A Student Publication of the Torah Academy of Bergen County
Parshat Tzav 18 Adar II 5763 March 22, 2003 Vol.12 No.23
In This Issue:
Rabbi Chaim Jachter
This week’s issue of Kol
Torah has been dedicated by Dr. Stuart and Ellen Shaffren
Megilla: A Unique Expression of Tefilla
by Rabbi Ezra Weiner
The Shulchan Aruch rules that in a situation where there is no Minyan for the reading of the Megilla, each person should read the Megilla individually. (Of course, if someone does not know how to read the Megilla properly, he may have someone read it for him.) The Magen Avraham comments that one can infer from the aforementioned ruling of the Shulchan Aruch that an individual should preferably not read the Megilla to discharge another person’s obligation unless there is a Minyan present. This is unlike Shofar, where we permit one individual to blow Shofar for another, even when the second individual is able to blow for himself. The Magen Avraham explains that the reason for this distinction is that the reading of the Megilla is like Tefilla, “Dilo Dami Lishofar Dikriat Hamegilla Havey Kimin Tefilla Uviinyun Asara.”
Rav Soloveitchik offers the following interpretation of the Magen Avraham’s comparison of Kriat Hamegilla to Tefilla. The Gemara in Masechet Megilla 14a states that there is no obligation to say Hallel on Purim due to the fact that “Kriata Zu Halaila,” “its reading is like Hallel.” The reading of the Megilla is a Hallel in and of itself. Regarding Hallel itself, the Magen Avraham writes that one should not be Motzi another individual who is able to read Hallel on his own, because Hallel is similar to Tefilla. The Rav, therefore, explains that according to the Magen Avraham, since Kriat Hamegilla is comparable to Hallel, it takes on the status of Tefilla and one should only be Motzi others in the presence of a Minyan.
The comparisons between Kriat Hamegilla and Tefilla can be further understood based on the Gemara in Masechet Megilla 4a. The Gemara states in the name of R’ Yehoshua ben Levi that one is obligated to read the Megilla at night and then to repeat it during the daytime as it states in Tehillim 22:3, “ Elokei Ekra Yomam Vilo Taane Vilaila Vilo Dumya Li,” “O my God, I call out by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but there is no respite for me.” The Gemara later reiterates the Halacha but this time in the name of R’ Chelbo and with the Pasuk, “ Limaan Yizamercha Kivod Vilo Yidom Hashem Elokai Liolam Odeka,” “So that my soul might sing to you and not be stilled, Hashem, my God, I will forever thank you.”
Why do the Amoraim dispute the source of the same Halacha? In truth, both R’ Chelbo and R’ Yehoshua ben Levi believe that there is a fulfillment of Tefilla when one reads the Megilla; they disagree, however, as to the nature of Tefilla. R’ Chelbo understands that Kriat Hamegilla assumes an expression of Tefilla most similar to a Hallel (“Limaan Yizamercha…”), whereas R’ Yehoshua ben Levi, on the other hand, understands that Kriat Hamegilla represents a cry for assistance from Hashem. (This is alluded to in Rashi (Dibur Hamatchil “Vilishnota Hayom”) where he states that the reason we repeat the Megilla during the day is to remind us of the miracle of Purim when we cried out to Hashem day an d night for assistance.) Regardless of the approach, further support for the link between Megilla and Tefilla can be demonstrated from the practice to read Megilla twice. The Gemara states (Berachot 32b) that if a person sees that he has prayed and has not been answered, he should pray again. We too, then, repeat the Megilla as a form of Tefilla to Hashem in our hope that just as Hashem answered our prayers in those days, He should answer us in our time as well.
by Etan Bluman
The Midrash Tanchuma for Parshat Ki Tisa (Siman Bet) comments on the phrase “Ze Yitnu” (Shemot 30:13), “Come and see the closeness and love [that Hashem has] for Bnai Yisrael.” He writes that the Shevatim brought a Chatzi Shekel to redeem themselves for committing the sin of the Chet Haegel. The giving of the Chatzi Shekel was to attain forgiveness from Hashem for doing the Chet Haegel. How, though, does the Mitzva of Machazit Hashekel show love that Hashem has for Bnai Yisrael? Isn’t the reason for bringing the Chatzi Shekel to atone for the sin of the Chet Haegel?
Rabbi Chaim Yaacov Goldvicht, the previous Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh, explains why the Mitzva of Machazit Hashekel is such an important Mitzva. The Midrash (Shemot Rabba 43:5) presents a conversation between Moshe and Hashem which took place while Moshe was trying to defend Bnai Yisrael for doing the Chait Haegel. Moshe said, “You said ‘Anochi Hashem Elokecha…’ Didn’t you only say that commandment to me?” Moshe was defending Bnai Yisrael for committing the sin of the Chet Haegel by arguing that the first two Dibrot were said in singular form. He was implying that Bnai Yisrael were therefore not responsible for failing to observe it them. However, isn’t it obvious that the Dibra of Anochi Hashem Elokecha, was said to all of Bnai Yisrael?
