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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Korach, Bamidbar 16:15. Al taifen el minchosom. Moshe Rabbeinu's Request that the Rebels Not Benefit from the Community Korbanos.

This post involves Kodshim. If you like kodshim, you will love this discussion. If not, go here or here or here for divrei Torah more to your taste.

Rashi brings a Medrash that Moshe was mispallel that the share the rebels had in the korbon Tomid should remain unburned on the mizbayach. Reb Moshe, in Kol Rom III p. 234 asks, the korbon was purchased with Machatzis Hashekel money, which was transferred absolutely to the Tzibur, to the general community account; so every part of the korbon belonged to everyone, so how is it shayach to isolate the share of Korach? So he says that klapei shmaya galya which part of the korbon was misyacheis to Korach, that it was known to Heaven which part was purchased with Korach’s chatzi shekel.

Coincidentally, I was at a wedding the night after I saw this vort, and I bumped into one of our late great Bnei Torah, Harav Levi Yitzchak (Leon) Tarshish Zatzal. As was his invariable habit, we had to talk in learning, and he asked me what the pshat in a Gemorah in Shvuos 12b is: the Mishna said that the So’ir Hamishtalayach is mechaper for certain aveiros, and the Gemora asks, it can’t be mechaper for a maizid shelo asa teshuva, because "zevach resho’im to’aiva," the korbon brought by a unrepentant sinner is an abomination, it is not a kosher korbon. He asked, Zevach Resha'im To'eiva is a psul in a korbon, so how could the participation of a Rasha possibly passel a korbon tzibbur? It is a korbon of Klal Yisroel! So he wanted to say that this is what Rashi means in Shvu’os, where he says that since "zevach resho’im to’aiva" "ve’heichi mechaper alei korbon Yom Hakipurim." From Rashi it is mashma that of course the korbon is kosher, but the din of "zevach resho’im to’eiva" also can prevent a person from getting a kapara. (i.e, Zevach Resho'im To'eiva is not only a potential psul of the korbon, but in those cases where it does not passsel the korbon, it can also interfere with the kaporo for the individual donor who is a rosho.)

But with this vort from Reb Moshe, we can see an exact tzushtel to the Medrash about Korach— that even though it is a korbon tzibbur, it is possible to parse out the chelek of one person.

But then we have a problem with the Mishnah in Shkolim Perek 1 Mishnah 3, (3: in the Vilna Bavli,) that says that the Kohanim used to excuse their refusal to donate a machatzis hashekel toward communal korbonos by saying that if they had a share in the korbon, all the menachos would have to be completely burned, as is the halacha by the korbon mincha of a Kohen. The opinion of the Tannaim of the Mishneh is that this excuse for not giving the Machatzis Hashekel was wrong. The Gemora says that it seems to be a machlokes whether a yochid’s identity and dinim still apply when he contributes to a korbon tzibbur.

Another problem with this Medrash is that the ritzui of a korbon is with the zrikas hadam. The burning of the korbon is secondary-- shyorei mitzvah. So what did Moshe accomplish by asking that the portion that was associated with Korach and his people should remain unburned? Who cares if the korbon is burned or not? The important and essential part of the korbon, basically the only part that matters, is the zerikas hadam!

I mentioned these questions to Rabbi Dovid Zupnick Zatzal (Tammuz 5760/Summer 2000), on Friday night. Shabbos afternoon, when we were in middle of eating, he and his daughter-in-law came in, (considering the state of his health, that was surprising) and he told me that once again, if you have to say a teretz on Rashi, you are not reading it correctly, because Rashi ("the stylist par excellance and the Rebbi of Klal Yisroel) always anticipates kashes. He told me that the expression of the Medrash, that Moshe said "yodei’a ani" that they have a cheilek, is very strange— since when does Moshe have to preface his statements with the expression "yodai’a ani"? This expression specifically intends to let us know that al pi din poshut what follows is not apparent, and it is only Moshe Rabbeinu, who was familiar with sisrai Torah and daas Hashem, that can make the statement. With this, any kashe on the statement that follows is not only not shver, but even is necessary to understand the prefatory words "yodai’a ani." if you don’t have a kashe, you don’t understand poshut pshat in Rashi.

The Minchas Chinuch on the Mitzvah of Machatzis Hashekel (105) is mesupak if we accept the machatzis hashekel from a mumar gamur. He brings a Gemora in Chulin that we do not accept nedorim and nedovos from him, so he says that it’s not mistavreh that we would be kofeh him to give, but if he gave of his own will, he is not posheit whether we accept it.

