Thursday, March 23, 2023

an incomplete calling

1) The command to take the korban pesach was given on Rosh Chodesh Nissan, even though nothing had to be done until the 10th.  Shem m'Shmuel explains that the 10 days from R"Ch until the 10th are like the aseres ymei teshuvah.  You don't jump into Yom Kippur without preparing yourself in advance.  So too when it comes to taking the korban pesach.   מִֽשְׁכ֗וּ וּקְח֨וּ לָכֶ֥ם צֹ֛אן לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתֵיכֶ֖ם וְשַׁחֲט֥וּ הַפָּֽסַח׃ (12:21) Chazal darshen  רַבִּי יוֹסֵי הַגְּלִילִי אוֹמֵר, מִשְׁכוּ יְדֵיכֶם מֵעֲבֹדַת אֶלִילִים וְהִדַּבְּקוּ בַּמִּצְוֹת.  Cleansing oneself from avodah zarah takes time and effort.  Even though we no longer have a korban pesach, we still need to take advantage of the time period. 

2) Mountains of derush have been written on the fact that the aleph in VaYikra is small.  The Zohar (quoted by R' Tzuriel here ) writes that the letter is small because the revelation of Hashem here took place outside Eretz Yisrael and therefore lacked completeness.  

Tzror haMor similarly writes:

למה אלף זעירא לפי שכבוד הש״י וקדושתו הוא בארץ ישראל לפי שהיא ארץ קדושה. וכשהוצרך לצאת מהיכלו ולילך חוצה לארץ כביכול הוא ממעט כבודו. ולכן נכתב ויקרא באלף זעירא.

This approach helps deal with a pshat question Ramban and Seforno are bothered by.  וַיְדַבֵּ֤ר ה׳ אֵלָ֔יו מֵאֹ֥הֶל מוֹעֵ֖ד - why the stress on Ohel Moed?   They explain that Hashem called to Moshe here because when Moshe saw the cloud of Hashem's presence enveloping the Mishkan, he was hesitant to enter.  However, according to the Zohar and the Tzror haMor maybe the stress is on Ohel Moed is because the it's the fact that the revelation took place there as opposed to Eretz Yisrael that makes the aleph small.

I would add that al derech derush we can explain based on this why it is that davka here the aleph is small.  Why not earlier, e.g. by the sneh (Shmos 3:4), where we have  וַיִּקְרָא֩ אֵלָ֨יו אֱלֹקים מִתּ֣וֹךְ הַסְּנֶ֗ה, or by mattan Torah, where we read (19:3) וַיִּקְרָ֨א אֵלָ֤יו ה׳ מִן־הָהָ֣ר?  

Rambam paskens in Hil Melachim (9:5) אסור לצאת מארץ ישראל לחוצה לארץ לעולם. אלא ללמוד תורה או לישא אשה או להציל מן העכו"ם ויחזור לארץ   Hashem's appearance by the sneh was להציל מן העכו"ם, to save Bn"Y from Pharoah's oppression.  Hashem's appearance by Har Sinai was ללמוד תורה.  These are justifiable reasons for leaving Eretz Yisrael, and therefore there was no miyut of kavod Shamayim in going out.  However, when it comes to the korbanos of the mishkan, korbanos which are offered primarily because we messed up and need a kaparah, then there is a miyut of kavod Shamayim for Hashem to come out to chu"l to deal with it.

We are all "called" upon to work on our avodas Hashem.  How many of us even realize how that calling from Hashem is diminished by virtue of our remaining in chu"l?

3) Rashi writes:

 לכל דברות ולכל אמירות ולכל ציווים קדמה קריאה, זו לשון חיבה, לשון שמלאכי השרת משמשין בו: וקרא זה אל זה (ישעיהו ו׳:ג׳). אבל לנביאי אומות העולם נגלה עליהם בלשון גנאי ועראי, בלשון טומאה: ויקר אלהים אל בלעם

We understand that the revelation to Bilam was temporary,גנאי ועראי, but what proof is there that it is לשון טומאה? Why is the fact that it is temporary necessarily something bad?  Mizrachi and others suggest that Rashi is a play on words: יקר has the same letters as קרי.  

Rav Shteinman in Ayales haShachar explains that when Hashem appears to a person, that individual needs to seize the opportunity and grow from it.  The experience has to inspire meaningful, permanent change.  If the person sees it only as a one off,  גנאי ועראי, something temporary here today and gone tomorrow, that itself by definition is טומאה, a negative.  

See his second explanation here as well.

4) My wife told me about this product, which appears to simply be masking tape that has the word chameitz printed on it, that she saw in a store, and at first I thought she was joking, but she wasn't.  Amazon does not list the price, but my wife thinks it was around $11 locally.  

Let that sink in.  $11 for a role of tape.  

Have we reached peak Pesach madness yet?  


  1. In paragraph 3 you clearly are echoing the Ramban on עד שתחפץ. I still don't get why the failure to make concrete change in reaction to hispailus is called tuma. It's like any other failure to grow.

  2. >>> I still don't get why the failure to make concrete change in reaction to hispailus is called tuma. It's like any other failure to grow.

    I think it's like the situation of a beinoni during aseres ymei teshuva. If he doesn't shape up, then he gets put down as a rasha. Missing the opportunity is in some cases a crime. (from Chaim)

    1. I see. Like וזכרתי את בריתי את אברהם etc in middle of the תוכחה. Or that the failure to do teshuva aggravates the sin. I gave you an opportunity, and you squander it?

  3. 3) on the Ayelet Hashachar, Rav Dessler has a beautiful piece on this point (regarding why R Akivas Talmidim died- volume 3 pg 256 if I remember correctly.) where he explains the vacuum of Kedusha attracts Tumah.
    He says further when Hashem gives you an opportunity or hisorirus, it's Kedusha and when we misuse it, it's a terrible kitrug, attracts Tumah and the Yetzer Hara.

    1. I want to know what "volume 3 pg 256 if I remember correctly" means. Anyway, someone at my shiur used this idea to explain why הרואה סוטה etc. Why? You saw her disgraced, perhaps dying in misery? This makes it more likely that you'll sin? Yes, there are plenty of teirutzim. But using this idea, someone said that if you don't make an immediate positive change, you'll fall.