March 19th, 2022

16th of Adar II 5782


The Virtue of Haste in Performing Mitzvot

Rabbi David Hanania Pinto

"Command Aharon and his sons, saying: This is the law of the burnt-offering: It is the burnt-offering [that stays] on the flame, on the Mizbeach, all night until the morning, and the fire of the Mizbeach should be kept aflame on it" (Vayikra 6:2).

Rashi explains that Tzav, command, is an expression of urging. The Kohanim are being urged to be especially zealous in performing this service, not only in that specific era, but for all generations. Rabbi Shimon adds, this exhortation is especially relevant to commandments that involve monetary loss, such as the burnt-offering mentioned in this verse. What was the loss? Since all the meat of this offering is burned on the Mizbeach, the Kohen does not receive anything at all. In addition, the Kohen was busy day and night slaughtering the animal, burning it on the Mizbeach and separating the ashes. Then the Kohen had to change his clothes and remove the ash to the outside of the camp. Since this offering involved a lot of effort with no benefit, the Torah had to urge Aharon and his sons to be zealous in its performance.

But, how can we G-d forbid suspect Aharon HaKohen and his sons of being lax with this offering simply because of loss?

With siyata di'Shmaya I would like to suggest the following answer. It is natural for man to hasten to perform a deed when he derives benefit from it. In such a case he will not invent excuses to be lazy. We come across this often in our daily lives. If a family is about to go on vacation and they have to wake up early to catch a flight, they will certainly not take their time getting up because of the personal bias and pleasure involved. They do not wish to miss their flight and suffer a loss. Or if someone has an early morning business flight, he will surely have no problem jumping out of bed. But if he has to get up for Shacharit and is tired because he went to bed late, then even though this prayer is considered like the Tamid-offering, the Yetzer Hara will come up with many excuses as to why he should not rush to get up. For example, he reminds the person how little he slept, and other reasons which stress how he will lose out if he doesn’t stay in bed.

G-d forbid for us to suspect Aharon HaKohen and his sons of being lax with the burnt-offering because of monetary loss. Nevertheless there is a special warning in the verse because the Torah understands man's nature. Whether great or ordinary, people are less energetic when it comes to matters that involve loss. Through Aharon HaKohen performing this service with haste, he will serve as an example for his sons and all Am Yisrael, as Rashi writes, "… for now and for all future generations." This will be a lasting lesson on the importance of haste when performing mitzvot.

We can take this further with a wonderful thought: When a person realizes a certain mitzvah is important, he begins to consider what it involves. But sometimes, after all his calculations, he may decide to forgo the mitzvah opportunity. Therefore, a person should not reckon whether he will lose out from doing the mitzvah, for this could lead to a lack of performance, or only partial fulfillment with noticeable laziness.

The Torah urges the Kohanim since they do understand the greatness of the elevation-offering which atones for improper thoughts and deliberations. Due to its significance, the Yetzer Hara tries hard to prevent the Kohanim from performing the avoda quickly, and thereby Bnei Yisrael will G-d forbid remain blemished in their avodat Hashem.

My esteemed father zy"a would always say, "Alacrity is half the task done." Meaning, when a person decides to perform a mitzvah, he should immediately rush to take action. This alacrity is considered half the mitzvah, and then from the power of this half, he will receive siyata di'Shmaya to complete the mitzvah. This is the virtue of a tzaddik who sanctifies his thoughts and immediately adjoins thought to action, so as not to pass up on the opportunity.

Walking in Their Ways

Charity Saves from Death

Hashem does abundant miracles and acts of kindness for us every single day. Of course we must thank Him for all the good, but it is important to realize that man does not fulfill his obligation with thanks alone. The most important form of appreciation is to draw ever closer to Hashem, study His Torah and observe His mitzvot.

The following is a true story. There are two dear brothers, Chaim and Yitzchak Weiner, who donated our temporary beit knesset in Ashdod. Sometime later they promised me a donation of 9,000 dollars. Time passed and I asked Mr. Moshe Gofs to approach them and remind them about their promise, and urge them with the verse from Mishlei, "Charity saves from death."

