The Link Between Adom haRishon and the 25th of December


When we look at the standard historical accounts of the time, we learn that the 25th was celebrated as a pagan holiday a thousand years before 'oso haish.'

I found this discussion at

Yule is the Chaldean name for 'infant' or 'little child.' In ancient Babylon, the 25th of December was known as Yule day or the birth of the promised child day. This was the day of the birth of the incarnate sun, who appeared as a baby child to redeem a world bound in darkness. It was an essential belief of the Babylonian religious system, that the sun god, also known as Baal, was the chief god in a polytheistic system. Tammuz was also worshipped as the god incarnate, or promised baby son of Baal, who was to be the Savior of the world.


Rav Shamshon Rafeal Hirsch

A gaon who redefined the Yiddish landscape

Torah im Derech Eretz - Culture?

The 125th yarhzeit of Rav Shamshon Rafeal Hirsch carries special meaning to ourselves at 613montreal as he was a unique torah personality who preached a complete ,positive engagement with modern science , technology, and worldly' culture.' He did so with eloquence , torah scholarship , inspiration and dedication , and he breathed a new pride and strength into a people decimated by the onslaughts of the so-called 'Enlightenment."


   (19:1) “Dabaer el-Kol Adas Benei Yisroel V’omartoh Aleihem Kedoshim Tiyhu Ki Kodesh Ani Hashem-Speak to the entire congregation of the Children of Israel and say to them be holy for I Hashem am holy.” The Parsha begins with a very general statement to be holy, then goes on to list many Mitzvos. The Parsha closes (20:26) repeating “You shall be Holy to me for I Hashem am Holy.” Why the repetition? The Baal HaTurim writes that there are 70 Mitzvos in this Parsha to contrast how we are to be separated from the 70 nations of the world.   The words Kedoshim Tiyhu imply a certain separation. Hashem has given us an instruction manual towards this goal. It is the Torah and the Mitzvos contained therein. Through the actions of performing these Mitzvos we are able to take the physical world and elevate it to a level that is G-D like. As we say when we make a blessing “Asher Kidishanu B’Mitzvosav-As we are sanctified through your commandments.” When performing these positive commandments we activate the Kiddusha that Hashem invested in them. Thus we become holy.

   (19:3) “Ish Imo V’Aviv Tirou V’Es Shabsosai Tishmaru-Every man; Your mother and father shall you revere and my Sabbaths shall you observe.” From the juxtaposition of these two commandments- to revere parents and to observe Shabbos- the Sages derive that if a parent commands a child to desecrate the Shabbos the order must not be obeyed.

   The Zohar writes that the connection between these two commandments is that when one introduces a Torah Chidush on Shabbos he honors his parents. What does this mean? On Shabbos we are given a Neshama Yeserah-An extra soul. When that soul returns upon the conclusion of the Shabbos, it is asked what new Torah concept it introduced during that week? This becomes a tremendous merit for the parents residing in the upper world.

   (19:23) "Ki Sovo el Ha'aretz-When you come to the land." The history of the world also began with the planting of trees at the time of creation. However the Mitzvah to plant trees upon entering the land is not written in the usual way. It would normally included the words "the land that I will give you" this indicates that it applies to any land even outside of Eretz Yisroel. The Kol Torah writes that this Mitzvah was given to Benei Yisroel to wean them from selfishness. People given great prosperity are tempted to use it for themselves. By prohibiting the use of their produce for three years they will learn how to detach from the physical and realize that everything comes from Hashem.

   These two Parshious are usually read together. This implies that after death there will be Kiddusha. We learn this from the Korban Shelamim. The Shelamim may be eaten for a day a night and another day. This is a Chidush for most sacrifices can only be eaten for a day and a night. The Chasam Sofer explains that one of the basic differences between Klal Yisroel and all the other nations is in how they view this world. From the time of the flood, where the descendants of Noach were told that the cycle of day and night will not cease, day is mentioned before night. For them day represents this world and is the priority. For them that’s all there is. Night represents darkness and death to them there is nothing more and is thus secondary.

