitted to be eaten in any place that was free of contamination just as the rest of the year?

   To explain this concept we must look at the words of the Zohar with regard to the eating of matzoh. If matzoh is beneficial to our soul why is it not eaten all year long? He answers with a Moshel of a person who is ill and given a strict diet. Once he has regained his strength and has recovered from his illness he once again permitted to eat whatever he wishes. So too with regard to matzoh. When Klal Yisroel were in their infancy matzoh was required to strengthen their spiritual fortitude. Once strong they were not only permitted to eat Chometz they were required to elevate it through consumption. This can also be said of the days of inauguration. For at the outset more caution was called for. Seven represents nature and nature is physicality. Man needs to be cautioned not to drown in physicality. Moshe prepared the Tabernacle for seven days elevating it and preparing it for Aharon to take over. On the eighth day Moshe called to his brother and his sons raising them to the level required to serve in the Mishkon. Only after seven days would this be possible.

   This hints to the very first Shabbos of creation and was a direct attempt to correct the original sin. The intent was that there be a Shabbos after six days of creation. That is, all the work of the seventh day was to be doubled over on the sixth day. Therefore when the seventh day of Shabbos arrived seven days of work had been completed. The intent being for the Shabbos day to sanctify the previous work days to the extent that they would never lose that Kiddusha. That is why Chazal say that had Man waited for Shabbos to come before the first sin, the world would have reached its perfection. The light of Shabbos, which is above nature, would have illuminated all of creation. Here the eighth day served as the completion of the seven inaugural days. But it was not enough to prevent the tragedy that occurred and marred the greatest day since the creation of the world.

   In this weeks Parsha we have the final steps in the dedication of the Mishkon. There were ten miracles that occurred on that day. The culmination of which was the fire coming down through the Kodeshe Kodshim across the courtyard to the Mizbeach and consuming the Korbon in front of the entire nation. At that point they all screamed and bowed. Miraculously there was enough room for everyone to bow. The need for that miracle was to teach Yisrael that spirituality is not bound by space. It demonstrated that it was equally possible for the vastness of G-D to reside in a limited small place. In a Tabernacle.

   The Parsha begins with the word “Vayehe” which always indicates a form of sadness. Besides the death of Aaron's two sons there was also another sadness associated with the Mishkon. Originally each Jew was to be worthy of the Divine Presence resting on him, but after the Chet of the Eigel it was necessary for the Mishkon to be the resting place of the Shechina. So it was truly sad that the Mishkon was dedicated because along with that joy was the realization that they had lost the opportunity for even greater closeness to Hashem.

   After Aaron performed the service he stood in the courtyard in front of the altar awaiting the heavenly fire to descend but nothing happened. At this point he said to Moshe “Why did you put me up to this? It’s obvious that Hashem hasn’t forgiven me for my role in the Chet H’eigel.” At which point Moshe and Aaron prayed together and a fire descended and consumed the sacrifice. The question is why did the revelation of the Shechina not immediately follow Aharon’s service? The answer is that by withholding the heavenly fire Hashem demonstrated that His presence cannot be evoked automatically. That by just mixing together certain ingredients one cannot cause the Shechina to appear. Pardoning of sin is not something that is guaranteed by just going through the motions but depends ultimately on the individual and the spirit with which a sacrifice is brought.

   (9:24)"A fire came forth from before Hashem ותצא אש מלפני ה׳This fire contained five miracles. It came down in a pillar, it was shaped like a lion, it consumed both wet and dry and was without smoke. It was one of the four original elements of creation.  

   (10:1) “Vayikchu Benei Aharon Nadav V’avihu Ish Machtaso-The sons of Aharon Nadav and Avihu each took his firepan.” When Nadav and Avihu saw the great love that Hashem showed by consuming the Korbonos they felt a tremendous need to reciprocate. What they did was with the highest intentions. Why then should they have deserved death? The Chidushe HaRim explains that when a person does a Mitzvah with tremendous devotion his soul should leave him and cleave to Hashem. The only reason that his soul does not leave is because Hashem commanded the Mitzvah and Hashem wants a person to live and do the Mitzvos. But in this case there was no command so they had no merit with which to keep the body and soul from separating. This is why the Posuk says of their sin “they brought a fire which had not been commanded.”

