Monthly Archives: 10 Nisan 5774

Parshas Acherai

Parshas Achrai Mose

(Based on Zera Shimshon Acherai aleph pg 39)

Rebbi Chiya bar Aba asks, “The sons of Aharon died on Rosh Chodesh Nison so why is their death mentioned when the Torah speaks of  Yom Kipppur?” (The answer) “To teach us that just like Yom Kippur atones so to the death of tzadikim atones.” (The Medrash continues with another question), “And how do we know that Yom Kippur atones? (The answer) Since it says, ‘because on that day (Yom Kippur) Hashem will pardon and forgive you…” (Medrash Rabah Vayikra 20/12)

Zera Shimshon asks why does the Medrash ask how do we know that Yom Kippur atones? It is very common knowledge that Yom Kippur is a day of atonement and there are are many posukkim that attest to this. Why then did the Medrash feel it necessary to bring a proof to this?

He begins his answer  by quoting the Gemorra in Yoma  that teshuva by itself doesn’t always bring COMPLETE atonement. A person who transgresses a Torah prohibition that doesn’t have a punishment of karrais (lo s’asse sh’ain bo karrais) , gets full atonement only with teshuva  that is coupled with Yom Kippur.

The Rif (a commentary on Ain Yaakov) explains that the above Gemorra isn’t all inclusive. The Gemorra is only speaking about  a person who does teshuva because of fear of punishment. Only he needs Yom Kippur to finish the teshuva process. However when one does teshuva out of love of Hashem then teshuva by itself is enough to  bring full atonement and Yom Kippur is not needed. 

This being so, writes Zera Shimshon, we can explain that the Medrash compares the death of Tzaddikim to Yom Kippur only with regards to someone who did teshuva from fear. Just like Yom Kippur completes the teshuva process for one who does teshuva from fear so too when a person does teshuva from fear the death of the tzaddik completes the teshuva process. 

But the question still remains, continues the Medrash, how do we know that this is really true? How do we know that  Yom Kippur completes the teshuva process even though he repented because of fear? Maybe Yom Kippur only completes teshuva from love?

To proof this, the Medrash quotes the possuk “because on that day (Yom Kippur) Hashem will pardon and forgive you, before Hashem you  will be purified”.  

Seemingly, the last phrase “before Hashem you will be purified” is redundant . If Hashem  pardons someone then  obviously they are purified before Hashem

Zera Shimshon therefore explains that the Medrash understood that these two phrases actually refer to two different types of teshuva.

The second phrase refers to one who does teshuva from love.Therefore “before Hashem you will be purified”, and there is no need for Yom Kippur. However, if the teshuva is only because of fear, then “because on that day (Yom Kippur) Hashem will pardon and forgive you”. This is the proof, explains Zera Shimshon, that Yom Kippur completes the teshuva process even for teshuva done out of fear!

According to this we can now understand why the Medrash needed to bring a proof that Yom Kippur atones. The Medrash is bringing a proof that even if one does teshuva only from fear of punishment Yom Kippur also completes the teshuva process. This is not common knowledge!

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This d’var Torah is dedicated to Beracha Bas Menucha Shaina. In the merit of  the  learning Zera Shimshon’s divrai Torah, Hashem should answer her prayers and she should quickly find her proper match along with all the other members of Clal Yisroel who are also looking for their zivug hagun

Parshas Metzora

Parshas Metzora 5774
(Based on Zera Shimshon Metzora “beis” pg 35)
In Parshas Braishis, after Kayin killed Hevel and Hashem exiled him from Gan Eden, the Torah tells us that Kayin was afraid that the wild animals would attack him. Hashem therefore placed on him a sign to protect him (Braishis 4/15).

There are two opinions in the Medrash what that sign was. Rebbi Yehudah explains that Hashem shone the sun on him.

Rebbi Nechemya argues because such a wicked person doesn’t deserve sunlight. Rather, Rebbi Nechemia explains that Hashem inflicted him with tzorras (a type of leprosy)!

Zera Shimshon asks what is the point of argument between Rebbi Yehuda and Rebbi Nechemyah? What led Rebbi Yehuda to take the position that Hevel was not wicked? And how does Rebbi Nechemya understand that tzorras will protect Hevel from being attacked by wild animals?

He explains that their postions are based on a different machlokos (dispute) (Medrash Rabah Braishis 22/7) of what was the conversation between Kiyan and Hevel that preceded Kiyan killing Hevel.

Rebbi Yehuda holds like the opinion that their argument was in whose property will the Bais HaMikdash be built (and subsequently who will be the Kohen). Kiyan claimed that he was the first born and therefore he deserved that the Bais HaMikdash should be on his property and he also deserved to be the Cohan. He therefore felt that Kiyan was trying to take the kehuna from him and therefore felt that he had the right to kill him. He happened to be wrong but he wasn’t a mazid (since he thought that halachly he was right). He was only a shoggag. This being so, his exile from Gan Eden was enough to fully atone for his sin and he was worthy of having the sun shine on him.

Rebbi Nechemyah on the other hand was of the opinion that they were argueing over the inheritence- who will inherit all of Adam’s land and who will inherit the rest of his possesions. This being the argument, there is no justification for his killing and he was a mazid and the exile from Gan Eden was not enough to atone for him.

This is why Rebbi Nechemya rejected the opinion that the sun shone on him- such a wicked person doesn’t deserve sunlight.

What could help him, though? Tzrorras!

The Yalkut Shemoni writes that the students of Rebbi Yossi b’Rebbi Channina asked him what will be when the cities of refuge (Orrai Miklat) will be destroyed? He answered that they should run to the Torah. In other words, The Torah has the power to atone for murder.

But what will cause Kayin to learn Torah.

Zera Shimshon quotes the possuk in Mishlei “The cure for bad speech is aitz chaim (tree of life). We learn from this possuk that the Tree of Life is the remedy for bad speech (which, like we learn from Miriam causes tzorras).

Zera Shimshon concludes, since Kayin was still in need of atonement Hashem brought upon him trazzos in order that he will learn Torah (to be cured of his tzorras) and automatically he will also have atonement for the killing of his brother Hevel! After this happens there will be no need for him to be afraid that wild animals will attack him.