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Friday, May 8

The Weekly Shtikle - Emor

The very first comment of Rashi in this week's parsha deals with the seemingly redundant phrase, "Emor el hakohanim b'nei Aharon, ve'amarta aleihem." To explain the double-instance of amirah, Rashi quotes from the gemara (Yevamos 114a) which interprets that this is a commandment to the men to be watchful of the younger ones. This might seem, at first, to be merely an extension of the mitzvah of chinuch, the general requirement that a father has to educate his son in mitzvos. However, Tur (YD 373) writes with regard to this commandment that a kohein is required to keep his son away from tum'ah, and even to remove him from tum'ah. If a young kohein is found in a graveyard, for instance, he must be removed immediately. This is slightly more stringent then the regular laws of chinuch. As far as the d'oraysa aspect of regular chinuch is concerned, a father is not allowed to feed his child forbidden foods but once the child is actually in the act of eating it, he is not required to remove him. Also, the traditional chinuch requirement does not kick in until the child is of an educable age. This commandment would seem to apply regardless of age. Why is this different?

 

R' Yaakov Moshe Kulefsky, zt"l, answers that the general requirement of chinuch is a matter of education which is specific to the father-son relationship. The father must teach the son the mitzvos. As such, it was not deemed necessary to actually remove one's child from a situation in which he is already engrossed. It is sufficient for the purpose of education to make sure that a father does not lead his son into such a situation. When it comes to the laws pertaining to the kehunah, it is different. The requirement of a kohein to keep his son away from tum'ah is not only part of his obligation to teach his son the mitzvos but it also relates to the sanctity of the kehunah. A kohein is required to preserve the sanctity of the kehunah and that includes keeping his son away from tum'ah under all circumstances. Even a young child coming in contact with tum'ah is an active desecration of this sanctity and therefore, he is to be removed at once. It would seem, according to this, that it is not only the father of the boy who is commanded in regards to his son but perhaps every male kohein (but not necessarily every Jew.) Note that Rashi does say "lehazhir hagedolim al haketanim," and not "al habanim."

 
Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka
WeeklyShtikle@weeklyshtikle.com

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