B"H
Parshas Vayikra:
 By: Yaacov Silverstein
e@mail: hm16@popeye.cc.biu.ac.il
HomePage: http://faculty.biu.ac.il/~hm16/
 
 

This Dvar Torah was prepared in the merit and memory of my grandfather: Rav Yitzchak Zev Ben Yisroel Mordechai HaKohen Solomon

Parshas Vayikra:

Pasuk(1:1):

"And Hashem called to Moshe, and spoke to him..."

If we take a close look in the Sefer Torah, we will find that the letter "Alef" of "Vayikra" is small.

The Baal-Haturim gives us an explanation to this, that since Moshe was very humble, he wanted to write "Vayikra" without an "Alef", giving the idea that Hashem spoke to him, by chance. That it happened upon him.

The same language is used when Hashem spoke to Bilam, who was the prophet for the nations, when he tried to curse the Bnei Yisroel.(Bamidbar 23:4)

Moshe wanted to hide the honor that Hashem gave him, by speaking directly to him.

Hashem said that he should write the "Alef" and not leave it out, yet still Moshe through his humbleness, wrote it smaller than the other "Alef's" of the Torah.

The Rabbeinu Yonah brings down the causes of haughtiness, with its opposite being humility.

At times a person may feel that he is lacking a certain knowledge or quality, this may bring upon him an inferiority complex, thus he may try to make other people seem to be lacking qualities, to make himself look better in his and in others eyes.

Haughtiness is usually brought out because a person has an inferior feeling, while one who feels confident with himself , doesn't have to make himself look better than he really is, and he doesn't have to lower other people in his and others eyes.

On this, Rav Henach Leibowitz writes (Sefer Mussar HaTorah), true humility is when one understands his own worth.

Moshe Rabbeinu was the greatest man of all times, yet at the same time he was the most humble.

Moshe Rabbeinu knew his true value, thus he didn't need to overestimate himself.

No one is perfect, we have to accept in ourselves the ability to make mistakes, and even more important, to admit that we made them.

Rav Dovid Feinstein (Sefer Kol Dodi) writes that there is a Gemarah (Chagiga 14a), that quotes the Sages, that Moshe Rabbeinu knew that the Torah was supposed to be given to the 26th generation after Adam.

Moshe was able to argue to Hashem, "Hashem had to give the Torah to this generation, and Moshe was the most fit. Yet if Hashem would wait for future generations, certainly someone more fit would be found, to give the Torah through him."

Therefore he felt that it should be written as "Vayikar", without an "Alef". For it just happened like this, and Moshe felt that it was not through his own merit.

Hashem then answered, that it was not true, the Sages say that also Ezra was fit to have the Torah given through him, and Hashem could have waited and postponed the giving of the Torah until the time of Ezra (Sanhedrin 21b), but Hashem felt that Moshe was worthy of it. Thus Hashem said "Vayikra" should be written with an "Alef", for Moshe Rabbeinu was picked intentionally, and not by chance.

Rashi on the Pasuk brings down that when Hashem spoke to prophets of the other nations, the language is different, for when Hashem spoke to them, it was on a casual basis, it happened, and not because Hashem wanted to speak to Bilam.

The Ksav Sofer asks, why would Moshe Rabbeinu want to be compared to those that Hashem spoke to them through happenstance?

He then brings a slightly different idea, than we discussed above, it may at first seem to contradict, yet it can agree with what we said above.

If we take a look at the wording that Rashi uses, we will see two meanings for the word "Vayikar".

One - Sudden, casual basis. (Mikrei)

Two - Impure (Tumah)

If we examine the subject, a prophet who has a prophecy suddenly, without having to prepare himself, seems better than one who has to prepare himself, in order to reach such a spiritual level.

Moshe was on this level, he reached such a high spiritual level, he did not need special preparation, for he was always on such a level. He was prepared to hear the Shechina at all times. (Rashi, Sifri - Bamidbar 9:8)

Bilam however was the other way of "Vayikar", it was in Tumah, and in Bilam's case, he had no preparation before hand.

