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Torah Wellsprings 1


Parshas Shemini - Parah

T he Mishnah Berurah Rebbe Tzaddok HaCohen zt’l
(685:1) writes, “In the brings a proof from the
desert, a parah adumah was haftarah of parashas Parah
burned before Nisan….so the that this reading purifies the
nation could be pure and bring Jewish nation from sins. As
the korban Pesach when the we all know, the haftarah is
time came. We read [parashas always related to the weekly
Parah] as a prayer to Hashem Torah reading. The haftarah
that very soon we too, should of parashas Parah (Yechezkel
36:25), discusses becoming
be purified." pure from sins. As it states,
TorahWellspring-s Shemini- Parah ìëî íúøäèå íéøåäè íéî íëéìò éú÷øæå
íëéúàîè, "I will throw purifying
The Yerushalmi calls the waters on you and you will be
reading of parshas Parah, cleansed from all your
ìàøùé ìù ïúøäè, “The purity of impurities [due to sins]." How
the Jewish people.” This is is becoming pure from sins
because parashas Parah isn’t related to parashas Parah?
only a tribute to a mitzvah that Isn’t parashas Parah about
was once performed, in the becoming pure from tumah,
past. Even in the present, and not related to becoming
reading parashas Parah pure from sins? Thus, there
purifies the Jewish nation doesn’t seem to be a
correlation between the
from sins. haftarah and the Torah

The Beis Ahron writes, “One reading!
must believe that just as the
ashes of the parah adumah Rebbe Tzaddok HaCohen zt’l
purifies from tumah…today, answers that this proves that
everyone becomes pure from the purity of the parah
sins when parshas Parah is adumah alludes to becoming
read, each person according to

his level.”

2 Torah Wellsprings - Shemini - Parah

pure from all aveiros. This eternal law." How is parah
aspect of parah adumah is adumah eternal? Aren’t there
applicable even today, for generations when we don’t
when we read parashas have a parah adumah? The
Parah, we become cleansed answer must be parah adumah
is eternal because we can read
from all our sins. 1
about it.
Some poskim say reading
parshas Parah is a mitzvah One No
from the Torah. The Avodas
Yisrael says that it is alluded In the yotzros (on this
to in the words, äøåúä ú÷ç úàæ Shabbos) we say, øåäè ïúé éî
øîàì 'ä äåö øùà, "This is the rule ãçà àì àîèî. 2 Tzaddikim
of the Torah that Hashem explain àîèî øåäè ïúé éî, how
commanded to say" (Bamidbar can someone, who is impure
19:1-2). This means that there with sins, do teshuvah and
is a mitzvah “to say,” to read, become pure?" ãçà àì, by
saying “no” once. This means
parashas Parah. to resolve — once and for all
— and to keep it under all
The Aruch HaShulchan circumstances. Doing so leads
(658:7) says, the Torah
obligation is stated in the to purity from sins.
words (19:21), íìåò ú÷ç, "an
The day will come when he

1. The Sfas Emes (parshas Parah 5641) writes, “This time of year helps
to become pure [from sins] because when the Beis HaMikdash stood,

all of Bnei Yisrael purified themselves at this time, so they could eat the
korban Pesach. Now is the time that is mesugal for purity, and it is easier
for a person to attain a pure heart.”
2. The literal intention of ‫מי יתן טהור מטמא לא אחד‬, is to express the

famous paradox of the parah adumah: All persons involved in
preparing the parah adumah become tamei (impure), and the one who is
tamei becomes tahor (pure). “How can purity come from impurity? Only the
One Hashem can do that!”

Torah Wellsprings - Shemini - Parah 3

will look back and be amazed all. He told his students that he
at the extent of his growth that learned from that that one
came from a few small shouldn’t take on too many
kabalos. It’s better to take on
resolutions he made. a few good resolutions, and to

Reb Meir Chadash zt’l learned keep them always.
in the Chevron yeshiva at the
time of the Chevron Massacre. The Torah (Devarim 22:8)
To save his life, he lay down says, ä÷òî úéùòå ùãç úéá äðáú éë
among the murdered bodies. ìôðä ìôé éë ...êââì, "When you
As he lay there, he promised build a new house, build a
Hashem a long list of kabalos gate on the roof… [so no
he would keep if he survives. one will fall off it]". The
When the murderers left, he Chasam Sofer zt'l explains
forgot almost everything he this pasuk as follows: äðáú éë
promised, aside from a few ùãç úéá, when you make new
things, which he faithfully resolutions and new kabalos
kept for the rest of his life. He to improve your ways, úéùòå
realized that had he ä÷òî, make a gate. Limit how
remembered all of his many much you take on, because
kabalos, he would end up if you take on too much, ìôé
doing none of them. They ìôðä, you will fall, and not
were too many to keep them
do anything.3

3. Someone once asked Reb Zundel Kroyzer zt'l which kabalah he
should take on. Reb Zundel advised him to add on one more minute

of Torah study. For example, if he finishes learning at 9:00, he should now
learn until 9:01. Because even small kabalos are sufficient, as they are
strong catalysts for growth.
The chachmei mussar say that Zeresh advised Haman to jump to very high
levels immediately. As she said (Esther 5:14), “Prepare a gallows, fifty
cubits high.” This led to Haman’s downfall; he was hung on those gallows.
Because the path for growth is gradual, small steps at a time.

