Vayikra - Shabat Zachor

March 16th, 2019

9th of Adar II 5779


Consecrated for Hashem

Rabbi David Hanania Pinto

"For what he has deprived the Sanctuary he shall make restitution, and add a fifth to it" (Vayikra 5:16)

The Ben Ish Chai zya"a writes (Vayikra shana rishona): "It seems to me, with siyata dishmaya, according to the Chazal (Baba Basra 75b) that in the future 'kadosh' will be recited before tzaddikim just as one recites it before Hashem, that this refers to 'kadosh' that is repeated three times before Hashem - "Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh". The reason why they will merit this specifically in the future is because meriting the recitation of three times "kadosh, kadosh, kadosh" is due to perfection in three kinds of consecrations - consecration of thought, speech and deed. In this world these three consecrations cannot be considered perfect, without the slightest flaw, even among tzaddikim, whereas in the future (world) they will be perfected, and they will therefore merit the praise of "kadosh, kadosh, kadosh"."

We will expand a little on the holy words of the Ben Ish Chai.

We know that one who benefits from 'hekdesh' (an item that has been consecrated) abuses its holiness and the Torah obligates him to pay its restitution and add a fifth to it, besides bringing a guilt-offering.

What is this fifth?

With siyata dishmaya, I would like to suggest that something that has been designated as holy (hekdesh), does not belong to us. It is set aside for Hashem and a person does not have permission to make use of it for his personal needs. If he transgresses and uses it, even unintentionally, he causes a blemish not just in this hekdesh, but in the entire Torah, in all the Five Books of the Torah. This is why he pays a fifth, to hint to this great blemish that he caused to all the Five Books of the Torah. A person has no connection to an object that has been consecrated for Hashem and it is completely forbidden for him to benefit from it and profane it. This concept is so severe that it is considered as if he has desecrated the entire Torah.

The beautiful building of the Beit HaKnesset 'Orot Chaim V'Moshe' in Ashdod, is a building designated for the honor of Hashem Yitbarach. Our entire goal in establishing this building was in order to glorify Hashem's Sanctuary and honor His name. To this end, I designated it as hekdesh for Hashem and no part of it is mine; everything belongs to Hashem. If, chalilah, a person misuses this holy place or isn’t meticulous enough with its holiness or cleanliness, it is a misuse of hekdesh and this is something which requires extreme caution.

If misusing an inanimate object that has been consecrated is considered to be an act of treachery and one is obligated to pay a fifth, all the more so one who one misuses his body for something profane, for something not in the spirit of the Torah, or for a sin, chalilah, he is also considered as committing treachery and is obligated to pay a fifth. He is considered as having caused a blemish in all the Five Books of the Torah, since a person's limbs and organs are also considered as 'hekdesh' since Hashem has commanded a person to be holy, as it says (Vayikra 19:2) "You shall be holy, for holy am I, Hashem, your G-d". However reluctantly, a person's body is automatically hekdesh by the obligation of the Torah, and Hashem allows a person to use his body only for the sake of fulfilling Torah and mitzvot. One who sins by using his body for corrupt things and sins with his organs is misusing hekdesh. He is obligated to pay a fifth and has caused a flaw in all the Five Books.

Therefore, the Torah says (Vayikra 5:17) "If a person will sin and will commit one of all the commandments of Hashem that may not be done, but did not know and became guilty, he shall bear his iniquity". It is referring to a person who sins unintentionally, with no wicked intentions at all. Yet the Torah is clear that he has to bear the consequences, as is written "he shall bear his iniquity". This sin weighs on him like a heavy burden. "He shall bear" is from the term 'burden' – he carries the sin on his neck and he is obligated to immediately bring a guilt-offering for his mistake.

Why does the Torah consider this as something so serious? After all, his sin was unintentional and he did not intend to commit a wrong-doing?

