Thursday, February 14, 2019

perpetual chinuch

1. The Maharal in Gur Aryeh (Parshas Matos) explains the difference between the nevuah of Moshe "b'ispaklarya ha'mei'ira" which he communicated using the words "zeh ha'davar" and the nevuah of other prophets, "b'ispakkarya she'eina mei'ira," which they communicated using the words "koh amar Hashem" is that Moshe spoke of ideals and principles -- Torah and mitzvos are a description of what should be, not what is -- and ideals and principles are eternal; the other prophets spoke of G-d in the here and now of the world, the interaction of the divine with temporal, physical reality. 

Our parsha opens the description of the process and korbanos of the miluim, the one week during which the kohanim were inaugurated, with the words "v'zeh ha'davar asher ta'aseh lahem l'kadesh osam..." (29:1)  Shem m'Shmuel asks: if "zeh" signifies the eternal, the unchanging ideal, why does the Torah use this term here in describing the milium which lasted a mere one week?

"Chanoch la'na'ar al pi darko gam ki yazkin lo yasur mi'menu" does not mean that if you train a child at 5 to blow his nose using a tissue, then at 75 he will still have manners and do the same.  We should aspire to more than merely holding on to what we learned at age 5.  What the pasuk is telling us is that if you do chinuch properly at age 5, then when the same person is older "lo yasur mimenu" -- from chinuch!  Learning will be a lifelong process.  There will be perpetual freshness and renewal; the person will never cease growing.

The week of the miluim was the chanukas ha'kohanim and the prelude to the chanukas ha'mishkan.  "Zeh ha'davar asher ta'aseh" -- it was not just a one week inauguration ceremony, but it was an inauguration of a lifetime of constant chinuch and chanukah.  The "minchas chavitim," the korban the kohen gadol offered every day was the same as that offered by a regular kohen on the day he began avodah.  For the kohen gadol every day was a fresh start, a new inauguration, and new opportunity to grow.

2. "...V'lakachta mi'damo [of the slaughtered ram] v'nasata al t'nuch ozen Aharon v'al tnuch ozen banav ha'yimanis v'al bohan YADAM ha'yimanis v'al bohen RAGLAM ha'yimanis." (29:20) 

Meforshim (see Meshech Chochma, Netziv) note that in describing the placing of the blood of the ram on the ear, the pasuk refers to Aharon individually and then his sons individually.  When it comes to placing the ram's blood on the thumb and toe, the pasuk refers to Aharon and his sons as one unit, one group.  Why the difference?

The ear represents understanding.  Shema Yisrael means to understand, not just to hear.  The thumbs / hands represent putting one's ideas into practice.  The toes / feet represent practice becoming second nature, regel = hergel

When it comes to action, there is no difference between Aharon and his sons.  We all have to do the same mitzvos.  But when it comes to understanding, to the ear, there is a difference between the kohen gadol, between Aharon, and those under him.  Everyone has their own "ear" for the music, the shirah of Torah, each according to his own level. 

3. I was thinking of writing about the machlokes Rambam/Ra'avad re: the relationship between the choshen and u'rum v'tumim, but earlier in the week when I asked my son if he had any thoughts on the topic he answered that he already had a whole post written on it.  Oh well -- saves me writing time.  If you want lomdus, read it here.


  1. 2. "the ram's blood on the thumb" alludes to "putting into...practice" priestly service under the red-dyed ram's skin cover of the Mishkan (26:14); "...on the...toe" alludes to that service becoming "second nature"*. and the ram's blood put on Aharon's ear "individually"? this alludes to the ram's horn that would blow on the Kohen Gadol's Big Day [Yom Kippur] at the Yovel year, when everyone, including the High Priest, would experience
    "[1.] a fresh start". a shofar blast that announces complete rejuvenation evinces complete "understanding"...

    *even the kohen hedyot was a rarity at that time

  2. Emrei Eliezer - very nice! Perhaps Eimurei Chaim would be more appropriate. Speaking of the lifelong learning process, I heard a fascinating thing about Harav Moshe Brown the other day. He has known Shas with Rishonim for over forty years, and now knows kol hatorah kulah. But his son in law said that every day he is like a new person, because every day he makes connections and has insights that invigorate and enlighten him. This is vanishingly rare. Most people, even gedolim, reach a plateau, and just tread water, to mix metaphors.

  3. That Maharal is in this week's as well, regarding Moshe forgetting the order in building the Mishkan vs keilim, and why betzalel knee it .