Divrei HaRav

Vayelech - Yom Kippur / וילך - יום כפור

Vayelech - Yom Kippur / וילך - יום כפור

In the parsha when it discusses the abundance of your property, it lists the animals first and then the produce of the field. In parshas Ki Savo the list is reversed - first the fields and then the animals. R’ Chaim, shlita, explains that the parsha of Ki Savo is a reference to those who adhere to the words of the Torah, the tzadikim. Their lives paralleled the sequence of the cycle of the year starting with Nisson. Hence, the grain is first harvested and only later in Av and Elul is the time for tending to the animals (MS’ R.H.8) This parsha, however, is the parsha of the Baal Tshuva, who only changes in midstream. As such, the Torah lists the more important possessions of a man, the animals, before the grains of the field. (MS’Chulin 86).

At the end of the parsha, Moshe Rebeinu writes a Sefer Torah and commands the people to place it on the side of the Aron HaKodesh. In Bava Basra 14 there is a famous controversy as to whether it was actually inside the Aron HaKodesh or on a ledge on the side of the Aron HaKodesh. Perhaps, both are essential to the understanding of the Sefer Torah. On one hand, it parallels the importance of the tablets. It deserves a place alongside the “luchos” and is of equal “kedushah”. On the other hand, the significance of the Torah is of even greater meaning to the Bnei Yisroel. This is their teacher and guide. This is what is held up to them as a model and also as a testimony of the life they should live. Hence, it could not be concealed or encased out of sight of the people. So, in essence, the Sefer Torah filled the role of both places and both are correct.

Yom Kippur
In the davening of Yom Kippur we find two different texts. One uses the term “kapara”, or atonement, in relation to sins done with knowledge and purpose. The other text uses this term only in reference to a sin committed without intention – “shogeg”. R’ Moshe z’l’ explains the logic behind both uses. The word kapara, he says, is an expression of wiping away the film of dirt and grime that superficially covers the person. On one hand, since this concept does not seem to indicate a shortcoming which penetrates deep into the soul of the individual, it would seem more appropriate to use this term with those sins committed “shogeg”. However, upon closer inspection, perhaps the one who sins with full intention is actually a misguided individual, who, if given the proper guidance, would change his ways. On the other hand, perhaps the person who unintentionally sins is one who does believe and does adhere, but allows himself to falter and slip and is lacking in full faith. Regarding this individual, the problem penetrates even deeper. This could be similar to the statement of Rava in Sanhedrin 27, that one who succumbs to his innate desires is disqualified from being a witness, whereas one who performs spiteful digressions is not. Therefore, both texts could be proper texts.

“V’Solochto lavoni ki rav hu” – literally this translates as forgive my sin because it is great. The Vilna Gaon explains this with a different twist. There is a dispute between Rav and Shmuel concerning one who admits to having performed an act which is punishable by an extra penalty or tax, and afterwards witnesses attest to the same act. Does this come under the ruling of “modeh bikinas patur”, admitting a penalty exempts one from payment? Rav is of the opinion that one is exempt despite the witnesses. This, then, is the plea - forgive my sins and don’t punish with penalties because “Rav” is the one whom we follow in this dispute.



Previous Parshos

Tazria Metzora Achrei Mos Kedoshim Emor Behar Bechukosai Bamidbar Shavuos Naso Behalosicha Shilach Korach Chukas-Balak Pinchos Matos-Masei Devorim Voeschonon Ekev Reah Shoftim Ki Seitzei Ki Savo Nitzovim - Vayelech Rosh HaShana Haazinu-Yom Kippur Sukkos V'zos HaBrocha Breishis