Vayikra, 6 Adar II 5774
Fortunate is the Generation …
Harav Yosef Carmel
In discussing the korban brought by a leader who accidentally sinned, the Torah writes “asher nasi yecheta”
(Vayikra 4:22). Rashi quotes a memorable statement of Chazal in this context: “Ashrei (fortunate) is the generation
whose leader takes note to bring atonement for his unintentional sins, all the more so that he regrets his intentional
We have discussed in the past that the people of the nation have the authority to depose even a king who was
anointed by a prophet and was previously accepted by the nation. But in light of Rashi’s comments, let us discuss the
question of what justifies changing leadership under unscheduled circumstances.
Chazal deal with the matter in the context of an apparent contradiction regarding the chronology of David’s reign.
On the one hand, the p’sukim say that David was king for seven years and six months in Chevron and another thirty-
three years in Yerushalayim, while in total he is described as reigning for only forty years without mentioning six months
(Shmuel II, 5:4-5). The answer (Yoma 22b) is that six months were taken away from his reign, during which time he had
leprosy, was abandoned by the Sanhedrin, and lost the Divine Spirit. We know that a leper is equated to one who has
died (Shemot Rabba 1). Sanhedrin is needed for some of a king’s actions, including declaring certain types of war, and
the loss of the Divine Spirit shows that he lost some of Hashem’s support, which is so crucial for making correct
What did David do to have his leadership questioned in the midst of such a successful tenure? Rav (Yoma 22b)
said that it was because of his sin involving Bat Sheva and her husband, Uriyah. We see that sins in the realm of
adultery (without getting into a discussion of the extent to which Batsheva was a married woman, which is the subject of
different opinions in Chazal), immoral behavior which causes chillul Hashem is grounds for having the kingship taken
away. In contrast, we do not find sins between man and Hashem as grounds for removal from the throne, as the
Yerushalmi (Horiyot 3:2) says that the Kingdom of Israel was as legitimate as that of Yehuda, despite the fact that the
former were involved in the worship at the calf monuments in Beit El and Dan and several kings worshipped idols.
Another opinion (Yerushalmi, Rosh Hashana 1:1) points to the six months in which David’s forces were involved in
a siege on Ammon, despite the Torah’s warning not to engage in warfare with them (Devarim 2:19). According to this
opinion (Rav Dimi in Bava Batra 21b disagrees), unauthorized and non-halachic use of Israel’s military might
compromise the legitimacy of the king’s reign.
Let us pray that modern Israel’s political leadership will prove to be fit for its task. Even if its leaders err (and which
person does not err), may they know how to admit their mistakes and learn from them. Then it can be said about us,
“Fortunate is the generation …”
Refuah Sheleimah amongst the sick of Klal Yisrael for
Mr. Eliyahu ben Sara Zelda Carmel & Mrs. Racheli bat Rozi Bouskila
Hemdat Yamim is dedicated to the memory of
Rabbi Yosef Mordechai
Simcha ben Bina Stern
who passed away
21 Adar I, 5774
ben Naftali Hertz
is endowed by
Les & Ethel Sutker
of Chicago, Illinois
in loving memory of
Max and Mary Sutker &
Louis and Lillian Klein, z”l
by Rav Daniel Mann
Use of Food from School Events
[Below are two similar questions we received orally within 12 hours of each other from people who are very careful
about other people’s money, as we encourage.]
Question 1: My yeshiva entrusted me (a kollel student) to arrange an oneg Shabbat for the talmidim. I was to
responsibly buy refreshments and be reimbursed based on receipts. There is a significant amount of leftover food, some
of it in open packages and some untouched. Can I or other participants use that food, or should I give it to the yeshiva.
If keep it, may I ask full reimbursement of the purchases?
Answer 1: There are a few models to the possible nature of your arrangement with the yeshiva, which would impact
elements like the ones you ask about.
You could have been serving as an agent (shaliach), buying food on the yeshiva’s behalf. If so, they have to
reimburse you in full for what you bought as their agent, and the food is theirs. Then you would have to determine
whether they allow you to eat their food after the time during which they clearly gave permission (during the oneg). One
may assume they would be happy that you finish small amounts from open packages. Regarding the rest, it likely
depends on various factors, including the management style of the yeshiva and the extent to which it is worthwhile for
them to store the food until the next event. Even in cases where one is confident the owner of an object would be happy
with a friend taking his object, there is an unresolved machloket whether it is permitted (Shach 359:5) or forbidden
(Tosafot, Bava Metzia 22a) to do so (see Living the Halachic Process vol. II, J-2, where we preferred refraining from
Another possibility is that you bought the food for yourself with a promise of compensation. If that is the case, the
food is yours, and you can do whatever you want with it. However, it raises a different question: how much
compensation can you ask from the yeshiva? If you do not take the food for yourself, then they probably have to
compensate you for all you bought and cannot require you to use that which was not eaten at the oneg on your account.
However, leftovers that you do want to use turn out to be things that you did not spend on the group, and it does not
seem that you should ask for compensation for them. On the other hand, the value to you of the leftovers (certainly the
open packages, but likely even some closed packages) may be less than the amount you paid in the store. Therefore,
you would not have to reduce the full face value from your request of a refund.
We encourage stringency on matters of monetary ethics. The wisest stringency is often to raise the issue with the
relevant authorities with a smile, hakarat hatov, and willingness to pay or forego, respectively. In cases of good relations
and only a few shekels at stake, each side is usually generous. Asking permission not only removes a question of
impropriety but likely gets the best deal in the present and builds trust for the future.
Question 2: I am a teacher who received 500 shekels to spend on a party for a group of my students. I am clearly
expected to keep the leftovers. The generous budget enabled me to buy more expensive vegetables than I would not
normally buy for myself. After further planning, I think a different salad will be more appropriate, which would make the
expensive vegetables unnecessary. If I decide to not use them, I should “buy them” from the school, but they are not
worth their cost to me. What should I do?
Answer 2: While the school might allow it, it is not so nice to ask the school to pay money for something that its
students did not benefit from at all. On the other hand, you acted with good intentions, and there is no reason for you to
lose money trying to do the nicest thing for your students and being honest. Sometimes “practical advice” augments
halachic advice importantly. We suggest that you make the expensive salad even if you now think that you have a better
idea. I am sure it will be fine, and it is worth it to avoid the moral dilemma.
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Don’t Forget to Feel Good About your Mitzvot
(condensed from Ein Ayah, Maaser Ani 15)
Mishna: At Mincha of the last day [of Pesach], they would make a declaration [lit., an admission]. What was the
declaration? “I removed the sacred from the house” – this is ma’aser sheni and neta revay – “I have given it to the levi”
– this is the ma’aser given to the levi – “and I have also given it” – this is teruma and terumat ma’aser – “to the foreigner,
the orphan, and the widow” – this is ma’aser ani, leket, sikcha, and pei’ah, even though [not doing so] is not an
impediment – “from the house” – this is challa.
Ein Ayah: It is true that the greatness of a person’s obligation in the service of Hashem has to be engrained in him.
He must have holy actions and paths. He must straighten his thoughts and attributes very clearly until he realizes the
great unlikelihood that even his greatest efforts to pursue goodness and righteousness will enable him to fulfill his
obligations fully. Therefore, the righteous view themselves as incomplete and possess a special type of humility.
However, this trait of lack of satisfaction in one’s righteousness should not have too much impact on a person to
the extent that it steals his tranquility and happiness and thereby diminishes his intellect, Torah knowledge, and every
good attribute. Therefore, the Torah provided a reminder that a person must feel satisfaction and