4 Torah Wellsprings - Shemini - Parah

A small step of improvement Slowly but Surely
isn't noticeable at first but each
good deed accumulates, until The unique paradox of the
the effect is complete. The parah adumah (discussed at
Beis Avraham zy’a compared length in the yotzros) is that it
it to someone who drank a cup is íéøåäè àîèîå íéàîè øäèî,
of wine. He feels the same, he “Makes tahor those who are
thinks nothing happened. But tamei and makes tamei those
after he takes a second cup he who are tahor.” As the
discovers that the first cup had Rambam (Parah Adumah 5:1)
affected him. The same is writes, "All those who work
regarding change. Each step of with the parah adumah, from
improvement is part of a its beginning until its end,
process, until he becomes a their clothes become tamei. As
the Torah writes regarding the
better person. one who slaughters the parah
adumah or regarding the one
The Chovas HaLevavos who throws the cedar wood
writes, "Don’t consider any into the fire, åøùá õçøå åéãâá ñáëå,
deed small, because what is ‘He must wash his clothes and
small for you, is enormous in immerse his flesh [in a
Hashem's eyes. We can mikvah].’ Similarly, the Torah
compare it to the sun. One states, åéãâá ñáëé äúåà óøåùä, ‘the
sees the sun moving an amah one who burns the parah
(a half-meter) in the sky, but adumah must immerse his
it is actually moving a far clothing [in a mikvah].’ About
greater distance in heaven." the one who gathers the ashes
Therefore, we shouldn’t of the parah adumah, it states
underestimate even small steps ñáëå, that he must immerse his
towards growth — such as clothing. These pesukim teach
taking on relatively minor us that everyone involved in
kabalos — because these making the parah adumah —
small steps are actually from its first stages until its

extremely large strides.

Torah Wellsprings - Shemini - Parah 5

completion — their clothes Reb Shlomo Zalman Auerbach
become tamei and they need zt'l called Aleinu, êøãä úìéôú,
tevillah at sunset, from the because people say it while
Torah [to become tahor].” Yet rushing out of the beis
the parah adumah is also ïúøäè medresh. Rushing can also
ìàøùé ìù, the great purifier of cause one to lose his peace of
Bnei Yisrael. It cleanses from mind, and prevent him from
úî úàîåè, the severest tumah. focusing on matters that are
essential and important in life.
So what is the nature of parah
adumah? Does it generate The bad kind of rushing is
tumah or teharah? This is the hinted at in this week’s
great paradox, about which parashah, where it discusses
Shlomo HaMelech said, éúøîà the íéöøù äðåîù, eight rodents
éðîî ä÷åçø àéäå äîëçà, “I thought (see Shemini 11:29) that cause
I was wise in Torah, but it is tumah when one touches its
distant from me.” We are corpse. The Koznitzer Magid
unable to decipher this secret. zt’l said íéöøù can also be
translated as “that runs.” The
The truth is, there are many Torah is hinting that
other examples of this (sometimes) rushing causes
principle. For example, a tumah. As the Baal Shem Tov
school might be very good for zt'l taught, äøäî íúãáàå one
one child, while it will pull
should abolish the rushing.
another child down.

Another example, alluded to in Rebbe Moshe of Kobrin, with
this week’s parashah, is a group of his chassidim, was
rushing. Rushing at times is visiting the daughter of Rebbe
the right thing to do, and it Boruch of Mezhibuz. Before
purifies. Like rushing to go to departing, Reb Moshe asked
tefillah on time, or rushing to her to repeat something she
do a mitzvah. But rushing is heard from her father. She
said, "My father would often
also sometimes wrong.

6 Torah Wellsprings - Shemini - Parah

say a Yid tur nisht yugen, a person give a lot of tzedakah
Yid should never rush." Rebbe to the poor, or should he be
Moshe of Kobrin and his concerned that he might
chassidim were actually become poor? A similar
rushing just then, as they had scenario is doing a chesed that
to go someplace quickly. will cause you to lose money.
When Rebbe Moshe Kobriner Whose needs come first?
heard this idea in the name of Yours or your fellow man?
Rebbe Boruch'l of Mezhibuz, The answer depends on the
he told his chassidim not to circumstances, because both
rush. They would leave when are important: One should be
cautious that he doesn’t
they were ready. become poor, but one
shouldn’t be overly cautious,
Their not rushing actually
saved their life, because as will be explained:
thieves were waiting in
ambush outside the home. The Gemara discusses
They knew that the Kobriner someone who found two
with his entourage would soon domestic animals. He
be coming with their recognizes one of them as his
belongings. After waiting for a own; the other animal is his
while, the thieves assumed neighbor's. He can only take
they weren’t coming, so they one animal back with him.
Which one should he take?
left. Should he bring back his
friend's animal to do the
Chesed vs. Your Needs mitzvah of äãéáà úáùä, or
should he bring back his own?
Another example of a deed, The Mishnah (Bava Metzia
which can generate tumah or 33.) answers, úîãå÷ åúãéáà, "his
teharah, depending on the own lost item comes first." As
circumstances, is chesed. it states (Devarim 15:4), éë ñôà
Should one help others, or
focus on his own, personal
needs? For example, should a

Torah Wellsprings - Shemini - Parah 7

ïåéáà êá äéäé àì, "Be careful you explains that whenever one is
shouldn’t become poor." afraid of something, he’s
making himself vulnerable to
But then the Gemara adds the that. If he is afraid of poverty,
following words: åîöòá íéé÷îä ìë poverty rules over him, and
êë éãéì àá óåñ êë, "Whoever is therefore he is liable to
always cautious, safeguarding
himself from poverty, he will become poor.

