וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם: מִשְׁכוּ, וּקְחוּ לָכֶם צֹאן לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתֵיכֶם–וְשַׁחֲטוּ הַפָּסַח
12:21 The first Posuk after Chamishi when Moshe Rabbeinu calls together the Ziknei Yisroel and says to them (וַיִּקְרָא מֹשֶׁה לְכָל-זִקְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם: מִשְׁכוּ, וּקְחוּ לָכֶם צֹאן לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתֵיכֶם–וְשַׁחֲטוּ הַפָּסַח). He tells them the Mitzvah of Korban Pesach and the language used is (מִשְׁכוּ, וּקְחוּ לָכֶם). The Gemara understands to Darshun this Posuk as follows. Mishchu Yidaichem Mai’avoda Zorah, Uk’chu Lachem Tzon. First pull your hands back from the Avodah Zorah, which many Jews had become accustomed to in Mitzrayim, and then go purchase for yourselves a sheep for the Korban Pesach.
In the Sefer Panim Yafos he explains the question beautifully in a Derach Halachah. He asks, since the sheep were Avodah Zorah they should not have been suitable for a Korban. How did it become Kosher for the Korban Pesach?
He answers based on a Halacha. In Maseches Avodah Zorah we find the following Halachah. That if a non Jew owns an Avodah Zorah it is possible for that Avodah Zorah to become permitted because of something called Bitul. What is Bitul? Bitul is when the non Jew who is an idol worshiper is Mevateil the Avodah Zorah. He shows that he no longer believes in it either by breaking it or by doing something to it which would show that he doesn’t respect it anymore. If he performs any type of such action, he could render that Avodah Zora something which is now permissible.
One type of Bitul is if an idol worshiper sells the idol to someone else who is himself not an idol worshiper. Someone who believes that it is an idol would not sell the god to someone who does not believe in it. Certainly not an animal which the person would kill. Therefore, when the Mitzrim sold their Avodah Zorah, their sheep, to a Jew, that itself constituted a Bitul which would make it Muttar.
But one minute. A sale only works as a Bitul if the purchaser himself is not an Oved Avodah Zorah. If the purchaser is himself an Oved Avodah Zorah then the sale doesn’t show Bitul. Therefore, the Posuk Mishchu Yidaichem Mai’avoda Zorah, first demonstrate that you no longer believe in Avodah Zorah and only then Uk’chu Lachem Tzon, then could you purchase for yourself sheep for the Korban. A beautiful Halachik interpretation.
We have to add and stress that this was a tremendous Achrayos and responsibility on Klal Yisrael. Between the time that they were commanded and the time that they purchased the sheep they had to separate themselves from Avodah Zorah to a degree that it would be noticeable to all. That any non Jew who looked at them would understand that these people were no longer Oved Avodah Zorah. After all in their hearts they were not idol worshipers, however, if the sellers thought that they were, that would not be a Bitul. The whole point of the Bitul is that you have an idol worshiper who was selling to a non idol worshiper. This was the obligation of Klal Yisrael. Mishchu, to pull themselves back from being Oved Avodah Zorah , specifically at this moment, so that the Korban would be good.
Based on this we can understand something in Navi. In Melachim 2 Perek 23 we find that King Yoshiyahu (the last great king of Klal Yisrael) started a Teshuvah movement among the Jewish people. We find there that when he started the Teshuvah movement it was right before Pesach. He afterwards gathered the Jews together and they offered the Korban Pesach and the Posuk says 23:22 (כִּי לֹא נַעֲשָׂה, כַּפֶּסַח הַזֶּה, מִימֵי הַשֹּׁפְטִים). That this Pesach was so extraordinary in that in the past centuries there had not been any Pesach such as that. We ask ourselves, what are you talking about? Dovid Hamelech, Shlomo Hamelech, they had Pesach. Certainly they were more knowledgeable and more Mehadeir B’mitzvos than the generation of Yoshiyahu who had just done Teshuvah?
What was so unique and special about Yoshiyahu’s Korban Pesach? Anyone who learns this part of Navi has to wonder, so many great Kings were before him, what was unique about his?
Now we can understand. The Korban Pesach of (מִשְׁכוּ, וּקְחוּ לָכֶם), go to the Korban Pesach as Baalei Teshuva, who have just withdrawn from being Oved Avodah Zorah, that was something that Dovid Hamelech and Shlomo Hamelech’s generation didn’t do, Yoshiyahu Hamelech’s generation did. The beauty of the Korban Pesach of Yoshiyahu is that they were moving in the direction of Teshuvah. That is what made it so special, so unique that it had not taken place on such a scale for centuries.
Zman Hadin and Zman of Rachamim.
Makkas Bechoros happened at the stroke of midnight. What was so special about midnight that that became the time that they were going to get permission to go out of Mitzrayim, that this was the time that the Bechorim died? Is it coincidental? It could have been a sunset, sunrise, midday? What is special about midnight?
We know Kabbalistically an idea that is brought in Halchacha that the first half of the night is a Zman Hadin, and the second half of the night is Zman of Rachamim. Those who say Tikkun Chatzos only say it after midnight. What is special astronomically about midnight that it becomes a Zman Harachamim?
The answer is that the sun which is not visible during the entire night is as we know traveling on the other side of the earth. The first half of the night it is becoming more and more distant from the location in which a person is. So that here inBrooklynwhen the sun sets it is becoming more and more distant from where I am during the first half of the night. At midnight a change occurs. The sun turns the corner so to speak. Now it becomes closer and closer to me as it makes it circuit around the earth. So that midnight is the idea of coming in the right direction. We know that in Yiddishkeit that direction is everything. Where you are holding in your Avodas Hashem is meaningful but not that meaningful. The direction you are going in is much more meaningful. The direction of a Baal Teshuva brings him to a greater level than the direction of a regular person who might in absolute terms might be on a higher level but might not be moving to a higher level and becoming closer to Hakadosh Baruch Hu.
