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“And these shall be impure to you among the creeping things that creep upon the earth: the weasel and the mouse, and the tortoise according to its variety.” (11:29)

There is an intriguing Midrash that comments on the word “v’zeh,” “and these,” with which our pasuk begins. Chazal tell us Hashem showed   Moshe   Rabbeinu  four  things  with   His  finger because Moshe was puzzled by them. He showed him how the shemen ha’mishchah, oil of anointing, was made. Second, He showed Moshe the work of the Menorah. Third, He showed him the creeping things that are ritually impure. Also, He showed him the moon, so that Moshe would know when the new month was to be sanctified. In each case the word “zeh,” this, was used to indicate a special emphasis…

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ואת אלה תשקצו מן העוף לא יאכלו... ואת החסידה

“These shall you abominate from among the birds, they may not be eaten…the chasidah.” (11:13,19)

What a beautiful name – chasidah! Rashi says that the chasidah truly was a bird that performed chesed, kindness – with members of its own specie. This is not an admirable trait. We Jews do not believe in selective, discriminatory, chesed. Rashi’s use of the word chavrosehah, its “friends”, seems to lend itself to a deeper thought. The term chaver/chibur means connection. When two people are connected with each other, they are considered chaveirim. The connection is of an equal and positive nature. There is something in common between the two. A reyah is a stronger form of friendship. In any…

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Moshe said to Aharon: “Come near to the Mizbayach…and provide atonement for yourself and for the people.” (9:7)

Aharon HaKohen was selected to represent Klal Yisrael to provide atonement for himself and the people. Why was Aharon chosen to represent Klal Yisrael? What unique quality did he manifest that made him worthy of being Kohen Gadol? The Targum Yonasan cited by Horav Yitzchak Zilberstein, Shlita, in his sefer, Aleinu Le’Shabeiach, on Parashas Ki Sisa writes that Moshe Rabbeinu, in his hesped, eulogy, for Aharon HaKohen cried out, “Woe is me for you, Aharon, my brother, were the pillar of prayer of Klal Yisrael.” The Netziv, z.l., questions Moshe’s description of Aharon as Klal Yisrael’s “pillar of prayer.” Was not…

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