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Monday, September 26, 2011

Yom Kippur: On Behalf of His Wife: וכפר בעדו ובעד ביתו- ביתו זו אשתו

Yesterday, I attended the joyous Lechaim for the engagement of my youngest son, who became a Chassan just before Shabbos.  The Chassan was prepared to say Divrei Torah and Divrei Bracha, but with all the excitement and comings and goings and reunions with old friends and meeting new friends (including the Divrei Chaim!), there really wasn't a moment to organize the crowd into a speech schema.

The Chassan is learning Maseches Yoma, and of course, the Aseres Yemei Teshuva is about to begin (see note #1), and the speech he prepared, I think, hit the trifecta, and deserves dissemination.

The Mishna in the beginning of Yoma says that the Kohen Gadol must be married when he does the avoda of Yom Kippur.  This is based on (Vayikra 16:6) וכפר בעדו ובעד ביתו, he shall achieve forgiveness for himself and his household etc.  Chazal darshen that ביתו זו אשתו, the word "household" means his wife.  Since the formal vidui mentions his wife, he must have a wife in order to do the Avoda. Why?  What is the logic of requiring that the Kohen Gadol be married while he does the Avoda?  How does having a wife make any difference in his Avoda?

We find another instance where a public figure needs to have a family.  That is the Gemara in Sanhedrin (36b) that is brought by the Rambam in 2 Sanhedrin 3:  אין מעמידין בכל סנהדרין לא זקן מופלג בשנים ולא סריס, מפני שיש בהן אכזרייות, ולא מי שאין לו בנים, כדי שיהיה רחמן.  One may not appoint to the Sanhedrin one who is very old...nor one who has no children, because they will not have properly developed traits of mercy.  But if this is the logic behind the בעד ביתו of the Kohen Gadol, why a wife?  Why not a son?

We would like to suggest three possible answers.

I
The Kohen Gadol must say Vidui for Klal Yisrael.  That he can do so is surprising, because vidui is a prime example of something one must do on his own, something one cannot ask someone else to do on his behalf.  (See note #2)  How can a Kohen Gadol say vidui for Klal Yisrael?  The answer is that only once the Kohen Gadol experiences the absolute empathy of ishto ke'gufo can he escape the prison of egotism, and only then can he move from the specific to the general, from the personal to the national, and come to zenith of ערבות that allows him to say vidui for Klal Yisrael as if he were intimately connected with each and every one of them, as if they were all כגופו.   Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach once went to the doctor with his wife, and told the doctor "עס טוט אונז וויי די פוס," our foot is hurting.  The Kohen Gadol can say the same regarding all of Klal Yisrael- but to come to that madreiga requires the first step of having a ריעך כמוך.

(See note #3, and See note #4.)


II
The Kohen Gadol comes before Hashem and says, Ribono shel Olam, you described Klal Yisrael as יונתי תמתי, Your perfect dove (Shir Hashirim 5:2).  I, too, have a perfect dove, my own wife, and she is without any flaw or blemish or imperfection.  ועל כל פשעים תכסה אהבה  (Mishlei 19:12)  You, too, Hashem, look at יונתך תמתך and say כולך יפה רעייתי ומום אין בך.

When a person gets married, his shidduch is a matanah from the Ribono shel Olam, it is the zivug that was fated and intended for him from the moment he was created, and it is the perfect zivug for him.  There is nobody else, only יונתי תמתי, and he must thank the Ribono shel Olam for giving him this unique and perfect gift.
(See note #5)


III
The Gevuras Ari asks why do Chazal assume that Beiso means only his wife, when elsewhere the term might include his sons as well.  I would suggest that we find a particular characteristic that is essential to Kehuna Gedola, and that is Tznius.  Kimchis, as related in Yoma 47a, had seven sons that were Kohanim Gedolim, and she attributed this amazing accomplishment to her extraordinary Tznius.  It is clear that a mother's tznius is a condition precedent for the kedusha of Kehuna Gedola.  It is possible (See note #6) that it is also an element in the kedusha itself.  If so, it is logical to assume that the word Beiso refers to Kol kevuda bas melech pnima, the tznius of the wife of the Kohen Gadol.   Kohanim Gedolim knew that they could only marry a woman that exemplified and embodied the midda of Tznius, and only a Kohen Gadol that has a wife who embodies the midda of tznius can do the avoda.

Along these lines:
The Sforno points out in Parshas Vezos Habracha that the Tribe of Asher was the most successful of the Shvatim and its members were very wealthy, and although most people resent wealth in other people, everyone loved Shevet Asher.  This is what is meant by "Retzui Echav."  The Sforno does not explain why this was so, he just says that it is an anomaly.  But perhaps we can explain it on the basis of the Rashi (Devarim 33:24) that says that Kohanim Gedolim married girls from Shevet Asher- שהיו בנותיו נשואות לכהנים גדולים הנמשחים בשמן זית- and this must be because they were tremendous Tznu'im, as we discussed above.  Properly evolved Tznius is not only a matter of modesty in dress, it includes placidity and silence; it certainly means that one avoids flashiness and arrogance and tumul.  This kind of tznius, concomitant with good yichus, is a tzniyus of עדינות ואצילות.  If Asher was so developed in the midda of Tznius, we can understand why everyone loved them and nobody was jealous of them- because of their tznius.


