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Friday, April 29

The Weekly Shtikle - Kedoshim

A special Weekly Shtikle Mazal Tov to my colleague, Rabbi Ari Storch (of AstroTorah and BaltimoreJewishLife.com fame) and his wife on the birth of a baby boy this week.
Tizku lehachniso bivriso shel Avraham Avinu bizmanah, leTorah, leChupah, ulMaasim Tovim!

    At the end of this week's parsha, we are instructed (20:25) "vehivdaltem bein habeheimah hatehorah latemei'ah uvein ha'of hatamei latahor." We are told to distinguish between the animals and birds that are tamei and tahor. However, there is an obvious discrepancy in the pasuk. For animals we are told to distinguish between tahor and tamei, while for birds we are told to distinguish between tamei and tahor. The order of tahor and tamei is switched.
 
    Chizkuni offers an interesting approach to this problem. He writes that it is known that within the group of animals there are far fewer tahor animals than tamei. Therefore, the "havdalah" is the tahor from the tamei. However, in the bird family, there are a greater number of tahor birds than tamei birds. Therefore, the Torah tells us to distinguish the tamei ones.
 
    Perhaps there is another explanation for this discrepency. The Torah, in telling us what animals we may eat, gave us signs of a tahor animal. Therefore, when we are distinguishing, we are picking out the tahor animals by means of the signs the Torah gave us. That is why tahor is first. With the birds, however, the Torah merely told us which birds are tamei. Therefore, the distinguishing process involves picking out the tamei birds. That is why tamei is first.
 
Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka
WeeklyShtikle@weeklyshtikle.com

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