Category Archives: Parshat ויקרא

Parshat ויקרא

Parshat ויקרא Leviticus 5:1 – Don’t Stand Idly By

Leviticus 5:1 And if a person sins and hears the demand for an oath, and he is [a] witness – has either seen or known of it – so that if he does not speak out, he shall bear his sin.

Gemora Baba Kama 56a: He shall bear his sin – vis-à-vis heavenly justice [he is guilty] but in terms of human courts he is not liable.

Torah Temimah Colloquial Translation on Note #27:

The reason why he is not liable in human courts is because [the witness who does not testify] is not directly causing the loss to the victim [by his not testifying]. The Gemora’s conclusion is that even a single witness is indeed still obligated to come forward and testify about what he knows. The commentaries explain that even though a single witness who does not come forward is exempt from the punishment of bringing a sacrifice [korban shavua] since, by himself, his testimony would not have been enough to convict the perpetrator; nevertheless he is still obligated to come forward and give testimony anyway. This is because his single testimony would be enough to cause the suspected perpetrator to have to undergo a biblical oath to protest his innocence. Sometimes, the suspected perpetrator would prefer to pay [the amount that the single witness claims is owed] rather than undergo such an oath. Therefore, we see that even a single witness could provide relief to the victim, even though failure to testify would not make him culpable for any punishment.

Nevertheless, this issue is still difficult to understand. The reason why this explanation above is difficult to understand is because the Gemora understands this posuk to refer to a case of two witnesses. This would include the whole posuk, even the second part that says “and he shall bear his sin”. (This is explained in the previous commentary that the whole posuk is dealing with a case of two witnesses.) If this is the case, then how could one possibly deduce from some type of forced logic that a single witness also has to testify since the perpetrator might not want to swear, etc. The commentaries have, in fact, toiled hard to explain this. See the notes of the Choshen Mishpat, Section 28.

[Consequently], it seems to me that the true obligation of a single witness to testify is not because of the section in our posuk where it says “he will bear his sin”. Rather the source of the requirement for a single witness to testify is actually from a different lesson in Torat Cohanim on Parshat Kedoshim on the posuk “do not stand idly by while your brother’s blood is spilt”. There the Torat Cohanim comments “from where do we know that if you have knowledge, that it is not appropriate for you to keep silent? [The source] is from this posuk: don’t stand idly by while your brother’s blood is spilt”.

The issue is that everyone is obligated to save his friend from any trouble that he may be in. This applies whether the trouble is physical danger or monetary trouble. Therefore, since even a single witness can bring some [relief] to the victim. As we explained above this would be through requiring the suspected perpetrator to take a biblical oath, and perhaps the person would rather pay than swear. It is therefore clear that even a single witness has some ability to assist a victim. Due to this fact, he is, [of course] required to testify.

Additionally, it is clear in my eyes that even though the Gemora doesn’t mention this posuk in Parshat Kedoshim, nevertheless I am practically positive that the main source for the single witness to testify is from the posuk in Parshat Kedoshim [about not standing idly by] and from the lesson learned from that posuk by Torat Cohanim. We already know about similar lessons derived from this same posuk in Parshat Kedoshim. For example, in Gemora Sanhedrin 73a where it asks “from where do we know that a person who sees his friend drowning in the sea or he sees that thieves are about to come upon his friend, that one is obligated to save him? The answer is: Don’t stand idly by while your brother’s blood is spilt.”

[Keep in mind] that the word “blood” also can mean “money”. This is how we know that our posuk of not standing idly by is also the source of the law requiring one to help if one sees someone attempting to steal from one’s friend through false statements.

Editor’s Note: The Torah Temimah takes this opportunity to bring a lesson from another parsha to remind us that the commandment to “not stand idly by” applies to every possible difficulty and issue in which you can perhaps assist your friend. You are guilty in the eyes of heaven if you could have assisted and you didn’t.


Parshat ויקרא Leviticus 1:2 – A Man


Leviticus 1:2 Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: When a man [adam] from [among] you brings a sacrifice to the Lord; from animals, from cattle or from the flock you shall bring your sacrifice.

Yerushalmi Shekalim, Chapter 1, Halacha 4:  The word “Man” [adam]is used to include converts

Torah Temimah Colloquial Translation on Note #6:

This same drasha is mentioned in the Toras Cohanim on this posuk. The commentaries worked hard to explain in what way the word “man” comes to include converts. The common [thought] in all their comments is an effort to find a differentiation between the uses of the word “person” [ish] with the use of the word “man” [adam]. [It could be thought] that the word “person” [ish] implies someone of a higher level while the use of the word “man” [adam] implies just any man. Therefore, [one might say] that from the fact that it uses the word “man” [adam] here and not “person” [ish], that is how we can conclude that it implies converts. Look in the book “HaTorah v’haMitzvah” to see the examples that he brings and the great length to which he discusses this.

