Sunday, 2nd of Iyar 5783/April 23, 2023
Parshas Acharei Mos Kedoshim
- Death of Aaron’s sons:
- The Torah recounts the death of Aaron’s sons and the commands Hashem told Moshe as a result.
- The Avoda of Yom Kippur:
- Aaron may only enter the Kodesh when the cloud is on the Kapores.
- The offerings: Aaron is to bring a bull as a Chatas offering and a ram as an Oleh offering when he enters the Kodesh. He is to wear four linen garments during the service and is to immerse in a Mikveh prior to doing so. The nation is to bring to Aaron two goat offerings as a Chatas and a single ram as an Oleh.
- Aaron is to offer his bull as a Chatas and atone for himself and family.
- The service done with the two Chatas goats: The two goats are to be placed before the Ohel Moed. A raffle is to be made and one of the goats is to go to Hashem and the second is to go to Azazel. The goat which came out to Hashem is to be offered as a Chatas. The Azazel goat is to be sent to the desert.
- The bull of Aaron is to be offered.
- The Ketores: Coals and Ketores are to be brought to the Paroches. The Ketores is to be placed on the coals before Hashem.
- Sprinkling the blood in the Kodesh: The blood of the bull is to be sprinkled with his finger seven times onto the Paroches. The goat which came out to Hashem is to be offered as a Chatas and its blood sprinkled seven times by the Paroches. This procedure is followed in order to purify Bnei Yisrael and atone for their sins. No person is to be in the Ohel Moed when the Kohen enters into the Kodesh.
- Sprinkling the blood on the altar: The blood of the goat and bull is to be placed on the corners of the Mizbeiach. The blood is to be sprinkled seven times on the Mizbeiach.
- The live goat: The live goat is to be brought to Aaron. He is to lean on it and confess. The goat is then sent with an escort to the desert. The goat carries all the sins of the Jewish people.
- The Olah: Aaron is to change his clothing and offer his Olah offering, and the Olah offering of the nation.
Tanya beginning of Chapter 44
1. Finding your personal love-The myriads of levels in the two types of love:
- Both two qualities of love described in the previous chapter, which are Ahavah Raba and Ahavas Olam, subdivide into limitless grades and levels.
- One’s level of Love is personally tailored for him: The specific grade and level attained by the individual is dependent on his personal spiritual capacity as granted to his soul by G-d. This follows the statement of the Zohar, who interprets the verse “Noda Bashearim Baalah/The husband knows in the gates,” that this verse is describing Hashem [i.e. the husband of every Jewish soul] and how He attaches Himself in accordance to the gates of his heart.
- Torah and mitzvot are equal for all while love fluctuates by person: It is for this reason that the Torah describes the feelings of love and fear as “Nistaros LaHashem Elokeinu,” as in truth every Jewish soul has ability to experience a unique form and level which is only beknown to G-d. However, the Torah and Mitzvos are considered “revealed to us and our children” as they equally apply to all Jews, as all Jews must follow the same Torah laws and perform the same actions of the Mitzvos. This is in contrast to fear and love which its level and quality experienced by the person is dependent on his heart and mind.
The Divine lesson:
Every Jew contains a certain potential emotional relationship with Hashem in the closet of his heart which is metaphorically closed like a gate. If you don’t take your key and open the gate of your heart, that love and feeling may remain dormant forever. Every Jew is tasked with the job of finding the key [i.e. the contemplation and meditation] that opens the gates of his heart and allows his personal relationship and feelings for Hashem to pour out, each on his level. There exist a variety of ideas that one can contemplate on to invoke a G-dly feeling within oneself, although not all gates have the same key and thus each person will react differently with each contemplation. Find the idea/contemplation that fits your feelings and emotions and helps burn your heart with a passion for G-d.
2. A love that incorporates all levels and is plausible for all people-The love for life:
- There exists one love that is incorporated of all the aspects and levels of Ahava Raba and Ahavas Olam, and is plausible for every Jew, being an inheritance from our forefathers. This love is referred to in the Zohar as the love of life.
- God is our life and we therefore love Him as we live our life: The Zohar brings the verse “Nafshi Avisicha Balayla etc/My soul, I desire you at night” and interprets it as follows: One should love Hashem the love of the soul and spirit, just as they are attached to the body and the body loves them. This then is the meaning of the words “My soul I desire you,” it means to say, “Since you Hashem are my soul and true life; therefore, I desire you.” Meaning, I desire and yearn for you like a man who yearns to live.
