Friday, March 07, 2014

looking inside

The Midrash at the beginning of our parsha tells us that even a neveilah is better than a talmid chacham without da’as.  Why do Chazal draw an analogy davka to neveilah?  Sefas Emes explains that a neveilah has bones, has flesh, has skin – it looks just like a live animal.  What’s missing is the neshoma and pnimiyus on the inside.  So too, a talmid chacham without da’as has a frock, a nice hat, etc. but what’s missing is the pnimiyus, the da’as on the inside. 

Problem is in our world, all people look at is the outside.

 On the flip side, the Torah says regarding the korban olah that it is offered “…lirtzono lifnei Hashem.” (1:3)  Why does the Torah need to add the words “lifnei Hashem?”  We all know where and to whom the korban is being offered.  Ksav Sofer answers: Chazal say that beis din has a right to coerce a person until he says “rotzeh ani” and consents to bring the korban.  Were you or I to see this person getting hit by beis din until he cries “Uncle!” we would say to ourselves that there’s no way he really means it.  However, the Rambam (Hil Geirushin ch 2) explains that in a person’s heart of hearts he really does want to do the right thing.  The coercion is not to force him to do something against his will; it’s to force his brain and body to respond to his deeper inner will.  We see it as coercion, but ”…lifnei Hashem,” in G-d’s eyes, where the truth of what’s in a person’s heart is known, it is “lirtzono.”


  1. But the midrash quoted said a Talmud chacham without daas, not Lev, to the point it should've said a Talmud chacham without a Lev?!?

    1. v'lo nasati lachem lev la'da'as...


  2. ולא נתן ה' לכם לב לדעת ועינים לראות ואזנים לשמע עד היום הזה דברים כח,מג

    da'as is associated with heart, so that by saying a talmid chacham without da'as, chazal means
    one lacking in his heart.

    See, for example, the statement of the Chazon Ish quoted in

    [Apropos of the mo'ed, one of the poisons we acquired via Amalek is the concept that
    the brain - intellect - is primary]