     Torah view is that this world is compared to night and that the real existence is in the world to come. The Shelamim teaches us that there is a time after death, another day, a day of Techiyas Hamaisim. This world was created for us to serve Hashem. The reward for which will be given in Olam Habo. But there is another time when the body and soul will be reunited to once again serve Hashem. For the soul without the body cannot grow and cannot serve Hashem. This will be an eternal world which Hashem will bring and is hinted here in the Shelamim which means whole.

   This Parsha goes on to discuss many Mitzvos. One of which is the Din of not judging a person until you have been in his shoes. The Midrash says about this that it means “Dan Likav Zechus”. The Baal Shem Tov says that you “will be” in that person’s shoes. He brings the story of Dovid Hamelech with Batsheva, that had an appearance of wrong doing and Hashem sent a Navi to him who told him a story about a poor person who had only one sheep which he took in just like a member of his family. The rich person one day had a guest over and instead of taking from his own stock took this poor persons only sheep. When Dovid heard this he was furious and said that person should pay for what he did. At this point the Navi told him this rich person is you. You have 18 wives yet you took Batsheva from this man who had only one wife. Dovid admitted his wrong and did Teshuva. The point is Hashem tests a person to see how he reacts to certain events and that is how he is judged. He is shown a similar thing in a different light to see how he reacts. Will he be understanding or show no mercy. However he reacts thats how he is treated. So a person shouldn't judge someone because he is in the other persons shoes.        

   Hashem told Moshe to warn Benei Yisroel not to do like the Mitzrim and not to be like the Canaanites. One is where they have been the other is where they are headed. Why are these mentioned here? The Torah wanted to emphasize that these Halochos of morality, which the Torah commands, are for all the generations. The Torah does not minimize the enormous power of these human tendencies. But by bringing in Benei Yisroel's origins it shows that these can be overcome. A person’s surroundings are no more conducive to sin than the one found in either Egypt or Caanan.

   (20:22) "Ushomatem es Kol Chukosay ...Vlo Soky Eschem Ho'Aretz-You shall Guard all my my that the land will not disgorge you." The Goan of Villna once wrote with regard to the Sefer Devarim, that every chapter in the Sefer represents a decade in the history of the world. Chazal write that Hashem looked into the Torah and created this world. Thus the Torah is the blueprint of creation. If we were to look at some of the major events in history and how they relate to Klal Yisroel we would not only find a hint to these events, but a defining statement about that chapter of history.. This verse, which is the 3,338th verse in the Torah, corresponds to the year 3,338 which is the year of the destruction of the first temple and the subsequent exile of Klal Yisroel from the land for the very sins which it warns against.

Moshe Emes V'Toroso Emes.


(16:1) “Vayidaber Hashem el-Moshe Acharei Mos Shenei Benei Aharon Be'Korvasam Lifnei-HashemVayamusu-Hashem spoke to Moshe after the death of Aharons two sons who brought an offering before Hashem and they died.

   The Parsha deals with the death of Aharon's two sons plus the Sa'er L'Azozel - The Scapegoat. There seems to be a connection between the two that is more than just the proximity of the subjects. The sacrifice made on Yom Kippur required two goats. One for Hashem the other for the Azozel. Similarly there were two sacrifices of Aharon's two sons Nadav and Avihu. In a sense they too were scapegoats in that when Moshe was comforting his brother he told him that he knew there would have to be a sacrifice of a life but he thought it would be himself and his brother. But he now sees that Nadav and Avihu were even greater than they. He said that is what Hashem meant when he said "B'Krovay Akodesh-With my close ones I will be sanctified." The words "B'Krovay Akodesh"have a numerical value of 725. The same as the words Sa'er L'Azozel.

(16:1) “Vayidaber Hashem el-Moshe Acharei Mos Shenei Benei Aharon Be'Korvasam Lifnei-HashemVayamusu-Hashem spoke to Moshe after the death of Aharon’s two sons who brought an offering before Hashem and they died.

   This verse seems to be a bit redundant. Acharei Mos, means Vayamusu? It seems as though we are speaking here of two deaths. The first when the fire appeared and consumed their souls. The second is the fact they died childless. Not having anyone to carry on their heritage meant that their eternal life had come to an end.

