Torah Tidbits

1 August 2014 / 5 Av 5774

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Issue 993
Parshat Vayakehl/P’kudei - Para
March 15, 2012
Lead Tidbits
Sedra Stats

Vayakhel- P'kudei Stats

V P V+P
Sedra among 54 22nd 23rd -
Sedra of Sh’mot’s 11 10 11 -
lines 211.2 158.7 369.8
rank (among the 54) 22nd 41st (2nd)
Parshiyot 13 20 33
  P’tuchot 7 6 13
  S’tumot 6 14 20
P’sukim 122 92 214
rank (Torah/Shmot) 17/3 40/10 (2nd)
Words 1558 1182 2740
rank (Torah/Shmot) 24/6 42/9 (2nd)
Letters 6181 4432 10613
rank (Torah/Shmot) 21/5 44/10 (2nd)
MITZVOT 1 0 1
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Parshat Para can be read with Ki Tisa, Vayakhel alone, Vayakhel-P’kudei (this year), Tzav, and Sh’mini

Vayakhel-P’kudei is the 2nd longest of the double sedras, trailing behind Matot-Masei. The addition of Para - the 2nd longest Maftir we have, with 22 p’sukim, makes it even longer, but still behind M&M.

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Lead Tidbit

It's Not a Sin, but...

First, an observation: This year, the Four Special Parshiyot span six Shabbatot - Sh’kalim, break, Zachor, break, Para, HaChodesh. (As of this writing, we are two down, two to go - which isn’t relevant to the point of this Lead Tidbit, hence the parentheses. Neither is the fact that they usually span only five Shabbatot.) However, between Purim and this Shabbat (a much more condensed period of time), we find the elements of the Four Parshiyot. Purim mirrors Zachor and has the tie-in to Sh’kalim because of the giving of Zeicher L’Machatzit HaShekel, as well as the counterpart of Haman’s offer of silver to enrich the king’s coffers in exchange for permission to destroy us. And Ki Tisa is where Parshat Sh’kalim comes from. This Shabbat is Para and we bench Rosh Chodesh Nisan, the first of the months, as we will read in HaChodesh next week. Just an observation, and maybe a point to ponder. The Parshiyot seem to be more intertwined than we usually think of them.
Back to Vayakhel-P’kudei - Para. Being TAMEI from contact to a dead body is not in and of itself a sin. This is a fact we sometimes forget in light of the well-known idea that the Para Aduma is a KAPARA and/or TIKUN for the Sin of the Golden Calf. The Para Aduma is not a Korban. It is therefore not a Korban Chatat, although it is often referred to as CHATAT. For example, the potion prepared from its ashes is called MEI CHATAT. And there are other usages of the word CHATAT related to Para Aduma. But the Para Aduma potion is used to purify (L’TAHEIR) a person who is T’MEI MEIT, not to effect atonement for any sin.
Being TAMEI is not a sin, per se, but it is not the ideal state for a Jew to be in.
Furthermore, if one is TAMEI and he eats sacred foods or enters the Beit HaMikdash area, then he is sinning, in a grand way.
It’s as if we are told, if you are TAMEI, that’s acceptable, but if you dare approach the sacred, you’re in big trouble.
And another furthermore, if, at the time of the Beit HaMikdash - past or future - a person chooses to remain TAMEI and thereby be ineligible to eat the Korban Pesach, such a person is considered to have intentionally refused to participate in Korban Pesach and can be liable to the heavenly punishment of KAREIT. This, if one had the opportunity to become TAHOR and decided not to undergo the purification process.
So, we might say that being TAMEI is not the ideal and can lead to dire consequences when combined with other situations. But not in and of itself.
A kohein at the time of the Mikdash, who is called upon to serve in the Mikdash, must purify himself. A non- kohein can technically “get away” with remaining TAMEI during the normal course of everyday life, but he too - the non-kohein, that is - has situations which require him to purify. These include not only Korban Pesach, but the eating of Maaser Sheni, the bringing of a Korban Chatat, and other such situations.
Even when someone bakes bread that requires the separation of Challa, to be given to a kohein - this has to be done in a state of TAHARA.
This year’s coinciding of Parshat Para with the double sedras of Vayakhel and P’kudei make the message of Para stronger and clearer.
Building the Mikdash, service in the Mikdash, visiting the Mikdash - these do not mix with remaining in a state of TAMEI.
We are also taught that there were individuals who did not want to remain TAMEI any longer than they had to, and always strived to be TAHOR and when they became TAMEI by chance or requirement, they would strive to undergo purification as soon as feasible.
So too, did these individuals try never to eat food that was TAMEI, even though the food is still kosher and permissible for consumption.
Bottom line: TAHARA goes hand-in- hand with our striving towards more spirituality and kedusha (sanctity) in our lives. Parshat Para gives us pause to reflect on the proper path we should seek in our Torah lives. And if we truly yearn for the building of the Beit HaMikdash, we need to pay more attention to the TUM’A-TAHARA issues on all levels - literal and figurative.

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Word of the Month

Word of the Month

A weekly feature of Torah Tidbits to help clarify practical and conceptual aspects of the Jewish Calendar, thereby better fulfilling the mitzva of haChodesh HaZeh Lachem…

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Sedra Stats

V P V+P
Sedra among 54 22nd 23rd -
Sedra of Sh’mot’s 11 10 11 -
lines 211.2 158.7 369.8
rank (among the 54) 22nd 41st (2nd)
Parshiyot 13 20 33
  P’tuchot 7 6 13
  S’tumot 6 14 20
P’sukim 122 92 214
rank (Torah/Shmot) 17/3 40/10 (2nd)
Words 1558 1182 2740
rank (Torah/Shmot) 24/6 42/9 (2nd)
Letters 6181 4432 10613
rank (Torah/Shmot) 21/5 44/10 (2nd)
MITZVOT 1 0 1
###
Parshat Para can be read with Ki Tisa, Vayakhel alone, Vayakhel-P’kudei (this year), Tzav, and Sh’mini

Vayakhel-P’kudei is the 2nd longest of the double sedras, trailing behind Matot-Masei. The addition of Para - the 2nd longest Maftir we have, with 22 p’sukim, makes it even longer, but still behind M&M.

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Word of the Month

Rosh Chodesh Nissan is Shabbat. This is fairly common - 28% of years, but the last one was 14 years ago. it will be a 3-Torah Shabbat
ROSH CHODESH NISSAN YIHYEH B’YOM SHABBAT KODESH HABA ALEINU V’AL KOL YISRAEL L’TOVA

The molad is THU (March 22) 21h 33m 2p (9:12pm IST) - FRI 3:596

HAMOLAD YIHYEH LEIL SHISHI (Thurs. night), SHLOSHIM V’SHALOSH DAKOT USH’NEI CHALAKIM ACHAREI TEISHA BAEREV

Actual (astronomical) molad - 4:38pm Israel Standard Time
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For your calendrical information:
The Adar before Nisan always has 29 days (in our fixed calendar) hence, Rosh Chodesh Nisan is always only one day. (The first Adar, when there are two, has 30 days.)