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  • Rav Moshe Weiss

Nahar U'Pashtei Parshas Tazria-Metzora

נהר ופשטיה Nahar U’Pashtei A Weekly Insight From מרן הרה״ג ר׳ שלו׳ ראובן פיינשטיין שליט״א לע״נ משה בן צבי אלטע שרה חנה בת אליהו מירל בת משה Issue #119 פרשת תזריעמצורע/ספירה


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Kavod HaTorah

Starting from the second day of Pesach, we begin counting the Omer. This is the beginning of the period known as the Yemei Hasefirah, which serve as a step-by-step preparation for kabbalas haTorah. Indeed, many people choose a middah to work on each day, or perhaps they study the forty-eight kinyani Torah, all in the quest of readying themselves to connect to Torah and its greatness. There are Kabalistic implications to these days as well, again, striving to reach Shavuous on a level of greatness. But then, later in our history, the same time period was when R’ Akiva’s 24,000 students died. Thousands upon thousands of Torah scholars died during this period of Sefirah, and so much potential Torah was lost forever. This tragedy prompted Chazal to enact a period of mourning during the Yemei Hasefirah for future generations. And so, we are now presented each year with these precious days leading up to mattan Torah, but they are steeped in sadness as well. Was it just happenstance that brought these two goals together; to mourn, and to prepare ourselves? Or did Chazal intend for us to utilize both attitudes together? The answer lies in uncovering why it was that so many of the great R’ Akiva’s disciples were killed. Chazal tell us that it was because they did not act with honor toward each other. Now, of course this does not mean that they engaged in petty fights and the like. These were extremely pious individuals, as great as Tanaim! Rather, it means that because they grew up together and knew each other from a young age, they did not properly revere one another for their Torah accomplishments. They were friendly with one another, and did not recognize and respect the honor of Torah that was really due their fellows to the utmost degree as they should have. Now, although this was indeed a small infraction even for men of their stature, the mesorah of Torah handed down through the generations could not pass through them. The chain of mesorah needed to pure and intact with kavod HaTorah to the fullest. Because these students failed to see past their friendship, and notice the grandeur of Torah, they were deemed unfit to carry the Torah forward. We have now, then, the reason we mourn these great men during Sefirah. As we get closer to Shavuous, we try and improve ourselves, and see what we can do better. What was I lacking in the past, and what can I do to make myself able to accept more of the Torah and its guidance? And perhaps we have this challenge as well! Is kavod HaTorah on the mantle it belongs in our lives and priorities? Or do we use it only when it comes in handy, and pay no real heed to those who embody it? Are we ready to accept and carry on the mesorah to the next generation, complete with the total reverence and acceptance of Torah? As the opportunity of kabalas HaTorah draws near, we should take a moment to mourn these great men, and realize that if we treat the talmidei chachomim we know with the right degree of honor that is due them, we too can have a chance to become part of the mesorah. A Project of the YSI Alumni Association Written by R’ Moshe Weiss


Nahar U_Pashtei Tazria Metzora
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