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תפיני מנחת פתים תקריב

A repeatedly baked offering, broken into pieces. (6:14)

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The concept of petisah, pitim, breaking the minchah into pieces, applies to all Korbanos Minchah that are baked. The Korban Minchah brought by the Kohen Gadol is slightly different, but the requisite of pitim applies. The Korban Minchah is the korban of choice that the poor man offers, simply due to economics. Horav Aharon Bakst, zl, observes how far the Torah has gone in order to protect the feelings of the poor man (ani). His wealthy counterpart brings a fowl or sheep for a korban. It is large and takes a while to be consumed. The Korban Minchah “disappears” quickly when it is baked. It is hardly noticed. Thus, the Torah instructs us to break it into pieces in order to make the pan appear full. Likewise, we find the wings of fowl used for the korban of a poor man are burned on the Mizbayach. The odor that accompanies this burning is foul. Nonetheless, it is done, so that it appears that something special was burned on the Mizbayach. [The ani’s fowl is very small and would otherwise be consumed quickly.] We have other examples of the Torah’s sensitivity to the feelings of the poor man – anyone whose unfortunate circumstances contribute to his being downcast.

For a time, Horav Yisrael Salanter, zl, slept in a room together with his distinguished student, Horav Yitzchak Meltzan, zl, who was still single. They had two keys to the apartment: one which Rav Yisrael kept; and the other one which Rav Yitzchak held. One night, Rav Yitzchak left the apartment and forgot to take his key. Rav Yisrael was aware that his student had a communal engagement which would end late at night. Knowing the refined character traits of his student, he knew that he would not awaken his Rebbe in order to gain entry into the apartment. Therefore, to circumvent a problem, Rav Yisrael walked back and forth in front of the apartment on a frigid, wintry night, until way past midnight when Rav Yitzchak returned. This is but one example of nosei b’ole im chaveiro, carrying the yoke with one’s friend, or, constantly being aware of – and understanding – the needs of others.

The needs of our fellow are often self-contrived. In other words, one has convinced himself that he requires something – be it a distinguished lifestyle or public esteem and acclaim – when, in fact, the man is nothing more than a “legend in his own mind.” Nonetheless, this is what he needs. To deprive him of his moment of fame, his required joy, would, in some cases, be demoralizing and disheartening. Thus, we go along with his self-imposed demands for kavod, glory. In certain circumstances, this is all that he has.

Horav Zaidel Epstein, zl, was a mussar personality without peer. Yet (or perhaps because he was such a real baal mussar), he never sought any acclaim. He would learn on Friday night in the Agudah Minyan shul in Boro Park. In that shul, a certain man would deliver a shiur to a group of baalei batim, laymen. These were simple Jews who were not well- versed in Gemorah. Indeed, he would prepare the Gemorah, open it up to the correct page, and go around the table pointing to the place, so that they each would follow the shiur. He would then proceed to translate every single word into English to make sure that they each understood the lesson.

One winter night, in addition to the frigid air that accompanied it, a storm was raging outside, so that no one showed up for the shiur – except for the rebbe, and, of course, Rav Epstein, who was learning in his corner. Anyone who has ever prepared a shiur only to discover that no one was present to listen understands the feeling that enveloped the rebbe as he waited for his “students” to arrive. Sensing the rebbe’s emotional downturn, Rav Epstein walked over and asked if he could join the shiur for that night. He proceeded to sit down by the table as the rebbe held forth as if he were speaking at Madison Square Garden. He was nosei b’ole im chaveiro.

I heard the following story, for which I have no names. A rosh yeshivah whose success in attracting serious-minded students related that, for most of his years as a yeshivah student, he was an average student. He was never considered to be among the lions of the group. He learned, reviewed the shiur, understood as best as he could and went on. Then an incident occurred during which, he rose, to the astonishment of many, in an idiosyncratic manner to Torah distinction.

It was a regular Shabbos davening followed by Krias HaTorah, the Torah reading. He was given the honor of hagbah, lifting the Torah scroll, prior to its being unwrapped and returned to its rightful place in the Aron HaKodesh. The manner of lifting the Torah is raising it up in the air with the letters of the scroll facing the one who has hagbah. Once a year, hagbah, is performed the other way, with the letters facing the congregation – on Simchas Torah. When he had hagbah, he did a Simchas Torah hagbah to the mirthful reaction of everyone in the bais hamedrash. The laughter, accompanied by the remarks questioning his cognitive status, lasted throughout the morning. Later on, his Rosh Yeshivah, knowing full well that his actions were motivated by more than simple-mindedness, asked him why he had acted so. He explained that the student who had been called up to the last aliyah had stuttered terribly when he said the brachah. In order that this bachur’s difficulty not haunt him all day, he decided to flip the Torah around, so that the bachurim would have something else to think about that day. Ever since that day, the otzros ha’chochmah, treasure troves of wisdom, were opened up for him as he quickly rose to unprecedented spiritual heights. All because he was thoughtful of another fellow’s feelings.

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