This week’s article from Rabbi Yissocher Frand has been generously dedicated
by Mr. Moshe Dreyfuss in memory of his father Avraham ben Shmuel a”h, on his Yahrtzeit
These divrei Torah were adapted from the hashkafa portion of Rabbi Yissocher Frand’s Commuter Chavrusah Tapes on the weekly portion: #1169 – 17 Tamuz–When Does It Start? Wearing Laundered Shirts in Nine Days?
Note: The shiur will now pause for the summer break. The next shiur is planned for Parshas Shoftim. Good Shabbos!
Parshas Pinchas contains the Korbonos of the Yomim Tovim, preceded by the Korban Tamid – the (twice) daily offering. The pasuk says “Command Israel and say to them… This is the fire offering that you shall offer to Hashem — year old unblemished lambs, twice a day, an eternal burnt offering. The one lamb you should offer in the morning, and the second lamb you shall offer in the evening. [Bamidbar 28:2-4].
The week began with Shiva Asar B’Tamuz, the 17th of Tamuz. Chazal say that five things happened to our forefathers on the 17th of Tamuz. The reason we fast on this day is to commemorate those five terrible things. The Gemara in Taanis lists the five things: The Tablets were broken (when Moshe descended from Mt. Sinai and saw the people worshipping the Golden Calf); the Korban Tamid stopped being brought; the Outer Wall of the City of Jerusalem was breached; Apostomas (the Roman General) publicly burned a Sefer Torah; and he erected an idol in the Beis HaMikdash. These are the five terrible things that happened on the 17th of Tamuz.
If we were asked to rank these five events in terms of their seriousness, which event would you pick to be number five (i.e. – the least catastrophic)?
I heard an observation from Rav Aharon Lichtenstein, zt”l, that at first glance the suspension of the Korban Tamid does not seem to be as tragic as the other four events. We lost the Luchos that were written by the “Finger of Elokim“; the city wall was breached—this was the beginning of the end of the Jewish Commonwealth. Putting up an idol in the Beis HaMikdash and burning the Torah were unspeakable insults to our religion. But the suspension of the Tamid did not mark the total end of the Service in the Beis HaMikdash at that point. What was the tragedy of the Bitul haTamid which caused it to be listed with the other four catastrophic events? Apparently they are all equally great tragedies.
Rav Aharon Lichtenstein explains this based on an incredible Medrash that the Maharal brings in his Nesivos Olam (Nesiv Ahavas Rei’ah, Perek Aleph). I quoted this Medrash at a Siyum HaShas. Many people asked me where the Medrash was. Ironically, I cannot find this Medrash — which is not that impressive a statement. However, what I mean is the computer cannot find this Medrash either! However, the Maharal brings this Medrash, and he mentions that it can be found in the author’s introduction to the Ein Yakov. If the Ein Yakov brings the Medrash, and the Maharal brings the Medrash, I trust it — even though I cannot locate the original source. Earlier generations possessed Medrashim that we no longer have.
The Medrash quotes various Tannaim, who each bring a pasuk which, in their opinion, encapsulates all of the Torah: Ben Zoma cites his view of the pasuk which defines the Torah: Shema Yisrael Hashem Elokeinu Hashem Echad (Hear O Israel the L-rd Our G-d the L-rd is One). Ben Nanas cites the pasuk “V’Ahavta L’Rei’acha Kamocha” (Love your neighbor as yourself). Shimon ben Pazzi claims that there is an even more fundamental and all-encompassing pasuk: “Es ha’keves ha’echad ta’aseh ba’boker, v’es ha’keves ha’sheni ta’aseh bein ha’arbayim” (The one lamb you should make in the morning, and the one lamb you should make in the evening.).
The pasuk that is the essence of Torah—which encompasses the entirety of Torah according to Shimon ben Pazzi—is the pasuk which commands us to bring the daily Korban Tamid, morning and evening. We can readily understand Ben Zoma’s pasuk as being a candidate for the Torah’s most fundamental principle. Monotheism is clearly a fundamental Jewish belief. We can accept Ben Nanas’ pasuk as being the fundamental principle underlining all interpersonal interactions. But never would I pick “Es ha’keves ha’echad ta’aseh ba’boker, v’es ha’keves ha’sheni ta’aseh bein ha’arbayim“! What did Shimon ben Pazzi have in mind?
