Vol 22.13 - Acharei 2 Spanish French Audio Video
(5743) Explanation of Rashi (Lev.18:30) "and you shall not become defiled by them (abominable practices)" etc.
1. At the conclusion of the Parsha (Lev. 18:30), the Torah concludes the section of incestuous relations (פרשת עריות) with the statement:
“And you shall observe My charge, not to commit any of the abominable practices . . and you shall not become defiled by them. I am the L-rd your G-d.”
וּשְׁמַרְתֶּם אֶת מִשְׁמַרְתִּי לְבִלְתִּי עֲשׂוֹת מֵחֻקּוֹת הַתּוֹעֵבֹת אֲשֶׁר נַעֲשׂוּ לִפְנֵיכֶם וְלֹא תִטַּמְּאוּ בָּהֶם אֲנִי ה׳
Rashi cites the words: “and you shall not become defiled by them I am the L-rd, your G-d” and comments:
“But if you do become defiled, I am not your G-d, and you will be cut off from Me. What benefit will I have from you for you will deserve annihilation. Therefore, it says, ‘I am the L-rd, your G-d’"
ולא תטמאו בהם אני ה' אלהיכם: הא אם תטמאו, איני אלהיכם, ואתם נפסלים מאחרי, ומה הנאה יש לי בכם, ואתם מתחייבים כלייה, לכך נאמר אני ה' אלהיכם
The reason why Rashi does not explain the words “I am the L-rd your G-d” like he explains in Parshat Va’eira:
"I am the L-rd, trusted upon to exact retribution etc. , trusted to give reward”(נאמן ליפרע כו׳ נאמן ליתן שכר) .
and specifically since he says there that this is the meaning of “I am the L-rd”, that is “explained so in many places“ (נדרש בכמה מקומות) is (as the commentators explain) because the aspect of “I am the L-rd” – “trusted to give reward (and to exact retribution)” is already stated previously in the Parsha. Therefore there is no place to repeat the aspect again.
One must therefore say that “I am the L-rd your G-d” here means a new aspect (ענין חדש).
One must however understand Rashi‘s explanation:
From the words “and you shall not become defiled by them I am the L-rd, your G-d”, one can seemingly only infer
(From the rule: “Inference may be made from the positive to the negative (מכלל הן אתה שומע לאו))
that “if you do become defiled, I am not your G-d “. Where does Rashi get all the details which he later states:
Indeed it is true that this comment is stated in Torat kohanim. However, as has been mentioned many times, Rashi’s purpose is, in his commentary on Torah, is not to cite the homilies of the Sages (- and in their exact words) . And especially since Rashi does not state here “it states in Torat kohanim (and so forth).
From this it proves that Rashi takes his explanation as the simple understanding of the verse. This means that the words “and you shall not become defiled by them I am the L-rd, your G-d convey all these three details:
It is puzzling:
Where is the necessity in the simple understanding of the verse for these details?
(One cannot answer that Rashi must (or at the least, want to) specify to a five-year old student the meaning (באדייט) of “I am not your G-d”, in general. For the essence of “I am not your G-d” is already found, previously, in Rashi.
On the verse (in Parshat Lech):
“I will give to you . . the land of Canaan . . and I will be a G-d to them.",
“But, one who resides outside Eretz Yisroel is like someone who has no G-d”
And there Rashi does not add any explanation and certainly not any details).
It is also not understood regarding the addition and conclusion of Rashi’s comment
“Therefore, it says, ‘I am the L-rd, your G-d’".
What is Rashi adding? And he writes as if it is an answer to a question “Therefore, it says”?
From the beginning of Rashi’s comment – where he states the words:
“and you shall not become defiled by them I am the L-rd, your G-d”
it appears that the difficulty in the verse is also in the words “and you shall not become defiled by”. Yet in the conclusion of the comment Rashi, just cites the words “I am the L-rd your G-d” and not “and you shall not become defiled by them”?
2. One can understand this by prefacing an explanation in Rashi‘s comment in the beginning of section of incestuous relations:
The verse states:
“And the L-rd spoke to Moses, saying Speak to the children of Israel, (and say to them) I am the L-rd, your G-d”.
Rashi explains (in his second comment):
“Rabbi (Yehudah Hanassi) says: “It is openly known before Him, that they would eventually be scourged by immoral relations . . Therefore, G-d came to them with the decree: I am the L-rd, your G-d! You should know Who is placing these decrees upon you - the Judge Who exacts retribution but Who is faithful also to pay a reward“.
This is seemingly not understood:
are seemingly two separate explanations in “I am the L-rd (your G-d)”.
And this is proven in many places where Rashi explains (on the words “I am the L-rd”):
And he does not state the preface “You should know Who is placing these decrees upon you“.
And the same is on the other hand. In many places in Rashi, he explains “I am the L-rd” as
and he does not add “faithful also to pay a reward” (and so forth).
Therefore, where does Rashi get that “I am the L-rd your G-d”, in our case, means both aspects:
The explanation of this is:
In the section of incestuous relations, one finds a special thing, namely that before the Torah begins to explain the details of the prohibitions, it states a general preface (הקדמה כללית) which is comprised of a great many aspects:
“Like the practice of the land of Egypt . . the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you, you shall not do, and you shall not follow their statutes etc.” “You shall fulfill My ordinances and observe My statutes” etc.
