Friday, March 22, 2019

Simcha and Torah she'ba'al peh

Rashi comments on the last pasuk in our parsha, "Va'ya'as Aharon u'banav eis kol hadevarim asher tzivah Hashem byad Moshe," that the Torah tells us that Aharon and his children followed instructions to emphasize that they did not deviate one iota from what they were told.

Maharal in Gur Aryeh here disagrees with Rashi instead of defending him as he usually does.  He quotes Toras Kohanim which explains that the point of the pasuk is not that Aharon obeyed, but that he did what he had to b'simcha, as if he had been commanded to do so directly by Hashem.  It is much harder, says Maharal, to take orders from someone else - a middleman - than to follow orders when they are given to you directly.

According to this pshat the language of the pasuk is meduyak.  It's the "asher tzivah Hashem b'yad Moshe" which is the challenge -- the fact that the instructions were given through an intermediary.

Much of Torah is transmitted to us via intermediary.  Torah sheba'al peh, mesorah, is all about following the instructions of Hashem as relayed to us by Chazal.  

Klal Yisrael willingly accepted Torah she'b'ksav.  The threat of kafah aleihem har kgigis was because Torah she'bal peh was a harder sell.

The gemara writes that true complete acceptance of Torah came at the time of Purim.

Just as the Toras Kohanim learns that Aharon's simcha reflected a complete kabbala of the ba'al peh mesorah given via Moshe,  so too simcha Purim reflects our complete kabbala of the same.


  1. Except that the gemara pairs orah to Torah, and simchah to Yom Tov, in "LaYhudim haysa orah..."

  2. like a katan called to maftir. one would think he could feel depressed to be a lesser, adjunct participant, though it turns out he really feels honored and excited. so Aharon and his sons must listen to Moshe command 'seven' [as in 7 aliyot prior to maftir] at 8:33/35, and rather than resent a "a middleman" [ = gedolim in shul], they perform "b'simcha" when the time comes...

    {touches on the greater question of the ubiquitous use of the label, 'bnei Yisrael'-- do the children of Israel feel and act like excited kids let/invited in on the Big Plan, or like independent adults (or teens) who resent being defined over and over as mere chips off the old block?}

  3. is it really commendable* to perform exactingly (Rashi), when otherwise one will be killed?
    but taking up the "middleman" interpretation-- it can be "much harder" to perform [with or without simcha] at 8:36, when the "intermediary" gives no sevara (8:35) for a command [hence na'aseh], then when he does provide reason (ki-shemen...aleichem, 10:7), [v'nishmah] >> va'ya'asu ki'dvar Moshe (10:7)

    *maybe at 8:36 Aharon and his sons did act commendably insofar as they performed as if liable to death by human hand [b'yad-Moshe] in addition to misa b'ydei shamayim (10:2)?