Category Archives: Vayikra

Parshas Tzav


וּפָשַׁט אֶת בְּגָדָיו וְלָבַשׁ בְּגָדִים אֲחֵרִים וְהוֹצִיא אֶת הַדֶּשֶׁן אֶל מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה אֶל מָקוֹם טָהוֹר (ויקרא ו/ד)

RAcha bar Aba said in the name of RYochanan, “From where do we derive that one should change his clothes (to keep these clothes clean for special occasions)? From the verse (Vayikra 6/4), ‘And he shall take off his garments and put on other garments, (and bring out the ashes (of the korbonos that were burnt on the mezbaiach) outside of the camp to a clean place).’ The talmedai chachamim in the Bais Medrash of RYishmaail learnt, ‘The Torah is teaching us derech eretz– proper conduct- the clothes that a worker wears when he cooks for his master (that are soiled) should not be worn when he pours his master his wine. (Shabbos 114a)

Zera Shimshon asks that if it is derech eretz to keep one’s clothes clean why did the Torah have to write an extra word, “OTHER” clothes, to teach us this? Why couldn’t we understand this by ourselves?

Secondly, he asks in the name of the Iyun Yaakov, that the proof is seemingly faulty. The reason for changing the clothes is because the clothes that the Cohain wore when he took out the ashes did not have to be kodesh. Therefore he changed his kodesh clothing when he took out the ashes. How then can we bring a proof from this that when a worker cooks for his master he should change the clothes that he wore when he poured wine for his master.

He answers in light of the the Gemorra in Yoma that learns from a gezairo shovveh that the clothes that the Cohain wore when he brought out the ashes were also kodesh (just a lesser quality than the ones that he wore when he sacrificed the korbonos.

Therefore, explains Zera Shimshon, we can now understand the comparison between taking out ashes and a servant cooking for his master.

Also since we learned from a gezairo shovveh that both garments, the ones that the Cohain wore when he sacrificed a korbon and the ones that he wore when he took out the ashes are kodesh we can understand that the talmedai chachamim in the Bais Medrash of RYishmaail are only telling us the reasoning behind the halacha but not the halacha itself. 2

צַו אֶת אַהֲרֹן וְאֶת בָּנָיו לֵאמֹר זֹאת תּוֹרַת הָעֹלָה הִוא הָעֹלָה עַל מוֹקְדָה עַל הַמִּזְבֵּחַ כָּל הַלַּיְלָה עַד הַבֹּקֶר וְאֵשׁ הַמִּזְבֵּחַ תּוּקַד בּוֹ

The Medrash on the first possuk in our parsha writes, “This is the meaning of the possuk, “Hatred brings on quarrel”- The hatred that Aharon aroused between Yisroel and their Father in Heaven (at the time of the Golden Calf) brings on them harsh punishments (Rashi explains  that  there is a punishment for our worshipping the Golden Calf included in every punishment we receive for our own sins). This teaches us that Aharon took their sacrifice (to the Golden Calf), smashed it in front of them, and said to them, “Look, your idol is worthless!” (i.e. it can’t even protect the sacrifices that people bring to it) This is the meaning of what Moshe said to Aharon, ‘What did the people do to you that you brought upon them a great sin?’ It would have been better if they would have been judged as shogage (a mistake or accident) and not as a mayzid (deliberate).”

Zera Shimshon asks why is Aharon described as “putting hatred between Bnei Yisroel and Hashem” and not simply as  causing Bnei Yisroel to sin?

He answers that there are two ways to look at Aharon’s showing them the complete worthlessness of the Golden Calf.

Aharon thought that by showing them how powerless the Golden Calf was  he would bring on them a big punishment. They went against Hashem and got nothing in return. He felt that they deserved a harsh punishment! That is why Moshe wondered and asked him what the people did to him that caused him to want them to be so severely punished.

On the other hand, the Medrash says that after the incident of the Golden Calf Moshe pleaded to Hashem to forgive Bnei Yisroel. He argued that they worshiped something powerless and they really didn’t do any harm. Therefore Hashem should forgive them.

In other words Aharon thought that their worshiping something useless worsened what they did and Moshe thought that it lessened what they did.

