Thursday, May 1, 2008

Parshas Kedoshim - "Saying It Right"

QUICKIE/FUNFACT: The Torah commands to leave the corners of our fields for the poor. (19:9) Why does it begin the command in plural (U'VIKUTZRECHEM - WHEN YOU HARVEST) and then switch to the singular (LO TICHALEH - DO NOT COMPLETE)?

The Ohr HaChayim answers that the Torah switches to singular to teach that even if it is just one person who has a field and it will provide the poor with very little to eat, the mitzvah still applies.

- Courtesy of Rabbi Dov Lipman

Vayikra 19:17 “Lo Sisna Es Achicha Bilvavecha Hochiach Tochiach Es Amisecha, V’Lo Tisa Alav Cheit”

“You shall not hate your brother in your heart; you shall reprove your fellow and do not bare a sin because of him.”

Much ink has been used in discussing the parameters of the positive Commandment of, “Hochiach Tochiach Es Amisecha – admonish your fellow.” From the context of this Pasuk it seems that if one sees his fellow going astray, he must rebuke him for doing so. The obligation of tochachah is to communicate to one’s fellow the wrong of the past or to inform him of the inappropriateness of the action so that he should not transgress this commandment in the future.

Many Rabbinic authorities are troubled by the following question. It seems to make perfect sense to “reprove your fellow” but what does the end of the verse mean, “and do not bare a sin because of him?”

Rashi on this pasuk suggests that the end of Pasuk is telling us that when one is delivering mussar to his friend he should do it in a manner which doesn’t embarrass him. If you do embarrass your friend then you will bare a sin because of your friend’s original mishap.

The Ramban however takes a different approach at understanding the end of the posuk. He is of the opinion that the only way that you will bare a sin is if you continue to allow your friend to partake in inappropriate activities. If you do allow him to continue then your friend’s bad deeds become your bad deeds.

After analyzing both Rashi and the Ramban’s pshat on this pasuk, The Radansker Rebbe offers a different explanation. The Gemara in Brachos (55b) says that dreams comes true based on how they are interpreted. If it is interpreted with a positive spin, then the outcome will be good. If however, the interpretation comes out of one’s mouth with a negative connotation then the outcome will be harmful.

Similarly in Mishna 1:6 in Pirkei Avos the author says that when dealing with one’s friends it is virtuous to be “dan likaf zechus” “give them the benefit of the doubt.” The reason for this is because when you judge them kindly and appropriately then he is given a positive administering angel in heaven that will advocate positively on their behalf. If you judge them negatively however, then you will be forcing a negative angel on your friend which ultimately will lead to your friend’s demise. The Radansker makes it clear that the same is true in our pasuk of “Hochiach Tochiach Es Amisecha Vlo Sisa Alav Cheit.” When you give mussar to your friend you should make sure not to mention the sin which your friend just partook in because then that will give them a negative angel. We must report positively when speaking to others. Thus helping them by not only placing them on the path of teshuva with a clean slate.

* This week's Dvar Torah was told to me by my night seder Chavrusa, Effie.


Anonymous said...

Sorry very technical but I started Writing it so I finished it.
וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל-מֹשֶׁה אֱמֹר אֶל-הַכֹּהֲנִים בְּנֵי אַהֲרֹן וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם לְנֶפֶשׁ לֹא-יִטַּמָּא בְּעַמָּיו
Rashi says on this Posuk is teaching us to warn the adults regarding the minors. What does this mean? The Chasam Sofer offers a few answers .The Cohen's children are of a special status genealogically. The reason for this is because of the Laws of the Kehunah. The reason by a non-Cohen a child is believed to be of his Parents is because of the law of majority. This in legal reasoning is a weak argument. This means we believe the mother to say who the father of the child is on her word. This by a Cohen says the Chasam Sofer is different. There is a law in Kehuna that if the wife of a Cohen is attacked, the wife is no longer allowed to live with her husband. The reason for this is if there is a child sired thereafter it has a special status of a Chillul. This child loses the special status of Kehunah and can not do the service in the temple. It also brings shame to the family to prevent all of this we know that the wife of the Cohen will admit right away that she was attacked, and will not consider continuing living with her husband. Therefore her children have the special strong genealogical status so Rashi says you have a special connection with your children henceforth you the Cohen must be extra careful about your minors. The second less legalistic reason is also to do with the Technical aspects of Kehuna .Kohanim do not receive a plot of land in Israel as do the other tribes. The Kohanim also subsist on Terumos and Masseros .It is for these reasons the Kohanim have a special warning from Rashi to watch out for the younger ones. That is because there was no regular source of income not land or regular finances. Therefore Rashi specifies that special care must be taken of the Minors as they have no source of income. A third reason given by the Chasam Sofer has to do with the special Genetic trait that all Kohanim are supposed to have that is they are a "Lovers of Peace and a pursuers of Peace" as there grandfather Aharon HaKohen was. Therefore they are especially meant for doing Hashem's work of bringing the Jews closer to Hashem. This being defined as Kiruv with this holy work says the Chasam Sofer comes great responsibility. That is to "warn the adults regarding the minors" meaning to warn them not to got overly involved in the others peoples lives seeing that they can influence you the other Kohanim in the negative so it is your job to forewarn them that is to be לְנֶפֶשׁ לֹא-יִטַּמָּא.

Ibn Mordechai said...

Thank you very much for sharing Torah with klal Yisrael. I added this Dvar Torah to the end of the last post.

Anonymous said...

Its on Parshas Emor

Ibn Mordechai said...

You are correct. My apologies. and Thanks again!

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