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Parshas Emor 5757 - '97

Outline # 35

Chodshei Hashanah Following the Weekly Parsha

by Rabbi Yaakov Bernstein


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The Fast of Yom Kippur

The Parsha discusses the festivals. Previously, Parshas Acharei discussed Yom Kippur. The Kohein was to make a cloud of incense in the Holy of Holies, "because in the cloud I appear on the Ark-cover...' "

In Outline #33, we reported the words of the Noam M'gadim: The Hebrew word for cloud, `anon,' is related to the word for humble, `anov.' The Noam M'gadim goes on to say that the atonement of Yom Kippur is brought about through humility. This is tied in with the "cloud:" The cloud darkens, just as a humble person darkens his own brilliance.

Our Parsha says about Yom Kippur:

Vayikra ch. 23:32 It is a day of rest for you, and you will afflict yourselves.

The word for "afflict" is `anisem:' To pain, afflict, fast, to humble. Thus, according to the Noam M'gadim, the purpose of the fast could be seen as bringing about humility and submission of the soul by weakening the physical senses. (See Insights, Vol. 6 #26, where we discussed various interpretations of the "affliction" and "atonement.")

Yom Kippur and Purim

It is well known that the Tekunei Zohar compares the words "Purim" and "K'purim." Many commentaries have struggled to explain the similarity of Purim to Yom Kippur (which seem completely distinct). A remarkable explanation is found in the name of Hayehudi Hakodesh ("The Holy Jew" of Preshischa.)

There are two types of metallic refinement: First, the coarse should be separated from the fine gold. Next, however, one must return to the waste product and refine again, for there are choice pieces of gold left hidden among the chaff.

On Yom Kippur, the goal is to remove the bad from the good. Therefore, there is no eating or drinking, etc. We come away strengthened, our bodies purified from all waste. On Purim, however, the good is taken from the bad. Therefore, we eat, drink wine and rejoice -- with intention to clarify and elevate the good that remains hidden within the chaff... The intention of both days is precisely the same -- to separate the pure from the impure... (See further: Nifla'os Hayehudi, p. 54)

Of course, Purim symbolizes the eventual fall of Amalek, the embodiment of evil. According to the above commentary, this is understood: The waste product from the second refinement is cast aside altogether...

Chodshei Hashanah, Part Twenty-One

The Names of the Months, Continued

Last week, we referred to the Responsa of Maharam Schick, which had prohibited the use of secular dates on tombstones. We concluded with Kol Bo al Aveilus, which took a more lenient approach. The words of Kol Bo al Aveilus are important regarding use of the secular dates in general, but in terms of tombstones, several contemporary authorities are stringent. Pnei Baruch (36:10) and Chesed Shel Emes (39:7), both published in the last twenty years, each refer to Kol Bo al Aveilus in references, but only mention the stringent view of Maharam Schick -- that only the Jewish date be mentioned on the tombstone.

A monthly publication by the Chasidim of Munkatch, entitled Chodesh B'chodsho, recorded this year that the author of Minchas Elazar was stringent regarding tombstones, in accordance with the Maharam Schick. The great authority of the laws of death and mourning, the Gesher Hachayim, only mentions the stringent view, as well (28:3:4, without citing any source).

In general, keep in mind the words of Kol Bo al Aveilus. "Since this dating system is universally used today -- by Jews -- perish the thought that any prohibition is involved." (The Kol Bo al Aveilus, written by the Rav of Columbus, Ohio a generation ago).

The Aramaic Names

The Torah Shleimah (appendix to Bo), writes that the Aramaic names for the months seemingly refer to the names of the Chaldean idolatries. Because the Torah prohibits mentioning the names of idols, the Sages needed to show that there are specific Hebrew meanings alluded to by the Aramaic names. (Incidentally, the Bnei Yissaschar holds that the Aramaic names of the months were actually part of Moshe's Torah, but were only revealed during the Babylonian Exile.)

Summation: Use of The Secular Dates

My Rebbe, Rav Yehoshua Heschel Eichenstein, Admor of Zeditchov/Chicago, advises to abbreviate the English month names, because some of these names, as well, refer to Roman idolatries. In summary, he said that it was preferable to use the names of the months rather than numbers; to abbreviate the months, and to shorten the year, (e.g. `97). [Thanks to Leonard Saphire-Bernstein for bringing Rav Eichenstein's words to our attention.]


Haaros -- insights presented in a novel manner -- are meant to stimulate or

provoke, but are by no means conclusive. Readers are encouraged to look up

original sources. Since there are many factors that might be taken into

consideration, actual questions regarding Jewish Practice should be addressed

to the appropriate authorities.

Copyright (c) `97, Rabbi Yaakov Bernstein and Project Genesis

Rabbi Yaakov Bernstein

Formerly Rosh Kollel of Savannah Kollel

PC Kollel -- 1 Babbin Ct. Spring Valley, NY 10977

Phone: 914-425-3565 Fax: 914-425-4296 E-mail:

Rabbi Yaakov Bernstein
PC Kollel
1 Babbin Court
Spring Valley, NY 10977
Phone: 914-425-3565
Fax: 914-425-4296

Good Shabbos!

Text Copyright © '97 Rabbi Yaakov Bernstein and Project Genesis, Inc.



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