   According to Jewish tradition the universe is a composite of the four basic elements, fire, air, earth and water mixed in varying proportions. The basic idea of the four elements is spiritual. They are really the emanations of the four letters of Hashem's holy name.YHVH. The elements as we encounter them in the physical universe are the very outermost expressions of these spiritual emanations. The level of physicality is always the very surface layer of reality that covers the metaphysical that lie concealed underneath.

   The Sefer Nefesh Hachaim explains that as we encounter these elements in an everyday experience, fire always goes up toward heaven. It never burns in a downward direction. It has the capacity to transform all physical objects into smoke. Symbolically, the elements fire represents the drive towards spirituality, a drive to return to the creator and be consumed by a spiritual union with him.

   Earth is at the opposite extreme. It never falls up but always descends down to the bottom of any solution. Symbolically fire and earth are two extremes. Burning passion for spirituality versus total apathy towards any spiritual movement. One of the four elements in man is fire. It is the predominant element, since it energizes him and enables him to move and function. Therefore Hashem's blessing is most needed there. In the temple a constant fire was required from below to mask the fire that descends from above. The aim of the blessing is wholeness, assuring that there is nothing missing and nothing extra. Too much fire can cause haughtiness, while too little can weaken his strength and ability to fulfill his purpose in the world.

This could explain the small “Mem” in the word Mokdah in Parshas Tzav (6:2)

   When the sons of Aharon added fire without being commanded it caused a corresponding fire to come down into them that was more than they could handle and they were consumed. For Hashem responds according to the persons actions. This is why their bodies were not affected. The fire from heaven that fuels the soul caused an overload.

   (10:3) "Vayidom Aharon- Aharon was silent" The word "Vayidom" means more than just silent. The root of the word is Domaim which means inanimate like a rock. Aharon was not just silent on the outside while bursting with pain inside. He was able to be accepting throughout. When a tragedy as great as this occurs it is Hashem speaking. This could be the meaning of Moshe's words of consolation to his brother. "Vayomer Moshe el Aharon Hu Asher Dibaer Hashem- Moshe said to Aharon this is what Hashem said." Do not read it as what Hashem said but rather "This is Hashem speaking."

     (10:3) "Vayidom Aharon- Aharon was silent" What was it that he could have said? The Yalkut says he could have said "Ben Shemonas Yomim Yimol-On the eighth day we do Bris Milah." What does this have to do with the death of Nadav and Avihu? The Gemarrah writes that Avraham Avinu stands positioned at the gates of Gehenom and prevents anyone circumcised from entering. The message is that there is life after death for those who keep the Torah. The words "Vataitze Aish M'Lifnei Hashem-A fire went out from before Hashem" has the numerical value of 1034 the same as the phrase "Ben Shemonas Yomim Yimol-On the eighth day we do Bris Milah."

   The Korbon that was brought on this first day of the Mishkon was to atone for the Chet of the Eigel and also the Chet of the selling of Yosef. Why was this done here and what is the connection between the two Averos? One of the reasons the brothers had for selling Yosef was that they saw in him there would come out Yirovum who later was the one to erect the Avodah Zara in Beis El. When the Jews would go up to the Beis Hamikdosh they had to pass this Avodeh Zara. So now that their own descendants committed this Chet of Avodah Zara by the Eigel they had to have a Kapora for the Chet of Yosef as well.

   According to those who hold that the sin of the Eitz Hadas was committed through the use of the Grape vine, this was the reason Nadav and Avihu are considered to have sinned by becoming intoxicated with wine. Because what they really wanted to do was correct the sin of Adom by using the wine for the correct reason. But they were not commanded to do so.