become poor in the end." The Maharal writes, "When a
person is afraid of poverty, he
Rashi explains, "One should is enabling poverty to affect
go beyond the letter of the him. As it states (Iyov 3:25), éë
law. He shouldn’t always give éì àáé éúøâé øùàå éðúàéå éúãçô ãçô ‘I
precedence to save his own was afraid, and it came. What
lost item (unless it would be a I was afraid of, happened to
great financial loss for him). me.’ Because when one is
Because if one will always be afraid of something, he is
cautious not to become poor, subjugating himself to that
he will never do chesed and matter, and then that matter
will never give tzedakah, and
in the end, he will [become can affect him…”
poor and] need to request help
The Maharal elaborates:
from others." “Early scholars say that if a
person lays a wooden plank
So, in principle, one should be from one side of the river to
cautious that he doesn’t the other, and try to walk over
become poor. His own needs it, it is likely he will fall off.
come first. But he can’t However, if the very same
overdo that concern, or he will beam is be on the ground, he
never give tzedakah or do could walk over it easily,
chesed, which will result in his without falling. This is
because when one thinks about
becoming poor one day. falling, it affects him…

The Maharal (Bava Metzia 33)

8 Torah Wellsprings - Shemini - Parah

Certainly, when one is afraid chevrah kadishah’s ledger, and
of becoming poor, the this is what he discovered:
thoughts will affect him and
he will become poor. There were two very wealthy
people in Brisk who would
Understand this." help the poor with an open
hand. But suddenly, their
Rebbe Mendel of Vitebsk zt’l businesses plummeted and
would annually receive a letter they lost most of their wealth.
from his chassidim in a certain The beis din of Brisk
town, and every year their investigated to find out which
letter would state their sin caused a change in the
financial worries and destiny of these two men, but
problems. One year, they they couldn’t find anything.
didn’t mention their financial Their only explanation was
concerns. Rebbe Mendel of that they were giving too
Vitepsk wrote back, "I’m much tzedakah. The beis din
certain that this year they will told them, "Chazal say, 'Even
have parnassah because they if a person wants to be
generous with his money, he
aren't worried about it." mustn’t give away more than
a fifth,' but you give more than
The Beis HaLevi zt'l saw two a fifth! Accept on yourselves
gravestones in the beis not to give more than a fifth
hachaim of Brisk that roused of your profits to tzedakah,
his curiosity. On one and be'ezras Hashem, your
headstone was inscribed äôë
éðòì äùøô, "Her hand was wealth will return."
spread out to the poor", and
the one next to it read äéãéå The two men accepted the beis
ïåéáàì äçìù, "and she sent her din's ruling — though it was
very hard for them. When a
hand to the pauper." pauper came to them, their
hearts would break, and they
The Beis HaLevi realized
there was a story behind these
headstones, so he checked the

Torah Wellsprings - Shemini - Parah 9

wished they could give more. When they were niftar their
graves were inscribed with
They found a solution. They the passuk, äôë, the round end
said, "Beis din only forbade us of the spoon, éðòì äùøô, was
from giving too much money. given to the poor. äéãéå, the
They never said we can't give handle, ïåéáàì äçìù, was given
away our assets." So they
began distributing their assets to the pauper.
and household items to the
poor. Eventually, those were Holy Pride

also almost gone. The parah adumah had æøà õò,
cedar wood, which represents
One day, two poor people pride, and an áåæà grass, and éðù
came to their door asking for úòìåú, wool died with the
tzedakah. All they had left blood of a worm, which
was one gold spoon. What represent humility. This once
should they do? Two paupers again demonstrates a paradox,
were in need, and there was because both pride and
only one gold spoon left? humility are needed to attain
They broke the spoon in half, purity from sins. Sometimes, a
and gave the round side to one person must think about his
of them, and they gave the greatness, and at other times
he must think about his
handle to the other. humility. The combination of
both factors, used at the right
When the people in the city
saw how desperate they were time, brings him purity. 4
to give tzedakah, they prayed
for them, and they became The Rebbe of Ruzhin zy'a
wealthy again. explained the pasuk (Bereishis

4. The Mishnah states (Yoma 85) “Just as a mikvah purifies, HaKadosh
Baruch Hu purifies the Jewish people.” The Yismach Yisrael zt’l

teaches: The purifying feature of a mikvah occurs when one bends down.
Similarly, purity from sins occurs when one lowers his pride.

10 Torah Wellsprings - Shemini - Parah

4:7-14), áéèéú íà àìä, if you Humility is important, but
thinking that he is irrelevant to
will focus on your qualities, Hashem, is also a very serious
úàù, you will become arrogant. problem. As the Beis Yisrael
áéèéú àì íàå, if you will of Gur zt'l said, “Misguided
consider yourself a sinner, çúôì humility [when one doesn’t
õáåø úàèç, that will lead you to recognize his value before
Hashem] is worse than gaavah
depression and sins. The
solution therefore is äéäú ãðå òð [haughtiness].”
õøàá, one should waver back
Chazal say (Gittin 57), “The
and forth between these two descendants of Haman taught

thoughts — sometimes Torah in Bnei Brak.”

thinking proud, how special How did Haman earn this
merit? The Sheim MiShmuel
you are to Hashem, and at

other times, to think about
your humility. 5

We can add that when one immerses in a mikvah, he closes his eyes and
mouth. These factors — humility, and guarding the eyes and mouth— bring
purity from sins.
5. The Noam Elimelech discusses the need to have a mixture of

humility with happiness. He bases his lesson on the pasuk (Bamidbar
1:1), ‫וידבר ה' אל משה במדבר סיני באהל מעוד‬, “Hashem spoke with Moshe in
Midbar Sinai, in the Ohel Moed…” The Noam Elimelech writes: “Hashem
Yisbarach rejected the tall mountains, and chose Har Sinai, the lowest of
them all, to give the Torah…. This tells us to always be humble…This is
the intention of the pasuk when it states ‫מדבר סיני‬. But…humility can lead
to depression, and that is a great impediment to avodas Hashem.
Therefore, the Torah warns that one must always be happy, because the
Shechinah doesn’t reside where there is sadness. This is the meaning of
‘Ohel Moed,’ …Moed is happiness, because Moed means Yom Tov... If
one will ask: But how can I be happy after sinning so much? The Torah
says that nevertheless, he should do teshuvah with happiness. He should
encourage himself and say, “I was just created today, and I will never
again return to this foolishness.”

