Four Darshanim

Peace, Perishut, and Peshat

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Naso Kli Yakar’s comment to Bamidbar 7;12 looks back to the end of chapter six, where the Torah taught the kohanim the blessing to administer daily on Hashem’s behalf. Those end with the promise of God giving us peace, a value Kli Yakar extolls and wishes to show is expressed in the gifts the nesi’im, the heads of the tribes, brought to ...

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Leadership of the People Earned and Lost

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Bamidbar In chapter three of our new sefer, Hashem has Moshe designate the Levi’im to serve in the Mishkan, under Aharon’s direction. In verses twelve to thirteen, Hashem clarifies they are being taken in place of the first-born, who “belonged” to Hashem since they were spared in Egypt, in the plague of the first-born. Still later, ...

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Ways Out of and Into Security, Financial and Military

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Behar Consequences of Shemitta Starting at VaYikra 25;25, the Torah has rules for events we might see as unrelated, a Jew who sells ancestral lands, takes a loan at interest, sells himself into servitude to a Jew or a non-Jew. Kli Yakar points us to Sukka 40b, where Chazal connected this section to an earlier one about shemitta and yovel. They said the Torah was warning against buying and ...

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What’s Inside Will Come Out

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Emor The end of the parsha, 24;10, tells the tragic story of a man, the product of a Jewish mother and a non-Jewish father, who gets into a fight and “blesses” God. Character Will Out: Prone to Fighting Kli Yakar claims the verse withholds the names of either party to the fight because both were too quick ...

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Clothing and Body in Tzara’at

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Tazria Tzara’at Can Look Natural, But It Isn’t Kli Yakar’s read of 13;47, when the Torah introduces tzara’at ha-begged, a type of stain on clothing halakhically similar to bodily tzara’at, surprises me thrice. First, he says the manifestations of tzara’at, called nega’im, are not natural. No surprise there, I’ve often said the same. [For one proof of the idea, note a bodily lesion does ...

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How to Know What Is Good For Us

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Shmini Kosher Laws Is Not For Physical Health Hashem teaches the list of living creatures Jews may eat—animals, fish, insects, and birds—to Moshe and Aharon lemor aleihem, to say to them, VaYikra 11;1. Rashi explained it meant Elazar and Itamar, because the next verse says to tell the Jewish people; Kli Yakar disagrees. He also rejects the view of Ramban ...

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Sacrifices Help Us and Please God

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat VaYikra Eating and the Great Reward Awaiting Us Verse seventeen in chapter five of VaYikra speaks of someone who does not realize they are sinning, ve-ashem, develops guilt, and bears his/her sin. Kli Yakar refers to a passage we have in Sifra Dibbura De-Hova 12;20;10 (whoever put the references in Kli Yakar said it was inTorat Kohanim 363). Commenting on this verse, R. Yose shares ...

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The Transcendent Mishkan, Run by Ordinary People

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Vayakhel/Pekudei: Welcome to Double Parsha Land! This year is not a leap year, so we will several times read two parashiyyot on a Shabbat, and this week, Vayakhel-Pekudei is our first one. In the name of space, I sought shorter comments than usual, so that the two parashiyyot can be discussed in about the same time as a usual one. In ...

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