Parshat Tzav & Pesach Vol.10 No.27

Date of issue: 14 Nissan 5761 -- April 7, 2001

This week’s issue has been sponsored
Litecher Nishmat Avinu,
Chaim ben Tzvi Halevi (1 Nissan 5753),
Ve'achoto, Sarah bat Tzvi Halevi (17 Adar 5755),
Vedodateinu Chaya bat Rav Uziel (8 Iyar 5759).
May their memories be blessed.

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This week's featured writers:

Rabbi Daren Blackstein
Rabbi Yosef Adler
Avi-Gil Chaitovsky
Josh Dubin
Ilan Tokayer
Rabbi Howard Jachter
-*Tefillin on Chol Hamoed*

Parshat Tzav

The Learning Experience
Rabbi Darren Blackstein

This Motzai Shabbat, iy"H, we will all sit down to our Pesach Sedarim. We will ask questions, have discussions, eat certain foods, and sing certain songs. For many, this is a long awaited time for distant family members to get together and enjoy Simchat Yom Tov. All too often, however, the Seder falls to time restraints, and we are compelled to sprint through many parts of the Hagada. There is so much to say about so many parts that eventually we become handcuffed by our own scholarship. It is at this point that the Seder becomes a ceremony that we merely perform. We wind up performing a ritual whereby we remember the miracles that were done to and for our ancestors many years ago. The Hagada itself is replete with statements that urge us to avoid such feelings. Let us discuss one such reference.

Prior to the end of Maggid, we say that in every generation we are obligated to view ourselves as if we are leaving Egypt. The Rambam, in Hilchot Chametz U’Matzah (7:6), stresses this by saying that we should view ourselves as if we are leaving "now!" This clearly tells us that the Seder is not merely a ceremony but an experience to be felt. Through the recitation and learning of the Hagada, we transport that ancient experience to the present. We attempt to feel it now! This is accomplished by absorbing ourselves in the Mitzvot of the Seder. We eat what they ate, talk about that which they focused upon, and sing praises to Hashem as they did. All of this is done with such meticulousness in the hope that we can achieve some level of intensity that allows us to feel as they did.

Our Torah portion attests to this game plan as well. At the end of Chapter 7 of Vayikra, we are given a summary statement concerning the Korbanot that have been mentioned thus far. The Torah tells us in verse 37 that, Zot Hatorah, this is the law of the elevation offering, the meal offering, and the sin offering, and the guilt offering, and the inauguration offerings, and the feast peace offering. This Pasuk is referenced on the last page of Masechet Menachot (110a). While discussing the lofty status of a Talmid Chacham, the Gemara cites our verse and its conspicuous use of the phrase, "This is the Torah." Reish Lakish says that this phrase teaches us that anyone who occupies himself with learning Torah is considered as one who has offered all of these sacrifices. This is apparently true even though one’s learning at the time may have nothing to do with sacrifices. Rava takes this one step further and says that someone occupied with learning Torah need not offer these sacrifices. Rashi explains that the person’s learning will, in effect, be used to achieve atonement. The Gemara concludes with Rabbi Yitzchak, who says that our Pasuk teaches us that one who learns about a particular sacrifice is considered as if he offered that sacrifice. Whichever opinion you analyze, the outstanding conclusion is unavoidable. The learning of Torah has the capacity to capture one’s mind and body to such a point that one can feel the reality of what one learns. Just as our learning can be considered by Hashem as a Korban, we can consider ourselves, through the Seder, as having just been redeemed.

At the conclusion of his Shabbat Hagadol Drasha, Rabbi Yosef Adler quoted a statement of Rav Hai Gaon. Rav Hai explains that there is no Beracha for Hallel at the Seder because it is more Shira, song, than Hallel. Hallel is something you are commanded to do. Shira, song, is something that occurs spontaneously from a person who has experienced something wonderful, and therefore a Beracha is out of place. May we all be Zocheh to have a Seder where we each feel the redemption and spontaneously feel the need to praise Hashem.


