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Parshas Behaloscha 5773
Candle Lighting Time: 7:59 pm
May 24, 2013
Volume 9 Issue 25
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Dvar Torah

Whatever It Takes

By Rabbi Yerachmiel Lichtman 

         

              

In this week's Parsha we have the episode of a group of Jews who were unable to perform the mitzvah of the korbon pesach on time because they were tamai nefesh (impure through contact with a dead person). The Gemarah in Succah (25a) explains that these were the Jews who were carrying the aron (coffin) of Yosef Hatzadik from Mitzrayim. Out of a great desire to fulfill this mitzvah, they appealed to Moshe Rabbeinu for help. They were distraught at the possibility of having to forgo this mitzvah as a result of their being in a state of impurity. Rashi further explains that these individuals were requesting that although they themselves were barred from physically bringing the korban, Moshe should at least allow the Kohanim to throw the blood on the mizba'ach and eat the korban on their behalf.

 

Rav Moshe Feinstein, zt"l in his Sefer Darash Moshe, asks: what was to be gained by implementing the above solution; doesn't the Gemarah in Pesachim (61a) teach us that a Korban Pesach that is sacrificed on behalf of someone who is impure is rendered unfit? If so what was their intent?

 

Rav Moshe answers that these people are teaching us a timeless lesson. This group, because of their tremendous love for Hashem's mitzvos, wanted to do whatever was possible. Even if they were not able to fulfill the necessary requirement, they still desired to remain connected and involved. We can     now possibly understand why Hashem eventually gave them a "second chance," because they possessed a strong will and desire to be connected to this mitzvah. In truth this is a lesson for everyone.

 

A practical example of this says Rav Moshe, is if someone cannot eat a full kezayis of maror on Pesach night, he should attempt at least to eat a little bit so as to feel connected to the mitzvah of Hashem. Similarly, we find that one who is unable to sit in a Succah, should see to it that he at least builds a Succah to demonstrate how much he loves to serve his Creator.

 

This lesson was taught to us throughout the history of the Jewish People. In recent times, during the Holocaust, dozens of stories are told of the self-sacrifice demonstrated by Jews in the camps just to fulfill a mitzvah, or even part a mitzvah. Using a candle made out of a potato peel to light the Menorah for only one night of Chanukah, or wearing part of a pair of Tefillin for a moment, or acquiring flour before Pesach in order to have a small taste of Matzoh, are just some of the many examples.

 

With the above we can understand the blessing bestowed upon a child at his brismilah. "Just as he entered the covenant, so too, may he enter Torah, Chupa, & good deeds." One can ask: If part of the objective of learning Torah is to lead one to good deeds, aren't words "good deeds" superfluous?

 

Rav Moshe answers that our blessing to the young child is that in addition to the actual "good deeds" that he will eventually perform, we also bless him that he should  have a love for Hashem's mitzvos and do whatever he can to be involved and connected to them at all times and under all circumstances.  

 

 

Dvar Halacha

 

The Laws of Judging a Fellow Jew Justly  part 1

 

By Rabbi Yochanan Eskenazi

 

 

 The Posuk [Vayikra 19:15] says "Betzedek tishpot amisecha" (you shall judge your nation justly).  The Gemara [Shavuos 30a] explains that this Posuk is teaching us two halachos: a) a judge should judge all people that come before him justly, and b) one needs to judge his friend favorably.

 

Rashi [Shabbos 127b s.v. hachei garseenun] writes that judging one justly brings peace to the world.  When one judges someone justly and says to himself that this person did not purposely try to harm me, this causes peace between them.  Similarly, the Sefer HaChinuch [235] adds that the reason for this mitzvah is to improve society that there will be peace between people and they will trust one another.

 

Harav Eliyahu E. Dessler, zt"l, explains the obligation to judge someone else justly stems from the mitzvah of V'ahavta l'raiyacha k'mocha.  Just as when someone does certain actions he will search high and low for excuses to justify what he did, so too he is obligated to look for excuses when his friend does a questionable action.  However, if he does not look for excuses for his friend, it is not because all of a sudden he became wise and truly understands that this action was wrong; rather it is because he does not love the other person (Michtav M'Eliyahu 5: pg. 431).

 

All Rishonim agree that it is a mitzvah m'doraisa to judge a fellow Jew justly (Sefer Chafetz Chaim, Introduction Asin 3 in Be'er Mayim Chaim).  This mitzvah applies to men and women at all times (Sefer HaChinuch 235).  One should try to be educate his children in this mitzvah as well (Sefer Mishpatei HaShalom 1:14).

 

The general rule is that it is assur to think negative thoughts regarding the speech or action of someone else.  It does not matter if the action in question is something which is bein adam l'makom (between a person and G-d) or bein adam l'chaveiro (between a person and other people) (Sefer Mishpatei HaShalom 1:6).  This includes that one is required to judge the action of a minor l'zechus, because he is included in "Ami'secha" (your nation) (Sefer Mishpatei HaShalom 1:15).  One is not obligated to judge a non- Jew favorably, since he is not included in "Ami'secha" (Sefer Mishpatei HaShalom 1:13).

 

As will be explained in future weeks, the halachah is that a person has to judge a person according to his chazaka (status).  It is clear from the Rishonim and the Poskim that the mitzvah is not necessarily to give everybody the "benefit of the doubt", for there are cases where one is not obligated to give the benefit of the doubt.  Rather the obligation is "B'tzedek tish'pot ami'secha", you shall judge your fellow fairly.  This means a person should make a thoughtful assessment of a person's actions and search for the tzedek, i.e. that which is correct and not to jump to conclusions.  A person should always ask himself "Is it more likely that this person is acting in character even though I cannot see how, or is it more likely that my superficial assessment is correct and he is acting out of character".  Furthermore, the Torah is telling us that in situations when we are supposed to judge positively it is not because we are na�ve, rather this is correct and true, since the intrinsic essence of people is to be good and do what is right] (Sefer The Torah's Guidelines for Interpersonal Relationships pg. 35 & Sefer Zerah Chaim on Sefer Chafetz Chaim pg. 286).

 

 

 

 

 

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