The idea of Chatzos Laylah is the direction. After midnight you are going towards a time of more light, more Rachamim and therefore after midnight is a special time a Zman of Rachamim. The idea is the same idea as (מִשְׁכוּ, וּקְחוּ לָכֶם). Mishchu Yidaichem Mai’avoda Zorah, be heading in the right direction. After all is said and done that is really what counts.
Maalin B’kodesh V’ain Moridin
Rav Pam once said a similar idea and it was printed in the Haggadah in which they put Rav Pam’s Vertlach. He said that in Shulchan Aruch we find that we put on Tzitzis first and Tefillin second. As a matter of fact in Shulchan Aruch, Mitzvas Tzitzis is first and Mitzvas Tefillin is second. This is because Maalin B’kodesh V’ain Moridin. We want to move upwards in Kodesh.
The Shagas Aryei in Siman 28 asks a Kasha. We don’t find such a concept of Maalin B’kodesh V’ain Moridin except by an individual Mitzvah. If you have Tefillin and you want to change the Retzua of the Tefillin Shel Rosh and put it on the Shel Yad we say Maalin B’kodesh V’ain Moridin. If there are 2 different Mitzvos we don’t find the concept of Maalin B’kodesh V’ain Moridin. Each Mitzvah stands for itself.
The Eliyahu Rabba answes the Shagas Aryei’s Kasha. Maalin B’kodesh V’ain Moridin he says, is not talking about the Mitzvas of Tzitzis or Tefillin. It is talking about the person. The person has to be a person of Maalin B’kodesh V’ain Moridin. He should put on Tzitzis first and Tefillin second. His body should be moving up B’kodesh. The direction is everything.
I would like to take the last 5 minutes of the Shiur to remember Rebbezin Pam who was Nifteres this week. We mourn her passing. We remember her as a person who was very faithful to Rav Pam and always watching out for his good. We also remember her as a feisty outgoing woman who was very friendly to all.
I would like to recall one incident which is important to learn from. I don’t think it will make it into the biographies but nevertheless it is something that we as Talmidim will remember the Rebbi and Rebbezin and we should try to learn from. If you remember, Rav Pam and the Rebetzin were very different. When we went to their home on Purim, Rebbi would be sitting calmly saying over Divrei Torah to those around him. It was a home that as far as Rav Pam was concerned could have been that way like a Chol Hamoed.
The Rebbetzin would then come in with a cowboy hat and would cheerfully greet everybody B’simchas Purim. She was outspoken. She was someone who expressed herself as very friendly to all. I think the difference between the Rebbi and the Rebbetzin was something those who were close would remember.
One of Rav Pam’s children told me the following. He was the last child in the house, the others were married. He lived alone with his parents. One of his brothers had a baby and his mother went toLakewoodfor the week. He was left at home together with Rebbi in the house that week. Those of you who knew the Rebbetzin know that she was very easy going, happy go lucky. In her home the mail from the last few days was usually on the table and the dishes were usually in the sink waiting to be washed. She was an easy going relaxed person and that is the way she ran her home. When she left, Rav Pam was home and Rav Pam had a different nature. When the mail came, Rav Pam opened each letter and took care of whatever had to be done and finished. They ate a meal they washed the dishes, dried the dishes and put them away. Nothing was left lying around. He said that he remembered thinking as a teenager, boy when the Rebbetzin comes home the house is going to be so different. He told me, that the minute the Rebbetzin stepped her foot back into the house, Rav Pam had nothing to do with running the house and it went back to the way the Rebbetzin ran the house according to her nature.
It is a tremendous Mussar in Sholom Bayis, extraordinary. People are disturbed when the person that they marry are different than them. People can’t make it to a happy state if things are being done in a way that doesn’t fit their nature. We remember Rebbi and the Rebbetzin how close they were. Rebbi’s comment about how the Rebbetzin was the most wonderful thing to have happened to him in his words in Atarah L’melech. That that is what really kept him at learning and at Torah. We picture for ourselves the fact that they were so different and they got along. It should be a Chizuk to us. We who sometimes have Sholom Bayis issues with our spouses or anybody who has a different nature. That Chizuk that we could get would be a tremendous Zchus for Rebbi and the Rebbetzin as they are finally united in the Bais Medrash Shel Maylah.
The question of the week is: This week we have the Mitzvah of Tefillin twice in the Parsha. There is a Ramban in his introduction to Devarim who Klers (wonders) if the many Mitzvos that were said in Devarim were first told to Klal Yisrael at the end of the 40 years when the Chumash of Devarim takes place or did Moshe Rabbeinu tell it to them earlier and it was only recorded here.
The Ramban leans towards saying that these things were told at this point when Klal Yisrael was at the end of the 40 years. This seems to be a problem. Klal Yisrael was obligated in the Mitzvah of Tefillin in this week’s Parsha 40 years earlier. As you know, Tefillin contain within them the Parshios of Shema – V’ohavta and V’hoyo Im Shemoa which are in Parshas Va’eschanan and Parshas Eikev. Yet they were not even said until Parshas Va’eschanan and Parshas Eikev. How can the Ramban say that those Parshios were not said until after the 40 years? How else could Klal Yisrael be wearing Tefillin all this time? It seems to be a great Kasha and could make some good discussion for the Shabbos table.