Oneg Shemini

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    2nd March 2016 "

    While our hearts and Minds are caught between the world of Purim and Pesach, we cant help but think about the History, Destiny and Direction of the Jewish People.

    But what does Parshas Shmini offer? Kashrus? Animals? Cloven hooves?

    The Vilna Gaon quotes a famous yet puzzling Gemara [Yoma 9b]:

    Why was the First Temple Destroyed? Because of three [cardinal sins] that were being transgressed; idol-worship, immorality, and murder... But the Second Temple, they were occupying themselves with Torah, commandments, and kind deeds, why was it destroyed? Because there was in it baseless hatred (lit. free hatred) to teach you that baseless hatred is equal opposite three sins: idol worship, immorality and murder

    R Yochanan and R Elazar both commented; The first ones, whose sins were reveled, their redemption was revealed - the latter ones, whose sins were not revealed, their redemption was not revealed....R Yochanan said: Better the nails of the earlier ones, than the bellies of the latter ones.

    The initial points made by the Gemara, namely the distinction between the first and second Beis HaMikdash, are poignant as they are famous and indeed, we are still suffering from the dis-unity of the Jewish People to this day but what do the second statements mean? Sins revealed? Nails and Bellies?

    Back to our parsha:

    Famously, while we find many animals who both chew-the-cud and have split-hooves (sheep, cows etc), and conversely we find many animals who neither chew the cud nor split hooves (tigers, elephants, etc). The Torah tells us that there are only four animals who do one and not the other:

    But these you shall not eat among those that bring up the cud and those that have a cloven hoof: the camel, because it brings up its cud, but does not have a [completely] cloven hoof; it is unclean for you. And the hyrax, because it brings up its cud, but will not have a [completely] cloven hoof; it is unclean for you; And the hare, because

    it brings up its cud, but does not have a [completely] cloven hoof; it is unclean for you; And the pig, because it has a cloven hoof that is completely split, but will not regurgitate its cud; it is unclean for you. [Vayikra 11:4-8]

    If we notice, we find that the first three of the animals are missing the split hooves, while it is only the chazir, who has the split-hooves, yet lacks the kashrus-sign of chewing the cud.

    The Midrash connects these 4 animals, to the 4 kingdoms who subject the Jewish People to Exile:

    The gamal = This is Babylonia/Bavel

    The shafan = This is Persia/Madai

    The arneves = This is Greece/Yavan

    The chazir = This is Rome/Edom

    Unlike the previous three, the pig shows outward signs of kashrus, but inside is not kosher. Unlike the previous three dominions, Rome attempts to show a kosher outward exterior, but inwardly is not kosher. The first three kingdoms were great kingdoms with great talents and accomplishments, yet their

    exterior, the application of their talents were impure. Edom is the opposite. Rome/Western civilisation show a kosher face with their hooves, yet on the inside they are impure. Eisav shows them the way by fooling his father and the entire world, professing to be a tzaddik (How does one tithe salt?) but was corrupt and evil.

    Lets recap:

    R Yochanan and R Elazar both commented; The first ones, whose sins were reveled, their redemption was revealed - the latter ones, whose sins were not revealed, their redemption was not revealed....R Yochanan said: Better the nails of the earlier ones, than the bellies of the latter ones.

    The first three, their sins were revealed like the full, non split hooves of the first three animals and therefore their effect on the Jewish people was limited. The final one (Rome, like the pig), his sins are not revealed (i.e. on the inside), and therefore his impact on the Jewish people is unlimited (and results in long exile).

    When choosing between the lesser of the two evils, better the Nails of the earlier ones the full hooves of the first three rather than the bellies (the hidden impurity) of the last one, because there is nothing worse than pretending to be what we are not.

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    The first Rashi on this weeks Sedrah tells us that this day was Rosh Chodesh Nissan, the day that the Mishkan was erected and ten crowns were taken.Rashi could have used another Maamar Chazal telling us something that happened on the day the Mishkan was erected which might be more connected to the number in this Possuk as opposed to ten. What is it and what is the closer connection to the Possuk?

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    1. What are the two signs of a kosher animal and what lies behind them?

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    OF KEEPING KOSHER Rabbi Yehonasan GefenRabbi for Keter HaTorah


    Vayikra, 11:44-45: For I am Hashem your G-d you shall sanctify yourselves and you will be holy, for I am holy; and you shall not contaminate your souls through any teeming thing that creeps on the earth. For I am Hashem who elevates you from the land of Egypt to be a G-d unto you

    Rashi, Vayikra, 11:45: sv. For I am Hashem who elevates you: I brought you out so that you would accept upon yourselves My mitzvos.

    At the end of Parshas Shemini the Torah concludes its discussion of the laws of kashrus by reminding us of the fact that Hashem took us out of Egypt. Rashi explains that Hashem is teaching us a fundamental lesson; the whole purpose of the Exodus was so that the Jewish people would accept upon themselves the mitzvos of the Torah. The Kli Yakar asks why the Torah should say this general point davka with regards to the laws of kashrus, it is equally pertinent to all the mitzvos; accordingly he argues with Rashi.1

    It is possible to answer this question using the following story. A Rav was once approached by a non-observant Jew; he wanted to increase his Torah observance by taking on one new mitzva; he was prepared to observe either the laws of Shabbos or kashrus.2 Obviously, one should strive to observe all the mitzvos and not pick and choose, yet it was clear in this case that had the Rav suggested that he keep both mitzvos then he would have been unsuccessful. Moreover, the man may then have refused to observe anything new at all. Unsure how to answer this delicate question he asked a gadol3 the question. The gadol replied that he should take on the laws of Kashrus. This answer could seem quite surprising because the punishment for breaking Shabbos is more severe that that for eating non-kosher food. Yet the gadol explained that there was a deeper factor at work: When a person eats non-Kosher food he does not only transgress the Torah but

    1 Kli Yakar, Vayikra, 11:44. See there for his alternative explanation of the verse. In truth, Rashi is quoting the Toras Kohanim, Ch.12:3. The Sifra, 170, offers the same interpretation as well.

    2 Heard from Rav Dovid Orlofsky shlita. 3 In one version of this story the gadol was Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach ztl.

    he brings into himself the spiritual impurity that is contained in that food. This forbidden food causes what is described as

    timtum halev which is literally translated as a blocking of the heart On a practical level this means that a persons spiritual sensitivities are dulled by consumption of non-kosher food. Thus, committing this sin would make it very difficult for a person to increase his spiritual level further even if he was observing other mitzvos. Therefore the gadol explained that he should follow the laws of kashrus with the hope that this would facilitate an unblocking of his heart and would enable him to ultimately increase his observance further.

    We can now answer the Kli Yakars question; he asked why Rashi explained that the Torahs exhortation that the purpose of the Exodus was to keep the mitzvos, came after the laws of kashrus in particular. It is possible to answer that the people needed to observe the laws of kashrus in order that they would be able to properly keep all the mitzvos. This is bec