Torah Wellsprings - Shemini - Parah 11

says that this was Haman’s greatly, we certainly can
reward for a moment of expect a great reward. Every
emunah that he had. When good deed is recalled, and
Haman was leading Mordechai immensely precious to
through the streets of Shushan, Hashem. We should never
Haman said (Tehilim 30:7-8), consider ourselves small and
íìåòì èåîà ìá éåìùá éúøîà éðàå, “I
originally thought my honor insignificant to Hashem.6
was my own, and therefore I
was certain it would endure Tzaddikim would think about
forever. However, I learned to modern technology and derive
realize that éøøäì úãîòä êðåöøá 'ä mussar lessons from them.
æåò, that my greatness and For example, when the
honor came from You. The locomotive was invented,
proof is, ìäáð éúééä êéðô úøúñä, tzaddikim said that this will
the moment You turned Your teach us the importance of
face away from me, I was zerizus. In the past, if
frightened [and I lost my someone and came a minute
honor]” (see Ester Rabba or two late for the horse and
10:5). For that moment of wagon, he could often rush
emunah, when he recognized and catch up. But if one
that everything he has comes comes a second too late to the
from Hashem, he had train station, there is no way
grandchildren who became he can catch up to the train.
Torah teachers in Bnei Brak.
When the telegraph was
If Haman was rewarded so invented, and people were able
to send worded messages
across the globe, tzaddikim

6. We can also learn this from Queen Ester. She was an orphan; it didn’t
appear that she would have much of a future. But she ended up

becoming the great queen of Persia and Medes, and she ruled over 127
provinces, which was then entire civilized world. One never knows what
greatness is in store for him.

12 Torah Wellsprings - Shemini - Parah

said that this will teach us the represented by the cedar wood
value of every word, because of the parah adumah, which
every word on a telegram we need for our purification.

costs money. “Close to Hashem…”

From tapes and recordings, In this week’s parashah
tzaddikim said, we can learn Nadav and Avihu offer an ùà
that everything we say is äøæ, “a foreign fire,” a ketores
recorded and can be recalled. sacrifice that they weren’t
As it states in Pirkei Avos, obligated to bring, 'ä éðôì åúåîéå,
“All your deeds are recorded and they died before Hashem

in the sefer [in heaven].” (Shemini 10: 1-2).

The telephone taught us that Why did they die?
Hashem listens to our tefillos.
Although we don’t see Reb Shamshon of Ostropola
Hashem, we can believe that zt’l explains they died from
Hashem is listens to our deveikus, cleaving to Hashem.
Nadav and Avihu brought the
tefillos. ketores and felt extreme
deveikus with Hashem, until
Following this theme, we can their souls left their bodies, to
add that from cell phones we
learn that even when it appears attach to Hashem.
there isn’t any connection
(because there are no wires It states (Shemos 33:20), àì éë
connecting the speaker and the éçå íãàä éðàøé, "No man ever
listener), we can speak with saw Me and lived." There’s a
Hashem, and He hears us. limit of how much spirituality
Because regardless of the level a human being can endure
that one falls to, even when he while clothed in a human
feels detached, he never loses body. Nadav and Avihu
his connection with Hashem. surpassed that limit, they
reached a place of deveikus
This is the “holy pride,” where no man can be, and

Torah Wellsprings - Shemini - Parah 13

therefore their neshamos The Rebbe of Kuzmir
departed; their neshamos replied, for themselves, the
cleaved to Hashem, and they nation would want to die in
died. This is the meaning of this manner. Their concern
the words, 'ä éðôì åúåîéå, “They was for Hashem’s sake.
Hashem desires us to live
died before Hashem.” and serve Him from this
world. Therefore, they were
The Ohev Yisrael zt'l
(Acharei) writes, “They felt afraid to die.
their souls connect to the
divine sweetness of Above, Falsehood and this World
they knew that they would die
because of this deveikus, A milkman told Rebbe Dovid
nevertheless they didn’t of Lelov zt’l, "Everyone is
stop… They didn’t want to buying from my competitor,
separate from this wonderful and not from me, and I can’t

divine pleasure.” understand why.”

At mattan Torah, the Jewish Rebbe Dovid of Lelov asked
nation feared they would die him, "How much water do you
because of their close add to the milk?"
connection to Hashem. After “Not a drop of milk. I do
hearing the first two honest business. I sell milk,
Commandments they said to
Moshe, “Why should we and only milk.”
die...? If we hear Hashem’s
voice anymore, we’re dead” "That’s the problem. This is a
world of falsehood. It is
(Devarim 5:22). impossible to be successful in
this world when one is 100%
Rebbe Yechezkel of Kuzmir honest. I recommend you add
zt’l asks, why was the nation some water to the milk. When
afraid to die? Isn’t this the there will be a drop of untruth
in your business dealings, you
most wondrous way to die?
have potential to succeed.”