When Bnai Yisrael got the Torah Chazal say that they united spiritually by calling out “Ish Echad Kilev Echad,” “As one man with one heart.” This spiritual level was reached because each person of Bnai Yisrael directed their personal goals to establish a nation that would bring out the good of Hashem. When Am Yisrael is united there is no place for sin. By the sin of the Chet Haegel, the Torah says “Eyleh Elokecha Yisrael Asher Heelucha Meeretz Mistrayim,” “Yisrael, this is your God, who took you out from Egypt.” Rabi Shimon bar Yochai says (Sanhedrin 63a) that “Asher Heelucha” teaches us that Bnai Yisrael turned to many gods and were not united due to different personal goals, which made it possible for Bnai Yisrael to sin. Moshe argued that at the time of Matan Torah, Bnai Yisrael was on a were completely united; therefore “Anochi Hashem Elokecha” was said in singular form. After the Chet Haegel, though, Bnai Yisrael was not completely united, and therefore the commandment of “Anochi Hashem Elokecha” did not apply.
By each person individually contributing a half Shekel for Avodat Hashem and the Korban Tamid, they are uniting with the rest of Bnai Yisrael to get closer to Hashem. Through this action Bnai Yisrael is no longer a divided nation but rather an “Ish Echad Bilev Echad,” “One man with one heart.”
The Making of a Kohen Gadol
by Sam Wiseman
In this week’s Parsha, the Torah describes the Kohanim becoming sanctified to Hashem. Starting with Perek 8, Hashem briefly tells Moshe what must be done to the Kohanim in order for their new status to be effected. After Hashem has described the ritual aspect of the sanctification, He tells Moshe (in Pasuk 3) to gather Kol Haeidah, “all of the nation, to the entrance of the Ohel Moed, so that they may watch the proceedings. The next Pasuk tells us that Moshe did everything Hashem told him to do and that the entire nation gathered in the entrance to the Ohel Moed.
These two Pesukim are very perplexing, as it is hard to imagine all of Klal Yisrael fitting into the entrance to the Ohel Moed; there simply was not enough room. In explaining this Pasuk, there are two main schools of thought. One is that of the Midrash quoted by Rashi and others, which says that this was one of the times that a “Mameet Machazik Merubeh,” a small area, which should not have been able to accommodate such a large mass of people, was able to, for a short and miraculous instance. This Midrash goes hand in hand with another Midrash, which explains that the reason that all of Klal Yisrael had to be there was so that they would appreciate the holiness of the Kohanim and treat them accordingly.
The other school of thought, that of Ibn Ezra, believes that when the Torah said “Kol Haeidah,” it was actually only referring to the elders and the heads of each Shevet. The Torah Temima explains that according to the Ibn Ezra, this Pasuk describes the actual Halachic appointment, Minuy, of the Kohen Gadol. The Torah Temima quotes a Gemara in Sanhedrin, which says that the Kohen Gadol may only be appointed by the Sanhedrin of seventy-one (men). He then quotes a Yerushalmi in Sanhedrin, which says that in the time of Moshe the elders and the heads of the Shevatim were in place of the Sanhedrin of seventy-one. Therefore, according to the Ibn Ezra, only the elders and tribal leaders were there because this Pasuk describes the Halachic appointment of the Kohen Gadol and consequently there is no problem of all of Klal Yisrael squeezing into a tight space.
There is a Halacha (Sanhedrin 2a) that a king must receive Minuy, appointment by the Sanhedrin of seventy-one, just as a Kohen Gadol must. However, if the son of a king becomes king he need not go through the Minuy process, while the son of a Kohen Gadol does have to go through the “Minuy” process when he becomes Kohen Gadol. Rav Soloveitchik zt”l explained these Halachot in the following manner: When a king dies, his son inherits the kingship in its entirety, and therefore only the first king in a dynasty must go through Minuy. However, with respect to a Kohen Gadol, dies, his son only inherits the Zechut, merit to be a Kohen Gadol, but he never actually becomes a Kohen Gadol until he is halachically appointed by the Sanhedrin.
One can see from this that there are two important criteria necessary to becoming a Kohen Gadol, Zechut and Minuy, and each criterion must come from a separate source. In this light, the Machloket between Ibn Ezra and the Midrashim becomes a little clearer. They seem to be arguing about what type of appointment the Kohanim are receiving; are they receiving the Zechut appointment, or are they receiving the Minuy appointment. According the Midrashim, since the Kohanim never received the Zechut to be Kohanim to begin with, it makes sense that they would need Hashem to give them this Zechut in front of all of Klal Yisrael before they could be appointed. According to Ibn Ezra, an actual Halachic appointment is the critical element, and is what is happening here. This line of thinking however, is somewhat problematic, these two criteria should be indispensable for both lines of thinking; it is impossible to imagine the Kohanim becoming completely sanctified without both a Zechut or Minuy. Therefore, the Machloket can best be understood as an argument over what point in time these Pesukim record, not as a Machloket regarding how the Kohanim were appointed. According to Midrashim, these Pesukim record the point in time in which the Kohanim were given their Zechut and according to Ibn Ezra, these Pesukim are talking about a later time when the Kohanim become fully sanctified. A proof for this idea, is the fact that Rashi understands this whole section that has just been discussed as being chronologically out of place, and that these events really happened before the Mishkan was built. Therefore it would make sense that at that point the Kohanim only needed the Zechut aspect of their sanctification. Ibn Ezra who makes no such comment, is content to understand these Pesukim as referring to Minuy.
Halacha of the
During the month of Nissan, we recite a Bracha upon seeing the blossoming of fruit trees. Acharonim debate whether one must see two trees when uttering this Bracha or whether one tree suffices. One should consult his Rav regarding which opinion to follow. For a list of sources and discussion of this issue, see Rav Moshe Bleich and Viva Hammer’s essay that appears in the spring 2002 issue of Jewish Action (which is available online at the Orthodox Union website).
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