The Parsha begins by telling us a new reason for the death of Nadav and Avihu. Before it was the strange fire here it doesn't mention this but rather the fact that they approached Hashem. The two Posukim would seem to contradict each other. R.Akiva says the contradiction is resolved by a third Posuk in Bamidbar which says “they offered a strange fire before Hashem” (26:61), this teaches us that it was the offering not the illegal entry that caused their death. The Chachomim say that the sins of Nadav and Avihu were that they didn't marry. They wanted to devote their entire life, body and soul to serving Hashem. “Bekirvasam Lifnei Hashem”. They wanted to be close to Hashem. They wanted to be separated from the normal way of life ie. marriage. But by doing this they would abstain from doing the first mitzvah of Pru Urevu. Therefore they were punished. A righteous person does not have to separate himself from the rest of the world. The Torah teaches us to elevate the physical world and make it holy.

   (16:1) “Vayidaber Hashem el-Moshe- (16:2) "Vayomer Hashem el Moshe" Vayidabaer is an expression of harshness, while Vayomer is a softer expression. The first is harsh for after witnessing the punishment of death a very serious dialogue takes place. Vayomer, a softer expression is used to console Aharon after the tremendous loss of two of his sons.

   The Ohr Ha'Chaim explains that there are several questions relating to the first Posuk of this Parsha. Why does the Posuk say “Shenei Benei Aaron” instead of calling them by name? What is the connection to their deaths and the fact that this week’s Parsha deals with the service of Yom Kippur? And why does it say the word “Vayamusu-and they died” after it had already said that we are speaking after the deaths of Aaron's two sons? He answers that all of this relates to the fact that Aaron was not totally forgiven for his part in the Chet of the Eigel. When Moshe prayed for Aaron the effect was that two of his son's were spared. But two of his son's were destined to die. This is why they are called Aaron's two sons. The fact that there was still a residue of Aaron's involvement with the Eigel caused that Hashem removed his protection from his pious ones enabling them to stumble. This would also explain why Aaron was not previously commanded regarding not entering the Kodshe Kodshim at any time until here. Aaron had not yet been qualified to enter the inner sanctum of Hashem until the atonement that the death of his two sons brought. This could be the meaning of the Posuk (16:3) “Bezos Yavo Aaron el-Hakodesh-With this shall Aaron enter into the Holy.” Only after removing any of the residual guilt through these deaths could Aaron now be permitted to enter the Kodshe Kodshim.

   How is it that Hashem chose this day to take their lives, a day of tremendous Simcha for Klal Yisroel? It was Aaron's sin-offering on the eighth day of the consecration of the Mikdosh that was the final rehabilitation of the sin. Now there could be this connection to the Avodah of Yom Kippur which was the day that the Chet Ha'Eigel was actually forgiven.

   There is a Midrash that explains how Nadav and Avuhu entered the Holy of Holies without even consulting each other. The question is why should they have had to consult each other? We don't see this by any other Mitzvah? This was actually another one of their sins. We know that when the Kohen Gadol enters the Holy of Holies he must enter alone. No one is permitted to be there when he enters. Nadav and Avuhu both entered because they did not consult one another. Neither one knew what the other was about to do. This is an important factor. They had heard what Hashem told Moshe regarding the Mishkon. They knew that Hashem wanted to sanctify His name by taking one of his closest one's. They all assumed it would be either Moshe or Aaron. In order not to lose such great leaders they both decided to give up their own lives instead. One of them would have been enough. But since they didn't consult each other they were both taken.

     (16:2) “Vayomer Hashem el-Moshe Dabaer el-Aharon Achicha V’Al Yovoh B’chol-Aise el-Hakodesh.” Hashem tells Moshe to tell Aaron, right after the deaths of Nadav and Avihu, not to come into the Kodshe Kodshim whenever he wished. This is the Parsha of the Avodah of Yom Kippur. Many Siddurim have this mentioned by the prayers of Yom Kippur. There is a reason why this Avodah is brought here, by the deaths of Nadav and Avihu. It has to do with Kaporas Aveiros. But in Parshas Shimini where the incident is originally recorded it gives several reasons as to what their sin was. They did an act that was not commanded, they drank wine before bringing the Korban, they refused to get married, they decided Halacha before their Rebbe, they walked behind Moshe and Aaron saying when will these two die so that we can replace them and of course the strange fire. How can it be that two such great people, as they apparently were, could have so many Aveirous? In fact Moshe had told Aaron that this is what Hashem told me that He would be sanctified through His holy ones. Which Moshe thought was to be either himself or Aaron. But it seems that they were even greater than them! We have learned that when Moshe went up to Har Sinai Aaron and the 70 elders stayed behind. But they could remain at a level much higher than the rest of Klal Yisroel. And Nadav and Avihu were mentioned there too. So we see that they were on a very high Madrege. They experienced a certain revelation at that time which we can't even comprehend.