14 Torah Wellsprings - Shemini - Parah

Rebbe Dovid told him to add Because Hashem told Aharon
only a drop of water – not too alone the laws of drinking
much, or it would be gezel and wine” – that a cohen may not
dishonest business. But a small serve in the Beis HaMikdash
percentage of water was nor enter Ohel Moed after
needed, because the only way drinking wine, and that a
to succeed in this untruthful talmid chacham may not
world is with a drop of sheker. pasken shaalos after drinking
Rebbe Moshe Mordechai of wine. Hashem taught these
Lelov zt’l repeated this story halachos to Aharon alone, and
and said that this is the reason Aharon taught it to the Jewish
Nadav and Avihu died when nation. This was his reward
they brought the ketores. They
had an äøæ ùà, a fire of for remaining silent.
hislahavus for Hashem, so true
and so foreign to this world, íãéå doesn’t only mean that
that they couldn’t remain Aharon was silent. It also
living here, and that is the means Aharon didn’t carry
any anger or hard feelings in
reason they died. his heart because of what
happened to his children. Reb
Aharon Remained Silent Meir Yechiel of Ostrovtza zt’l
says, íãéå comes from the
The Torah (Shemini 10:2-3) word íîåã, inanimate objects,
tells, ïøäà íãéå ...'ä éðôì åúîéå, such as a stone. This
“[Nadav and Avinu] died describes Aharon’s control
before Hashem… and Aharon over his emotions at that time.
was silent.” Aharon, the He was silent and accepted
father of Nadav and Avinu,
didn’t complain to Hashem. Hashem’s decree.
He accepted Hashem’s decree
A stone can be thrown down
in silence. from heights and remain
intact. ïøäà íãéå, Aharon
Rashi writes, “Aharon was received a great blow, but he
rewarded for his silence…

Torah Wellsprings - Shemini - Parah 15

remained strong like a rock. preparing the funeral. The man
He refused to let this break was now even more astonished
that Reb Chaim Ozer was able
him. to retain his peace of mind
even during this extreme grief.
The Vilna Jewish Hospital
served the ill residents of When the Chidushei HaRim
Vilna, exclusively. It wasn't zt'l was sitting shivah for one
large enough to service of his children, his wife asked
patients from abroad, but him, "Did you just send a
occasionally exceptions were chicken out of the house?"
made. If someone from a She couldn’t understand how
different city obtained a her husband was so calm, at
letter of recommendation
from Reb Chaim Ozer that time.
Grodzinsky zt'l, he would be
The Chidushei HaRim zt’l
admitted to the hospital. replied, "Hashem gives the
peckel (the dire situation).
Once, someone came to Reb The ùôð úîâò, distress, one
Chaim Ozer’s home,
requesting a letter of takes himself."
permission for a certain ill
person to use the Vilna Jewish Reb Yitzchak, son of the
Hospital’s facilities. The man Imrei Emes zt'l, was niftar on
was very impressed by Reb Shabbos parashas Vayeira.
Chaim Ozer's calm demeanor On that Shabbos the Imrei
and compassion as he wrote Emes didn’t show any signs
up the letter. Leaving Reb of mourning. But as soon as
Chaim Ozer's house, he saw Shabbos was over, he broke
many people of the household down and mourned intensely.
in mourning. He discovered He couldn’t get back to
that Reb Chaim Ozer's only himself. Tzaddikim from all
daughter was niftar that day, over Poland came to be
and they were in the midst of menachem avel, but he

wasn’t consoled.

16 Torah Wellsprings - Shemini - Parah

A simple Yid from Hungary Chaim's son, Reb Meir
came to the Imrei Emes and Nosson, the Divrei Chaim zt’l
said, "In Avos d'Reb Nosson said, "When someone is
(31) it states ,äøéúñ íéøòð ïéðá slapped, he will be angry with
ïéðá íéð÷æ úøéúñ, 'the that person. But if he sees that
construction of youth is the person who hit him was
destruction; the destruction of his close friend, he won’t be
elders build.' The building of angry. He will understand that
the youth can be equivalent the slap was for his benefit.
to destruction, because they Hashem is our close friend (as
are immature to the ways of we say ïîçøä áà ùôð ãéãé).
the world, and they could be Therefore, even when we’re
building something harmful. slapped, we know that it’s for
The elderly are wise, as they
have years of life experience our own good."
to draw upon. Even when the
elderly destroy, it is surely The Chofetz Chaim zt'l was
beneficial and can be deemed once in Warsaw, selling his
building. Therefore we can sefarim. Before Shabbos, he
be certain that when Hashem asked his host to send the
destroys, it’s always Shabbos meals to his room,
constructive..." He was because he wanted to eat
implying that if Hashem took alone. Shabbos morning, when
away this child, it is the meal was brought to him,
certainly destruction for the he said, "I had a dream last
night — I saw a sefer Torah
sake of building. falling — and I was planning
to tell you that I want to fast
The Imrei Emes replied, "All a taanis chalom today.
the Polish scholars couldn’t However, since you've already
console me, but this simple brought me the Shabbos meal,
Hungarian Yid was able to." I will accept it."
On motzei Shabbos he heard
At the shivah of the Divrei that his son, Reb Avraham,