While Moshe had a prophecy, on one hand, without preparation, while on the other hand, it was in Tehara (purity). For Moshe to obtain this level, he prepared his whole life, thus he was always suitably prepared, and he had elevated character traits with absolute control over himself.

Thus we see that when Hashem speaks to someone suddenly, it may be because he is on a high spiritual level, such as Moshe, or on a very low spiritual level, such as Bilam.

Thus "Vayikra" is written with a small "Alef", so it can be read on one hand as, without preparation, on the other hand, as "Vayikra", to show Hashem's love for Moshe Rabeinu, as one calls his friend.

Rav Shach Shlita brings down that Bilam was different than Moshe Rabbeinu.

When Hashem spoke to Bilam, Bilam even blessed the Bnai Yisroel, and spoke with praise about Yisroel, yet he remained the same Bilam Harasha.

For Bilam did not prepare himself before speaking with Hashem, his soul was not prepared to hear the words of Hashem, and thus it just happened. The same thing was with Bilam's blessing, it was sudden, for a few moments later he was again scheming how to harm the Bnei Yisroel.

We learn from this that in order for us to become better people, it is not a one time job, but it is a job for our life time. One good deed is not enough, we need to build ourselves up, constantly, and thus we can achieve higher levels of spirituality.

We must make ourselves into a vessel that can hold Berachos.

Halacha Byte:

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Halachot of the month of Nissan:

Part #1

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Editors Note:

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The following text is on a little bit of a higher level and a bit longer than I usually write, I hope you won't find it too difficult, and I hope you will learn new stuff.

If something below is not completely understood, please write, and I will try my best to clarify B"H.

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Birchas Ha-Ilanos in Nissan:

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Did You know that you are supposed to make a special blessing in the month of Nissan, even in the USA!!

Read on to learn more...

The Gemarah (Berachos 43:b) brings down, that if one goes outside in the month of Nissan, and he sees fruit trees that are blossoming, and the flower will end up as a fruit, he should say the Beracha, "Sheloh Chiseir Beh Olamoh Klum, Uh Barah Boh Briyot Tovot Veh Ilanot Tovot, Leh Heinot Bahem Bnei Adam."

The Shulchan Aruch (O.C. 226) brings this down as Halacha.

This Beracha is supposed to be said preferably in the month of Nissan, the Sefer Yechava Daas, brings down that this is done in Nissan for the Tikun of the Neshamos (souls)(Zohar Hakadosh, Parshas Balak.)

The Sefer Har Tzvi asks, "Does one Davkah say the Beracha in Nissan, since that is the time of nature, when the blossoming occurs. Or do we say not Davkah in Nissan, and in any month that one sees the blossoming?

He answers that even according to the opinions that hold Davkah in the month of Nissan, nevertheless in places that the blossoming occurs in a different time of the year, because their seasons are at different times (like in South America), they would say it in a different month. However, in Eretz Yisroel and the like, where most of the blossoming occurs in Nissan, here one should Davkah say it in the month of Nissan. And even if one sees blossoming in Adar, like that of the Almond tree, since it blossoms early, one should never the less wait until Nissan.

If one didn't say the Beracha in Nissan he may say it in Iyar.

The "Yechava Daas", and "Tsitz Eliezer" bring down that this is not a case of "Safek Berachos Lehakel", since it is only found in the Sefer "Baal Hilchos Ketanos", that one must say it Davkah in Nissan. And therefore it is only "Daat Yachid"(single and not a majority opinion).

Also, in places like South America, where the trees start blossoming in a different month, one should say the Beracha in the month of Nissan, even Leh Chatchilah(the best way).

The Tur and Shulchan Aruch write that once the fruit appear on the tree, one should not make the blessing. The Mordechai writes that one could still make the blessing.

The Minhag is, if one did not say the Beracha on his first sighting of fruit trees blossoming, he may say it the next time he sees them, however if there is already ripe fruit on the trees, one is not allowed to make the Beracha.(M.B.)