   Immediately following their deaths we find Moshe speaking to Aharon, stating that “I knew Hashem would be honored through the one’s closest to Him, but I always thought it would be you or me. Now I see that they were even greater than us." Many commentaries debate Nadav and Avihu's sin. They drank wine before entering the Holy of holies. The decided ``Halacha in front of Moshe. They refused to marry. They were anxious to take over the leadership from Moshe and Aharon. How could Moshe think they were greater than Moshe and Aharon? The Sefas Emes writes that before the sin of the golden calf, Klal Yisroel were on the level of Naaseh V'nishma. After that sin they lost that level. Nadav and Avihu being from the tribe of Levi, were not involved with the sin of the golden calf, they remained on the level of Naaseh V'nishma a level where doing precedes hearing. They wanted to lead the nation to this higher level. But the nation was not yet ready for that greatness.

   The Sefas Emes writes that when Moshe consoled his brother he quoted Hashem's words “B’krovaye Akodesh-through my closest I will be honored.” The Gematria of B’krovaye Akodesh equals 719. There are only five words in the entire Torah that have the same numerical value. The first four are Ashkis- I will destroy, V’shechasa-He will destroy, Satis-you have gone aside, and Taktir-You shall burn. Each of these can be related to the deaths of Nadav and Avihu in some way, but just as there are four cups on Passover representing the four exiles, there is in every generation those Neshamas that have to be sacrificed before the redemption arrives. But there is a fifth word, and there is a fifth cup. The fifth word that equals 719 is V’hashevoso- you shall restore it. Just as there is a fifth cup representing the final Geulah, there is a fifth word here representing return to Hashem. The sacrifice of Nadav and Avihu’s Neshamas, B’krovaye Akodesh-through my closest I will be honored, show how their sacrifice was not in vain.

Where did these two holy souls go after they left the bodies of Nadav and Avihu? The Arizal says they entered into the body of Pinchas and the three of them became Eliyahu Hanavi. This is precisely what the fifth cup represents, Eliyahu. The gematria of Pinchas is 208 the same as Nadav and Avihu plus Eliyahu H'navi. The negative effects of the fire that consumed Nadav and Avihu was rectified in Eliyahu H'navi who left this world, whole, in a chariot of fire.

   (10:1) “Asher Lo Tzivo-Which they were not commanded.” When Moshe Rabeinu was on Har Sinai receiving the Torah he was challenged by the Angels who believed that the Torah should not be given to man. Hashem told Moshe to respond to them. When his arguments won them over he was given gifts by all of the angels. The angel of death, thinking that his role in the world was completed, gave Moshe the secret of warding off death. Through the burning of incense death can be held at bay. This secret became known to Nadav and Avihu. The Chasam Sofer writes that this is the meaning of the words “Asher Lo Tzivo-Which they were not commanded.” One of the names for the Angel of Death is “Lo-Lamed Aleph” which is the reverse of Hashem’s name Aleph Lamed (Kael) . It comes out then, that their actions were a result of listening to the Angel of Death! “Asher Lo Tzivo-Which Lo commanded.”They were commanded by the angel named “LO”

   (10:19)"בנים הנותרים-"Aaron’s remaining son’s” Even though Moshe directed his speech to Ahron's sons they remained silent. This behavior displayed their merit unlike their brothers who spoke before their Rebbe. That's why they are referred to as the surviving sons.

   The Parsha goes on to inform us what animals are permissible to eat. This is one of the proofs to the authenticity of the Torah since it is impossible for any human to have known two thousand years ago every species of animal that exists. Even today scientist are finding out new things about the animal world, yet the Torah wrote specific details about these animals that are the only ones of their kind to have these signs. Recently it was found that the two pipes that are cut in the throat of an animal are connected to the brain by a nerve in the spine. This led the scientific community to claim that the ritual slaughter of animals done by Jews is inhumane. A study was conducted and the results of the scientists were confirmed. Every animal that did not have split hooves or chewed its cud had this nerve in its spine. And every animal that either chewed its cud or had split hooves did not have this nerve.