   Perhaps we can say that what Nadav and Avihu were trying to do was to correct the original sin of Adam. Klal Yisroel had attained this level of Adam before the Chet, when they stood at Har Sinai. But the Chet of the Eigel put an end to that. Nadav and Avihu were not involved in the Chet of the Eigel. They were still on the level of Naseh Venishma, where they were compelled to act without asking. To act instinctively out of the tremendous love that flowed from their witnessing the inauguration of the Mikdosh. They wished to take Klal Yisroel to the next level. This might explain all of the above difficulties. Why they said “When will these two die so that we can replace them.” They wanted to divest their generation from the past, from a physical existence. Why they took wine - to be able to transcend the physical, and why they refused to marry.

The Chidushe HaRim explains that when a person does a Mitzvah with total devotion his soul should leave him and cleave to Hashem. The only reason that such a person should live 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 restore their lives. This is why the Posuk says “they brought a fire which he had not commanded.” This would also explain the meaning of “Be'Korvasam Lifnei-Hashem Vayamusu” in our Parsha.

But this is not the method that Hashem wants. Hashem does not want us to be totally in the spiritual realm. Klal Yisroel at that time was not ready for this stage. From the service of Yom Kippur we can learn a tremendous lesson about this. The Torah tells us that they had to take two goats of equal value and appearance. One was to be sacrificed on the altar, while the other was sent away to be thrown off a cliff. The cost of these two goats was taken from the communal fund. They therefore did not skimp on spending when it came to a sacrifice to atone for all of Israel. So how is it that it would be going to waste, thrown over a cliff? The answer is that there are two ways we spend money in our lifetime. One is on spiritual matters the other for physical and personal pleasures. The return for money spent on the spiritual is everlasting. But in retrospect we see that Monies spent on pleasures are usually wasted. The lesson here is that Hashem doesn't mind if we spend money for personal satisfaction. But it has to be balanced with equal spending for Tzedakah and Mitzvos too. The two goats therefor had to be equal in value.

   (16:3) “B’Zos Yovo Aharon el-Hkodesh-With this Aharon may enter the Holy.” The Shem M’shmuel writes that the word “B’zos” are the letters Zayin Aleph Tof, Zayin, seven which is nature, Aleph Tof are the letters of the alphabet which is the spiritual, the letters with which the Torah was written. Aharon must only enter with a mixture of that which is physical and spiritual. He is attempting to enter the holiest place, where the binds of physical space do not apply. In the Temple we find the limits of physical space suspended in the Holy of Holies. The day which Aharon must enter there is the holiest day. He enters as a man but inside becomes angelic thus combining the spiritual and physical worlds.

   (16:3) “B’Zos Yovo Aharon el-Hkodesh-With this Aharon may enter the Holy.” There is a Gemorrah in Brochos that says Habo L’taheir M’sayin Oso-If a person wishes to better himself they aid him.” What does it mean they aid him? It should say He helps him in the singular form. But the meaning is as follows. There is a concept called Transmigration of souls (Ibur Neshamas) where the souls of previous Tzadikim are sent to accompany and assist a person attempting a worthy but difficult task. There is a story about the Arizal who once stood up for a student of his that had just entered the room. When questioned about this he responded that he saw the Neshama of Pinchas ben Yair enter the room with his student. What had happened was that this student had just finished risking his life to perform the mitzvah of Pidyan Shevuyin. Assisting him on that task was Pinchas ben Yair. The Arizal sensed this and stood up when he entered the room.