- It is mostly conscious when you are weak or sleeping: This yearning for life becomes conscious in a person mostly when he is weak, and feels sick, in which case he desires and yearns that his soul return to him. Similarly, when one goes to sleep, he desires and waits that his soul return to him upon awakening.
- A yearning to attach to God through learning His Torah: To this same measure one has a natural yearning and desire for Hashem and His infinite light who is the true source of life, to draw it down into his innards through learning Torah after awakening at night, as the Torah and Hashem are One. This too is expressed in the Zohar, as it states that man needs out of love for G-d to awaken each night and try to learn Torah until morning.
The Divine lesson:
Contemplate the idea that at every given moment you and all your surroundings that you benefit from, and enjoy, all are enlivened by the G-dly light found within them at all times. Meditate on this point until it becomes a vivid reality for your mind, and then focus on the fact that you have the ability to cleave to this source, to cleave to G-d Himself. This should arouse a feeling of yearning and passion for G-d. Then contemplate that in truth you can only incorporate the infinite G-dly light that you so passionately desire through the study of Torah. When you then go ahead and learn Torah it will be imbued with this burning fire and recognition that through doing so you are in truth fulfilling your passion and attaching to G-d.
 Zohar 1 103b [Lech Lecha]
 Mishlei 31:23
 Devarim 29:28
 Zohar 3 68a
 Yeshayahu 26:9
Hakdama-Rambam’s introduction to Mishnah Torah
The chronological order of the teaching of Torah from Moshe on Sinai until today
1. From Sinai until Yehoshua-The giving over of the written and oral Torah:
- The oral Torah was also given on Sinai: All the mitzvahs that were given to Moshe on Sinai were given together with their explanations, which is known as the oral Torah.
- The writing of the written Torah: Moshe wrote the entire written Torah prior to his death in his own handwriting.
- Distributing the written Torah to the tribes: Moshe gave a Torah scroll to each one of the tribes and is well placed one of the scrolls inside of the ark as testimony.
- Not writing the oral Torah: The oral Torah was never written by Moshe and rather he orally instructed it to the elders, and to Yehoshua, and to the rest of the Jewish people. It is for this reason that it is called the oral Torah.
- Who did Moshe teach the oral Torah to? The oral Torah was taught by Moshe in his court to the 70 elders in its entirety. Particularly, it was taught to the following three people: Elazar, Pinchas, and Yehoshua.
- Teaching it to Yehoshua to teach the masses: [Amongst the above three students] it was particularly taught to Yehoshua who was the prime pupil of Moshe. Moshe handed to him the oral Torah and instructed him regarding it to be in charge of teaching it to the masses.
- Yehoshua teaches the oral oral tradition to his generation: Yehoshua spent his entire life teaching oral Torah to the masses, and many elderly sages received the oral Torah from Yehoshua.
2. The order of sages who received the oral tradition from Yehoshua until Rabbeinu Hakadosh:
- Eli received the oral tradition from the elders and from Pinchas.
- Shmuel received the oral tradition from Eli and his court.
- David received the oral tradition from Shmuel and his court.
- Achiyah Hashiloni: Achiyah Hashiloni received the oral tradition from David and his court. He was around during the time of the exodus from Egypt and was a Levite. Although he also heard the teachings from Moshe, he was of young age at the time.
- Eliyahu received the oral tradition from Achiyah Hashiloni and his court.
- Elisha received the oral tradition from Eliyahu and his court.
- Yehoyada, the priest, received the oral tradition from Elisha and his court.
- Zechariah received the oral tradition from Yehoyada and his court.
- Hoshea received the oral tradition from Zechariah and his court.
- Amos received the oral tradition from Hoshea and his court.
- Yeshayahu received the oral tradition from Amos and his court.
- Michah received the oral tradition from Yeshayahu and his court.
- Yoel received the oral tradition from Michah and his court.
- Nachum received the oral tradition from Yoel and his court.
- Chabbakuk received the oral tradition from Nachum and his court.
- Tzefaniah received the oral tradition from Chabbakuk and his court.
- Yermiyahu received the oral tradition from Tzefaniah and his court.
- Baruch ben Neriyah received the oral tradition from Yermiyahu and his court.