This idea can be understood according to the concept that a person's body is considered as 'hekdesh' due to the command "You shall be holy". It is not one's personal possession to do with it as he likes, but it is consecrated for Hashem. All his limbs and organs have been designated as holy for one purpose – to perform the will of Hashem. When a person sins he is misusing 'hekdesh' and one who unintentionally sins in this way must pay the restitution and add a fifth to it and also bring a guilt-offering, even if it wasn’t his fault. This is the reason why an unintentional sin is considered as misusing something consecrated and carries the obligation to bring a guilt-offering to atone for his sin.

Now we can understand the Ben Ish Chai zya"a, that we quoted above. Tzaddikim completely consecrate their bodies for the sake of Hashem Yitbarach, without leaving any small part for themselves. They dedicate the entire spectrum of their thoughts, speech and deeds as holy for Hashem. Therefore in the future the angels will come and recite before them, "kadosh, kadosh, kadosh". The angels bear witness that they consecrated their bodies for the sake of Hashem in these three areas of holiness – in their thoughts, speech and deed.

May it be His will that we sanctify our bodies for Hashem Yitbarach and fulfill the command of Hashem "You shall be holy". May we merit being vigilant not to desecrate something designated as holy for heaven and not to profane our bodies, and instead use it only to increase purity and holiness and to fulfill Torah and mitzvot. Amen v'Amen.

Walking in Their Ways

Decisiveness Undermines Indecision

A young man merited becoming engaged to a fine, Jewish girl. But after the engagement, doubts began to creep into his mind. Maybe this was not his Heavenly-intended? Maybe he acted too hastily and the whole thing was one big mistake? His hesitations ate away at him, until he could not go through with the marriage and broke the engagement.

After some time, he became engaged again. This time, too, indecision gnawed at him. Eventually, he broke this engagement, as well. The same happened with the third and the fourth engagements. Each time, he was beset by uncertainty, which ultimately prevailed.

When kallah number five appeared on the scene, the couple came to see me in order to be blessed before their marriage. “Are you certain, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that this is your intended?” I asked him.

As expected, the man began having qualms, once again. I sincerely wished to help him and therefore asked him to leave the room for a few moments. After speaking with his kallah a bit, I realized that she was a real eishet chayil, a true Jewish daughter, who would make an excellent wife and help him build a solid Torah home. I decided that, this time, I was the one who would make the decision. This way, he would never have feelings of regret.

I asked the girl to leave the room while I spoke with the young man. “If you break this engagement, you will forfeit your true intended, and forego the opportunity of a lifetime, for after this one, you will never manage to build a Jewish home. This girl is your intended partner from Shamayim. There is no need to look elsewhere for your soul-mate.”

The young man heard my words and accepted them wholeheartedly. He married this wonderful young lady and, Baruch Hashem, lives a beautiful life with her.

The Haftarah

The haftarah of the week: "Shmuel said" (Shmuel I, 15:1)

The connection to the parsha: This week is Parshat Zachor; we read the haftarah which talks about annihilating Amalek for going to war against Yisrael at the time of Shaul HaMelech.

Ashkenazim read from "So said Hashem" (ibid 2)

Guard Your Tongue

Listen and Judge Favorably!

Sometimes, when someone talks negatively about his friend, it is a mitzva to listen, if he thinks that by hearing the whole story he will then be able to show the person, or the listeners, that the facts are not exactly as were implied or point out some other way of judging favorably.

Words of the Sages

 One Who Doesn’t Get the Message – Suffers

"He called to Moshe" (Vayikra 1:1)

The 'Likutei Batar Likutei' explains why the word 'vayikra' is written in the Torah with a small alef. Without the alef the word can be read as 'vayakar', an expression of chance, whereas 'vayikra' is an expression of Hashem calling a person.

Throughout life, a person experiences all kinds of challenges which all have one goal: to arouse the person and return him to his Creator. But, since people do not grasp the purpose and assume that the suffering is by chance, Hashem has to increase the dose of affliction, and one suffers greater and greater troubles.