   Another case of Ibur Neshamas was by Aharon H’kohein. We have a rule “Ain Kateger Nasseh Saneiger- The prosecutor may not be the defender. Aaron was not permitted to enter the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur wearing gold because of his role in the sin of the Golden Calf. This may be true of Aaron’s role as Kohein Gadol but what about all of the future Kohanim that were not involved in the Sin of the golden calf? Why could they not enter wearing gold? The answer is that every subsequent Kohein that entered the Holy of Holies did not enter alone. The soul of Aharon accompanied them. Therefore every future Kohein Gadol entered wearing white. With this we can understand the Posuk that says “B’zos Yovo Aharon el Hakodesh-With this Aharon would enter into the sanctuary.” The word B’zos has the numerical value of 410, the exact number of years that the first Beis Hamikdosh stood. The question then is why is only the first Beis Hamikdosh hinted at and not the second? The answer is that only during the first Beis Hamikdosh was Aaron accompanying the Kohein Gadol. All subsequent Kohanim of the second Temple were not worthy and did not benefit from Aaron’s assistance.

   (16:8) "Goral Echad L'Hashem V'Goral Echod L'Azazel -One lottery for Hashem and one for Azazel" We know that all of the sins of Klal Yisroel were placed upon the scapegoat and sent out alive to the dessert. What then was the purpose of the first goat L'Hashem? The Ohr Ha'chaim writes that it was to atone for unintentional sins, while the goat for the Azazel carried the more severe intentional sins. The Oznayim L'Torah writes that the services performed for the two of them complement each other and together constitute one sin offering. The reason for this is that the sin offering atones for severe symptoms as well as minor ones, for intentional as well as unintentional ones, for the entire Jewish people, as well for individuals. It would be impossible to place all of these sins on one goat and then offer it to Hashem as a sin offering, the pollution would be too overwhelming.

   The Parsha continues and discusses the service of Yom Kippur. The central theme of which was the Se'or Le'Azzazel. Two identical goats were selected. One goat was to be brought to the ultimate place of Kiddusha, the other to be taken outside of Eretz Yisroel to the wilderness to a place of death and Tumeh. When a Korban Chatas was brought it was to atone for unintentional sins. Any intentional sins were considered an abhorrence to Hashem and could not be erased by this sacrifice. On Yom Kippur even sins committed intentionally were erased through this scapegoat. This is why it had to be taken outside the Holy Land. It can be better understood by means of a parable. A King examined the garments of his son and found that some of them were soiled. If the garment had a single stain the king would remove it and return the garment. But if he came across a garment which was greatly soiled he would hand it to one of his servants to launder. That servant would not mind getting his hands dirty while washing the garment. Just as the one who takes the goat to the wilderness becomes Tameh. The Ohr Ha'Chaim writes that numerous animals became bodies which housed the souls of former sinners whose souls were given an opportunity to rehabilitate themselves through another re-incarnation on earth. The chances are that the goat which was chosen by lot to be the scapegoat to carry away the sins of all of Benei Yisroel, was such an animal.

   (16:21) “V’Shelach Beyad Ish Iti Hamidbarah-And send it with the designated man to the desert.” Rashi says that this man was appointed before Yom Kippur. The Chizkuni say that “Ish Iti” means the man whose time has come. That the person who was selected would die during the course of that year. But although he knew that his life would end after his mission, he did not hesitate to perform it. On the contrary he was eager to be apart of Klal Yisroel’s atonement for all of their sins. The question is why did it have to be through someone whose time had come? To answer this we must first understand how this process of atonement worked. Chazal explain that every time a person sins, a bad angel is created. If that person does Teshuvah this destructive angel departs from him, but stands aside waiting to see if the person repeats the sin. If the person does sin again, the angel returns to him to join forces with the new destructive angel created by the second offence. They then unite in their acts of sabotage and accusations.

   If the person does not repeat the sin, the bad angel stays away until Yom Kippur. On that day, when the Kohen Gadol says Viduy for Benei Yisroel, all of their bad angels surround him, both the angels of the “wilful sins” and the angels that were waiting on the sidelines. So when he emerges from the Holy of Holies he is on a higher level than even the ministering angels. He then commands all of the bad angels to go onto the head of the he-goat, and they obey. This animal contains so much negativity that it is not even permitted to be sacrificed on the altar. Rather it had to be taken away to the desert. The concentration of negative was such that the only person other than the Kohen Gadol that was able to stand in such an environment was a person whose time had come, someone who had nothing to lose, who could not be sabotaged by an accusing angel.