IV
The Chassan getting ready to propose.




Notes.
1.  I think Aseres Yemei Teshuva is singular and so I wrote "is about to begin" and not "are about to begin."  Aseres is not the same as Asara.  Aseres is a unit comprising ten items.  Like "a dozen eggs weighs around a pound."

2.  Regarding Vidui through a Shliach, the Minchas Chinuch has something to say about this.  See here.

3.  One might ask, how do I know that the din of בעד ביתו is specific to the Vidui?  First, because the passuk that says וכפר בעדו ובעד ביתו is talking about the Vidui.  Furthermore, the Gevuras Ari is mashma that the requirement is specific to the Vidui.  It's not b'frierush in the Gevuras Ari, but evident from the fact that he says that he holds that as long as the Kohen Gadol is married during avodas Hapar, it doesn't matter if he's married during avodas ha'se'irim, which makes zero sense if he's talking about avodas hadam, because the avodas hadam of the Par and of the Se'irim is done together.  It only makes sense if he's talking only about the Viduyim, which are, of course, separate.  It is on that basis I say that the din of בעד ביתו is a din in the Vidui.  The relevant section of the Gevuras Ari: 
יש לעיין בהא דביתו, אי קפיד רחמנא בשעת כפרת פרו דוקא שיהיה לו בית, אבל בשעת
כפרת שתי שעירים לית לן בה אם אין לו בית, דהא  האי ביתו לא כתיב אלא גבי כפרת פרו, ואפילו לרי
 יהודה דס״ל ברפ״ק דשבועות (ב׳ ע״ב) דבשאר עבירות אחד כהנים ואחד ישראלים מתכפרים בשעיר המשתלח מ״מ אפשר לומר דלא קפיד קרא אביתו אלא בכפרתו שלו דהיינו פרו המיוחד לו, או דלימא אכולה מילתא
 קפיד אביתו, שכל עבודת יוה״כ צריך להיות בכ״ג נשוי ואפי׳ לר״ש נמי אע״פ שכל כפרתו בפרו ווידויו
See also the Gevuras Ari here in DH  מ״ מ אכתי.  

4.  It could be argued that Chazal understand the בעד ביתו later in the parsha as including all Kohanim, so it seems that it does not exclusively refer to his wife.  This is not a kashe.  The primary meaning of Beiso is his wife.  Secondarily, but only on the basis of apparent redundancy, it is understood to also refer to his brother Kohanim,  The fact that his brother Kohanim need special kaparah is not surprising, because the kapara here primarily involves Tumas Mikdash Ve'Kadashav.  The surprising halacha, which we are addressing, is that his wife needs to be included, and that if he does not have a wife, he cannot do the avodah.

5.  This is not how the Chassan was going to say it.  It would be inappropriate for someone that has just gotten engaged, or just gotten married.  It's more appropriate for someone that has been married for twenty years.  He was just going to say that his Kallah is a gift from the Ribono shel Olam and perfect for him, without all the mawkish יונתי תמתי business.

6.  Some of you have written to say that this is a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.  Please read the paragraph again, this time a little more slowly.  What I said is that a mother's Tznius is a necessary factor in having children that become Kohanim Gedolim.  There are two ways to understand that:  either that Tznius avoids things that would ruin the children, or that Tznius lends an enhancement to the children.  That either Tznius is just a way of preventing a psul, or that Tznius is a way of investing a maalah.  I suggested that Tznius is not merely a shlilus of pritzus, it is a be'poeil of kedusha, and it is a necessary ingredient of being a Kohen Gadol, both in one's mother and in one's wife.

2 comments:

Eli said...

very nice Vort, and again - M"T

le'Halacha, however, it seems from the Rambam 1:2 that all Avoda done on Y"H requires the K"G to be married, not just the Viduyim.

Yet, one may say that not only the Viduy, but all of the Avodah is done as a Shliach of the Tzibur (see Rashi Yoma 43b d"h והיום).

b said...

Thank you and thank you.

Yes, the magi'ah in the Gevuras Ari brings that Rambam. Look at the Gvuras Ari I linked to in the note on the post and see note #15 there who says

עיין
רמב״ם פ״א מהל׳ עױה״כ ה״ב שכתב וז״ל, וכן שאר העבודות
של יום זה כגון הקטרת קטורת של כל יום והטבת הנרות הכל
בכ״ג נשוי עכ״ל, [ובנזר הקודש אות ה׳ כ׳ דאולי זה רק למצוה.]