Thursday, March 05, 2020

dress like a kohen

1) The SA in OC 91 writes (based on Shabbos 10a) that one has to dress properly for tefilah, as the pasuk says, “Hikon likras Elokecha yisrael.”  Aside from this din, there is another din regarding dressing properly for davening based on our parsha. OC 98: just as the kohen had special clothes to do avodah, so too, tefilah b’makom korban and therefore one should have special nice clothes for davening as well.

I don’t understand why some people think there is some kind of gezeiras ha’kasuv that says you must wear a jacket for davening, and so they daven (esp mincha and maariv) wearing their winter coat.  The halacha is to dress in a manner of kavod.  If you would put on a suit jacket for an important meeting, then put on a suit jacket.  I don’t know anyone who would come to an important meeting and wear their winter coat, so that doesn't really seem to fit with the din.
2) A more technical point: Our parsha tells us that the urim v’tumim had to be placed inside the choshen -– “v’nasata el choshen ha’mishpat es ha’urim v’es ha’tumim.” (28:30)  Rashi (28:30) and Raavad (Beis haBechira 4:1) hold that during bayis sheni there was no urim v’tumim at all; Rambam (see also Klei HaMikdash 10:10) holds that the urim v’tumim was there, but did not function since there was no ruach ha’kodesh.  Rambam holds that urim v’tumim were part of the bigdei kehunah; therefore, without it, the kohen could not do avodah.  Rashi/Raavad holds urim v’tumim was just a note with the shem Hashem placed in the choshen, but not a beged in itself. 
The Mishna in Yoma writes that during bayis sheni, when the luchos were hidden away, there was also no aron -– the spot upon which the aron stood was left empty.  Why, asks Rasha”sh, does the din in last weeks parsha of “v’nasata el ha’aron es ha’eidus” (25:16) mean that if there is no luchos ha’eidus, there is no aron, but the same does not hold true of “v’nasata el choshen ha’mishpat es ha’urim v’es ha’tumim,” that if there is no urim v’tumim there can’t be a choshen?
The Rashash and the Meshech Chochma on last week’s parsha point out that after describing how to make the keruvim the Torah comes back to the topic of the aron and in pasuk 21 concludes the section by saying “v’el ha’aron titein es ha’eidus.”  Rashi writes that he does not know why this is repeated, as we already have the earlier pasuk (25:16) “v’nasata el ha’aron es ha’eidus.”  (See Ramban, Ohr haChaim.)  Rashash and Meshech Chochma suggest that the repetition is the “shanah alav ha’kasuv l’akeiv” that teaches us that placing of the luchos in the aron is a non-negotiable part of making the aron -- without luchos, it's just a box, not one of the klei ha'mishkan.
3) The shem zayis zach that is used to light the menorah represents the pure light of Torah.  How do you bring such a light into the world?  “V’atah titzaveh es Bnei Yisrael…”  Titzveh = tzavsa, companionship.  It has to be a communal effort. 
The mitzvos ha'yom of Purim -- mishloach manos, matanos la'evyonim -- bring us all closer together.  "Yeshno am mefuzar u'meforad..."  Haman got it wrong.  "Hadar kibluhu" davka through the tzavsa of Purim, through togetherness.  Even though the yetzer may try to fight it and force people into isolation, gufim muchlakim, but the neshoma of the klal transcends that.


  1. "without luchos, it's just a box"

    it doesn't take one as well-dressed as Lieutenant Columbo to wonder: can we learn breirah from here? do we say, once the aron housed the luchos, that Betzalel made it with ruach ha'kodesh; if it never came to hold them, that he worked uninspired?

    'by the way, this "urim" thing, who was it wrote on that? wasn't the G-d was it, like on the tablets? when does this book of the Jewish people show it being made? or going in for the first time? ...there must be answers here somewhere...

    just one more thing, that line in Amos, the one about spiffing up to pray [4:12b], the line after, thirteen, does G-d really care that He formed a mountain [or rather care that man made a certain box*]? or that He created the wind [or rather, a holy spirit]? did He really tell mankind to just get together and chitchat [or to synergistically pray]? have a good Shabbos...'

    *not the one Amazon uses to ship seforim to Israel (or maybe, depending on the seforim, that box too?)

  2. Re: 1. You could ask better. What's the pshat with baseball caps?
    Re: 3. There's the question. What is the significance of achdus, ish echod/lev echod. Who cares? Is it a tnai or a sibah? What's the shaychus to being mesamei'ach choson? IYH, bekorov, when you have to speak at a child's SB, maybe you could come up with a mehalach.

  3. {one more "Who cares?" from Rabbi Eisenberg, and Hashem will start reading Nietzsche...}

    -- "1) ...The halacha is to dress in a manner of kavod...just as the kohen had special clothes"

    whose kavod, 28:40, Hashem's or the kohen's?

    "If you would put on a suit jacket for an important meeting..."

    because one goes to meet another similarly dressed-- what is Hashem wearing while the minyan davens?

    -- "2) ...without luchos, it's just a box, not one of the klei ha'mishkan"

    yet the kodesh ha'kodashim, or greater box [kli sheni?], remains active: the kohen gadol places the coal pan between the absent staves on Yom Kippur (Yoma 52b)

    -- "3) ...the yetzer may try to...force people into isolation"

    the Rabbis might have let walled cities in eretz Yisrael be determined as at the time of Mordechai [none], rather than as at the time of Yehoshua. but no; no; yashva ba'dad ha'ir (Eichah 1:1)...