Parshat Kedoshim Vol.9 No.28

Date of issue: 1 Iyar 5760 -- May 6, 2000

This issue has been sponsored in loving
memory of Aaron S. Turk, A"H, cherished father
and grandfather, by Judy and Gary Rosenblatt,
Avi, Tali, and Dov.

How to sponsor

This week's featured writers:

Rabbi Darren Blackstein
Akiva Fleischmann
Aron Srolovitz
Duvie Levine
Rabbi Howard Jachter
-*The Halachic Status of Medinat Yisrael*
Halacha of the Week
Food For Thought
-by *Dani Gross*

The Dynamic Trio
by Rabbi Darren Blackstein

The Gemara in Masechet Nidda (31a) tells us that there are three partners involved in the forming of a person: Hashem, the father, and the mother. Each, by contributing something unique, plays a crucial role in bringing about a child's existence. By stating this partnership, the Gemara may be alluding to the wide variety of laws and customs that take place in the interpersonal relationships among children, parents, and of Hashem. One example may be found at the beginning of our Parsha, where the Torah states, "Every man shall fear his mother and father, and you shall observe My Shabbatot; I am Hashem, your God" (19:3). Rashi comments, using the idea also found in Bava Metzia (32a), that this verse comes to teach us that a child should refuse his parent's request that he desecrate the Shabbat because ultimately Hashem and His Torah take precedence. Rashi, paraphrasing the Gemara, says that since child and parent are both obligated to honor Hashem, one is not to listen to a request that would nullify any of Hashem's words. This would not constitute disobeying a parent; rather, this would be adhering to the word of Hashem.

The Maharal, in his Gur Aryeh, asks about the Gemara's choice of words. Since the Torah talks about fear for one's parents, the Gemara should also say that both parent and child are obligated to fear Hashem (as opposed to being obligated to honor Him). The Maharal says that if the word 'fear' was used the message would be lacking. If honoring a parent involved a failure to observe Shabbat in some positive way without actively sinning, one may think this is all right, as he is still displaying fear of Hashem by not actively transgressing. However, if both child and parent are obligated to honor Hashem, then failure to observe Shabbat, even in a positive way, constitutes a lack of honor. As the Kli Yakar points out, a request to violate the Shabbat undermines the belief that Hashem is the sole Creator. Requesting this of a child is tantamount to saying that Hashem is not a member of the partnership of birth! Hashem is honored by both our action and inaction.

We see from the above comments that the most productive environment is one in which both child and parent are centered on the common goal of serving Hashem. The Rashbam on our Pasuk says that parental fear and Shabbat observance are adjacent here just as they are in the Aseret Hadibrot. The message is that respect for parents is equated with respect for Hashem. How can this be? Perhaps we are being told that honoring Hashem cannot be done to its fullest if we do not understand what it means to honor one's parents. It is questionable to seek Hashem and simultaneously avoid the path that is given to reach that goal. Parents, and for that matter one's family, should be viewed as a vehicle through which the individual's development is achieved. In this regard, Shabbat is most certainly the best example! Is there any other day that has the Kedusha of Shabbat and promotes camaraderie as Shabbat does? Through working together with family and friends, may we all make use of the opportunity to create an environment in which Hashem is honored and glorified.

Things to Use Your Heart for Other Than Pumping Blood
by Akiva Fleischmann

In this week's Parsha we come across the commandment, "You shall rebuke your fellow man" (19:17).
Although the Torah says this, one is allowed to do so only if done out of concern for the rebukee's welfare. When someone tries to criticize or rebuke someone, his words must be sincere. The Chachamim say that only those words that come from one heart will enter another heart. Therefore, if your words of correction are not an expression of your inner feelings of care and concern for the welfare of the other person, you will not have a positive influence on that person.

There is another reason for this Halacha, however. If your words are indeed not coming from the heart, your motives and reasons for rebuking the other person are not entirely pure. If that is the case, you are guilty of insulting the other person's honor and causing him pain for your personal pleasure. This is a serious offense.
Before rebuking someone, ask yourself, "Why am I doing this? What are my reasons behind this act? Are my motives really so pure that I am rebuking this person solely because I wish to show him the difference between what is good and what is evil? To what degree do I want to rebuke this person because I feel a sense of power in telling him off? To what degree do I derive inappropriate pleasure from making him uncomfortable?"