The Emotion of Yizkor

by Rabbi Yosef Adler

There is a widely accepted practice that we refrain from reciting Kail Malei Rachamim during the month of Nissan. In many Shuls, the Shabbat preceding Rosh Chodesh Nissan includes a long line of those asking to make a Kail Malei as they may be observing a Yahrtzeit sometime during the month. When faced with a Kevura on Chol Hamoed we refrain from eulogizing. Yom Tov is Mivatel Aveilut and the prohibition to eulogize even spills over to the rest of the month of Nissan. And yet, we recite Yizkor on the last day of Pesach. Doesn’t its recitation seem somewhat incongruous with the spirit of the day?

The Rav, zt"l, often highlighted two different types of Mitzvot. There are some Mitzvot in which the Kiyum Hamitzva and the Maaseh Hamitzva are identical. Both the Maaseh Hamitzva and Kiyum Hamitzva of Matza is to eat a Kazayit of Matza. The same is true of Tefillin and Lulav. However, there are some Mitzvot in which the Maaseh Hamitzva is not equated with the Kiyum Hamitzva. Regarding Shofar the Maaseh Hamitzva is the Tekiah but its Kiyum is one of Tefillah. Fasting on a Taanit Tzibur is a Kiyum of the Mitzva of Teshuva. When one observes Purim or Pesach, the Kiyum is the Mitzva of Venikdashti Betoch Bnai Yisrael. So too vis-à-vis the Mitzva of Simchat Yom Tov. The Maaseh Hamitzvot is manifested by consuming meat and wine but the Kiyum is an internal one: Lihyot Sameach Vetov Leiv.

It is difficult for me to say this because I, Baruch Hashem, have not found it necessary to recite Yizkor as yet. But I would humbly suggest that the inner feelings associated with Yizkor should be one of Simcha. There are those who define the Mitzva of Peru Urevu as not only having children but grandchildren. After the grandchild is born the grandparent fulfills his Mitzva of Peru Urevu. In relationship to Talmud Torah, our obligation is Vehodatem Livanecha Velivnei VanechaYom Asher Amadta Bichoreiv. Similarly, in the context of Sipur Yetziat Mitzrayim, the Torah states Ulema'an Tisaper Be'aznei Bincha Uben Bincha Ait Asher Hithalalti Bemitzrayim. When parents and grandparents see their children and grandchildren participate at a Seder and fulfill the Mitzva of Shalosh Regalim Tachog Li Bashana, they can rest secure in the knowledge that they have succeeded in their mission of Vehodatem and Ulemaan Tisapru. This knowledge will assure the fact that Bigan Eiden Tehei Menuchatam. Although the Minhag to recite Yizkor is one of sorrow, the Kiyum of the Mitzva is one of inner Simcha and joy, and hence is appropriately recited on Pesach.

Additionally, our collective Kail Malei on behalf of the Kedoshim who perished during the Holocaust or the Kail Malei recited on behalf of members of Chayalei Tzahal who passed away Al Kiush Hashem could be viewed in this light. As they dwell in the Yeshiva Shel Maala and see that not only has Judaism survived the attempts of Hitler, Yemach Shemo, but has flourished and prospered and seen a revitalization of Torah study, this brings a sense of inner joy to their Neshamot and should bring Simcha and Nechama to those reciting Yizkor.

Two In One
by Avi-Gil Chaitovsky

From a careful reading of the Chumash one realizes the dual nature of the night of the 15th of Nissan. First, it is Chag Hapesach, a one-day holiday that begins on the morning of the 14th and ends that night. This night is also the beginning of Chag Hamatzot, a seven-day holiday. The important Mitzva of Chag Hapesach is the Korban Pesach, which we are commanded to eat roasted, with Matza and Maror: Tzli Aish Umatzot Al Merorim Yochluhu (Shemot 12:8). The central Mitzva of Chag Hamatzot is eating Matza: Be'arba'a Asar Yom Lachodesh Ba'erev Tochlu Matzot (Shemot 12:18).