The Maharal, in his Nesivos Olam, explains that the essence of Divine Service, the essence of being a Servant of the Ribono shel Olam, is consistency: Day in, Day out; Day in; Day out! Every single day, without exception. This shows my TOTAL devotion to the Almighty—every single day without a stop. Rain, sleet, snow, hail, no matter what, “Here I am!” Torah is about being an Eved HaShem, and being an Eved HaShem entails constant and unbroken service.
The Korban Tamid never stopped—Yom Kippur, Erev Pesach, Pesach. There was never a vacation. There was always a Korban Tamid.
That was the tragedy of the Bitul HaTamid that occurred on the 17th of Tamuz. Once the streak is broken, once the continuity is interrupted, then everything begins to dissipate and fall apart. That is why this indeed WAS the beginning of the end. From the time they built the Mishkan—through Nov, Givon, Shilo, and all the years of the Beis HaMikdash—every single day, morning and evening, they ALWAYS brought the Korban Tamid. When that stopped, it was the beginning of the end.
You can understand the context in which I mentioned this Medrash at the Siyum HaShas. That is what Daf Yomi is. Day in, day out, every single day—whether it is Erev Pessach or Yom Kippur or whatever it is. It must get done. This is what Divine Service is all about. That is why Ben Pazzi singles this out as the most fundamental pasuk in Torah. The Medrash, in fact, concludes that the Halacha follows Ben Pazzi. This is indeed the most definitive pasuk in the Torah—One calf you should bring in the morning and one calf you should bring in the evening.
Transcribed by David Twersky; Jerusalem [email protected]
Technical Assistance by Dovid Hoffman; Baltimore, MD [email protected]
This week’s write-up is adapted from the hashkafa portion of Rabbi Yissochar Frand’s Commuter Chavrusah Series on the weekly Torah portion. A listing of the halachic portions for Parshas Pinchas is provided below:
- # 064 – The Yarmulka: At Home and In the Office
- # 154 – Writing a Halachically Sanctioned Will
- # 201 – Fasting on Tisha B’Av: Is It For Everyone?
- # 246 – Hilchos Brachos: Ikar Ve Tofel
- # 291 – The Do’s and Don’t of Kashering Keilim
- # 336 – Tisha B’Av on Motzoei Shabbos
- # 381 – Making A Zecher Le’churban
- # 425 – Minhagim of the Three Weeks
- # 469 – Tu B’Av
- # 513 – Leining on Fast Days and Other Ta’aneisim Issues
- # 557 – Disinheriting
- # 645 – Women and Bentching
- # 688 – A Manicure on Shabbos?
- # 732 – Does A Mezuza Need a Door?
- # 776 – Yayin Mevushal – Does It Exist?
- # 821 – Cholent on Sunday of the Nine Days
- # 865 – Neckties,Shoelaces and Tichels: A Knotty Problem
- # 909 – Shabbos Shacharis – Hashkama Vs Later
- # 953 – Tevilas Keilim: My Hosts Haven’t Toiveled Their Dishes
- # 995 – The Mitzva of Shiluach Ha’Kain – Do We Make A Bracha?
- #1040 – Learning on Tisha B’av? Saying Tehilim on Tisha B’Av?
- #1084 – The Kohain Who Killed Someone by Accident: Can He Still “Duchan”?
- #1127 – Tei’ku – What Will Eliyahu Answer?
- #1169 – 17 Tamuz–When Does It Start? Wearing Laundered Shirts In Nine Days?
- #1212 – Goral: Can You Have A Raffle For A Sefer Torah?
- #1257 – Learning on Tisha B’Av, Should You? Can You? Eating Tisha B’Av Night So You Can Fast on Tisha B’Av Day?
- #1301 – A Tisha B’av Message: The Golden Rule – Don’t Do Unto Others What You Don’t Want Done Unto You
- #1345 – Bathing During the Nine Days
- #1389 – The Case of the Rabbi Who Said I Want My Son To Assume My Position When I Retire – Can He Demand That?
- #1433 – The Use of a Goral in Halacha
A complete catalogue can be ordered from the Yad Yechiel Institute, PO Box 511, Owings Mills MD 21117-0511. Call (410) 358-0416 or e-mail [email protected] or visit http://www.yadyechiel.org/ for further information.