Monday, June 02, 2014

brisker rav on the mitzvah of carrying the aron

The footnotes to the Mossad haRav Kook edition of the Ralbag are medayek that in his explanation of the parsha he discusses the Levi’im’s role in carrying all the klei hamikdash, but at the end of the parsha when he sums up the take away points he only mentions their job of carrying the aron.  Why did he omit carrying the klei hamikdash?

The Rambam in Sefer haMitzvos shoresh 3 writes that the din of “lo ya’avod od,” that a Levi who is past 50 years old can no longer do the job of carrying, is not counted as a mitzvah l’doros.  Ramban takes issue with this idea, as we see that even later in Tanach whenever the aron was moved it was carried on the shoulders of Levi’im.  The Brisker Rav (michtavim at the end of Ch haGRI”Z) writes that there are two dinim in carrying the aron: 1) there is the mitzvah of carrying the klei hamikdash, including the aron, which the Levi’im are charged with in our parsha; 2) there is a separate mitzvah of carrying the aron – “Ba’eis ha’hi hivdil Hashem es sheivet haLevi la’seis es aron bris Hashem…” (Devarim 10:8)  The Rambam rejects “lo ya’avod od” as a mitzvah l’doros as there is no din l’doros of moving klei hamikdash, especially once the Beis haMikdash was built; however, the Rambam in his count of mitzvos aseh lists carrying the aron by kohanim (not Levi'im) as a seperate mitzvah.  Ramban does not disagree as a matter of principle that carrying the aron is a seperate mitzvah.  However, he argues that when the Levi’im perform this task, all the requirements of avodah by levi’im mentioned in our parsha are in force.

It could be that the Ralbag deliberately does not mention the klei hamikdash as a takeaway l’doros, but mentions carrying the aron in keeping with this idea that only carrying the aron is a mitzvah l'doros.  The only little problem I have is that the takeaway l’doros belongs in parsha Eikev, not here.

1 comment:

  1. Just an interesting yedia - this particular letter at the back of Chiddushei Maran Riz Halevi was written to the Rav. (the first two letters in fact were to the Rav. Reported by Rav Schachter in BY 37 and Divrei HaRav, as well as Harav Mibrisk vol 2 by Meller.)

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