Friday, April 05, 2024

the privilege of teaching Torah; tamei birds - why not rely on rov; Bruriah's attitude towards wrongdoers vs the bracha of la'malshinim

Like I said last week, the Ayeles haShachar provides a lot of food for thought, and I could go on and on, but just a few more highlights:

1)  וַיְדַבֵּר ה׳ אֶל מֹשֶׁה וְאֶל אַהֲרֹן לֵאמֹר אֲלֵהֶם

 דַּבְּרוּ אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לֵאמֹר זֹאת הַחַיָּה אֲשֶׁר תֹּאכְלוּ מִכׇּל הַבְּהֵמָה אֲשֶׁר עַל הָאָרֶץ. (11:1-2) 

Rashi comments that the  אֲלֵהֶם in the first pasuk refers to Elazar and Itamar.

  אמור שיאמרו להם לאלעזר ולאיתמר, או אינו אלא לאמר לישראל? כשהוא אומר: דברו אל בני ישראל (ויקרא י״א:ב׳), הרי דבור האמור לישראל, הא מה אני מקיים: לאמר אלהם – לבנים, לאלעזר ולאיתמר 

The word דַּבְּרוּ in the next pasuk refers to Moshe, Aharon, and his children together.  Rashi comments:

 את כולם השוה להיות שלוחים לדבור זה, לפי שהושוו בדמימה וקבלו עליהם גזירת המקום מאהבה.

The reward given to Aharon and his children was their being given the opportunity to teach this parsha.  We see a beautiful chiddush : The capacity to teach Torah is a gift from Hashem, it's a reward.  Don't take it for granted! 

2) Yesterday I touched on the mitzvah of bedikas simanin to check whether an animal is kosher.  R' Itzelege Ponovicher has a chiddush based on a Rivash that R' Shteinman ties to another din in our parsha.  The gemara (Chulin 63b) writes that the Torah only lists the tamei birds because most birds in the world are kosher.  Tos asks: if we are unaware of the identity of a bird, why can't we rely on rov and assume it is kosher?  Tos answers that there might be multiple subspecies of each tamei bird, so they outnumber the kosher ones and there is no rov.  (Alternatively, one could say that even if the # of kosher species is greater than th # of tamei species, there are more individual tamei birds.)  R' Shteinman offers a more "lomdish" answer and suggests that  whether a bird is kosher or not is a safeik in din, and a safeik in din cannot be resolved with a rov in metziyus.  According to these answers either there is no rov, or rov is not good enough to resolve the issue.  R' Itzele Ponovicher (Zecher Yitzchak #80) writes that in fact the rov is a good rov and takes off the lav of eating a tamei animal -- the metziyus as determined by the rov is that the bird is a kosher bird.  However, the mitzvah of bedikas simanim tells us that knowing that a bird is kosher based on rov is not enough.  Eating such an animal violates the aseh of bedikas simanim.  

R' Shteinman understood the Rivash a little differently.  He understood that the din of bedikas simanim precludes relying on the rov.  The mitzvah tells us thsat in this case so long as you cannot identity the animal with simanin, you must be choshesh for the miyut and there would therefore be a lav.  

3) Rashi comments regarding the deaths of Nadav and Avihu (10:3) ועל פני כל העם אכבד – כשהקב״ה עושה דין בצדיקים מתיירא ומתעלה ומתקלס: אם כן באילו, כל שכן ברשעים.  This piece that R' Shteinman quotes from R' Chaim has little to do with the parsha, but it's R' Chaim, so how could I leave it out?   We say in kedusha of musaf that the angels turn to each other and ask, "Where is the place of kavod Shamayim?"  משׁרתיו שׁואלים זה לזה אי׳ מקום כּבודו.  R' Chaim explained that the angels' safeik is whether there is greater kvod Shamayim in Hashem bestowing goodness on the tzadikim for all to see, or is there greater kvod Shamayim in Hashem punishing tzadikim for transgressions so all can see the demonstration of justice.  The angels bleibt by a safeik.  We therefore continue and say given all things being equal, ממקומו הוא יפן בּרחמים לעמו..., let the kvod Shamayim come through rachamim, by giving us good things, not through onesh.  (Note from me: קטונתי מכל החסדים ומכל האמת...  Sefas Emes explains that there are two ways that Hashem can make a person feel small: 1) by punishing them and knocking them down to size; 2) by giving them so much goodness that they feel unworthy of the gift.  Yaakov Avinu asked that קטונתי come from the latter, מכל החסדים ומכל האמת, rather than the former).    

Rashi tells us that a greater kavod Shamayim than either the carrot or stick for tzadikim is the punishment of reshaim.  This is why we daven, says R' Shteinman, "V'lamalshinim al t'hi tikvah..."  The problem is this seems to fly in the face of a well known gemara (Brachos 10a):

הנהו בריוני דהוו בשבבותיה דר"מ והוו קא מצערו ליה טובא הוה קא בעי ר' מאיר רחמי עלויהו כי היכי דלימותו אמרה לי' ברוריא דביתהו מאי דעתך משום דכתיב יתמו חטאים מי כתיב חוטאים חטאים כתיב ועוד שפיל לסיפיה דקרא ורשעים עוד אינם כיון דיתמו חטאים ורשעים עוד אינם אלא בעי רחמי עלויהו דלהדרו בתשובה ורשעים עוד אינם בעא רחמי עלויהו והדרו בתשובה

Bruriah told R' Meir that he should daven for troublemakers to repent, not for their elimination.  So how do we explain the bracha in our shmoneh esrei?  

R' Shteinman makes no attempt here to offer an answer, but many others already address this question.  Maharal in Be'er haGolah reinterprets the bracha of lamalshinim as a request to eliminate wickedness, not the evildoers themselves, in concert with Bruriah's approach. Maybe one can distinguish between different types of evildoers.  Or maybe the truth is far simpler: who says we pasken like Bruriah and not R' Meir?  Sure, Bruriah's sentiments sound nice, but that doesn't mean she was correct.  

4) Lastly, a question that only a Litvishe Rosh Yeshiva could ask.  וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה אֶל⁠ אַהֲרֹן קְרַב אֶל⁠ הַמִּזְבֵּחַ (10:7)  Rashi comments שהיה אהרן בוש וירא לגשת, אמר לו משה: מה אתה בוש? לכך נבחרת  Aharon was hesitating, so Moshe had to encourage him to step up to the plate.  R' Shteinman asks: so what if Aharon felt a sense of unworthiness or shame?  Hashem gave the command for him to do the avodah, so what difference should his emotional reaction make?  A command is a command!

I think I've written this about the Ayeles haShachar before.  Certain questions are ra'uy specifically for the person asking them.  Only someone who is capable of overcoming the challenge of putting aside their own emotions to do whatever Hashem asks can ask such a question on this Rashi.

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