R' Moshe did as I asked and reminded Yitzchak Weiner about the donation, encouraging him with the above verse. Yitzchak hurried to give me the full sum, and later when his brother Chaim entered my office, he said he wishes to double the donation and give me another 9,000 dollars, so the total contribution will amount to 18,000 dollars, the numerical value of chai, life (18). This happened on a Thursday night; Friday morning these two brothers flew with a private plane on a business trip. During the journey, Yitzchak asked his brother Chaim why he added to the amount they agreed upon. Chaim answered, "What about you? Do you not agree?" Yitzchak replied that he does not object. They were still in the middle of their conversation, when suddenly to their horror, both engines shut down. The plane plummeted and crashed, and the pilot was killed. Miraculously, the two brothers survived. Chaim lost consciousness, and Yitzchak was in a critical state due to a piece of metal that fell on him, but with Hashem's kindness, both recovered completely.

When I spoke to them they immediately exclaimed, "We are so grateful you reminded us to keep our promise. We saw clearly that this charity saved our lives!" I replied, "And what will you say to the Creator of the world who saved you?!" "A thousand times thank you!" was their answer. "We thank Him wholeheartedly for saving us from a terrible fate."

I explained to the brothers that when a person experiences a miracle, whether big or small, the greatest form of thanks is to draw closer to Hashem and strengthen his mitzvah observance. Just saying thank you is not enough. Appreciation is something that passes and we do not always remember it, while if a person strengthens his connection to Hashem, he proves to Hashem how much he loves Him. To truly feel, "But as for me, Hashem's nearness is my good," is the greatest expression of thanks.

Words of the Sages

Yichud With a Safe??

Rashi at the beginning of the Parshah clarifies the word Tzav, command – the name of the Parshah. "Tzav is an expression of urging, hurrying, for now and all future generations. Rabbi Shimon said, the Torah has to urge in a place of monetary loss."

The extent to which a person must be urged in a case of monetary loss is clarified by the Noam Elimelech: "Serving Hashem should be done with alacrity and good middot. One who serves Hashem with lethargy and lack of enthusiasm, is missing the "body", for the body is the pocket (כיס) and sheath for the soul. This is the meaning of Rashi, that people need great encouragement in a case of monetary loss (חיסרון כיס), or else they may serve Hashem languidly."

Rabbi Gamliel Rabinowitz shlit"a relates an amazing story about one of the great Roshei Yeshivot of the previous generation, who traveled abroad extensively in support of his yeshiva. The story demonstrates the importance of caution when it comes to monetary matters.

As every year, the Rosh Yeshiva went to the home of a certain distinguished philanthropist. With great respect, he welcomed the Rosh Yeshiva into his luxurious lounge. A small safe stood on an ornate table, from which he would withdraw a respectable sum for another year of support for the yeshiva.

During the visit, while they were conversing pleasantly, the philanthropist excused himself for a few minutes. He apologized to the esteemed Rosh Yeshiva for having to interrupt his visit, and asked permission to leave for only a few minutes, following which he would immediately return.

To his surprise, when he returned a few moments later, he saw the Rosh Yeshiva standing outside, waiting for him at the entrance to the room.

"Why did you leave the room?" the host asked in surprise, "I said I would come back immediately."

"I feared for my soul, due to an explicit Gemara," the Rosh Yeshiva replied. "Chazal say (Baba Batra 164b), 'There are three sins which challenge a person every day… Most stumble with theft.'

"So I thought to myself, if for the sin of immorality with which only the minority stumble, Chazal established the laws of yichud to distance a person from this offense, all the more so when it comes to the sin of theft which is much more common, I must certainly be stringent and be afraid of yichud – of remaining alone in the room with a safe full of money that does not belong to me! That is why I left the room…"

The rich man was amazed at the righteousness of this Torah sage, who was not ashamed to say this about himself! On the spot he doubled his contribution several times over!

