Monday, April 29, 2013

Can a nonJew bring a sacrifice to the Bais Hamikdash

A nonJew is allowed to bring an Olah (a sacrifice that is completely burnt on the altar) as a free will offering in the same way that a Jew is allowed. The source for this is in Parshas Emor (22:18).

יח. דַּבֵּר אֶל אַהֲרֹן וְאֶל בָּנָיו וְאֶל כָּל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם אִישׁ אִישׁ מִבֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל וּמִן הַגֵּר בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר יַקְרִיב קָרְבָּנוֹ לְכָל נִדְרֵיהֶם וּלְכָל נִדְבוֹתָם אֲשֶׁר יַקְרִיבוּ לַיהֹוָה לְעֹלָה:

 18. Speak to Aaron and to his sons and to all the children of Israel and say to them: Any man whatsoever from the house of Israel or from the strangers among Israel who offers up his sacrifice for any of their vows or for any of their donations that they may offer up to the Lord as a burnt offering
 As seen above, most translations speak of "Any man among Bnei Yisrael". However, Rabbi Sorotzkin in אזנים לתורה (Insights in the Torah) as well as the Malbim sets it up as
A man, a man of Bnei Yisroel, or a convert among Israel ...
 The descendants of Adam and Noach are called "Ish" (a man).  This means that anyone using his free will to acknowledge that Hashem is the Creator of the Universe is allowed to dedicate himself to Hashem. This is the symbolism of the Korbon Olah (burnt sacrifice). A nonJew is allowed to believe that Hashem has created various Powers (capital P deliberate) to run the world as his emissaries. This is the concept of Shituf (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 156, in the Rama). A Jew who makes this mistake would not be allowed to bring a korban. An example of this is the case of Eliyahu Hanavi on Mount Carmel. He calls on the Jews to make a decision and worship either Baal or Hashem, but not both. This is because the Jews are required to understand that everything in the Universe was created by Hashem and nothing exists as a separate power.

There is even the analogy of the difference between members of an empire. Those who live in the Imperial City under the direct rule of the Emperor would not be allowed to serve any of his subordinates. Since Hashem has taken us to himself and given us the Torah at Har Sinai, we can no longer be allowed to make the mistake that the rest of the world does.

An interesting point is the way that this division into three categories of human beings is set up.

1. Those who realize that there is a G0d who rules over everything, but think that the lesser powers still deserve service.

2. A "born" Jew who is restricted to the worship of Hashem because of Yestzias Mitzrayim (the Exodus) and the revelation at Sinai. We have been taken into the service of Hashem and commanded to become a "nation of Priests".

3. A righteous convert (ger) who has become a "naturalized citizen" and has raised himself to the level of a servant of Hashem. This person has explicitly taken the oath to only serve Hashem and is considered as if he had been at Sinai and received the Torah.

This also explains why this concept only applies to the Olah which is completely consumed on the altar. A nonJew cannot partake of the sacrifices, because only those who have been accepted into the service of Hashaem are allowed to "eat at Hashem's table". This also explains why a Jew who has abandoned his status is not allowed to bring a sacrifice even though a nonJew who has the same erroneous belief is allowed to do so.

Another point in Parshas Emor is that a Jew is only allowed to eat of a korban if he is tahor (ritually pure). Since a nonJew cannot become ritually pure, then he would never be able to partake of the korban, which means that he can never bring any korban other than an Olah. On the other hand, a ger has become tahor by immersing in the mikvah when he became a Jew.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Why should Aharon wear gold in the first place?

Rabbi Sorotzkin in "Oznayim LaTorah" discusses the question of why the Kohen Gadol [high priest] should wear gold in the first place, since the gold is a "prosecutor" (reminding Hashem of the golden calf). He brings up two points in Acharei Mos when Rashi uses that as a reason why the Kohen Gadol enters the Kodesh Kadashim [Holy of Holies] with only the four linen garments of the regular priest.

1. Why is he not given four "additional" garments made of linen? For example, the tzitz, the gold plate on his forehead with the words "Kadosh Lashem" on it could have been a linen band with the words embroidered on it. Another example are the gold bells around the Meil [coat or tunic] which could have been made out of a different metal.

2. When he comes back out, he puts the golden garments back on. Shouldn't he leave them off since he is still attempting to atone for Bnei Yisroel? The gold is still a reminder of the Chait HaEgel [Sin of the calf].

He connects this with the actual purpose of the Kohen Gadol. When a person sees someone committing (or who has committed) a sin, he has a mitzvah to rebuke him (without causing emabarrasment. Thus, the purpose of the gold is to actually remind those who see it that they must atone for their sins. When the Kohen Gadol goes into the Kodesh Kodoshim on the other hand, he is there to defend the Bnei Yisroel. He gives the analogy of Rabbi Levi of Berditchev who would defend Bnei Yisroel in his prayers. However, he points out that someone who attempts to tell a rav that he should not rebuke someone for committing a sin is himself acting improperly.

When the Kohen Gadol goes in to the Kodesh Kodoshim, noone else is allowed to be present (not even the malachim [angels] who normally attend him). He is alone with Hashem as the representative of the people and is there to defend them. Not only is the gold improper there, but he is like a "regular" Kohen wearing only the four linen garments.

When he comes out, he is also the representative of Hashem as well as the defender of the people. He is attempting to arouse the people who see him to do teshuvah and to atone and resolve to behave properly in the future. For example, the words on the Tzitz are actually a reminder to the people on how they must behave as well as a why of keeping the Kohen Gadol reminded as to how he must control his thoughts. Similarly, the purpose of the other "extra" garments is to have an effect on those who see the Kohen Gadol.

Rabbi Sorotzkin also points out that the purpose of each individual part of the additional four garments of the Kohen Gadol are not required when he is alone with Hashem. Another example is that the sound of the bells is not required because the censor actually had a piece that would bang on it and make a sound the entire time that the kohen Gadol was in the Kadosh Kodoshim.

May we merit to actually be able to have the Avodah of Yom Kippur be carried out in full bimheirah beyameinu [speedily and in our day].