One practical ramification of this distinction is that since the Mitzva of Korban Pesach cannot be fulfilled nowadays, the Matza and Maror that we are to eat with the Korban Pesach are no longer obligatory, as the Matza and Maror as recorded in Shemot 12:8 are only complements to the Korban Pesach. However, the Mitzva of eating Matza on Chag Hamatzot (as commanded in Shemot 12:18) is unaffected by the absence of the Korban. It is for this reason that most Rishonim believe that the obligation to eat Matza is still a biblical obligation while the obligation to eat Maror is only rabbinic in nature.

This distinction can also explain a difficulty in Parshat Beha’alotcha. One year after Yetziat Mitzrayim, Hashem commands Moshe to tell Bnai Yisrael to bring the Korban Pesach. Why is a special reminder needed if the Mitzva of Korban Pesach is given in Shemot 12-13? Because Shemot 12:14 states that Chag Hamatzot is Ledoroteichem, for future generations, while 13:5 states: Vehaya Ki Yiviecha Hashem El Eretz Hacana'ani..Ve'avadta Et Haavoda Hazot. The Korban Pesach is only to be brought once Bnai Yisrael enter Eretz Yisrael.

When this command is given, this distinction seems meaningless as Bnai Yisrael are leaving Mitzrayim and are to go from Mitzrayim to Har Sinai, receive the Torah then travel straight to Eretz Yisrael. Because of Chait Ha'eigel, though, Bnai Yisrael’s trip was delayed by several months. It is during this delay that the distinction between Lidoroteichem and Ki Yiviecha Hashem El Eretz Hacana'ani becomes a practical one. Hashem therefore tells Moshe that the Korban Pesach is to be brought this year as well.

This story is the introduction to Pesach Sheni, the makeup opportunity granted to those who were unable to bring the Korban Pesach in Nissan. It is not the seven-day Chag Hamatzot that one can make up, just the one-day Chag Hapesach. While there is no separate Mitzva to eat Matza or to abstain from Chametz (as these are Mitzvot of Chag Hamatzot, the Korban itself cannot be eaten with Chametz and is eaten with Matza and Maror (Al Matzot Umerorim Yochluhu, Bemidbar Sinai 9:11). One who is not bringing a Korban on Pesach Sheni has no obligations on that day regarding Matza or Maror.

The two holidays, Chag Hapesach and Chag Hamatzot overlap by several hours. While we are sitting at the Seder this year, we should recognize that while we are celebrating Chag Hamatzot through our consumption of Matza and observance of the day as a Yom Tov (albeit without the Korban Chagiga) we are unable to perform the central Mitzva of Chag Hapesach.

All Alone
by Josh Dubin

In the Hagada, the paragraph of Vehi She'amda, which details how in every generation people rise up against the Jews to destroy them, comes right after the paragraph about how Lavan tried to destroy the Jewish people even before they began. The Netziv asks why Lavan receives special mention as one of the people who tried to destroy the Jews. Why is Lavan the paradigm of the enemy of the Jews?

The Netziv answers that this paragraph refers not to Lavan, but to what comes before, the mentioning of the Brit Bein Habetartim, the covenant between Hashem and Avraham. In the Brit, Avraham is told that his children will be Gairim, strangers, in a land that is not theirs. And in fact, this is exactly what Yaakov later told Pharaoh — Lagur Baaretz Banu, “I come to sojourn in the land” (Bereishit 47:4). Yaakov had no intention of staying in Egypt any longer than he needed to; he only came because of the famine (Ki Kaved Haraav Baaretz). This idea is reiterated in Moshe’s final blessing to the Jewish people, when he speaks of Batach Badad Ein Yaakov, that Yaakov’s intended legacy was that the Jews should be Badad, lonely and separate from the nations that surrounded them.