While the Kaf Hachaim, says if one says it in Iyar, it should be without "Shem Umalchus".(Mention of Hashem's name, the beginning of the Beracha)

This Beracha is only said on fruit trees. Why?

The Sefer Aruch Hashulchan (226:1) explains that this Beracha is in order to give praise to Hashem, that he created things for man, that are not compulsory in order for man to live, while seeds and vegetables are compulsory.

One therefore makes the Beracha during the blossoming, for this is the time that one sees fruits will come out of the tree.

This Beracha falls under the category of a Birchas Hodayah.

One may say this Beracha also at nighttime.

One does not say this blessing on trees that do not produce fruit.

The Sefer Rav Pealim(O.C. part 2 Siman 36) brings down that when the fruit tree that he sees blossoming, was produced through "Murkav"(mixing two species together), when it was done by mixing two totally different species, one should not make the Beracha on this. For one who mixed the species, is going against Hashem's wishes, and how can one be happy when he sees this and make a blessing on it?

A tree that is in the first three years of its planting, has the Law of "Orlah".(the fruits are not to be eaten) One should not make the blessing on such a tree.

If it is a doubt if it is still in its first three years, in Israel one should not make the Beracha, in Chutz L'aretz, one may make the Beracha.

However, there are those opinions that allow one to make a Beracha even in the first three years of the tree's planting, for one is not enjoying the actual fruit, and the trees themselves were not planted through an "Issur"(wrong way), like by Morkav. And the fruits that come out of the tree are forbidden to be eaten because of an "Issur Hanaah"(forbidden to enjoy), yet we know "Mitzvot Lav L'henot Nitnu".(Sefer Rav Poalim O.C. part 3 Siman 9).

It is preferred to make the Beracha at a place that has many trees, if he has no place like this, he should look for at least two fruit trees, even if they are the same type. (Kaf Hachaim).(For the Gemarah says "Ilanos", in plural, yet the Gemarah doesn't say that they have to be two different types of trees.)

Some say one can make the Beracha even when he only sees one tree, while some disagree.

Since "Safek Berachos Leh Hakel", it is preferred not to make the Beracha when he sees only one tree.

Some say it is preferred to say the Beracha outside of the city.

The Sefer Tsitz Eliezer brings down that we can learn from the wording "One that goes out", that one must see the blossoming from a tree attached to the ground, outdoors, and not to make the Beracha on seeing a branch, cut of from the tree, that is blossoming.

The Beracha is only said once a year.

Are women also required to say the Beracha ?

There are those that try and say that this Beracha is that of "Mitzvaht Asei Sheh Hazman Geramah", and thus women would not have to say the Beracha.

However, the Sefer Tsitz Eliezer(12:20), explains that even according to the opinion that one must say it Davkah in Nissan, still the Beracha is like that of "Nehanin"(enjoyment), and he asks, are women exempted from saying Birchat Hanehanim?

He brings down Rav Tzvi Pesach Frank (Har Tzvi) and concludes that it is not a "Mitzvas Asei Shei Hazman Geramah", and women are also required to say the Beracha.

When dealing with a blind man, since there is a Machlokes if a blind man should make the Beracha, it is best for him to be Yotzay(rely on listening) to the Beracha from someone else, or to say the Beracha without "Sheim Uh Malchus".

There is a Machlokes(Rabbinic dispute) if one may make this Beracha on Shabbos & YomTov, for we are afraid that one may move the tree or pick a flower.

Thus it is best not to make the Beracha then, however, if this is the only time that one is able to say the Beracha, he should make the Beracha.

It is preferred to say the Beracha with a Minyan, however, if one wants to say the Beracha on Rosh Chodesh Nissan, and there is no Minyan then, he should say it on Rosh Chodesh, for "Zerezen Makdimim Leh Mitzvot is more important than saying it with a Minyan. (Gemarah Rosh Hashanah 32:b).