And the opening of this general preface is:
“And the L-rd spoke . . saying Speak to the children of Israel, (and say to them) I am the L-rd, your G-d”.
The reason why the Torah gives such a general, lengthy and elaborate preface to section of incestuous relations is understood simply:
Incestuous relations is something “which the soul of a man craves for them“. So much so that, even after all the admonitions it is (as Rashi cites, as aforementioned) that “they would eventually be scourged by immoral relations“. Therefore it requires words of exhortation and more admonitions to forewarn that a person be careful of it - to withstand the test.
Since the “I am the L-rd your G-d” is stated in the opening of the general preface, it is therefore probable that this is a general matter (and exhortation). And this is the reason why the first explanation of Rashi on “I am the L-rd your G-d” (- in the opening) is:
“You accepted My sovereignty upon yourselves, consequently, accept My decrees “–
an aspect that is most germane (הכי כללי) – the acceptance of the yoke of Mitzvot (decrees).
And in order to explain, how also according to the second explanation
(Namely that “I am the L-rd” is a warning (אזהרה) (not (just) on the acceptance of the decrees, in general, but) mainly on the aspect of incestuous relations)
it states “I am the L-rd your G-d” – a general matter,
(which is why this is in the opening of the Parsha),
Rashi explains, that the words “I am the L-rd your G-d” which is stated here includes many aspects. Every word alludes to a different warning:
These three aspects include all the (general) manners (אופנים כלליים) through which a person can control (באהערשן) the cravings that are mentioned in this Parsha (even though they are strong cravings, as aforementioned).
3. In order to support a Yid from a great craving, one must at the very onset say to him, “know Who is placing these decrees upon you “. He must know and realize that this is a decree from G-d, the Creator of the world and its Master (דעם בורא העולם ומנהיגו). And therefore it is impossible that through succumbing to a desire that is opposite to G-d’s will, that it will be good for him (זאל אים זיין גוט).
One can however try (פרואוון) to say:
It does not matter that the “end is as bitter as wormwood“, if he can, at least, in the meantime (דערווייל), have pleasure from this craving. Therefore there is the second warning – “Who exacts retribution”.
For transgressing G-d’s will, one does not afterward receive just a plain punishment, but rather it is in a manner of payment (Who exacts retribution). G-d gives a punishment that is a retribution, he “turns it around” (קערט אום). He nullifies the entire pleasure that he had from the sin. Indeed, he is left with nothing, just pain etc.
According to this, there is a question:
Therefore one says to him (a third aspect): “faithful to pay reward”. G-d wants to give a Yid reward. Therefore he places before him a test, in order that he should withstand the test and because of it receive reward. And the more difficult the Avodah is to withstand the test is- the more reward is received.
4. When one comes to the conclusion of the Parsha, one sees that the Torah repeats many of the admonitions on incestuous relations:
And by transgressing incestuous relations, one receives various punishments:
And and only afterward does it come to the last verse:
“And you shall observe My charge, not to commit any of the abominable practices . . and you shall not become defiled by them. I am the L-rd your G-d. “
Without the conclusion of “I am the L-rd your G-d”, one could learn that the reason that the Torah repeats the admonitions etc.:
(Like Rashi explained previously regarding the prohibition of eating abominable creatures etc. that this)
is “to make a transgressor guilty of transgressing many negative commandments” (לעבור עליהם בלאו׳ן הרבה). In other words (to be guilty) for each infraction of the same prohibition done many times over.
However, since it also repeats the words “I am the L-rd your G-d”, which in this it is not applicable to say “many” – one is forced to say that the entire continuation of the conclusion is (not “to make a transgressor guilty of transgressing many negative commandments“, but rather) an ending (חתימה) that resembles the opening.
Just as the section of incestuous relations begins with a general preface and exhortation – “I am the L-rd your G-d”:
“Like the practice of the land of Egypt . . “You shall fulfill My ordinances and observe My statutes” etc.
so too the Parsha concludes with a similar general exhortation “And you shall observe My charge. . I am the L-rd your G-d.”
However, in what aspect does this innovation and addition in the exhortation, at the conclusion of the Parsha, express, as opposed to the exhortation that is in the opening?
On this Rashi states “and you shall not become defiled by them I am the L-rd, your G-d. But if you do become defiled, I am not your G-d”
The innovation here is expressed in the negative (שלילה) - “if you do become defiled, I am not your G-d “.
The innovation in the conclusion, as opposed to the previous exhortation (and which is why it comes at the end, at the conclusion of the Parsha) is:
The “I am the L-rd your G-d”, in the beginning of the Parsha are positive “obligatory” matters (ענינים פון ״חיוב״). G-d places decrees on the Yidden, and does so in both extremes: “faithful also to pay a reward” and “Who exacts retribution“.
