Erev Shabbos Kodesh Inspiration Tzav 5776

In this week’s parsha it is said (Vayikra 6:3)  וְלָבַשׁ הַכֹּהֵן מִדּוֹ בַד וּמִכְנְסֵי בַד יִלְבַּשׁ עַל בְּשָׂרוֹ וְהֵרִים אֶת הַדֶּשֶׁן אֲשֶׁר תֹּאכַל הָאֵשׁ אֶת הָעֹלָה עַל הַמִּזְבֵּחַ וְשָׂמוֹ אֵצֶל הַמִּזְבֵּחַ, the Kohen shall don his fitted linen Tunic, and he shall don linen Breeches on his flesh; he shall separate the ash of what the fire consumed of the burnt-offering on the Altar, and place it next to the Altar. One must wonder why, regarding the mitzvah of תרומת הדשן, removal of the ash on the mizbeiach, the Torah only mentions the Tunic and the Breeches, and not the rest of the Kohen’s Vestments. Furthermore, on the words “on his flesh,” Rashi cites the Gemara (Archin 3b) that states that these words teach us that nothing should separate between his Breeches and his flesh. What is the significance of the law that there shall be no separation between the Breeches and the Kohen’s flesh?

Given the fact that we have just celebrated Purim, perhaps we can suggest a homiletical approach to this verse (See Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh who interprets this verse homiletically with a different approach). The Gemara (Taanis 29a) states משנכנס אדר מרבין בשמחה, when the month of Adar commences, we increase our joy. How do we increase our joy? Is it by merely smiling and dancing? While these are certainly necessary components of joy, the ultimate joy, as described by the Rambam (Hilchos Megillah 2:17) is when one gladdens the hearts of the poor, orphans, widows and converts. One who brings these people joy is akin to the Divine Presence, of whom it is said (Yeshaya 57:15) לְהַחֲיוֹת רוּחַ שְׁפָלִים וּלְהַחֲיוֹת לֵב נִדְכָּאִים, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the despondent. Why is the act of gladdening these people deemed to be so joyous? The answer to this question is that when one seeks out and aids those who are less fortunate amongst the Jewish People, he is demonstrating true unity. The word מִכְנְסֵי, literally translated as Breeches, is similar to the word נכנס, entering in. The word בַד, literally translated as linen, can also be interpreted to mean alone and one. Thus, our verse is alluding to the idea that when one enters into the month of Adar, one should increase his joy by reaching out to those less fortunate than one’s self. In this manner he will be “one” with other Jews.

Perhaps for this reason the Torah also mentions the Tunic, as the expression goes, “he gave his shirt off his back, a euphemism for helping someone less fortunate.. We can now understand why the Gemara states that there should be no separation between the Breeches and his flesh. One’s “flesh” refers to a fellow Jew, as it is said (Yeshaya 58:7) הֲלוֹא פָרֹס לָרָעֵב לַחְמֶךָ וַעֲנִיִּים מְרוּדִים תָּבִיא בָיִת כִּי תִרְאֶה עָרֹם וְכִסִּיתוֹ וּמִבְּשָׂרְךָ לֹא תִתְעַלָּם, surely you should break your bread for the hungry, and bring the moaning poor [to your] home; when you see a naked person, clothe him; and do not hide yourself from your kin. One’s relative is referred to as ones flesh, and ultimately the entire Jewish people are one flesh, so we cannot have a separation between our personal joy and the joy of our flesh and blood.

HaShem should grant us the ability to reach out to every single Jew, regardless of religious background and affiliation, and we should merit the Ultimate Redemption, speedily, in our days.

Have a JOYOUS and CONNECTED Shabbos!

Rabbi Adler

Erev Shabbos Kodesh Inspiration Tzav 5776

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