Hamaayan / The Torah Spring
Edited by Shlomo Katz
Volume XII, Number 27
13 Iyar 5758
May 9, 1998.
the Goodman family in memory of
Yehuda Zvi ben R' Shlomo Halevi a"h
The Vogel family
on the yahrzeit of
mother and grandmother
Bluma bat Shabtai Hakohen
(Blanche Vogel) a"h
Acharei Mos - Kedoshim
This coming Thursday is Lag Ba'Omer - the 33rd day of the Omer.
This day is significant in a number of ways, among them, that it
is the yahrzeit of the Tanna/Sage of the mishnah, Rabbi Shimon
The gemara (Shabbat 33) relates that R' Shimon was forced to
hide in a cave for 12 years because he had criticized the Roman
Empire. The gemara relates how R' Shimon and his son studied
Torah during that time, free of all material concerns. The
gemara relates that when R' Shimon was finally able to leave the
cave, he was far more brilliant than he had been before. R'
Shimon himself told his son-in-law that he (R' Shimon) was as
great as he was only because of his experience in the cave.
R' Elyakim Schlesinger shlita (a rosh yeshiva in London,
England) observes that R' Shimon was already among the leading
sages before he fled to the cave. What aspect of the cave
experience made him greater than he could have become otherwise?
R' Schlesinger explains that being able to study Torah for 12
years with no interruptions, no material concerns, and no
domestic or societal obligations made R' Shimon what he was. If
two people study Torah for the same number of minutes, but one
does so without interruption and the other divides those minutes
into several sessions, the former student will inevitably
Of course, R' Schlesinger writes, we cannot study Torah all of
the time without stop because we do have material concerns and
domestic and societal obligations. Nevertheless, we can strive
that the study periods which we do have should be uninterrupted.
Also, even when we must leave the formal texts, we should try to
continue our study sessions by reviewing in our minds what we
have learned. (Bet Av: Parashat Emor)
"Aharon shall enter the Ohel Mo'ed/Tent of Meeting, he shall
remove the linen vestments that he had worn when he entered
the Sanctuary, and he shall leave them there." (16:23)
Rashi writes (citing the gemara) that this verse is out of
place. In the actual order of the Yom Kippur service, this verse
should be placed at the very end of the service, perhaps after
Then why is it here? asks R' Avraham Danzig z"l (author of
Chayei Adam; late 18th century). Also, when the Torah describes
the Temple service for the other holidays, it mentions the
holiday first and then describes the service. Here, the service
is described in detail and the holiday (Yom Kippur) is mentioned
only incidentally at the end. Why?
More questions: Why does the above verse say, "Aharon shall
enter"? What of future high priests after Aharon? Also, the
Torah's description of the Yom Kippur service mentions a ram,
which some sages say is the same ram mentioned in Bemidbar 29:8
as part of the Yom Kippur mussaf sacrifice. Why then is it
R' Danzig explains: The midrash says that Aharon was different
from all other high priests. Every other kohen gadol was allowed
to enter the Kodesh Ha'kodashim/"Holy of Holies" only on Yom
Kippur, but Aharon was permitted to enter whenever he wished.
The only requirement was that he perform the service described in
the parashah whenever he entered.
This, writes R' Danzig in the name of the Vilna Gaon, answers
the first question above. As applied to Aharon, our verse is not
out of order. True, on Yom Kippur, this part of the service was
performed at the end. The reason is that G-d had told Moshe (as
a halachah l'Moshe mi'Sinai/part of the Oral Law) that the kohen
gadol should change his clothes and immerse in the mikvah five
times on Yom Kippur. ("Moving" this verse and changing its
context has the effect of increasing the number of clothes
changes and immersions.) However, when Aharon entered the Kodesh
Ha'kodashim on other days, there was no such requirement.
Our other questions are answered by this idea as well, R'
Danzig writes. Our verse refers to "Aharon," not to the "Kohen
Gadol," because our verse is in context for Aharon, but not for
other High Priests, as just explained. Also, Yom Kippur is
mentioned incidentally, because for Aharon, it was incidental.
He could enter the Holy of Holies at any time. Finally, the ram
from the korban mussaf is mentioned here to teach that not only
on Yom Kippur must a ram be sacrificed, but any time Aharon
wished to enter the Kodesh Ha'kodashim he had to sacrifice a ram.