- Ezra and the Anshei K’nesset Hagedolah: Ezra and his court received the oral tradition from Baruch and his court, which is known as the Anshei K’nesset Hagedolah and included Chaggai, Zechariah, Malachi, Daniel, Chananiah, Mishael, Azariah, Nechemiah ben Chakaliah, Mordechai, Zerubavel and many other sages for a total of 120 in all.
- Shimon Hatzadik: The last member of the Anshei K’nesset Hagedolah who counted as one of the 120 men, was Shimon Hatzadik. He received the Oral tradition from all of the sages of the assembly and he served as the High Priest after Ezra.
- Antignos Ish Socho and his court received the oral tradition from Shimon Hatzadik and his court.
- Yosse ben Yo’ezer of Tzreidah and Yosef ben Yochanan of Jerusalem and their court received the oral tradition from Antignos and his court.
- Yehoshua ben Perachiah and Nittai of Arbel and their court received the oral tradition from Yosse ben Yo’ezer and Yosef ben Yochanan and their court.
- Yehudah ben Tabbai and Shimon ben Shatach and their court received the oral tradition from Yehoshua ben Perachiah and Nittai of Arbel and their court.
- Shemayah and Avtalion and their court received the oral tradition from Yehudah and Shimon and their court. They were both Geirim.
- Hillel and Shammai and their court received the oral tradition from Shemayah and Avtaliyon and their court.
- Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai and Rabbi Shimon, the son of Hillel the elder, received the oral tradition from Hillel and his court.
- The students of Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai: Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai had five students who were great sages and received the oral tradition from him. They were: Rabbi Eleazar the great, Rabbi Yehoshua, Rabbi Yossi the priest, Rabbi Shimon ben Netanel and Rabbi Elazar ben Arach.
- Rabbi Akiva ben Yosef received from Rabbi Eleazar the great. Yosef, his father, was a Ger. Rabbi Akiva’s colleagues also received the oral tradition from Rabbi Eleazar the great.
- Rabbi Yishmael and Rabbi Meir who was the son of a Ger, received the oral tradition from Rabbi Akiva. Rabbi Meir and his colleagues also received the oral tradition from Rabbi Yishmael.
- The colleagues of Rabbi Meir included: Rabbi Yehudah, Rabbi Yossi, Rabbi Shimon, Rabbi Nechemiah, Rabbi Elazar ben Shamu’a, Rabbi Yochanan the shoemaker, Shimon ben Azzai, and Rabbi Chananiah ben Teradion.
- The colleagues of Rabbi Akiva included: Rabbi Tarfon – the teacher of Rabbi Yossi Hagelili, Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar, and Rabbi Yochanan ben Nuri.
- Rabban Gamliel Hazakein received the oral tradition from Rabban Shimon, his father – the son of Hillel Hazakein.
- Rabban Shimon, his son, received the oral tradition from him.
- Rabban Gamliel, his son, received the oral tradition from him.
- Rabban Shimon, his son, received the oral tradition from him.
- Rabbi Yehudah, the son of Rabban Shimon received the oral tradition from his father and from Rabbi Elazar ben Shamu’a, and from Rabban Shimon and his colleagues. He is referred to as Rabbenu Hakadosh.
3. The writing of the Mishna, and the history of Jewish literature:
- It’s author: Rabbenu Hakadosh wrote the Mishnah.
- The history of Jewish literature until the writing of the Mishna: From the time of Moshe until Rabbenu Hakadosh there was no published documentation of the oral tradition made available for the sake of teaching the public.
- Every leader of that generation would compile a personal documentation of the oral tradition: Nonetheless, despite there being no published literature on the oral tradition, the head of the court or prophet of each generation would take personal notes of the teachings which he received from his masters. He would then in turn verbally teach them to the public.
- Every student would also compose notes of the teachings: Likewise, each student would write notes for himself of the teachings that he heard. This included the details and explanations of the oral tradition and Torah laws, as well as the novelties in Torah law that were deduced in each generation.
- The 13 principles of deduction: Certain principles of Torah law which were not included in the oral tradition, were deduced by each generation using the 13 principles of deduction. These deduced teachings would become law after they were accepted by the Supreme Court. These teachings and principles were documented by the students of each generation.
- This order of personal notetaking, versus published literature remained until the times of Rabbeinu Hakadosh.
