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להבדיל בין הטמא ובין הטהור ובין החיה הנאכלת ובין החיה אשר לא תאכל

To distinguish between the contaminated and the pure, and between the creature that may be eaten and the creature that may not be eaten. (11:47)

Due to the spiritual repugnance associated with maachalos asuros, forbidden foods, they affect and compromise the Jewish consciousness, which is particularly sensitive to spiritual incursion. Thus, a Jew whose body has been satiated and nourished on tarfus, unkosher, unclean foods, lacks the spiritual finesse and ethical/moral qualities inherent to Jews who are spiritually refined. Throughout the millennia, Jews have sacrificed themselves to remain loyal to the Torah’s code concerning the laws of kashrus, maintaining a strong degree of personal stringency in adhering to its halachic demands. The following episode demonstrates how a grandfather’s fidelity to the laws of kashrus impacted…

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ויאמר משה אל אהרן הוא אשר דבר ד' לאמר בקרבי אקדש ועל פני כל העם אכבד וידם אהרן

And Moshe said to Aharon: Of this did Hashem speak, saying: “I will be sanctified through those who are nearest Me; thus, I will honored before the entire people”, and Aharon was silent. (10:3)

Horav Shlomo Levinstein, Shlita, relates that he heard from Rav Eliezer Yehudah Finkel, son of Horav Eliyahu Baruch Finkel, zl, that the Rosh Yeshivah told him the following thought two weeks prior to his petirah, untimely passing. The thought is a powerful insight into Aharon HaKohen’s reaction – or better, non reaction, to the tragic death of two of his sons, Nadav and Avihu. Rashi observes that following the tragedy, Moshe Rabbeinu rendered a powerful eulogy for his nephews. Moshe said to Aharon, “My brother, I knew that Hashem would sanctify His Sanctuary with His beloved close ones. I figured…

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וישא אהרן את ידיו אל העם ויברכם... ויברכו את העם וירא כבוד ד' אל כל העם

Aharon raised his hands towards the people and blessed them… and they blessed the people – and the glory of Hashem appeared to the entire people. (9:22,23)

A person can follow all the rules, do all that is expected of him; yet, without that special blessing, that prayer, that everything he has done find favor in the eyes of Hashem, it could all be for naught. Klal Yisrael had done it all, executed everything in accordance with the direction of Moshe Rabbeinu; still, the Shechinah, Divine Presence, had not reposed upon the Sanctuary. Something was missing. Only after they received the blessing of Moshe and Aharon did the work achieve fruition, and Hashem’s Shechinah reposed on the Mishkan. One can have the correct and proper intentions; his…

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ויהי ביום השמיני קרא משה לאהרן ולבניו ולזקני ישראל

It was on the eighth day, Moshe summoned Aharon and his sons and the elders of Yisrael. (9:1)

Thrice daily, we recite the prayer, Al ha’tzaddikim v’al ha’chassidim v’al ziknei amcha Bais Yisrael v’al pleitas bais sofreihem, “(May Your mercies be aroused) upon the righteous, upon the pious, upon the elders of Your People, the House of Yisrael, upon the remnant of their sages.” We must recite this prayer with consummate kavanah, intention/devotion. Chazal understood the value to the Jewish People of these varied leaders, without whom we would not exist as a people. We rely on them, and we are unable to function without them. Therefore, it is our obligation to pray for their continued good health….

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