   The Parsha details the events of the eighth day of the inauguration of the Mishkon. This was considered the greatest day since the creation of the world. The Shechina was brought back down to this physical world through the efforts of man. The Parsha goes on to describe the tragic events that marred this day with the death of Aharon’s two sons Nadav and Avihu. But the parsha ends with the details of what is permissible as food. The animals that are considered kosher, what signs determine if they are pure, what insects are permissible? It would seem out of place for the Torah to include this in this Parsha?

   If we were to take a step back we would see how vital this information is for us right here. From the very beginning food is what caused the very first separation between man and G-d, when Adom and Chava ate from the forbidden fruit. We find that at every turn we use food to create a connection with Hashem. At the birth of a child we make a Kiddush for a girl or a Shalom Zachar for a boy. For a Yartzeit we make a Kiddush. At every opportunity we use food to reconnect. If a person would stop eating for only a few days the body and soul would separate permanently. This is why today in place of the sacrifices we have prayer which comes from the same place as food.

   The Torah has given us the means to reconnect to Hashem. Now we have the instructions of how to maintain that connection. In the chain of life every stage advances over the previous one. The inanimate is consumed by the animal world; they in turn become a part of them. Animals are consumed by man and in turn become a part of him. The greatest merit for an animal is to be consumed by a Tzaddik, to become a part of his Mitzvos. Originally man was vegetarian. Only after the generation of the flood did meat become permissible to man. After a generation of corruption where the entire world had to be destroyed the process of correction began. As the souls of that generation transmigrated into other life forms the need for animals to be consumed by man became necessary for their correction. The Torah outlines those animals whose nature and character are kind and gentle, to be the one’s incorporated into man.

11:43-Rashi says, by eating these unclean foods, you will become unclean on earth. And thus Hashem says, I will in turn cause you to become unclean in the world to come! The consumption of these foods impedes a persons ability to elevate and sanctify himself. It creates a barrier between a Jew and his perception of Hashem. Just as painkillers dull the nerves, forbidden foods dull the spiritual antenna.

   (11:44) “V’Heyisem K’doshim Ki Kodosh Ani-You will be holy for I am Holy.”Whenever the Torah writes the word “Holy” referring to man it is spelled without a “Vav”. When referring to Hashem it is spelled with the “Vav” The idea behind it is that all Kidusha comes from Hashem. The letter “Vav” is the letter of connection from above to below. The word Shmini equals Kodesh in Gematria. But just as we know how to make Kiddush nowadays this Parsha, with all of the laws of Kasheruth teaches that we must know how to make Havdalah as well.


   (6:2) “Tzav es Aharon V’es Bonov Leimore-Command Aharon and his sons saying.” This weeks Parsha discusses the various Korbonos that Aaron was to bring. The word “Tzav” denotes a swiftness that is needed in regard to Korbonos in general. The reason is because when dealing with monetary loss a person must be extra careful in handling the property of others.

   The Maharal describes our performance of Mitzvos with speed as an expression of our desire to leave the confines of our physical existence, to break through to the metaphysical reality. As humans, we exist in a world defined by time, space and matter; the performance of a Mitzvah is an expression of our desire to break the limits of time and establish a true relationship with G-d who transcends time. A Mitzvah is a vehicle, in which we take the journey from the physical to a metaphysical state.

   Why does sacrificing a mere piece of flesh, an animal, effect atonement for sin? A sin-free person is beyond the control of nature of the physical world. When a person is sin-free, that person has the power to control the functions of nature, because that person is strongly attached to Hashem. G-d is called “the place of the world” (Mokom Shel Olam). This means that G-d contains the actual place of the physical universe within His essence, and not the other way around. Therefore, one who is connected to G-d is beyond the control of the laws of nature, and is spiritually above this earth, just as is G-d Himself.