I saw (Feb ‘03/AdarI ‘63) that the Lubavitcher Rebbe points out the he’oro in the Rashi here:
"One tangential point which we glean from this Midrash will have halachic ramifications. In the laws of the half-Shekel it is usually assumed that when money is transferred to the treasurer of the Beis HaMikdash it utterly loses its identity as individual money and becomes part of the communal wealth. In principle it is usually assumed that the individual cannot afterwards designate a particular part of the offering as being his. From here we see that although all the funds combine and one animal is purchased, yet each individual still has a special connection to a particular part of the animal, no matter how infinitesimal it is. And, in fact, Moshe's request was heeded by G-d."

In March ‘05/Adar II ‘65, a passing meshulach asked me for directions to a local Shul, and I invited him and his friend into the house for a cup of coffee. His name is Yakov Salant (shortish, hairy beard and peiyos, but claims he’s a litvak) and he mentioned that his grandfather was the Be’er Yosef, a pirush on Chumash. (That is R Yosef Salant, who lived in Yerusholayim and died around 1965) Somehow he got onto the topic of the difference between a tzibbur and shutfim, and I told him about the Rashi on Korach that is mashma that even in a tzibbur each individual has a cheilek, just as in a shutfus. He answered with an excellent point– that you can’t bring a rayoh from Korach, because he was a nifrod, he sought pirud in Klal Yisroel, l’taavoh yevakeish nifrod, lokach es atzmo, so it could be that even though he gave machtzis hashekel as part of the tzibbur, his desire for pirud resulted in his chelek of the korbon not being subsumed into the din tzibbur. But in general, a yochid has no part of the korbon tzibbur. Maybe we can even say the same thing by the rashi by So’ir Hamishtalei’ach, that the anti-social nature of r’shoim or their deleterious influence on others results in their not being a part of the tzibbur.

A commentor pointed out that if part of the korban is pasul, maybe it's called choseir, or not tomim. This reminded me of the Gemaras in Sotah that says that although the husband pays for the Minchas Sotah, the woman is called the "Ba'alim" of the korban, since the korban's purpose is to be bodeik her (Sotah 19a after the Mishnah and 23a after the Mishnah; you need to see both of them). (Just like makdish mosif chomesh umiskapeir oseh temurah.) So if the "ba'alim" in this sense is a rasha, and his korbanos are passul, part of the korban tzibur would be pasul as well: not a discrete piece, not a real ownership share, but since he is a member of the tzibur, and the korban comes for the members of the tzibur, so he is a 'ba'alim' of part of the korban in this sense. So it could be that Moshe was mispalel that the korban should not be misyacheis to Korach at all, that he shouldn't have a din "ba'alim" on the korban tzibur, so he wouldn't have a kaparah. How can Moshe's tefilla affect the dinim of korbanos? The answer is that if the "share" of Korach wasn't burned, we could say, breira-like, that it was his "share" that wasn't brought ke'hilchasa at all: 'his' dahm wasn't nizrak and 'his' bosor wasn't burned.

The only problem I have with this me'halach is that to accept it would be to require that Reb Moshe and the Lubavitcher Rebbe missed a very important rule of kodshim, that "ba'alim" does not mean ownership.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps you could say that if Korach's portion was excluded from the korban, it might make te whole korban posul by virtue of being chaser. Moshe was being mispalel that the remainder of the korban should be accepted and not considered mechusar

Barzilai said...

You still have the problem that there is no individual ownership in a korbon tzibur.

But I like the idea that since part of the korban is designated for a person for whom korbanos are not kasher, (not that he owns it, but that he is the "ba'alim" as far as kapara is concerned, just like minchas Sotah is paid for by the husband but she is called the ba'alim), so it is as if that part of the korban is missing, and it is not temimah.

Barzilai said...

In fact, I'm going to insert that point into the post.

Anonymous said...

