Friday, May 5, 2017

Parshas Kedoshim 5777

פּרשׁת קדוֹשׁים

Speak to all the Assembly of the Bnei Yisroel……’

Explains the Alshich HaKadosh (HaRav Moshe Alsheich zt”l) -- and the Tosher Rebbe zt”l says this as well:  Why was it mentioned specifically in this parsha that it was said to ‘All of the Assembly of the Bnei Yisroel’?

Because to be holy is not just incumbent upon the leaders of generations and the high people: Every single person must strive to be holy (quoted in The Stone Edition Chumash) -- and we all can, as well!

‘You shall be holy, for I, Hashem your G-d, am holy.’

This is why Hashem commands of us to be holy, because He is holy. Hashem is reminding us that indeed, because He is the source of holiness, we can become holy ourselves. Although it may seem difficult or even impossible, we should remember that Hashem is holy and He can help us come close to Him. We just need to pray to Him, to open our hearts a crack – the size of the eye of a needle, and He will pull us closer to Him.

May Hashem help that every Jew should be able to purify himself and become holy, and through this may we all merit being blessed with Hashem’s bounty. May everyone be helped with whatever he needs, and may we all merit greeting Moshiach speedily, in our days, Amen.
(The Nikolsburger Rebbe -- Rebbe Yosef Yechiel Michel Lebovits shlita; as quoted on


You shall surely rebuke your fellow, and you shall not bear a sin upon him……’

Writes HaRav Aharon Soloveitchik zt”l: “In the English translation… “hocheiach tochiach” is translated as “rebuke” or “reprimand”.  This is not an accurate translation.  Hocheiach does not mean rebuke, and does not mean reprimand.  It really means “a proof”; something that serves as a raayah, for evidence is called a hochachah -- a proof.  Thus the Torah says, in fact:  You shall prove to your fellow -- to your chaver.

Prove what?  What shall you prove?  Obviously it means: “You shall prove to your fellow the wrongful path on which he embarks, the wrongfulness of his conduct.” Although the words are omitted, the meaning is implicit. 

But the question then arises, why, if that be the case, does not the Torah say, “l’amisecha -- unto your your fellow”?  If the Torah means “you shall convince, you shall prove unto your fellow the wrongfulness of his course,” then “amisecha -- your fellow,” is an indirect object.  How is it that the Torah employs the direct object -- “es amisecha” -- when the indirect object should be employed?  A very profound concept is contained in this verse, and and the key to it lies in the grammatical formulation of this mitzvah.

We find in the Talmud that whenever people are quoted as referring to the better side of their character, they speak of themselves in the first person, while if referring to the evil aspect of their character, then they refer to themselves in the third person.

Thus, when the Talmud quotes people as saying that they fulfilled a certain mitzvah, it puts the word ana, “I,” in the mouth of the person quoted.  

Should the Talmud quote people as telling that they were violators of the Shabbos, or that they were rude, then the term hahu gavra, “that person,” is used by the person quoted.  

We learn from this that within every person there are two personalities.  In every individual there is the ideal personality, aspiring towards that which is sacred, noble, worthy.  And simultaneously, every person is moved by certain animal instincts which lead him or her to sinful acts.  

The real personality is the one that is motivated by the lofty inclination.  That is the “ana,” the “I,” the essential inner self of the person; the animal instincts that impel one towards wrongful ways constitute only the “hahu gavra,” “that person,”a stranger, a trespasser who occupies one’s spirit……

The mitzvah of tochachah is based upon the belief that the true self is the “I” of the person, not the “that person.”  The “hahu gavra” is only a subterfuge that covers up and imprisons the real self.  

How can one correct another?  If you see that a person is addicted to sin, how can you change the person?  Not by calling names, not by reprimanding, but by proving to the person his or her true self……

The reason so many Jews feel incapable of t’shuvah is because they are not aware of their own spiritual strength.  They think that the acher is the real person while it is only a trespasser.  

The Torah says if you want to succeed in correcting Jews who are delinquent in their demeanor, then do not try to reprimand them.  Do not tell them, “You are no good,” “You are impure”; that is not tochachah.  Rather, tochachah requires that you convince the delinquents of their inner selves:  you shall retrieve your fellow……

Right now certain Jews are not chaverim, because externally there is a rude shell, a hahu gavra that imprisons their personality, frustrates them, and does not allow them to realize their potential.  
But with the proper approach and proper guidance, you can revive and regain the chaver so that this Jew will be a chavrusa to you.  This is the purpose of “hocheiach tochiach… v’lo sisa alav cheit” -- that you shall not incur guilt.  

Shall we then fail to realize why so many Jews are delinquent in their religious and moral demeanor?  Is it not because we, the so-called observant Jews, fail to inspire them?  Had we grasped the proper approach towards these Jews, then they would have been inspired to expel the shell that covers up their real selves. 

Were we to realize now the proper approach and the proper guidance, we would beyond any doubt succeed in retrieving and reviving the chaver, the amisecha.  If we fail to fulfill the tochachah, then it is our fault, and we share the guilt……” (From Logic of the Heart, Logic of the Mind).

‘And you shall love your fellow as yourself…’

The Alter of Slobodka (HaRav Nosson Tzvi Finkel zt”l) explains on this that the Torah says that we must love our fellow ‘like ourselves’.

Just as we love ourselves instinctively, without looking for any reason, he explains, so too, we must love others without even looking for any reasons to. (Quoted in The Stone Edition Chumash).

A Gut Shabbos, full of holiness to all!

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