   When a person commits a sin, even in error, he/she loses his/her place and high spiritual standing in the world and falls under the control of the whims of natural occurrences. How do we know that a person after sinning loses his/her place in this world and falls spiritually under the control of nature? For when Kayin sinned, by killing his brother Hevel, he told G-d the following: “Behold you (G-d) have driven me out of the face of the earth.” (Bereishis 4:14) This means that Kayin, as well as all other sinner, fall under the control of nature. However, when a person repents of one of his wrongdoings, that person once again rises above the control of the laws of nature. For that person has become reattached to G-d who is above the laws of nature. The laws of nature were created and is controlled by G-d himself to distance sinners from his presence in this world. The laws of nature were also created to give man the opportunity to receive reward for doing G-D’s will in this world of free choice.

   The place for every animal is in this physical world. They do not receive any of the pleasures of the world to come for that is not their real place. However, man’s place is in the future world, which is not part of this physical world. Therefore, since man really doesn’t belong to this world if he/she remains sin-free, he/she are not subjugated to the laws of nature, for they are still connected to an area which is above this world.

   It is strictly forbidden to offer a sacrifice in any place other than Jerusalem. Why is this so? The temple in Jerusalem was spiritually connected to Hashem more than any other place n the world. The torah always refers to the temple as “The place which Hashem will choose to rest his presence there.”(Devarim 16:2) Since the temple site was so firmly connected to Hashem, the laws of nature applied less to the temple area than any other place on earth. The Talmud mentions that there were ten miracles visible daily in the temple. Included was the ability to house the entire nation of millions of people in the very small area of the temple grounds. This was only possible because the temple area was detached from the earth more than any other place. Therefore, when a sacrifice was offered in the Chosen place, the temple area had the ability to elevate the person who had committed a sin, back to his former station, united with Hashem.

   An animal only desires to attain as much pleasure as possible, and never thinks about the past or future consequences of his actions. This is why an animals only place belongs in this temporary world, which is limited. Therefore, sin is atoned for by the act of offering an animal on the altar in the temple. Sin was the result of a lack of thought to control one’s passions. Therefore this person acted no different than an animal would. As a result he became partially removed from Hashem and fell below the level of an animal, and became subject to all the of the shortcomings of this world. All of a persons possessions are spiritually connected to his soul. Therefore, when a person sacrifices an animal, he is actually offering part of his own soul. When the animal is sacrificed in the temple, which is a place that is firmly connected to Hashem, it has the ability to elevate and reconnect the soul of the owner to Hashem. This is why offering an animal can atone for sins. For the owners soul is transported, through the vehicle of his possessions and the bridge of the temple area, back to where it came from, action, this is the true definition of repentance being reunited with Hashem.

The Torah tells us that the Chatos must be slaughtered in the same place as the “Oleh.” In using this roundabout way of telling us the location, the Torah is giving us an insight to the underlying cause of the sin. The Oleh is brought in the Tzofon (northern) part of the courtyard. The word Tzofon also means hidden, because the Oleh is brought to atone for hidden thoughts of the heart. The Chatus comes to atone for unintentional sins, not for thoughts, but the Torah compares it to the Oleh because if someone sins by mistake it is certain that his act was preceded by sinful thoughts and desires.

   (6:10) Kodesh Kodashim He K’Chatos V’K’asham-It is Holy of Holies as the sin-offering and as the guilt-offering.” The sacrifices that were brought by Aharon and his sons daily are called “Most Holy” and yet they are compared to the Chatos and Asham the sin and guilt offerings? When something is compared to something else, usually the second item is more valued. Here writes the Kli Yakar, the offering of the Repentant (the Baalei Teshuva) are more cherished than the Holy of Holies.