After all this, one who still considers the events as chance occurrences, will have to suffer even bigger challenges– until he realizes that Hashem is calling him.

The 'Yalkut Me'am Lo'ez' brings a wonderful mashal to enhance our understanding of this concept:

A group of hunters managed to capture a fox in the heart of the forest. The fox, realizing that his end was near with little chance of escaping, decided to pretend that he was dead. He lay on the floor completely still, and hoped that the hunters would leave him alone.

But they had a completely different plan for him. With great alarm, the fox suddenly heard that one of the hunters was planning to cut off his tail. His whole body started trembling but he realized that if his life was dear to him he must bear these pains with love, and not move in the slightest despite the enormous pain that he will experience when they cut off his tail.

Thinking that with this his ordeal was finished, he was shocked to hear one of the hunter's talking about extracting one of his teeth in order to sell it for a large sum.

Once again the fox suffered in silence, realizing that if he wished to remain alive – he must co-operate.

After surviving the tooth-extraction, the fox sighed with relief. However, his relief was short lived when he realized what they were planning next… "Oh no," wailed the terrified fox, "they wish to skin me!"

Knowing that without a doubt this was a prescription for certain death, he leapt into the air and took off. It took a few seconds for the hunters to get over their astonishment of this 'resurrection of the dead' and by that time he was already far away, in the thick of the forest…

"How stupid", the fox tormented himself, "that I thought about running away only once I had already lost my tail and tooth… Had I done so right away I would not have had to part with them."

The nimshal is clear: When Hashem wants to arouse a person, He first tries to get his attention by sending a challenge to someone close to him. If this does not serve as wake-up call, he has to suffer personally. At first these will be small things, like the washing machine breaking down or losing one's purse, but if he still doesn’t get the message – worse tribulations will befall him.

In the end, he will be left with no option and will repent fully. It is worth it for him to do so before he loses his most precious possessions!

When a button fell off the Chatam Sofer's coat, he would immediately call out: "Ribbono Shel Olam! Okay, I got the message, I don’t need any more than this…"

From the Treasury

Rabbi David Hanania Pinto

For the Sake of Heaven

"When a man among you brings an offering to Hashem" (Vayikra 1:2)

Hashem commanded to bring offerings, which should be 'among you' – meaning free of any shards of impurity or connection to the satan. It should be pure and refined without any touch of contamination.

Indeed only pure animals were selected as being fit to be brought as offerings. Impure animals possess a large percentage of impurity. The holy books tell us that an impure animal contains no spark of sanctity for one to rectify, and is an address for forces of impurity, therefore Hashem Yitbarach forbade bringing them in to His Sanctuary in order not to profane the mizbeach (altar), chalila.

This idea also applies in a more comprehensive way: It is a lesson for us that all our deeds must be pure and unsoiled, simply for the sake of heaven, without any trace of lust or personal desires.

My holy grandfather, Harav Hatzaddik Rabbi Chaim Pinto HaKatan zya"a, once participated in a seudat mitzvah and as he was accustomed to do, he sang and played music with an instrument called an 'ud', to praise and glorify Hashem. When Harav Chaim heard that the arak had finished, he asked for a hammer and nail and then proceeded to bang a hole in the wall. Suddenly, to the amazement of all those present – arak started flowing out of the wall and filled the bottles and cups. Only when the simcha finished did Rabbeinu utter a few words and then the arak stopped flowing.

I heard this story from people who actually saw the hole in the wall and told me about this wonderful miracle. It is simply miraculous, an expression of "The will of those who fear Him He will do". Without a doubt, had the participants been drinking arak for their own pleasure or in order to get drunk, chalilah, Hashem would not have performed this miracle for them. Due to Rabbeinu's remarkable piety and righteousness, partaking of the arak was entirely l'shem shamayim, to bring him to a state of joy so that He could honor Hashem with song and praise.