The fact that Aharon showed them the powerlessness of the Golden Calf in order to worsen their sin (as opposed to Moshe’s mentioning its uselessness as a defense), concludes Zera Shimshon, is why Aharon is considered not only making Bnei Yisroel sin but also arousing hatred between Bnei Yisroel and Hashem.


צַו אֶת אַהֲרֹן וְאֶת בָּנָיו לֵאמֹר זֹאת תּוֹרַת הָעֹלָה הִוא הָעֹלָה עַל מוֹקְדָה עַל הַמִּזְבֵּחַ כָּל הַלַּיְלָה עַד הַבֹּקֶר וְאֵשׁ הַמִּזְבֵּחַ תּוּקַד בּוֹ

The Medrash points out something very interesting: Aharon is not at all mentioned in Parshas Vayikra! Only his children are mentioned but he is completely omitted.

The Medrash explains that Moshe understood that the reason for this was that Hashem faulted Aharon for the sin of the Golden Calf.

This disturbed Moshe and he approached Hashem to defend his brother.

His first argument was that how can someone detest a water hole but love the water in that hole. Meaning, how can Hashem honor Aharon’s children (to mention them in Parshas Vayikra) but not their father?

Another point that Moshe argued was that Hashem saves parents in merit of their children. As a proof to this, Moshe cited the Mishna that olive branches and grape vines (the parents) are not used to fuel the fire on the mizbaech because of the importance of wine and oil (the children).

Therefore, Moshe argued, Hashem should forgive Aharon in merit of his sons, Nadav and Avihu who sanctified Hashem’s name when they died on the day of the inaguaration of the Mishkan.

The Medrash concludes, that although Hashem didn’t accept these reasons to forgive Aharon, H. finally conceded to Moshe’s request but only in the merit of Moshe.

Zera Shimshon asks what was the exact merit of Moshe that helped Aharon?

He explains that Hashem’s original plan was to make Moshe and his descendants the Kohanim. However, Hashem took this status away from him and gave it to Aharon when, at the Burning Bush, Moshe didn’t immediately accept the leadership of B’nei Yisroel.

According to this, after the sin of the Golden Calf, Moshe was in the position to ask from Hashem to restore the original plan that he will be the Kohan. Why, now, is Aharon better then Moshe since they both sinned?

Moshe, however, didn’t do that. Not only didn’t he ask to get back the Kehuna but, on the contrary he defended his brother and pleaded to Hashem to strengthen Aharon’s hold on it!

When Hashem saw Moshe forfeit his claim in favor of his brother Hashem answered that H. will do the same. If Moshe who is only flesh and blood can forfeit his rights to the Kehuna, I (Hashem) who is The Master of Mercy can surely leave Aharon as the Kohen

This is what it means that in the merit of MosheAharon is mentioned in the Parsha. In the merit of Moshe’s forfeiting his rights to the Kehuna to AharonHashem overlooked ax Aharon’s part in the Golden Calf   and reinstated him as the Kohain Gadol.

HaRav Shimshon Nachmaini, author of Zera Shimshon lived in Italy about 300 years ago in the time of the Or HaChaim HaKodesh.

The Chida writes that he was a great Mekubal and wrote many sefarim including sefarim about practical kabbolo but asked that all of his sefarim be buried after he passes away except for Zera Shimshon and Niflaos Shimshon on Avos.

He had one child who died in his lifetime (hence the name Zera Shimshon) and in the preface he promises for people who learn his sefarim after he dies ... And your eyes will see children and grandchildren like the offshoots of an olive tree around your tables, wise and understanding with houses filled with all manner of good things and wealth and honor

These d’vrai Torah are dedicated to Esther Yenta Bas Chana Chassia. In the merit of the learning Zera Shimshon’s divrai TorahHashem 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.

If you are interested in buying your own copy of the Hebrew version of Zera Shimshon

Call 05271-66-450 in Eretz Yisroel


347-496-5657 in the U.S.A.

You can now  HEAR shiurim of Zera Shimshon on Kol Halashon:

In E. Yisroel: 073-2951-727 or 03-617-1111 and then press 1,1,3,24

In U.S.A. (718) 395-2440 and then press 2,6,4,24
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Parshas BeHar 5775

On the possuk in the beginning of our parsha, “And Hashem spoke to Moshe on Har Sinai saying.” Rashi asks why does the Torah preface  the laws of shemita by saying that they were given on Har Sinai? All the halachos in the Torah were given there!

