Thursday, July 27, 2006

Klal Yisroel are Beloved - Yoma 52 - Rabbi Jay Spero

Yoma 52a-- חביבין ישראל שלא הצריכן הכתוב לשליח
Bnei Yisroel are dear and do not necessitate an agent. Rebbi Yossi tells us
that the Kohen Godol is able to walk along the northern wall towards
the Kodesh Kodashim. Although this means that he will be walking
with his eyes directly towards the Kodesh Kodashim--which according
to Rebbi Meir would not be proper--Klal Yisroel is beloved, and therefore,
we do not need an intermediary to communicate with Hashem (and can
"look" directly at the Kodash Kodashim). This means that each and
every Jew can daven directly to Hashem (this is according to Rashi's
pshat; see Rabeinu Chananel or Tosfos Yeshanim for a different

How are we to understand this statement of Rebbi Yossi? Rebbi Yossi
holds that the opening to the Kodash Kodashim was in the north, thus
requiring the Kohen Godol to walk along the northern wall. What is the
significance of the opening being in the north? The word for north in
loshon hakodesh is tzafon. The word tzafon also means conscience or
intellect. The Shem Mishemuel writes in the name of his father (N'os
Deshe/Avnei Nezer) that the Korban Olah was slaughtered at the
north side of the mizbeiach (Vayikra 1:11). This, writes the Shem
Mishmuel, is because the Korban Olah comes to be mechaper for sinful
thought which occur in the "north" of man, i.e, the intellect. One would
think that logically, one is only required to atone for sins involving an action.

Why do sinful thoughts require atonement? The highest level of person is
his sechel (the neshama, contrary to popular belief, is not contained in
the heart, but in the brain). This is our essence. When a person uses his
intellect the proper way, he can build olamos. When used the wrong way,
chas v'shalom, it can destroy them (see first perek of Nefesh Hachaim).
The Kohen Godol is a representative of Klal Yisroel. Although we are not
perfect, and unfortunately we perform aveiros, our nekudas hapnimi is
goodness. And it is that nekuda that always desires to have a shaychus -
a connection with the Ribono Shel Olam, even when we have become
lowered and unworthy. Thus although the people the Kohen Godol
represents may not be zoche al pi din to walk directly opposite the
Kodash Kodoshim (which l'choreh is the reason Rebbi Meir does not
allow it), Rebbi Yossi says that we are beloved before Hashem, and
this enables us to talk to Him directly (and walk opposite the Kodash

The Me'or Anayim asks how is it that we can have a shaychus with the
Ribono Shel Olam when the chasm between us and Him is so great?
There are several answers to this question, and one answer is that
it is a chesed from Hashem--olam chesed yiboneh. And it is through
this chesed that He allows us this opportunity to relate to Him directly.
The loshon of Chavivin Yisroel is only used a handful of times, that
we were created B'tzelem (which means that we can imitate Him),
that we have the Torah (Kli Chemda), that we are called bonim. Each
of these connotes that our chavivus is our inherent closeness with the
Ribono Shel Olam. May we be zoche to actualize it.


Yankel said...

What does the chesed accomplish? Do we become on a higher level due to chesed? Or is it that even though we are so low and there is a huge separation, we can create a connection?

Spero said...

Both. Our ability to connect to the Ribono SHel Olam is a chesed, and this connection is strengthened by our Torah/Mitzvos.

Spero said...

See Rashi at th beginning of Parshas Va'eschanan where he writes that even though tzadikim can approach hashem with their masim tovim, they only ask for a matnas chinam, mashma that the appeal to the Midas Hachesed is the strongest type.

Greg said...

How does that fit in with 'sonei matanos yichyeh?'

Spero said...

Greg raises an excellent question. See the Ohr Hachaim Parshas Beshalach on "Mah Tizak Aliy"where he says that since Bnei Yisroel had no zechisin, they were not zoche to rachamim, i.e, tefila. Thsi implies that there needs to be some zchis and not a pure matana. I would say you could make it a macro/micro issue that our overall shaychus is based on chesed (which is what I posited in the Dvar Torah), but on an individual level, there needs to be zchus, and as Greg wrote sonei matanos yichyeh. Yet this would not fit in with Rashi. Great question.

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