We must realize that even our private actions should be performed l'shem shamayim, and then the shechina will rest in our endeavors and we will find favor in Hashem's eyes.

If this is the way that our ancestors behaved, l'shem shamayim, all the more so our forefathers, who were the fathers of the nation, achieved this level. Certainly when they offered korbanot, they did so with pure intentions for the sake of Hashem, and when they brought the offerings they considered it as if they were sacrificing their own blood.

Avraham Avinu's actions at the Akeida are a proof of this attitude. He was commanded to sacrifice his only son and he rejoiced at the ability to be able to perform Hashem's will. His joy was boundless and didn’t let up even when he raised the knife to slaughter his son. When the angel called out and commanded him not to touch his son, he desperately sought a way to gratify Hashem and he wasn’t appeased until he found a ram that he could bring as an offering. As he slaughtered the ram he imagined to himself that he is offering his son, as it says (Bereishit 22:13), "He took the ram and offered it up as an offering instead of his son". Chazal explain that as he slaughtered the ram he had in mind that it should be in place of his beloved son Yitzchak.

Pearls of the Parsha

A Small Alef and a Big Alef

"He called to Moshe" (Vayikra 1:1)

The Rebbe Reb Bunim of Pashischa, said in the name of the holy 'Ba'al Hatanya' zt"l, that when his grandson (later to be the 'Tzemach Tzedek') started learning the alef beit, he said that there are three kinds of alef; a big alef, a small alef and the regular alef.

The Book 'Divrei Hayamim' starts with the word 'adam' which is written with a big alef. This implies that Adam Harishon was a great man, but he considered himself great and because of his pride he sinned.

On the other hand, "He called to Moshe" (vayikra), is written with a small alef, implying that Moshe Rabbeinu was also a great person, as we are told (Bamidbar 12:8), "Mouth to mouth do I speak to him", but he considered himself small, as a previous verse tell us, "Now the man Moshe was exceedingly humble".

Reb Bunim of Peshischa expounds on this idea by bringing a mashal:

To what can this be compared? To a small bird that goes up to the roof. Although the roof is high, the bird remains as small as it always was…

So too with Moshe Rabbeinu; he ascended to heaven in order to receive the Torah, Hashem Himself called out to him, but in his own eyes he remained unimportant, no more significant than others.

Rabbi Akiva and the Fiftieth Gate

"He called to Moshe" (Vayikra 1:1)

The Gaon HaKadosh, the 'Chida', writes a sublime explanation in his book 'Chomat Enoch', as to why 'vayikra' is written with a small alef. These are his words:

"Vayikra is written with a small alef. The 'Kat Hakodmin' z"l explains that this is a hint for the fifty gates of binah, of which Moshe Rabbeinu achieved only forty-nine of them.

This idea is hinted to here over at the time when Hashem called him. Moshe Rabbeinu achieved an extremely high level, he arrived at the forty-ninth gate, but did not achieve the fiftieth. The small alef hints to the fact that he was still missing one gate. The Chida continues: According to this Chazal, the word 'זעירא' (small) stands forזה רבי עקיבא ישיג אותו, according to the Ari z"l, who writes that Rabbi Akiva did indeed achieve the fiftieth gate.

The Approach for Gifted Children

"On your every offering shall you offer salt" (Vayikra 2:13)

Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt"l was of the opinion that one must nurture talented children, unlike most people who only invest in the weaker children. He used to say that a gifted child requires an exceptionally sharp Rebbe in order to teach him Torah. He based his reasoning on the above verse "On your every offering shall you offer salt". The Tosefta teaches us that even if the meal-offering is based on salt, it must be offered with an additional measure of salt.

From here we learn, Rabbi Shlomo Zalman derived, that even when talking about a shrewd and gifted child, he also needs the addition of salt, meaning encouragement and true guidance in learning. He must be taught on a higher level, in line with his extraordinary talents.