Torah Wellsprings - Shemini - Parah 17

was niftar. He returned to the Mishkan, and it was up to
Radin for the shivah. Aharon to sacrifice the
Throughout the shivah, he said korbanos to bring the
repeatedly, 'ä íù éäé ç÷ì 'äå ïúð 'ä Shechinah to dwell in the
êøåáî, "Hashem gave, Hashem Mishkan. But when Aharon
took. May Hashem's name be approached the mizbeiach he
saw the form of an ìâò
blessed" (Iyov 1:21). (representing the Golden Calf)
on the mizbeiach, and the
People were talking how the úåðø÷, corners of the mizbeaich,
Chofetz Chaim accepted his appeared like the calf’s horns.
yesurim with love. The These were hinting to Aharon
Chofetz Chaim replied, "It is that he was still held
written in Toldos Adam (16), accountable for the Golden
that during the Inquisition, two Calf he helped to create.
children were slaughtered (Aharon intended leshem
before their mother’s eyes. shamayim, to save the Jewish
She raised her eyes to heaven nation from even greater sins,
and said, 'Hashem, until now, as the commentaries explain.
I divided my love between my Nevertheless, the calf seen on
children and You. Now my the mizbeiach implied to
love is solely for you." The Aharon that he wasn’t
Chofetz Chaim concluded, forgiven.) Aharon was
"Until now I had a son whom frightened and ashamed. He
I loved. Now my love will be didn’t want to bring the
korbanos, because he assumed
solely to you, Hashem." he wasn’t worthy and he
wouldn’t succeed to bring the
An Eighth of an Eighth Shechinah down to the Jewish
nation. Moshe told Aharon to
The parashah begins, íåéá éäéå be bold, and äùòå çáæîä ìà áø÷
éðéîùä, “It was on the eighth êúìåò úàå êúàèç úà, "Come to
day…” Rashi explains, “It
was the day the Mishkan was
erected.” It was time to erect

18 Torah Wellsprings - Shemini - Parah

the mizbeiach and offer your mercy, and the Shechinah
sacrifices…" (Vayikra 9:7). came down for Yisrael."
Moshe was telling him,
"Don’t pay attention to the This episode taught Aharon,
calf. Don’t feel discouraged. and it teaches us, that one
Just bring the korbanos you should never despair and lose
hope. Even when there are
are obligated to.” hints showing you that your
service isn't well-received, you
Aharon øùà úàèçä ìâò úà èçùéå should nevertheless forge
åì, “slaughtered the ahead and do whatever you
sacrifice…” but the
Shechinah still didn’t come can.

down to the Mishkan. The Gemara (Sotah 5),
teaches that every Torah
Rashi (9:24) writes, "Aharon scholar needs a úéðéîùáù éðéîù,
saw that although he brought an eighth of an eighth of
all the korbanos and did gaavah. A drop of pride is
everything he was supposed needed, or one will succumb
to, the Shechinah still didn't to despair, thinking he isn’t
come down for the Jewish
people and he was very worthy to serve Hashem.
remorseful. He said, ‘I know
Hakadosh Baruch Hu is angry Reb Chanoch Krohn zt’l (a
with me, and it’s my fault the student of the Avnei Nezer
Shechinah didn’t descend to zt’l) explains that úéðéîùáù éðéîù
Yisrael.' He told Moshe, hints to éðéîù, the eighth pasuk,
'Moshe my brother; is that úéðéîùáù, of parashas éðéîù. The
what you do to me? [You told eighth pasuk of parashas éðéîù
me to bring the korbanos] and is çáæîä ìà ïøäà áø÷éå, "Aharon
now I’m ashamed.' Moshe approached the mizbeiach…”
immediately went into the He filled his heart with an 8th
Mishkan, and prayed together of an 8th of pride, and
with Aharon for Hashem’s triumphed over his shame and
offered the korbanos.

Torah Wellsprings - Shemini - Parah 19

Similarly, every Yid needs this explains: øéæçä úàå, people
8th of an 8th of pride to serve regress, and fall from their
Hashem. Regardless of his levels. Why? äñøô ñéøôî éë, so
past, he should forge ahead, they can take even larger
and then he will accomplish strides forward. However, the
Torah warns, øâé àì äøâ, don’t
great deeds. remain living there, in this
fallen state. Make sure to rise
There is a concept called äãéøé
äéìò êøåöì, “descending for the up again.
sake of ascending.” When one
falls from his level, and he Therefore, when one falls from
picks himself up again, he will his level, there is no reason for
grow even greater than before. despair. If he picks himself up,
An example of this principle is
when one wants to jump high, he will reach higher levels.
he first goes back a few steps,
so he can have a running start A Segulah for Good Children
before he jumps. Taking a few
steps back sets the momentum The Chasam Sofer zt'l tells a
that will help him jump true story about a child
higher. Another example is prodigy who was extremely
when one wants to throw successful in Torah. His father
something very high, he will loved and cherished this child,
lower his arm first. Similarly, and had high hopes for him to
people’s lows enable them to become among the gedolei
hador. But the child was
rise higher than before. niftar young, and the father

was inconsolable.

The Arvei Nachal said that this One night the father saw his
lesson is alluded to in this son in his dream, appearing
like a mumar, a sinful
week’s parashah. person. The father was crying
(in his dream) and pulling at
The Torah says, éë øéæçä úàå his hairs from distress. When
øâé àì äøâ àåäå ...àåä äñøô ñéøôî he awoke he saw that it was
(11:7). The Arvei Nachal

