Category Archives: Parshas Acherai

Achrai Mos/ Kedoshim 5775

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 Kippur?” (The answer) “To teach us that just like Yom Kippur atones so too the death of tzadikim atones.” (The Medrash asks 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 asks another question) “And how do we know that the death of tzadikim atones? (The answer) As it says (Shemuel 2 – 21/14), “And they buried the bones of Shaul … and Hashem accepted the prayers of the inhabitants of the Land “(Medrash Rabah Vayikra 20/12)”

Zera Shimshon asks that in the beginning of this selection the Medrash established that the death of tzadikim atones. Why then at the end, does the Medrash ask again how do we know that the death of tzadikim atone? We know why already; from the fact that the death of Aharon’s children are mentioned in the parsha that speaks of Yom Kippur

Secondly, why does that Medrash bring a different possuk, “And they buried the bones of Shaul… “, to prove this point?

He answers that the second time Medrash asks “And how do we know that the death of tzadikim atones?” is not to be taken at face value. The Medrash is not asking simply how do we know that the death of tzadikim atones. Rather the Medrash is questioning the logic of learning that the death of tzadikim atones from the atonement of Yom Kippur.

Meaning, Zera Shimshon proves (in a previous   d’var Torah)  that a person who does teshuva out of fear of punishment (rather than out of love) is not completely atoned until Yom Kippur comes and completes the cleansing process. In other words, the tremendous power of Yom Kippur is that it completes the teshuva process for someone who did teshuva out of fear. However before the person has started the teshuva process Yom Kippur does not atone for that person’s wrongdoings.

According to this we can now understand the Medrash. The Medrash asks, how can we learn that the the death of a tzadik atones from the fact that Yom Kippur atones?  Tzaddikim die beacuse of the sins of the generation. Therefore, if the generation already did teshuva out of fear then the tzadik wouldn’t died. If they didn’t do teshuva then how can the death of the tzadik atone for them! (if the source of it being an  atonement is learnt from Yom Kippur.) 

(The possibility that the death of tzadikim completes the teshuva process retroactively Zera Shimshon discounts  simply as nonsensical!)

The Medrash answers in light of the possuk  “And they buried the bones of Shaul … and Hashem accepted the prayers of the inhabitants of the Land “. After Shaul died there was a drought and famine for three years. Surely, explains Zera Shimshon, they did teshuva during that time (out of fear that Hashem will continue to withhold rain). Even so, Hashem didn’t forgive them until they buried the bones of Shaul. When a corpse is relocated and buried it is like the person “re-died” (to such a degree that the children have the status of being a mourner!) 

Therefore, concludes the Medrash, we learn that the death of tzadikim atones (after one does teshuva out of fear) just like Yom Kippur!

To have new D’vrei Torah sent directly to your inbox fill in boxes below:



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!

Code for wp blog contact box
__________________________________________________________________
To have new D’vrei Torah sent directly to your inbox fill in boxes below:



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