When there is a person, for whom all the three, aforementioned details do not influence him –
he indeed knows who is making the decrees and realizes that he will “pay” (צאל) for it (“Who exacts retribution“) and that he will lose the reward. However, the cravings are so strong within him, that he cannot withstand the test –
The Torah therefore adds, in the conclusion of the Parsha, another way to (also) influence him – by letting him know that “if you do become defiled, I am not your G-d“.
This disturbs the bond between a Yid and G-d. And as we actually see, that when a Yid hears such speech (“I am not your G-d “) he becomes unsettled (אויפגערודערט) etc. and he cannot bear it (like the well-known saying that “A Jew neither wants nor is able to be sundered from G‑dliness“).
6. According to the aforementioned one can also understand, why Rashi specifies and explains these three details:
Since the subject (the admonition and exhortation) of “I am the L-rd your G-d” at the conclusion of the Parsha is similar to the aspect of “I am the L-rd your G-d” in the beginning of the section of incestuous relations –
and the difference is only that previously it was in the “positive manner“ and in the conclusion of the Parsha – it is in the “negative manner”-
it is understood that just as “I am the L-rd your G-d” in the beginning of the Parsha includes three details- every word representing a different detail (as aforementioned, at length) - the same is also by the “I am the L-rd your G-d”, at the conclusion of the Parsha, namely that they include the same three details, however in a “negative” manner (שלילה).
(And one could also say that it is also from the word “hew for yourself” (פסל לך) - hewing and separating)
which since G-d deals with a Yid to punish him, this shows the close and dear connection between them (and especially according to what is known that the punishments of the Torah are for the good of the person) –
at the conclusion of the Parsha it becomes “you will deserve annihilation“. One loses the relationship with G-d, who is your life, which is therefore an aspect of annihilation, G-d forbid.
And according to the aforementioned, it is also understood why Rashi concludes “Therefore, it says, ‘I am the L-rd, your G-d’". With this Rashi wants to clarify that the reason that he states these three details, is because they are connected (as aforementioned, in the negative manner) with the three words in Torah “I am the L-rd your G-d” (אני ה׳ אלקיכם):
7. According to Chassidut, one can explain the connection of the three aforementioned details to the three words “I am the L-rd your G-d” (אני ה׳ אלקיכם) (in a different manner than the aforementioned):
“I” (אני) - the Essence and Being (Atzmut u’Mehut’) of G-d – is higher than the creation of the worlds, like the well-known saying “The main aspect of G-dliness is not that worlds were created from Him“ (לא זה הוא עיקר האלקות מה שהעולמות מתהווים ממנו). Nevertheless, even the “I” (אני) is drawn into the world, which is the Avodah of Torah and Mitzvot.
(as it states: “G-d desired to have an abode in the lower realms”, meaning that through Torah and Mitzvot, Yidden make the world into an abode for G-d’s Essence and Being (just like the abode of a person where the “essence of the person resides in the abode”)
“the L-rd” (הוי׳״) is from the word “to create” (מהווה).
And “your G-d” (״אלקיכם״) – your power and vitality – so much so that it is the force of the Creator in the thing created (to constantly give it life and existence - koach hapoel b'nifal) – the level of G-dliness which is enclothed in the created being.
And after this Rashi states: ”But if you do become defiled, I am not your G-d“.
And this manifests itself in all three aspects:
The first aspect (in conjunction with “I am not your G-d “) is that which “you will be cut off from after Me“ (אתם נפסלים מאחרי). “After Me/m’Acharai” – the level of Achuraryim (בחי׳ אחוריים) – is the name “Elokim”.
(Note “Achuraryim” represents the outer aspects of G-dliness and denotes a connection with the lower levels of G-dliness and the Sefirot. This is represented by the name “Elokim”, in the plural)
and Yidden are “hewn” (cut) from the force of the Creator in the thing created - the name of “Elokim”.
Afterward “What benefit will I have from you“. The Avodah of Yidden causes pleasure Above, as it states: “G-d desired to have an abode in the lower realms”. This represents the G-dly pleasure (“I” (אני)) of the Avodah of Torah and Mitzvot. Therefore “if you do become defiled . . What benefit will I have from you“.
And afterward it is “you will deserve annihilation“. Not only that there is a negation of the force of the Creator in the thing created, but it becomes a negative (שלילה) from G-d’s perspective – the general aspect of creation – therefore “you will deserve annihilation“.
The intent of the admonitions is (not that there should be, G-d forbid, such a condition, but rather) that there be the positive aspect (חיוב) – “I am the L-rd your G-d”. Therefore, even though the innovation in the admonition here (as opposed to the beginning of the Parsha) is the negative: “But if you do become defiled, I am not your G-d“, nevertheless it states in the verse “I am the L-rd your G-d”, since the purpose is that there should be the “I am the L-rd your G-d”. There should be “pleasure . . with you”. Therefore it is “I am - the L-rd your G-d” (״אני — ה׳ אלקיכם״) - the Essence and Being of G-d is drawn into Yidden in a Pnimiyut, so much so that the “I” (אני) becomes “the L-rd your G-d” (הוי׳) אלקיכם)) - your power and vitality – of each Yid.
MSichas Shabbat Parshat Acharei 5725
|Date Modified:||Date Reviewed:|