   All Korbonos that require the blood be brought into the Sanctuary must be burned, but the meat of other Korbonos can be eaten by the Kohanim. By ordinary sins committed unintentionally the sin remains an external thing, at heart the person remains good, because he sinned only with his body not his mind. Therefore the Kohanim may eat the meat in a holy place, as part of his atonement. But in the case of a Korbon brought for intentional sins the act involved the mind as well as the body. This perversion had to be rooted out, symbolized by burning the entire Korbon.

   Regarding the Korbon Todah the Posuk says "Zovach Todah Yechabdoni" whoever brings a Todah honors me. The word Yechabdoni is spelled with two Nunes. The Midrash says this means to bestow honor upon honor to Hashem. The Ksav Sofer says the person who thanks Hashem should have two honors in mind. He should be grateful for the miracle that saved him, and he should be grateful for the danger as well, because what happened to him influenced him to recognize his need to do Teshuva. This is what the Gemarrah means when it says in the days of Moshiach people will bless Hashem even for the seemingly bad things.

   The Korbon Todah was a type of Shlomim but it could only be eaten for one day, all other Shelamim's could be eaten for a day and a half? The reason is as we say in Modim of Shemoneh Esrei we thank Hashem for miracles that are with us everyday. When we bring a Todah it is only because we became aware of one miracle while ignoring all the others. That’s why the Todah can only be eaten for one day. Tomorrow there are other miracles to give thanks for.

   Thanking and showing gratitude for what is being done for us is of such great importance that it cannot be done for us by someone else. We see this from the Modim of Shemoneh Esrei for it is the only blessing of Shemoneh Esrei that the congregation cannot simply respond with Amen to the one leading the Shemone Esrei repetition. Instead each and every one needs to express their thanks.

The Gemarrah (Brochos 6b) writes that one who rejoices before the Chassan at his wedding is considered to have brought a thanksgiving offering. What connection is there between these two?We find that the thanksgiving offering is composed of two opposite ingredients. It has the unique distinction of being the only sacrifice made up of both Chameitz and Matzoh. These diametrical ingredients symbolize the union of man and his creator. Man is finite, imperfect, mortal but is given the opportunity to attach himself to Hashem. Hashem allows man to obtain spirituality when they cling to him. He established a place for His servants to reach out to Him. For this alone, man owes Hashem much thanks. In fact the thanksgiving offering is the only sacrifice that will remain in Messianic times. There is no better way to thank Hashem than through a sacrifice that teaches how all elements of the world belong to Hashem and despite their polar opposites they find harmony through Him.

   In marriage one sees a similar incompatibility. Like Chometz and Matzah, men and women are dissimilar, even opposites in many respects. They differ in their thinking, their emotions in their reactions with others. They are so opposite that it may seem inconceivable that they could join their lives together. But the Talmud teaches that just as Chometz and Matzoh converge to form an offering to Hashem, so too can man and woman merge their distinct natures to become husband and wife, as long as Hashem remains the constant focus of their relationship. This concept is highlighted in the Holy of Holies. The place where Hashem communicates with man is in between the male and female Cheruvim. Hashem resides in the place where opposites merge in harmony. Heaven is referred to as Shomayim in Hebrew which is a combination of opposites Aish u'Mayim-fire and water. This is what the thanksgiving offering represents.

   (7:1) "Zos Toras H'Asham Kodesh Kodoshi, Hu-This is the teaching of the Guilt offering, it is most Holy." The Abarbanel writes that Holy of Holies refers to the Chatas and Asham. The reason is that after tasting sin, the sinner is still willing to repent. This is viewed by Hashem as the most holy. For the Gemarrah says in the place where Baalei Teshuva stand even the most righteous are unable to stand.

   (7:16) “B’Yom Hikrivu es-ZivchoYeachel-On the day he offered his feast-offering.” The Korban Todah is given the least amount of time to be consumed. This is because every day there is a new reason to thank Hashem.