4. The compilation of the Mishna:
- What it includes: The Mishna which was compiled by Rabbeinu Hakadosh includes the entire oral tradition. He gathered in it all the teachings and laws and explanations and commentaries that were heard from Moshe and taught by the courts in each generation, regarding the entire Torah.
- Teaching it to the masses: Rabbeinu Hakadosh taught the Mishna publicly to the Sages and hence had a disseminated to the entire Jewish people, who in turn wrote it all down. It was disseminated to all areas in order so the Oral tradition would not be forgotten by the Jewish people. He spent his entire life together with his court teaching the Mishna to the masses.
- The reason for its compilation: The reason that Rabbeinu Hakadosh changed from the status quo, and decided to publish and disseminate the Mishna is because he saw that otherwise the oral tradition was at risk of being extinct. As the generations passed, there were less and less students, and due to the exile of the Jewish people caused by the Roman Empire, Jews became scattered throughout the far ends of the world. This threatened to cease the continuity of the oral tradition which was aurally handed from generation to generation. He therefore compiled a publication that would be available to everyone, so that everyone can learn it and not forget the tradition.
5. The students of Rabbeinu Hakadosh and their compilations:
- The following 11 Sages were part of the court of Rabbenu Hakadosh and received the oral tradition from him: His sons, Shimon and Gamliel, Rabbi Effess, Rabbi Chanina ben Chama, Rabbi Chiyya, Rav, Rabbi Yannai, bar Kafra, Shemuel, Rabbi Yochanan who was the youngest of the students, Rabbi Hoshaia. Thousands and myriads of other sages received the oral tradition from Rabbenu Hakadosh together with these great sages.
- Rabbi Yochanan and Rav later became a student of Rabbi Yannai and received Torah from him.
- Sifra and Sifir compilation: Rav composed the Sifra and the Sifri to explain the foundations and sources of the Mishnah.
- Shmuel received the oral tradition from Rabbi Chanina ben Chama.
- Tosefta: Rabbi Chiyya composed the Tosefta to further expound on the subjects discussed in the Mishnah.
- Beraisos: Rabbi Hoshaia and bar Kafra composed the Beraisos to further expound on the words of the Mishnah.
- The Jerusalem Talmud: Rabbi Yochanan compiled the Jerusalem Talmud in Eretz Yisrael. It was compiled approximately three hundred years after the destruction of the second Temple.
6. The order of the sages from Rav and Shmuel until the writing of the Talmud:
- Students of Rav and Shmuel: Of the great sages who received the oral tradition from Rav and Shmuel were: Rav Hun: Rav Huna, Rav Yehudah, Rav Nachman, and Rav Kahana.
- Students of Rabbi Yochanan: Some of the great sages who received the oral tradition from Rabbi Yochanan were: Ravah bar bar Channah, Rav Ami, Rav Assi, Rav Dimi, and Rav Avin.
- Students of Rav Huna: Of the Sages who received the oral tradition from Rav Huna and Rav Yehudah were: Rabbah and Rav Yosef.
- Students of Rabah: Of the sages who received the oral tradition from Rabbah and Rav Yosef were: Abbaye and Rava. Both also received the oral tradition from Rav Nachman.
- Students of Rava: Among the Sages who received the oral tradition from Rava were Rav Ashi and Ravina.
- Mar bar Rav Ashi received the oral tradition from Rav Ashi, his father, and from Ravina.
7. The order of the sages from Rav Ashi until Moshe:
- There was a total of forty generations from Rav Ashi until Moshe. The following is the list of individuals each one having received from the Rabbi preceding him, unless stated otherwise:
- Rav Ashi
- Rav Huna
- Rabbi Yochanan, Rav, and Shmuel
- Rabbenu Hakadosh
- Rabbi Shimon
- Rabban Gamliel
- Rabban Shimon
- Rabban Gamliel
- Rabban Shimon
- Hillel and Shammai
- Shemayah and Avtalion
- Yehudah and Shimon Ben Shetach
- Yehoshua and Nittai Harbeili
- Yosse ben Yo’ezer and Yosef ben Yochanan
- Shimon Hatzadik
- Achiyah Hashiloni
- Moshe who received the Torah from Hashem.
- Thus, the source of all the knowledge that these individuals contained goes all the way back to the G-d of Israel.
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