20 Torah Wellsprings - Shemini - Parah

only a nightmare, but then he because of the Torah they
was consoled for his loss. He have." This causes that their
realized that if his son had offspring aren't talmidei
lived, he would become a chachamim. In contrast, we
sinner. The father said, understand that honoring
"Baruch Hashem my son died others will result with children
righteous, and I am mourning talmidei chachamim. The
a righteous son. That is Chasam Sofer concludes with
better had he lived and a promise, "Practice seeing the
qualities in others, and it is
become wicked." certain that your children will
not go off the derech, and
The Chasam Sofer writes, "I they will not die in their
saw this story and it’s true."
younger years."
What is the segulah for having
good children? The Chasam So, the formula for raising
Sofer says that parents should good children is to respect
always speak good about others, and to speak good
others. This attitude will about them. Even if you are a
influence the child, and the great scholar, and the people
child will grow in the ways of you are referring to are
ignorant in Torah, find their
the Torah. qualities and honor them, as it
is a segulah for good children.
One of the Chasam Sofer's
proofs is from the Gemara The Gemara (Shabbos 105:)
(Nedarim 81), which states, says, "Why do children die
"Why are the children of young? It is because the
talmidei chachamim rarely parents didn’t cry when an
talmidei chachamim?... It is adam kasher (a good,
because they call people ehrlicher Jew) died." What is
donkeys." The meforshim the connection? The Chasam
explain, "They don’t honor
others. They disgrace them, Sofer zt'l explains:

Torah Wellsprings - Shemini - Parah 21

The parents didn’t cry when The children will grow up
the adam kasher (good Jew) much better when raised in a
died because they didn’t positive, finding the good in
respect him. If they don’t
respect others, it is likely their others, atmosphere.
children won’t follow the path
of the Torah and they will end Kashrus
up sinning. As implied by the
above story, parents prefer that This parashah discusses the
their children leave this world laws of kashrus, therefore we
while innocent, clean from sin, take this opportunity to discuss
rather than to live with sins.
this important subject.
Therefore, if parents don’t cry
for an adam kasher, the The Or HaChaim (11:43)
punishment is that their writes, "Klal Yisrael should be
children die young. The careful and not eat non-kosher
explanation is, their lack of foods, not even by accident,
tears shows they don’t respect because by accident and on
others, thus, they won’t have purpose are the same in this
good children and will prefer matter, for even by accident,
for their children to die young,
rachmana litzlan, than they one becomes impure…"

should live like a sinner. Avoiding non-kosher foods
isn't entirely in our hands.
We discuss this topic to However, if a person is careful
encourage people to honor to the best of his ability, it is
every Yid. There are parents a segulah to be protected from
who find faults in everyone — Above, and he will always eat
even in frum Yidden — and kosher. Hashem will help him
they speak badly in front of succeed. The Or HaChaim
their children, and this is says that this is indicated in
detrimental for their growth. the words (11:44), íúùã÷úäå, be
holy and cautious from
non-kosher food, íéùåã÷ íúééäå
and then Hashem will protect

you from sin.

22 Torah Wellsprings - Shemini - Parah

The following are the Or Sometimes a person thinks,
HaChaim words: íéøãâ åùòú "There's a hechsher on the
íëçéèáî éðà äæáå åàîèú ìáì íéâééñå package, so it’s probably
íéùåã÷ éåäúù, "Place safeguards good. I know that it isn't the
and precautions that you best hechsher, but what could
shouldn’t become impure be wrong with it?" We answer,
[with non-kosher food] and I even if you are correct, and
guarantee you that you will the food is kosher, your being
be holy, [protected from conscientious with kashrus
will grant you siyata dishmaya
eating non-kosher]." 7 and you will always be
protected from eating
Reb Chaim Vital zt'l writes, non-kosher foods. Your being
"One might transgress many extra cautious will grant you
sins when it comes to food.
There is áìç (forbidden fats), help from Above.
íã (blood), and insects.
There’s also the issue ofìáè The Be'er Mayim Chayim
and íéàìë and several other (Chayei Sarah íäøáà øîàéå)
prohibitions. But if a person is writes, "In our generation…if
always careful to the best of someone claims he’s a
his ability, and he always shochet, people believe him.
checks his food before he eats, They don't inquire to find out
Hashem will help him that the whether he is reliable… If
food will be kosher and he someone brings them wine,
will not sin, even milk, fish, foods that need to
be checked for worms, or any

7. The Or HaChaim concludes, “The pasuk is also hinting that if you will
be cautious with this mitzvah I guarantee that the goyim will not rule

over Bnei Yisrael. [This is the explanation of the pasuk, ‫והתקדשתם‬, if you
will be cautious and holy by not eating non-kosher foods, ‫ולא תטמאו את‬
‫נפשותיכם בכל השרץ הרמש על הארץ‬, the nations of the world will not rule over
you] because they are called ‫שרצים ושקצים הרומשים על הארץ‬, insects and
rodents that crawl over the earth."

Torah Wellsprings - Shemini - Parah 23

other food that may have a community to arrange a
meeting with the mayor. The
kashrus issue…people say, Chasam Sofer added that the
matter was urgent, and
'He's a religious Yid; why
couldn’t be delayed.
should we suspect that it isn't
When the delegates spoke with
kosher? … But if someone the mayor's secretary, the
secretary said that the mayor’s
asks for a loan… they will schedule was full, and he
couldn’t meet anyone that day.
speak differently. They won’t The delegates insisted that the
matter was urgent, and with
trust anyone with their money much effort, they succeeded to
secure an appointment with
before they verify that the
the mayor that same day.
person is
At the meeting, the mayor
trustworthy…because they fear served them milk. It was áìç
í"åëò, non-kosher milk, so
that perhaps he won't pay back
they declined.
the loan… This is because
The mayor considered this an
money is the most important insult. As he was berating
them when the secretary came
thing in the world for them… in frenzy, and asked the mayor

Mitzvos are less important to whether he drank the milk.

them, therefore they think that "No. I was about to, but these
two scoundrels disturbed me.
if it isn't perfectly kosher it's Why do you ask?"
The secretary said, "Several
also o.k. ... But the Torah people drank this milk and
became very ill. The doctor
testifies about Avraham

Avinu, éáåäà íäøáà, that he

loved Hashem's mitzvos.