The Sabbatical Year

1. Peirot shevi'it fit for human consumption should not be fed to animals and poultry. If on its own accord an animal goes over to a tree and eats from it, one is not obligated to chase him away, since it says, "And for your animal and for the beast that is in your land shall all its crop be to eat."

2. Animal food that has kedushat shevi'it may be fed to a non-Jew's animal.

3. Peirot shevi'it should not be given to a non-Jew.

4. One may cut a fruit even though he intends to eat only half, even if this will cause the remaining half to become inedible more quickly. This is because it is permissible to do an indirect act that will result in eventual waste of peirot shevi'it, particularly if it is a result of eating peirot shevi'it.

5. A father must educate his children (who have reached the age of chinuch) not to waste food with kedushat shevi'it, due to the obligation of chinuch. He must accustom his children not to transgress even rabbinical prohibitions.

6. One may give peirot shevi'it to a baby, even though a baby normally causes some of the food to go to waste by crumbling and soiling the leftovers. This is because it is considered an indirect act which is permitted.

7. One may also give a baby a whole banana (which grew at the beginning of the seventh year and has kedushat shevi'it), even though he knows the leftovers will be unappealing and therefore wasted. If the baby leaves over a substantial amount that is still appealing, one should wrap it before throwing it in the garbage. If it is possible to give the baby only part of the fruit and prevent waste, it is better to do so.

8. Some say that food leftovers should not be placed in the sun or in a place that will attract flies, mosquitoes, bees, fleas, or any kind of insects, since this causes the food to become unfit for human consumption. Similarly, one should not place leftover food outside where snow could fall on it and render it inedible.

Some say that since one does not bring about the loss with one's own hands, it is not considered as wasting peirot shevi'it. This is the ruling that is generally followed.

For any questions in practical application of these halachot, please consult a rabbinical authority.

From the Treasury

Rabbi David Hanania Pinto

Do Not Despair of any Jewish Soul

"A permanent fire shall remain aflame on the Mizbeach; it shall not be extinguished" (Vayikra 6: 6).

Rashi explains: "The fire about which it says 'continually', should be used to kindle the lights, as it says, 'to kindle the light continually.'"

One can suggest that lights refer to souls. The Torah requires the human heart to always be aflame with the fire of the Torah, not only for the person's own sake, but also for others. Man should use that "permanent fire" aflame within him to benefit lost souls, so they too may warm themselves from the fire of Torah.

We should never despair of any soul since we never know when this person's time will come. Hashem wishes to dwell in the lower world, as it says, "They shall make a Sanctuary for Me so I may dwell among them" (Shemot 25:8). It says "among them" and not "among it" for Hashem dwells inside each Jewish heart.

Why did Hashem, the epitome of Holiness, want to rest His Presence among materialistic mankind and not among His Ophanim and Seraphim who are entirely sacred and spiritual? Why did He want to dwell in This World, where spirituality has to co-exist with materialism?

The reason is because Hashem seeks and loves the devotion His children show to him. Although they have to battle their Yetzer Hara, they transcend and overcome their tendencies, and with supreme heroism, they overcome their Yetzer Hara and submit to the yoke of Heaven. If someone distances himself from Torah and mitzvot, he is considered a lost soul who's Yetzer Hara prevailed over him. But since Hashem nevertheless gives man the opportunity and wants to dwell among us, even though sometimes the Yetzer Hara is victorious, we too must draw close those lost souls who were captured by the Yetzer Hara.

Even a Jew who at present is far from a religious way of life, if we enlighten him he may have the strength to sacrifice for the sake of Hashem, and then Hashem will rest His Presence with him too. Every lost soul that returns to its source is like building another Mishkan for Hashem.

The Torah writes, "Moshe erected the Mishkan" (Shemot 8:18). And these words are what will be said about someone who brings merit to the public. "See how many mishkanot you merited establishing! All those mishkanot were until now broken and shattered, but you, with your self-sacrifice and devotion, re-established them. Therefore the merit is credited to you!"

