Tzav 5773: A Taste of Chometz

Taste of Talmud

Chometz comes in many shapes and sizes.  The Talmud (Pesachim 43) discusses their varying levels of prohibition.  Rabbi Eliezer says the punishment of Kares is only for one who eats Chometz that can be seen.  For eating Chometz in a mixture, a Ta’aroves, there is a negative commandment but not Kares.  Other Chachamim are of the opinion that a mixture containing Chometz does not even carry the punishment of lashes (given for transgressing a negative commandment).     The Talmud says that this dispute boils down to the question as to whether the word KOL (Exodus 12:20), should be taken to include ALL leavened material and their mixtures in whatever shape or form they may come.  The Talmud attempts to bring a proof from a verse in Parashas Tzav.  With regard to the prohibition against eating forbidden fats the word KOL is used.  In that case everyone agrees that the word KOL does include all types of forbidden fat, from all animals.   The Talmud answers that indeed the Chachamim agree in that case, because over there, there is another word that is superfluous, KI, otherwise, it would seem, their opinion is that the word KOL itself is not sufficient reason to include a negative commandment for Chometz that is only mixed into another mixture.


Taste of Halacha

In the laws of Chometz and Matzah (1:7) the Rambam codifies the law in what, on the surface, appears to be following the opinion of the Chachamim.  In the laws of the Mizbaiach (5:5) however he seems to follow the opinion of Rabbi Eliezer.  There is a law that KOL, ALL, leavened matter may not be placed on the Mizbaiach.  The Rambam writes that there is a negative commandment to have leavened matter in any amount, in any shape or in any form mixed into an offering on the Altar.  The commentators point out that this law is derived from the word KOL (Leviticus 2:11) as well.  Seemingly, this should only be according to the opinion of Rabbi Eliezer who says that the word KOL is significant enough to include all shapes and forms of a prohibition.  The Shaar Hamishpat goes to great lengths to show how the Chachamim actually do agree to the ability to derive this all inclusive nature of a law from the word KOL.  Based on the words of the Pri Chadash and the Ran he shows that it is only by the laws of Pesach that the Chachamim disagree about the usage of the word KOL due to other unique variances in the verses detailing the laws of Chometz.  One of which is the unique conjugation of the word Machmetzes; the other of which is the fact that we need a special verse to create a prohibition for eating a mixture with a high concentration of Chometz.


Taste of Parasha

The Zohar says that Chometz bears the qualities of the Yetzer Horah, while Matzah bears the qualities of the Yetzer Hatov.  By eradicating any vestiges of Chometz from our midst it is possible to come to as lofty a high as on Yom Kippur.  Why is it that we do not feel so inspired by this outward display of eradication of “Evil”?  The Sifsei Chaim says: The answer to this can be understood from an interesting observation made by Rav Yisroel Salanter, Zt”l.  He noticed that the boorish children of Russian peasants who returned from the Czars army reverted right back to their boorish ways.  While in the army they were drilled in cleanliness, order and protocol.  Why did these qualities not stay with them when they returned home?  Rav Yisroel answered that it was because they were conscripted against their will.  They were following the rules begrudgingly and with disdain.  In order for external actions to create an internal change one has to desire to change.  One has to desire to eradicate any vestige of lethargy, haughtiness and   falsehood.  Then, when one spends a period of time searching for anything that has that character and eliminating it from his midst he will be cleansed from those attributes of evil himself.  Furthermore, after spending a week imbibing the humble bread of alacrity, he too, will be filled with feelings of humility and alacrity.


This week’s issue is dedicated by:

 Mr. and Mrs. David Friedman,

Wishing everyone a

Chag Kasher Vesamayach

Have a Great Shabbos


About tasteofyeshiva

RABBI YAIR FRIEDMAN teaches in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in YES and is the president of Visionary Reading. He was a Rebbi at The Torah School of Greater Washington, and a founding member of the Greater Washington Community Kollel and the owner of Camp Gevaldig LLC.
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