Everything else paled in

comparison. Therefore,

Avraham allowed Eliezer to be

in charge of all his assets and

wealth, but when it came to

mitzvos [such as to seek a

shidduch for Yitzchak] he

didn’t trust Eliezer..."

The Chasam Sofer zt'l told two
prominent members of his

24 Torah Wellsprings - Shemini - Parah

determined the milk is bugs. As it states (Vayikra
contaminated…" 11:43), ìëá íëéúùôð úà åö÷ùú ìà
íá íúîèðå íäá åàîèú àìå õøùä õøùä,
The mayor immediately "Don’t contaminate your soul
changed his tone, and spoke with crawling insects…" Part
with the delegates respectfully. of being cautious with kashrus,
He told them that he always is that one must also be careful
admires the rabbis and their
outstanding wisdom. The with bugs and worms.
mayor added, "I was planning
to expel the entire Jewish The Be’eir Heitav (84:10)
community from Pressburg, writes, "[Insect infestation]
but now that I've been differs from country to
reminded of their wisdom, I country, and from year to year.
changed my mind…" There are years when there are
The two delegates told the many worms, and there are
Chasam Sofer what happened. years when there is less. A ìòá
The Chasam Sofer replied that ùôð, righteous person, should
there was a kitrug in heaven
on the Jewish community be careful…"
because they weren't being
sufficiently careful with The Or HaChaim elaborates,
kashrus. In the merit of the "A person must be extremely
delegate’s mesirus nefesh to careful that he does not eat
keep the laws of kashrus, the anything that might be infested
decree was abolished. (Heard with worms. Especially in
from Reb Elchanan Halperin recent generations, because the
zt'l of Radumishla, who heard stratosphere and the earth have
it from his mechutan, Reb become polluted, and
everything that grows have
Shmuel Unsdorfer zt'l.) worms and bugs. Therefore, the
cautious ones should be aware."
This week discusses being
careful not to eat worms and My grandfather, Rebbe Moshe
Mordechai of Lelov zt'l,
praised the chassidic custom to

Torah Wellsprings - Shemini - Parah 25

eat shalosh shudes in the dark. Emunah

The heartfelt zemiros sung in Every year, on Shabbos Parshas
Parah, Rebbe Henech HaCohen
a dark atmosphere is always of Alaxender zy'a would tell the
following story, which the
extremely uplifting. Chozeh of Lublin zy'a related:

Nevertheless, Rebbe Moshe In the era of the Rishonim, the
Christian priests would often
Mordechai didn’t adapt this hold public debates with the

custom, because he said he is Jewish community.

afraid that in the darkness he There was one priest who kept
losing each debate, and he was
won’t be able to properly becoming frustrated. With
permission from the
check his food for worms. government, he announced that
on a certain day there would be
Reb Yonoson Eibshitz (Kriesi a debate, and the winner of the
u'Pleisi 84:19) writes, "To eat debate has permission to throw
a salad that wasn’t checked for the loser into a river to drown.
worms is a äøåú ÷ôñ (possibly a
transgression of a prohibition The date of the debate was
from the Torah)… Bitul quickly approaching, and no
doesn’t apply, because one can one dared to volunteer to
check two or three times until represent the Jewish
they find and remove the community, until a simple
worms. Therefore, it is a ÷ôñ tailor came forward and said
äøåú, and chas veshalom, one he was willing to take on the
should not be lenient. When contest. This tailor was
men and women check leafy unlearned, which made his
vegetables in a hurry, because chances of winning the
they are in a rush to return to scholarly priest very slim, but
their chores, I don’t rely on since no one else wanted to
them. It is my custom, from
my youth (éúòã ìò éãîò íåéî) that
I won’t rely on their checking.
This is how all Torah Jews
should do, because it is likely
that there is a transgression."

26 Torah Wellsprings - Shemini - Parah

take on the challenge the veis nisht — I don’t know.’ So
community had no choice I figured that if the holy
other than to accept his offer, translator doesn’t know the
meaning of those words, how
and to pray for his success. would the priest know?”
The Chozeh told this story to
When the priest saw the show that a simple, unlearned
ignorant tailor standing before tailor can win a debate against
him, he thought the Yidden a ‘learned’ priest, because
were mocking him. The priest emunah doesn’t need wisdom.
was certain he could easily Simplicity is the key factor of
win this debate, so he said to
the tailor, “You can ask the emunah.

first question.” This is the lesson of the parah
adumah. The parah adumah
The tailor fearlessly said, teaches us to believe in
“What does òãåé éðéà mean?” Hashem even when we don’t
understand why or how. Rashi
The priest said, “I don’t writes (19:2), “The Satan and
know.” the nations of the world ask
the Yidden, ‘What is this
The priest was promptly lifted mitzvah (of parah adumah)?
What reasons does it have?
and drowned into the nearby Therefore the Torah writes
ä÷åç, it is a law. It is My
river. The Yidden rejoiced. decree, and you don’t have
permission to think about it.”
Their tefillos were There are times we don’t
understand why things happen
miraculously answered. They to us, but we believe that this is
destined from Hashem, and it is
asked the simple hero how he surely for a good purpose, and

thought of this clever question. that is the primary emunah.

The unlearned tailor replied, “I

have a Chumash with Rashi

translated into Yiddish. I saw

that this holy translator doesn’t
know the translation of òãåé éðéà,

because when Rashi writes éðéà

òãåé, the translator writes, “ich

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