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ואת החסידה

And the chasidah (11:19)

An interesting name for a non-kosher fowl. Rashi adds to the ambiguity with his reason for the name chasidah. This bird performs kindness with others of its species by sharing food with them. This is supposedly a compassionate bird, because it shares. Furthermore, its compassion is even noted by its given name – all the more reason that it should be included among the kosher birds. The Chassidic Masters explains that selective chesed with one’s own species, while ignoring the plight of other species, is far from admirable. Jews are not exclusive in their chesed activities. We help everyone. This…

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ואחיכם כל בית ישראל יבכו את השרפה אשר שרף ד'

And your brethren, the entire House of Yisrael, shall bewail the conflagration which Hashem ignited. (10:6)

When we look around today at the Torah world, we are amazed that in a short period of time of some seventy years, we have gone from a nation of broken Jewry, to a world of Torah study unlike anything in previous times. While the numbers of committed, scholarly Torah Jews have probably increased with the level of Torah study and erudition achieved in our yeshivos unlike anything one can remember, the quality of Jewish commitment, the abrogation of materialism that bespoke the average European Jews, is no longer. We may know more and daven longer and understand what we…

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ראשכם אל תפרעו ובגדיכם לא תפרמו ולא תמתו...ואחיכם כל בית ישראל יבכו את השרפה אשר שרף ד'

Do not leave your heads unshorn and do not rend your garments that you not die… And your brethren the entire House of Yisrael shall bewail the conflagration that Hashem ignited. (10:6)

Two reactions, two varied responses to the same occurrence. The Kohanim were not to interrupt the joy of their service – despite the tragic passing of two of their own. On the other hand, Klal Yisrael must mourn the deaths of two saintly Kohanim. The people must mourn; the Kohanim, however, must continue their joyful service. Two opposites – how is it possible? If it is a joyful occasion, be joyful. If it is a sad time, be sad. How do we reconcile two contradictory emotional responses to the same occurrence? Horav Gamliel Rabinowitz, Shlita, understands that there are vantage…

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בקרבי אקדש ועל פני כל העם אכבד

I will be sanctified through those who are nearest to Me, thus I will be honored before the entire People. (10:3)

Bikrovai ekadeish, “I will be sanctified through those nearest to Me,” are two words that instill fear and awe, because they are words that are often uttered following a tragedy in which the best, those closest to Hashem, are taken from within our midst. One who is exposed to greater inspiration, to greater Heavenly illumination – whose spiritual cognition is more profound – is on a higher spiritual plane. He is nearer to Hashem; therefore, more is expected of him. Horav Chaim Zaitchik, zl, explains that this was the reason for the punishment received by the mekoshesh eitzim, one who…

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