We do have a Mitzva to correct others, but motivation is an essential ingredient. Build up your inner feelings so they project only love for others. Then your motivation will be pure and you will have a positive influence on others.

Treat Your Parents Properly
by Aron Srolovitz

In this week's Parsha, we learn a valuable lesson in how to treat our parents. Hashem instructs Moshe to address the nation and tell them, "You shall be holy, for I am holy" (19:2). To accomplish this, "Every man should fear his mother and father and you shall keep my Shabbatot; I am Hashem, your God" (19:3). The Chachamim note that it is common for one to fear his father more than he fears his mother. Why, then, does the Torah mention the mother before the father? Rashi comments that it is natural to fear one's father but not one's mother. The fear of one's mother is a more difficult feat, and therefore the Torah emphasizes it. This rationale for the ordering of the parents also applies to the fifth of the Ten Commandments, "Honor your father and your mother." Rashi there notes that it is more natural for a person to honor his mother, for she nurtures him. On the other hand, the father traditionally spends more time away from home supporting the family and therefore plays a secondary role in rearing the child.

The two verses, "Every man should revere his mother and father," and "Honor your father and mother," are very similar. However, since there are no extra words in the Torah, these two verses must be telling us different things. The difference may be found in the words "revere" and "honor." Chazal teach that to revere one's parents is to never disagree with them in public and to always treat them with the utmost respect; for example, never taking their seat at the table. To honor one's parents is to care for them when they are sick and to support them, especially when they are old and infirm.

by Duvie Levine

In this week's Parsha, the Torah states, "Every man must respect his mother and father" (19:3). On the other hand, the Aseret Hadibrot say, "Honor your father and mother." What is the difference between respect and honor? Respect means that one should not contradict his parents, stand, or sit in their places. However, honor means that a child should see that his parents are provided with all they need in any aspect of life.

Why is it that in Parshat Kedoshim the mother is mentioned before the father whereas in the Aseret Hadibrot the father is mentioned before the mother? The fact is, we must honor and fear both parents equally. However, if one's mother and father simultaneously request of their child to perform two separate actions, the child should first tend to his father's needs because a wife is obligated to honor her husband. However, it is natural that children are less afraid of their mothers than of their fathers, and therefore the Torah mentions the mother first when demanding respect from the children. On the other hand, it is a child's natural tendency to hold the mother in higher esteem than the father, and so the Torah found it necessary to place the father first when ordaining honor for the parents.

The Pasuk ends, "Guard My Shabbatot; I am Hashem, your God." This teaches us that a child must ignore his parents' wishes if they tell him to violate a commandment of the Torah. For example, the Shulchan Aruch specifically states that if a child wishes to study in a Yeshiva where he would benefit in his Torah learning and his father disagrees, he does not need to listen to his father. The Mitzva of studying Torah overrides the Mitzva of honoring one's parents.

Halacha of the Week

One should be politically active in support of Israel in a constructive manner, such as by joining AIPAC ( See Shulchan Aruch (Even Haezer 75:3-5) and Pitchei Teshuva (E.H. 75:6).

Food for Thought
by Dani Gross

1) Commenting on the words "You shall be holy" (19:2), Rashi states that one should abstain from Arayot. The Ramban argues that these words mean that one should abstain from overdoing things. What is the basis for this Machaloket?

If you have a response to this question, please contact us at Responses may be published upon agreement of the provider.

Staff at time of publication:
Editors-in-Chief: Avi-Gil Chaitovsky, Dani Gross
Managing Editors: Moshe Glasser, Zevi Goldberg
Publication Editor: Daniel Wenger
Layout Editor: David Gertler
Business Manager: Yechiel Shaffer
Staff: Ashrei Bayewitz, Josh Dubin, Zev Feigenbaum, Michael Humphrey, Binyamin Kagedan, Yair Manas, Uri Schechter, Yoni Shenkman, Gil Stein, Uri Westrich
Webmaster: KJ Leichman
Faculty Advisor: Rabbi Howard Jachter

Subscription information

Report an error

Back to the home page

This publication contains Torah matter and should be treated accordingly.