However, note that there are proofs to the opposite that are contained in the words of our sages. For example, when Scripture says “And you are called ‘man’” [adam] [referring to the Jewish people] [VALIDATE WHERE THIS IS FROM] In the Zohar on Parshas Tazriah it mentions various levels of people, “bar nash”, “adam”, “gever”, “enosh”, “ish” and it says there that the highest level is “man” [adam]. This is alluded to in the posuk (Genesis 5:2) where it says, “He called their name “Man” [adam] on the day He created them”. Similarly the Zohar comments in Deuteronomy [VALIDATE WHERE THIS IS FROM] that a wise scholar is called “man” [adam] while an ignorant person is not called “man” [adam]. ThIt also seems logical that the term “man” [adam] is more honorific [than the term “ish”] since “man” [adam] alludes to the higher similarity [with God] as it says in the posuk “let us make “man”[adam]  in Our image”. Further we find that non-Jews are labeled with the term “person” [ish] as it says in Parshas Emor “a person” [ish] who makes a vow; and this is taken to include non-Jews. And so too with many further examples [showing “ish” referring to non-Jews].

But were it not for the words of these [previous] commentaries, I would perhaps say that the drasha to include converts from the wording in our posuk is not exclusively from the use of the word “adam” but actually more from the entire phrase of the posuk. [Our posuk is actually an example of a misplaced modifier.] Instead of saying [as it actually does in Hebrew] “a man who sacrifices from amongst you”, it should have actually said “”a man from amongst you who sacrifices…” If it had used this later phrase, I would be able to understand the posuk to only refer to Jewish people. However, since the words “from you” come to be not in their proper place we then know that the posuk [even] refers to people who are converts.

However, apparently, the whole drash needs further investigating. The fact that converts can bring sacrifices should be obvious from the fact that non-Jews can also bring sacrifices. If a non-Jew can bring sacrifices, then certainly a convert can. Perhaps the answer to this question is that non-Jews are only allowed to bring “Olot” sacrifices [burnt offerings where the whole sacrifice is burned on the altar], as is explained in Parshas Emor (22:18). From converts, on the other hand, we accept any type of sacrificial offering [because they are treated fully as Jews]

Editor’s Note: Read this one carefully between the lines. The Torah Temimah is defending non-Jews and converts. Further, he is defending the Torah itself from the idea that it refers to non-Jews or converts as being in a lower level than Jews.

Again, it is always fantastic to hear the Torah Temimah say “were it not for the previous scholars, I would say as follows…” and then we listen as he proceeds to give his opinion.


Parshat ויקרא Leviticus 1:1 – Knock, Knock

Leviticus 1:1 And He called to Moses, and God spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting saying

Gemora Yoma 4b:  And He called to Moses, and God spoke to him; why does Scripture mention the call before the speech? — The Torah teaches us good manners: a man should not address his neighbor without having first called him.

 Torah Temimah Colloquial Translation on Note #1:

In other words, one should not begin to speak [to one’s friend] suddenly. The reason for this is to allow the listener [some time] to prepare himself to listen. This is similar to what it writes in Gemora Nidda 16b that God hates one who enters the house of his friend suddenly. Further, in Meseket Derek Eretz, Chapter 5, it says that one should learn proper behavior from God. God stood outside the Garden of Eden and He called to Adam, as the posuk says (Genesis 3:9) “And God called to the man [Adam] and He said, Where are you”.

The reason why our Gemora quotes our posuk here [in Leviticus] instead of the posuk in Genesis, is perhaps because the Gemora wanted to learn the greatest lesson. Even with someone who God recognized and brought close to Himself with the greatest love and affection [such as Moses], God nevertheless [displays good manners and proper behavior] by not suddenly beginning to speak with him. It is about Moses that God testifies and says “in all My house he is faithful” and “plainly and not in riddles do I speak to him.” Even here He prepared him [Moses] to speak before He spoke with him.

Editor’s Note: The Torah Temimah wants to emphasize, I think, that even God displays proper manners and proper behavior. Further, this proper behavior should be towards everyone, even someone whom you love dearly and with whom you are very familiar


Parshat ויקרא VaYikra 1:2 – Are Women Allowed to Bring Sacrifices?

