Friday, July 01, 2022

chut shel chessed

Back in 2012 I wrote:

Rashi writes that Moshe was asking Hashem to not count Dasan and Aviram's portion of the korban tamid, which was a korban tzibur. (It seems from this Rashi that the korban tzibur was a type of large shutfus, a partnership among all members of Klal Yisrael, such that an individual share could be excluded. See Ramban at the beginning of VaYikra who discusses whether this is indeed the case, or whether a tzibur is a whole that transcends its individual parts and cannot be sliced and diced.) 

B'pashtus there is a difference between a shutfus and a tzibur.  A tzibur is like a corporation -- it exists as an entity in its own right, distinct from the individuals of which it is comprised.  How then are we to understand Moshe's request?  10 years later I see R' Moshe Tzvi Neriah in Ner LaMaor writes in a footnote:

תמה מו"ר הגרי"מ חרל"פ זצ"ל: והרי על פי דברי הרמב"ן אין בקרבן ציבור דין שותפין - חלק פרטי - ומהו חלקם של עדת קורח בקרבן? [ועיין משנת ראשונים לחתנו הר"י בארי ז"ל - ירושלים תש"י - עמ' רעג]. אכן המעיין במדרש רבה [יח ט] שהוא מקור דברי רש"י, ימצא תוספת לשון: "הואיל ופירשו מבניך", ונראה לבאר שכיון שעדת קורח פרשו מכלל ישראל, לא היה להם חלק בכלל ישראל, ואם כן נשאר חלקם רק כשותפות, ובכהאי גוונא ניתן לומר שחלקם הנבדל לא יקובל. ומצאתי שכן כתב ב"שם משמואל" [דברים, לקוטים עמ' רנו]: "מאחר שהם פגמו בכללות ישראל ונדבקו בכללות כתרי דמסאבותא, ועל כן הם ממילא נדחין מכלל ישראל, חזר חלקם כחלק שותף, על כן "תניחנו האש ולא תאכלנו".

Korach and his followers chose to cut themselves off from the klal, and therefore, they participated in the korban tamid only as shutfim, as partners WITH the tzibur, rather than members OF the tzibur.  

Perhaps Korach's point in arguing "ki kol ha'eidah kulam kedoshim" is that Klal Yisrael is a partnership of equals.  Everyone gets a say and has a voice.  However, in reality, Klal Yisrael is a tzibur, not a shutfus.  

2) The Midrash writes that as a reward for Avraham telling the King of Sdom that he will not take even "mi'chut v'ad sroch naal," even a single threat from him, his descendents were given the mitzvah of a thread of techeiles.  Avraham chose to do 100% chessed for Sdom; there was no gain at all for him.  Techeiles represents the chut shel chessed that Hashem in turn guarantees us.  No Jew is totally cut off.  He may be hanging by a thread -- the thread of techeiles, that chut shel chessed -- but that thread will not be broken.

This is why we put on tzitzis before tefillin.  First comes the chut shel chessed, the fact that Hashem will hold on to us no matter what.  Only then do we put in tefillin and tackle what we can accomplish ourselves with our ability and brains, the shel yad and shel rosh. 

Korach rebelled against the idea of a chut shel techeiles.  Sefas Emes (5642) explains that Korach argued that there are no free gifts.  The idea of Aharon being chosen simply for who he was rather than what he accomplished was foreign to him.  Korach felt that it was the Leviim who had not sinned in cheit ha'eigel who should be in charge, and he should replace Aharon, as unlike Aharon, who had a hand in making the eigel, his hands were clean.  Moshe's response was that "boker v'yoda Hashem es asher lo v'es ha'kadosh v'hikriv eilav," there certainly is a place for those who were "asher lo," i.e. those responded when he called at at Sinai, "Mi la'Hashem eilay."  They had earned their place and position.  But there was also a place for "es asher yivchar bo yakriv eilav," Hashem sometimes reaches out and chooses someone even if we don't understand or appreciate why.  

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