Parshas Korach:
The Gemara in Sanhedrin in Perek Chelek speaks extensively about this week’s Parsha. The Gemara speaks about the group of people who joined Korach’s group in a rebellion against Moshe. The Gemara says he choose קריאי מועד.The question that comes to mind is: What is the significance of this choice? The first thing we must understand is what are they? The Gemara explains the term and says:
קריאי מועד שהיו יודעים לעבר שנים ולקבוע חדשים
That is that these are people who know how to figure out when to make a leap year and when to declare a month.
We must now return to the original question: What is the significance of this choice? This requires further background information to answer so first we ask another question
What job did Korach want? We know he does not want Moshe’s position because that was not his complaint. as Rashi says:
אם לקחת אתה מלכות לא היה לך לברר לאחיך כהונה לא אתם לבדכם שמעתם בסיני אנכי ה' אלהיך כל העדה שמעו
He said “Why did you take Ahron as Cohen Gadol we all heard Hashem decrees not your family alone heard it, we are all holy so why do you grab all the honor for your Family?
Korach accused Moshe of choosing Ahron because of nepotism. The Rashi later Points out that Korach was not a fool. Then the question arises how he could make such a statement? Everyone knew that Ahron was not chosen because he was Moshe brother but because he was the most worthy candidate. This is established by Rashi when describing the dedication of the Mishkan in Parshas Shemini as there it says:
לפי שכל ז' ימי המלואים שהעמידו משה למשכן ושמש בו ופרקו בכל יום לא שרתה בו שכינה והיו ישראל נכלמים ואומרים למשה משה רבינו כל הטורח שטרחנו שתשרה שכינה בינינו ונדע שנתכפר לנו עון העגל לכך אמר להם זה הדבר אשר צוה ה' תעשו וירא אליכם כבוד ה' אהרן אחי כדאי וחשוב ממני שע"י קרבנותיו ועבודתו תשרה שכינה בכם ותדעו שהמקום בחר בו
Translation : Seven days of the installation Moshe set up the Tabernacle and served in it, and took it down every day--- the Shechinoh did not rest on it, and Israel were ashamed, saying to Moshe: "Our master Moshe! All the trouble we went to that the Shechinoh should rest among us, and that we should know that we have achieved atonement for the sin of the Calf. Therefore he said to them: "This is what Hashem commanded you to do and the glory of the Shechinoh will appear to you. My brother Ahron is worthy and [even] more important that I, for by means of his sacrifices and his service the Shechinoh will rest among you, and you will know that the Omnipresent chose him.
Now it was completely clear then that it was Ahron who was chosen so what was Korach’s complaint. We see that Ahron was so great he did what Moshe could not. What kind of complaint is nepotism .Ahron had already proven himself the man for the job? Reb Yosef Salant answers it must be that Korach’s complaint was that anyone Moshe would have chosen would have had this happen. It was not Ahron per say, but It was that Moshe choose his brother Ahron. That is if someone else would have been chosen they too would have the Shechinoh appear. We see this in Shabbos there the Gemara says דתניא ג' דברים עשה משה מדעתו והסכים הקב"ה עמו He did it and only later did hashem concur
We now can answer the question; what is the significance of the choice of קריאי מועד? Korach was very calculated he choose the קריאי מועד because we have one place in Halacha with the concept of Hashem allowing himself to be the secondary decision maker. That is allowing people to do the deciding themselves and going along with it. This is the קריאי מועד. By Kiddush Hachodesh the Gemara in Rosh Hashanah says even if Beis Din makes a mistake in calculation, and even purposefully it changes Rosh Chodesh for the good of the people coming to be Oleh Regel Hashem will approve the Beis dins decision. Korach Choose these people who calculated theses dates to illustrate and show the world Hashem made the Shechinoh come down not because Ahron was worthy, but because Moshe choose him. Just like Kiddush Hachodesh and a leap year is because the קריאי מועד choose to make it a Rosh Chodesh or a Leap Year.
This also explains another Rashi where he brings down a Medrash which can not be understood on the pshat level Rashi says:
ומדרשו בקר א"ל משה גבולות חלק הקב"ה בעולמו יכולים אתם להפוך בקר לערב כן תוכלו לבטל את זו שנאמר (בראשית א) ויהי ערב ויהי בוקר ויבדל כך (דה"א כג) ויבדל אהרן להקדישו
Translation: According to the Midrashic interpretation of "morning": Moshe said to them, 'G-d marked His universe with boundaries. Can you possibly transform morning into evening? That is how possible it is for you to nullify this, as it is said, "It became evening and it became morning, and He separated" similarly, "Ahron was separated to be consecrated.
With this Rashi Moshe is answering Korach’s complaint. Korach said your choice of Ahron was as a Rosh Chodesh meaning: your decision agreed to by Hashem. But with this Medrash we have Moshe answering. No it is not Rosh Chodesh but the decision to pick Aharon is like day and night. Day and night are Completely in Hashem dominion and not for Humans to interfere so to is the choosing of Ahron not chosen by me but by Hashem.
The Gemara In Baba Basra And in Sanhedrin brings down A story about Rabba Bar Channah Had an Arab who showed him the hole where Korach was swallowed up and He told him at the end of every 30 days every , To which the Rashbam says means every Rosh Chodesh because that was their Mistake now they fixing it.Now every month he comes and you hear him say “Moshe emes Vsoroso Emmes”.