The Mistake is Caused by Overlooking

"If the entire assembly of Israel shall err, and a matter became obscured from the eyes of the congregation" (Vayikra 4:13)

The 'Ohr Hachaim' hakadosh zya"a explained that if Gedolei Yisrael refrain from rebuking the people in order to prevent them from sinning, it can result in the fulfilment of "One sin leads to another sin". This negligence will lead them to err and they will permit something that the Torah forbids.

The above verse hints to this idea: "If the entire assembly of Israel shall err", meaning if the congregation sins unintentionally because they were not rebuked, then "a matter became obscured from the eyes of the congregation". This has the effect that the Torah will be hidden from the Sanhedrin, who are considered as "the eyes of the congregation", and they will allow something that is actually forbidden.

Men of Faith

The esteemed Maran Rabbi Chaim Pinto zya"a, who used to live in Mogador, moved his family to 'Dar Labida' towards the end of his life, where he remained until his passing.

After he was niftar, his entire family remained in Dar Labida, besides his son, the great tzaddik and miracle-worker, Rabbi Moshe Ahron zya"a. He wished to remain in Mogador. He felt a strong connection to his father's house in Mogador, which for so many years had served as a bastion for all those who sought direction and was the address for any embittered soul or needy person. He could not entertain the thought of seeing this special home abandoned and forsaken.

In addition, right next to the house stood the famous Beit Haknesset of Rabbi Chaim zya"a, where the light that was ablaze day and night continued to burn even after Rabbi Chaim's passing. Due to this, the tzaddik Rabbi Moshe Ahron decided to remain in his father's home, until he later moved to Ashdod, in Eretz Yisrael.

His decision to remain in Mogador was also combined with another motive. Many years ago, the tzaddik Rabbi Hadan zya"a, a son of Rabbi Chaim HaGadol zya"a, had given a quarter of the house as a gift to the Shamash of the Beit Haknesset, Rabbi Saliman ben Zakri, on the condition that he never sell his share to anyone his entire life.

Eventually Rabbi Saliman was niftar, and his inheritors relocated to Eretz Yisrael. Rabbi Moshe Ahron was concerned that his inheritors would now wish to sell their portion of the house, and who knows in whose hands it will end up. In light of his concern, the tzaddik Rabbi Moshe Ahron Pinto zya"a purchased that quarter of the house for himself, so that the entire house remained in the possession of the illustrious Pinto family, together with the Beit Haknesset, which will never be sold or exchanged, right until the arrival of Mashiach.

In the merit of the tzaddik Rabbi Moshe Ahron Pinto zya"a, the holy house in Mogador remained as a bastion even after the passing of the esteemed Rabbi Chaim Pinto zya"a, and all those who sought solace came to the house to pray and pour out their hearts before Hashem. Until today it is a holy site that attracts people from all over the world, a holy house where people gather to pray and learn.

Food for Thought

Offering a Korban in our Day

"You shall salt your every meal-offering with salt" (Vayikra 2:13)

The Pele Yoetz', Harav Eliezer Papo, writes in his book 'Elef Hamagen', that the word 'melach' (salt) contains the same letters as the word 'machal' (forgive), whereas the word 'timlach' (you shall salt) can be rearranged to spell 'timchal'.

This is a hint to the fact that the greatest korban that a person can offer to Hashem, is to yield and forgive one's friend, even if according to the letter of the law he is correct. When a Jewish person gives in, there is no more elevated korban than this. (Rabbeinu the'Ayelet Hashachar', Rabbi Ahron Leib Steinman zt"l, used to say that from giving in one never loses out!)

Nowadays, when we no longer have a Beit Hamikdash nor a Kohen to atone for us, the korban that we can actually offer Hashem is to forgive and forego.

Every time we surrender to a friend, neighbour or spouse, we should remind ourselves that we are in actual fact bringing a korban to Hashem.


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