YaYikra 1:2 – Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: When a man from [among] you brings a sacrifice to the Lord; from animals, from cattle or from the flock you shall bring your sacrifice.

Gemora: Kiddushin 36(a): [Regarding] the rites of laying [hands] because it is written: Speak unto the sons of Israel and he shall lay [his hand upon the head of the burnt-offering]: thus the sons of Israel lay [hands], but not the daughters of Israel.

Torah Temimah Colloquial Translation on Note #3:

The above gemora refers to the sacrifices that they [the women] themselves bring. Further the gemora does not mean that it is prohibited for women to [place their hands on the animal to be sacrificed] but rather it means that the women are not obligated to do so [for their own sacrifices].

This is according to the gemora Chagiga 15(b) where it states that women were allowed to perform the ceremonial placing of hands on the animal sacrifice. Note that the Rambam omits to mention this detail explicitly in his Mishnah Torah. However, if the women are bringing the sacrifice as an emissary for their husbands, they are forbidden to place their hands on the sacrifice as is explained further on in VaYikra  1:4 on the posuk “and he lays his hands”. Look also at the Tosafot on Gemora Rosh HaShana 33(a).

Similarly, we find the Gemora here concluding from this that woman are excluded from all the various details of the sacrificial service. They are excluded from the “waving”, “raising”, “kmitzaing” [measuring the flour with 4 fingers], “incense”, “melikut”, “collecting of the blood” and “sprinkling of the blood”. The reason for these exclusions is because in all of them the posuk uses the phrase “the sons of Israel” or “sons of Aaron”. Tosafot ask why the Gemora needed to learn from the wording of the posuk to exclude women, let women be excluded because of the general principle that women are exempt from positive commandments that are time bound as we learn from the posuk at the end of parshat Tzav.

I am astounded by this question of Tosafot. What did they see that caused this question? Behold, the sacrifices themselves are positive commandments that are time bound because they can only be done in the day. (See the same posuk noted above in parshat Tzav.) Since we see that the Torah permitted women to bring sacrifices because of their actual obligation  to bring some sacrifices even though they are a positive commandment bound by time; similarly they should be obligated in all the above listed particulars relating to the sacrifices.  Just as men are in the general commandment and the particulars, so too women should also be obligated regarding the details. There is no logic  at all in exempting women from the particulars if they are obligated in the over-all issue, of bringing sacrifices. Similarly there is no logic to exempt women from eating the Passover sacrifice even though it must be done exclusively at night nor from the commandment of burning them leftovers of the Passover sacrifice even though that must be done exclusively in the day. Due to the fact that women are commanded to observe the overall commandment of Passover, they are therefore automatically commanded in all its particulars.

So too in our case of the sacrifices, if there had not been a “decree from the King” [gezerat ha’katuv] regarding the sacrificial details and the commandment that women should not perform them, I would not have any logical reason to exclude them due to the issue of being positive commandments that are time-bound, since woman are obligated in the commandment of sacrifices.

Regarding this point, that women are obligated in sacrifices in a manner equal to men, the first source of this in from Torat Cohanim on parshat Emor, Leviticus 22:18. That is the first source for the law that women are commanded equally to men in the commandment of bringing sacrifices. The Rambam includes this law in Chapter 3 Halach 2 in the Laws of Sacrifices. The Rambam explicitly says “whether men, women or slaves; all are obligated equally in the commandment of sacrifices.” The Kesef Mishnah supports this view and says as follows “this [halacha mentioned by the Rambam] is obvious since the Torah makes equal men and women regarding its laws. We have already said that women don’t lay hands, perform the waving, etc. These details are done by men not by women. This teaches that women are obligated in the commandment of sacrifices [but not certain particulars.]And any commandment that a women is obligated to do, so also are slaves”.

So we see that, following the source in the Torat Cohanim, it is very amazing that the Kesef Mishna uses so many words for the purpose of finding a source for the words of the Rambam in some phrase in the gemora. In fact the source is clear and very explicit. He [Kesef Mishna] should have just written succinctly, “Torat Cohanim – Parshat Emor” and no further words.

DBS Note: The final sentence of the Torah Temimah here alludes to his key point, as it often does. In this note the Torah Temimah is pointing out that it is logical and has a clear source to say that women are equally commanded in the mitzvah of bringing sacrifices. He sees no need for long explanations of this. The only point that he sees a need for is to explain why women are excluded from certain particulars since there is no logical reason to do so. He concludes that it is simply a “decree from the King” without any particular logic.