How many tears do we shed, and how much do we pray, for the success of our children's education! We invest thought and ask advice, how and what to do, so they may grow up to be G-d fearing Jews who serve Him faithfully. And so here is proven advice for raising G-d-fearing children – zikui harabim. Each person should consider how he can bring merit to others and return wayward sons to our Father in heaven. One is capable of giving Torah shiurim, someone else has the talent of infusing others with joy, while yet another excels in hospitality. This then may be his mission, to host those who have gone astray and bring them closer to Hashem, through giving them a taste of the holiness and delights of Shabbat.

Zecher Tzaddik Livracha

Rabbi Shimon Yehoshua Chirari zt"l

Already in his youth, Rabbi Shimon Yehoshua Chirari zt"l showed signs of greatness in Torah and yirat Shamayim. And so when he was just sixteen years old, he was appointed Rav of Thamesert, by the gaon Rabbi Chaim Churi zt"l.

Upon immigrating to Eretz Yisrael, he settled in Tel Aviv and established it as a center of Torah. He founded the Pituchei Chotem institutions, from kindergartens to kollelim for avreichim, and they comprised more than 700 students. During the period when Rabbi Ovadia Yosef served as Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv, the two would meet every Friday and study Torah together.

Rabbi Shimon was known as a tremendous genius both in the revealed and hidden Torah. He was exceptionally well-versed in all areas of Shas. He had extraordinary depth of knowledge of the entire Shas, and when speaking to him on any sugya, he would delve into it with ingenuity and keen perception. During his life he merited publishing more than 60 sefarim on both the revealed and hidden Torah. For many years he used to get up at midnight and engage in Torah until morning; even when he was sick and weak he did not forsake Torah study, and even when walking he was immersed in Torah.

Bringing other Jews under the wings of the Shechinah was his mission in life, which he accomplished through the Torah and halacha shiurim he delivered in batei knesset. In particular, he encouraged his listeners to study the Zohar. He founded the 'HaZohar HaYomi' project, a daily study of the Zohar, completing it once a year.

Rabbi Shimon had the custom of gathering his disciples every Rosh Chodesh and travelling to gravesites of tzaddikim, where he prayed for national and individual salvation. They had a fixed route and visited the gravesites of several Tanna'im. Once they spent longer than usual praying at the gravesite of one of the Tanna'im. Since it was already late, they had to skip the gravesite of the holy Tanna, Rabbi Yosi Daman Yokrat zt"l. The next morning after the Shacharit prayers, Rabbi Shimon turned to his talmidim and said: "The Tanna Rabbi Yosi Daman Yokrat appeared to one of us last night in a dream." (Due to his great humility, Rabbi Shimon did not want to say Rabbi Yosi appeared to him, so he rather said "one of us.") "He expressed dissatisfaction that we did not come to him to pray at his gravesite. Therefore we will now cancel our study session and travel to his gravesite…"

One of his followers, a student at the Pituchei Chotem Talmud Torah in Tel Aviv, spoke about a unique form of Rabbi Shimon's avodat Hashem. At this Talmud Torah they were particular to give a hot, nutritious, plentiful lunch to the students.

"Once when I entered the kitchen," the student related, "I saw a large sign on the kitchen wall displaying a prayer to Hashem. I asked the cook, 'What is the idea of this prayer?'

"The cook answered: 'Rabbi Chirari asked that before I prepare food for the students who study Torah, I should recite this prayer so the food should be prepared in holiness and purity, and it will then give the students great strength to study Torah!'"

Rabbi Shimon was very careful about the dignity and feelings of others, and so, for example, he did not ask those who were called to read from the Torah to give a donation for the beit knesset, nor did he allow the gabbaim to go around the beit knesset collecting charity, so as not to embarrass anyone who could not donate. He never wanted to be famous and fled from honor, referring to himself as "The simple old man." He also instructed to write on his tombstone, "This is the tombstone of the simple old man."

And yet he became famous as one possessing Divine Inspiration, and many who heard of his miracles turned to him for advice and blessings.


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