Only after Yaakov passed away did the situation deteriorate. Shemot Rabbah tells us that the Jews ceased circumcising their sons to blend in better with their Egyptian hosts, and only then did the Egyptians actually turn against the Jews. This pattern is one that has been repeated countless times throughout Jewish history. As the Gemara in Sanhedrin (104b) notes, Hashem intended for the Jews to be Batach Badad Ein Yaakov, and instead they tried to assimilate and wound up at the stage of Eicha Yashva Badad — a nation that was forced to sit by itself, destroyed and in mourning. Trying to become more like the surrounding society has only resulted in further hostilities against us in every time and in every place.

The Wine of Redemption
by Ilan Tokayer

At the Seder we fulfill the important Mitzva of the Arba Kosot. While there is normally a rule that one may not spend more than a fifth of his money for a particular Mitzva, this Mitzva of Arba Kosot is so important that if one does not have the means to buy himself ample wine for four cups, he is obligated to literally sell the shirt off his back in order to obtain the necessary amount of wine. What is the basis for this ruling, quoted by the Rambam? Why is the Mitzva of the Arba Kosot so important?

The Rav explains this phenomenon in the following way: The Mitzva of Arba Kosot is one of Pirsumei Nissa, publicizing the miracle. When we drink the four cups of wine, we are demonstrating that Hashem took us out of Mitzrayim. Because of this important statement of the Arba Kosot, we must go to great lengths to see to it that we perform this Mitzva. This is also the reason that both men and women alike are obligated to perform the Mitzva of Arba Kosot.

However, another question arises. Why does the Rambam specifically apply this idea of Pirsumei Nissa to the Arba Kosot? Why not another Mitzva, such as the Matza that we baked with haste when we left Mitzrayim or the Maror that we ate with the Korban Pesach? To answer this question, we first must have a better understanding of the Arba Kosot.

The generally accepted approach is that of the Talmud Yerushalmi that each of the Arba Kosot corresponds to one of the Arba Leshonot Geula that Hashem presented in the beginning of Parshat Vaera: Vehotzeiti, Vehitzalti, Vegaalti and Velakechti. Therefore, drinking each Kos celebrates another aspect of Hashem’s bringing Bnai Yisrael out of Mitzrayim.

With this in mind, it also says in the beginning of Parshat Vaera (Shemot 6:8): Veheiveiti Etchem El Haaretz Ahser Nasati Et Yadi Lateit Ota La'avraham Leyitzchak Uleyaakov Venatati Ota Lachem Morasha Ani Hashem. Veheiveiti seems like it should be one of the Leshonot Geula. If we drink a cup of wine representing words that Hashem used to describe how He took Bnai Yisrael out of Mitzrayim, all the more so we should drink a cup representing how Hashem brings Bnai Yisrael into Eretz Yisrael. After all, is not that the purpose of the Geula in the first place?

I would like to offer the following explanation for this difficulty. Veheiveiti is not inferior to the other Leshonot as it may seem. Rather it is in a class of its own. All of the other Leshonot are merely the means to an end. Only through Vehotzeiti, Vehitzalti, Vegaalti and Velakechti is it possible to achieve the final, primary goal of Veheiveiti. This is why Veheiveiti is represented at the Seder by the Cos Shel Eiliyahu Hanavi, who will lead us to the final Geula.

In our days, we must look for the Vehotzeiti, Vehitzalti, Vegaalti and Velakechti from Galut, in order that we may achieve the long anticipated dream of a final Veheiveiti, when we will be Zocheh to build the ultimate Bait Hamikdash, and all Jews will live peacefully, side by side, in Eretz Yisrael.

Staff at time of publication:
Editors-in-Chief: Avi-Gil Chaitovsky, Dani Gross
Managing Editor: Moshe Glasser 
Publication Editor & Webmaster: Daniel Wenger
Business Manager: Ilan Tokayer
Staff: Noam Block, Josh Dubin, Yisrael Ellman, Zev Feigenbaum, Ami Friedman, Yehuda Goldin, Shuky Gross, Simcha Haber, Michael Humphrey, Oren Levy, Yair Manas, Ari Michael, Effie Richmond, Uriel Schechter, Dani Shaffren, Sam Wiseman, Daniel Wohlberg
Consultant: David Gertler
Faculty Advisor: Rabbi Howard Jachter

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