(Appendix to Chochmat Adam)
"From all your sins, before Hashem shall you be cleansed."
When we read this verse in the Torah, we insert the Divine Name
"A-D-N-Y" in place of the ineffable four letter Name. However,
in some Yom Kippur machzorim, when this verse is recited as part
of the mussaf "Avodah," the word "Hashem"/"The Name" is inserted
in place of the Divine Name. Why?
R' Yitzchak ben Sheshet Perfet z"l ("Rivash" - see page 4)
explains as follows: When we recite the Avodah, we are reporting
what happened in the Bet Hamikdash on Yom Kippur. When the Kohen
Gadol recited the above verse during that service, he uttered G-
d's Ineffable Name (the "Shem ha'meforash"); therefore, in order
to accurately report what happened in the Temple, those machzorim
relate that the Kohen Gadol said, "From all your sins, before
The Name shall you be cleansed." (In other words, they tell that
he uttered "The Name.")
In contrast, when we read the Torah, we are not telling a
story. Accordingly, we simply do what we always do - we
substitute the Name "A-D-N-Y" in place of the ineffable four
Rivash writes, however, that his own teachers did not have the
custom of the above machzorim. They recited our verse in the
Avodah just as they did (and we do) in the Torah. In certain
other places in the Avodah, however, they did use the expression
"The Name" instead of uttering G-d's Name. An example this is
the phrase, "Ana Bashem" found in the Kohen Gadol's
(She'eilot U'teshuvot Rivash No. 219)
"You shall rebuke your fellow. . ." (19:17)
Knowing when to deliver rebuke is always a difficult task. The
following story relates to this dilemma.
Rav Moshe Yosef Teitlebaum z"l was Rabbi of Zabarov. Once,
during his derashah (sermon), he said, "You might wonder, `Who is
this rabbi that he should rebuke us?' Let me explain with a
"There was a town which had a fire chief, whose job it was to
sound the alarm whenever a fire broke out. Once, a visitor to
the town saw a fire breaking out, and instead of notifying the
fire chief, he sounded the alarm.
"The fire chief was very upset that his job had been usurped,
but any right-minded person would laugh at this fire chief. When
the fire is raging, every able-bodied person must rush to fight
"So it is with me," concluded Rav Teitlebaum. "When I see that
the city is on fire, so-to-speak, I must do what I can to quell
(quoted in Tamar Yifrach)
R' Yitzchak ben Sheshet Perfet a"h
born 1326 - died 1407
Rivash studied under R' Peretz Hakohen, Rabbenu Nissim ("Ran")
and R' Chisdai Crescas. Although he was recognized for his
scholarship at a young age and actively participated in community
affairs, Rivash earned his livelihood as a merchant. In 1367, he
was arrested and imprisoned on false charges together with his
brother; his teacher, Ran; and another sage.
After his release, Rivash accepted the position of rabbi of
Saragossa; however, due to a rift in the community, he left
Saragossa in favor of the less important city of Calatayud. When
the communal leaders of Saragossa sought his pardon and begged
him to stay, he consented, only to become frustrated by further
community strife. Finally, he moved to Valencia, where he
directed a yeshiva.
In 1391, Rivash fled massacres in Spain and settled in Algiers,
where he was appointed rabbi. There, too, his peace was
disturbed. One man, in particular, harassed Rivash; although
Rivash ignored the man's insults at first, he eventually
excommunicated the man when the man asked the governor of Algiers
to prevent a boatload of Marranos from docking.
Rivash was recognized as the leading rabbinical authority of
his era, and his opinion, as reflected in his responsa, weighs
heavily in later halachic decision making. From these responsa,
it is evident that Rivash was familiar with philosophy, but he
strongly opposed Aristotle's approach. Rivash also strongly
discouraged the study of kabbalah.
Rivash also authored a Torah commentary, and novellae on
several tractates. Some of these are quoted in Shitah Mekubetzet
to Masechet Ketubot. (Sources: The Artscroll Rishonim p.107;
She'eilot U'teshuvot Rivash, No. 157)
Copyright © 1998 by Shlomo Katz
and Project Genesis, Inc.
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