Rashi answers that it is to teach us that since the Torah does not repeat the laws of shemita in Sefer Devorim therefore it must be that ALL of its halachos, the general principals as well as the smallest details, were taught to us in Sinai. From this we learn that it is the same with all the mitzvos, that all of their details were also given on Sinai, even the ones that were repeated in Sefer Devorim.

Zera Shimshon asks what is unique about the mitzvah of shemita that the Torah chose it to teach us this? Seemingly, we would be able to learn the same idea from any mitzvo that was not repeated in Sefer Devorim!

He answers that the halachos of Shemita are similar to and have a special connection with Har Sinai and gives three gives three examples of this. 

Firstly, what is the reason that Hashem chose the seventh year to be shemitaChaza“l in a Medrash seem to give a reason,  “All “seventh”s are precious to Hashem!” Moshe was the seventh generation from Avraham, Dovid HaMelech was Yishai’s seventh son, the seventh day of the week, the seventh month of the year (Tishrei), the seventh year (shemita) etc.Yaffe Tohar ( a commentator on the Medrash) asks that this answer isn’t really suffice. The fact that all of the examples were the seventh is seemingly only incidental but doesn’t add ANYTHING to their specialness!  Seemingly, Moshe would be loved by Hashem for his righteousness even if he wasn’t the seventh generation from Avraham. Tishrei would be a special month even if it wasn’t the seventh month. What then does the Medrash mean that all “seventh”s are precious to Hashem?

Zera Shimshon answers that we learn from this Medrash that there is some concealed and deep reason that being the seventh adds to make something precious to Hashem. We may not understand why, but the fact that Moshe was the seventh generation from Avraham, that the shemita year is the seventh year (and not the sixth or eighth) etc. adds to their uniqueness. 

The same is with Har Sinai. What is so special about it that Hashem chose it over all the other mountains in the world to give on it the Torah? The well known reason that it is because it is not so tall, doesn’t fully explain it.  There are other mountains even smaller or the same size. And Hashem could have made some other mountain the same size! (Also the reason that another Medrash gives, that it was chosen because no one worshipped idols on it, is also not suffice. The Medrash says that already during the Seven Days of Creation, before there was idolatry in the world,  Har Sinai was already chosen to be the place that the Torah will be given.) 

It must be, reasons Zera Shimshon, that there is some concealed and deep reason that Hashem chose Har Sinai over all the other mountain that we don’t understand just like that there is some concealed and deep reason that shemita is the seventh year and not the sixth or eighth that we also don’t understand. 

Another similarity. The meforshim explain that a reason that Hashem forbids us to plant during shemita is to show us that he is the Master of the world and, that even though that the land has the potential and the ability to grow fruits, and we would like those fruits, Hashem who is the Master of the world, doesn’t let us take advantage of it. We have accepts Hashem’s dictates and restrain ourselves from planting and cultivating the fields.

It was the same with Har Sinai. There was tremendous holiness on the mountain at the time of the giving of the Torah. It was a kedusha (holiness) that  our souls craved to be closed to. However Hashem commanded to surround the mountain with a border so we can’t get too close to and can’t take advantage of that tremendous holiness! 

Zera Shimshon cites one  more similarity between Har Sinai and shemita. Chaza“l teach us that the mitzva of shemita has in it the power to keep us out of exile. The reward we get for keeping the laws of shemita is that we can stay in Eretz Yisroel. And, unfortunately, the punishment when we don’t observe the laws of shemita is that Hashem exiles us from our land. (Rashi in this week’s parsha writes that the seventy years of our exile to Bavel was because of the seventy times we didn’t keep shemita.)

The same thing was with Sinai. At the time we received the Torah we became free from the yoke of other nations. (It came back when we worshipped the golden calf.) Even though we gained some freedom when we left Mitzrayim, it wasn’t complete until we received the Torah at Har Sinai.

Concludes Zera Shimshon, it is for these three similarities between shemita and Har Sinai that Hashem chose the mitzvo of shemita to teach us that just like  the general principals as well as the smallest details of shemita were given at Sinai so too the general principals and smallest details of all of the mitzvos were given on Sinai!
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