(7:38) “Asher Tziva Hashem es-Moshe-As was commanded by Hashem to Moshe.” We find this statement several times in the Torah. Many commentators have given reasons for this statement. The Oznayim L’Torah writes that in Parshas Tetzaveh we don’t find Moshe Rabeinu’s name mentioned even once. The Baal Haturim explains that the reason is because Moshe was Mispalel on behalf of Klal Yisroel, after the Chet of the Eigel, that in order for them not to be destroyed, Hashem should wipe out his name from the Torah. Since that which a Tzaddik utters must be true, Hashem eliminated his name from just one Parsha, Tetzaveh. But since Moshe did this on behalf of Klal Yisroel he had to be compensated. This is why every time a Mitzvah that was said in Parshas Tetzaveh without Moshe’s name, and is then repeated, it is followed by “Asher Tziva Hashem es-Moshe”.

   (8:3) “V’es Kol H’Aida Hakael el-Pesach Ohel Moaid-And gather the entire congregation to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting.” Rashi says that this was one of the miraculous times where a very small place contained a very large number of people. The question is why? What lesson was meant to be learned from this miracle? Hashem said to Moshe (Shemos 25:8) “Vasu Li Mikdosh V’shchanty B’sochom-Build for me a Temple, and I shall dwell among them.” Now after the completion of this Mikdosh Klal Yisroel was faced with a very small structure. In fact it was much smaller than the Beis Hamikdosh that was later erected in Yerushalaim. The human mind has difficulty grasping that He whose essence fills the universe could contract His presence into the relatively small space between the Cheruvim. Therefore he gave Klal Yisroel a concrete example of miraculous contraction. Six Hundred thousand men stood at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. This experience enabled them to believe that Hashem’s Divine Presence would actually dwell in their midst. In the Mishkon.

     (8:3) “V’es Kol H’Aida Hakael-And gather the entire assembly”. Why the entire assembly? One answer is that since the Kohanim were going to act as the agents of Klal Yisroel it was necessary for them all to be there and take part in the inauguration to make them their agents (Sheluchim).

   (8:5) "Zeh Hadovar Asher Tzivah Hashem-This is the thing Hashem commanded" Rashi comments it was not for Mosh’s honor. Why would they believe him? The Tiferes Shlomo writes that Moshe had within the spirits of the entire nation. When he served Hashem with all his heart, all the people were inspired with him. Here when he announced his carrying out Hashem's command, the people felt a surge of enthusiasm at the service. Where they became conscious of this spirit of holiness they realized that it could only be possible because it was Hashem's will. (Otzer Chaim)

   (8:35) “Upesach Ohel Moed Teishvu Yomam V’Loyla Shivas Yomim U’shmartem es-Mishmeres Hashem-And at the door of the tent of meeting you shall remain day and night for seven days, and keep the charge of Hashem.” The Midrash Tanchumah writes that this began from the 23rd of Adar. This was in order for Aharon and his sons to fulfill seven days of mourning for the deaths of Nadav and Avihu who were destined to die on Rosh Chodesh Nisan. Nadav and Avihu sat in mourning of their own deaths prior to it having occurred. We see from here that a person does not know his own time. Not only does a person not know when his time will come, but he does not even understand the true nature of the moment he is now experiencing.

The question is how could they mourn before the deaths occurred? This is the meaning of the phrase “U’shmartem es-Mishmeres Hashem- and keep the charge of Hashem.”

   At the time of the flood Hashem delayed the onslaught of the deluge for a seven day mourning period. This was for the death of Mesushelach. But according to the Midrash Tanchumah this was to mourn the impending destruction of the world. Only regarding Hashem, who knows future events, could this be done. In this case Aharon and his sons would not have been permitted to mourn after the Mishkon was functioning for they were the only Kohanim in existence who could perform the service. Hashem therefore commanded that “At the door of the tent of meeting you shall remain day and night for seven days, and keep the charge of Hashem.”