(16:24) “ V'rochatz es-B'soroh Bamayim B'Mokom Kodesh-And he shall bathe his flesh in water in a holy place.” Rashi explains that the “holy place” where the Kohen would purify himself was a mikveh on top of the “House of Parve.” What was this place? How did it get that name? Rabeinu Chananel explains that Parve is the name of a gentile sorcerer. He so desired to see the service of Yom Kippur, that he actually dug a tunnel beneath the temple in order to view the Kohen Gadol perform in the Holy of Holies. He was captured and put to death but because of his misplaced devotion the holy place was named after him.

   (16:29) "The native born and the proselyte" Why did the Torah need to mention the proselyte by the Mitzvah of Yom Kippur? The convert is obligated to all the Mitzvos? The Ohr Hachaim writes that this is a case of a newly converted and since he is newly converted he has nothing to confess. I might therefore think he need not observe Yom Kippur. The Torah is telling us that he must still keep Yom Kippur.

   (17:13) “Ve'Eish Eish Mibenei Yisroel-Asher Yatzud Tzayid Chaya oh-Of Asher Yai'achel Ve'shafach es-Damo Ve'kisahu be'Afar-Every person of Benei Yisroel that traps any wild animal or fowl that is permitted to be eaten, he shall spill it's blood and cover it with earth.” We learn from here that only animals that are intended for food may be hunted. It is not permitted to hunt animals for sport.

   It says “If you hunt a beast or fowl, before you eat it, you shall pour out its blood and cover the blood with dust. “When Cain killed Hevel and left the body lying on the ground unburied the birds and animals dug a hole and buried Hevel in it. For this reason they are deserving of having blood covered with earth if they should meet a violent death.


   (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 y. 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.


(1:9) “Eishe Raiach Nechoach L’Hashem-A fire offering, a satisfying aroma to Hashem.” This idea of satisfying aroma is given additional meaning by R. Eliezer Askenazi. He says that when the Torah uses this expression, it is not to have us appreciate the great value of the sacrifice, on the contrary, it is to have us appreciate its inadequacy. Since the person bringing the offering might think that his sin is pardoned, the Torah informs him that this is not so. This sacrifice is only a satisfying aroma, a hint of what that person could do in the future. A pleasing aroma from afar hints at the existence of an object that is even better than its aroma. So too the sacrifice is an indication of the Maasim Tovim to come. Therefore the word Aroma is used to designate something whose approach is felt before it is actually present. The Korban is merely giving evidence of what he intends to do.

   Rashi explains based on a Midrash that Hashem has Nachas Ruach from the fact that His word was spoken and his children comply. The question is if that is the case why is this term only mentioned here and only in regard to certain sacrifices? Every Mitzvah performed is a case of “His word spoken and his children complying.” Why are these sacrifices singled out?

  If we look at the first mention of a concept in the Torah we can glean a better understanding of its root. At the end of Parshas Noach we find the first mention of a “satisfying aroma.” After the flood, when Noach emerged from the ark, he brought a sacrifice which was totally consumed. Perhaps we could suggest that this phrase is used only in a case where there is no gain for the one performing the sacrifice. Every subsequent mention of a “satisfying aroma” is either by a Korban Olah or Mincha each of which is totally consumed. The owner has no share in the sacrifice. Giving of themselves with nothing in return is the ultimate expression of sacrifice.

   However there are several discrepancies with regard to how this phrase is expressed. Of the 33 times it appears in the Torah it is spelled with a “Vav” in the word “Nichoach” only 3 times. The other times it appears without the “Vav”. But in the first mention of this “satisfying aroma” in the Torah, the root of this concept, we see a unique spelling, different than in every other incident. There it uses the letter “Hey” as the definite article in front of the word Nichoach (Reach Ha'Nichoach) which has a total numerical value of 307 with the letters, which is the same as the amount of words in the chapter of the ultimate sacrifice, the ultimate giving of one's self – The Akeidah.