Halacha for Friday 28 Nissan 5782 April 29 2022

Acharei Mot [outside of Israel, Kedoshim in Israel] - Constant Awakening to Yirat Shamayim (G-d-Fearing/Awe of Heaven)

From HaGaon Rav Yaakov Sasson Shlit”a, The Head of Halacha Yomit
(translated by our dear friend Rav Daniel Levy Shlit”a, Leeds UK)

It states in the Parashah, “Hashem spoke to Moshe right after the death of Aaron’s two sons, who brought an [unauthorised] offering before Hashem and died. Hashem said to Moshe: ‘Speak to Aaron your brother, and let him not enter the [inner] sanctuary (Holy of Holies) that is beyond the partition concealing the Ark, so that he may not die, since I appear over the Ark in a cloud’” (Vayikra (16:1-2).

Rashi explains, what does it come to teach us, “after the death of Aaron’s two sons”? He explains as follows. Rebbi Elazar ben Azaryah gave the following analogy. It is akin to a doctor who visited a sick person and said to him don’t eat cold things and don’t sleep in a damp place. The sick person will surely head the doctor’s words. However, another person would be told by the doctor [more directly] don’t eat cold things and don’t sleep in damp places so that you don’t die like so and so! This person will certainly be way more cautious with the doctor’s advice because he highlighted the dangers in these things and how someone died.

Likewise, Hashem said to Moshe “after the death of Aaron’s two sons”, that he should caution Aaron that he shouldn’t enter the Holy of Holies at just anytime and He mentioned the death of Aaron’s two sons who died in the Holy of Holies. Now Aaron will be more careful with Moshe’s words!

This seems astonishing! Aaron the Cohen “Holy to Hashem”, did he require a unique warning to be afraid of being punished! If the Torah is able to [merely] indicate a “threat”, then this is what the Torah does! [Yet here] it isn’t content with even a regular warning even for Aaron!

From here we learn a moral lesson, which applies to many people in our time. When they are advised by the rav to listen to the Torah, to study mussar, to strengthen in yirat shamayim, they respond that they already have enough yirat shamayim! They don’t need to strengthen themselves!

Let us think, that the Holy Torah reveals to us, that even a great person like Aaron required a unique strengthening as much as is possible to strengthen in, more and more yirat shamayim. If so, even more so that regular people require unique strengthening in yirat shamayim! Everyone requires reinforcement!

Our chachamim already warned (Yoma 72b), woe to the talmidei chachamim who study Torah and have no yirat shamayim! Meaning, even talmidei chachamim, who study Torah all day, if they won’t also engage in the study of mussar and yirat shamayim, they are susceptible to fall into the category  “they don’t have yirat shamayim”!

Therefore our chachamim cautioned that it is forbidden to study Torah from a chacham who doesn’t behave appropriately, as the passuk states, “For the lips of the Cohen should safeguard knowledge, and people should seek teaching from his mouth; for he is an agent of Hashem, Master of Legions” (Malachi 2:7). If the rav is like an agent of Hashem, Master of Legions, they should study Torah from his mouth and if he isn’t akin to an agent of Hashem then shouldn’t study Torah from him!

Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef ztvk”l (Halichot Olam 8:366) writes that therefore every person should fix time every day to study mussar, or to hear words of mussar, in order to strengthen himself in yirat Hashem. He added in the following words:

“I also remember my early years, in my youth when we used to get up early and go to the Bet Kenesset “Ohel Rachel” an hour before shacharit in order to study mussar, with holy feelings, the holy work “Reishit Chochmah”, in on group with my dear friend, the exceptional chacham more precious than gold, from amongst the many righteous people, the elevated tzaddik, pursuer of tzedakah and kindness, Rebbi Yaakov Dweck HaCohen zt”l (d. c. 1970), our eyes were drenched in tears, with a broken and depressed heart. Even during the days of the British curfew, we didn’t desist from going to the Bet Kenesset to study mussar and Hashem saved us from them. We felt a spiritual uplift from the holy words of the Reishit Chochmah.”

May Hashem merit us to study His holy Torah for its sake (with no ulterior motive) and to merit the many, and to encourage Torah study and observance.

Shabbat Shalom!

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

The Proper Way to Immerse Vessels in a Mikveh

One must make certain that there is nothing separating between the vessel one is immersing and the waters of the Mikveh. Thus, when one is immersing a vessel, one must hold the vessel loosely, for if one holds it tight, one’s hand will be separating between the vessel and the waters of the Mik......

Read Halacha

Reading Scripture at Night

Question: May one read chapters of Tanach or Tehillim at night or is this forbidden according to Kabbalah? Is there room for leniency when this reading is being done for the sake of an ill individual or a woman in labor? Answer: Maran Ha’Chida in his Responsa Yosef Ometz (Chapter 54) quotes......

Read Halacha

Question: Do disposable vessels and electric kettles require immersion in a Mikveh?

Answer: In the previous Halachot, we have discussed the general law that any new vessels purchased from a non-Jew must be immersed in a Mikveh before using them. We shall now discuss whether or not disposable vessels require immersion. We have already explained that according to Maran zt”l,......

Read Halacha

Drinking Beverages in a Café or in a Home Where the Vessels have not been Immersed in a Mikveh

Question: May one drink coffee in a friend’s home or in a Café (such as an espresso without milk served in Cafes) when they are not meticulous about immersing their vessels in a Mikveh? Answer: In the Halachot discussed before Tisha Be’av, we have explained that vessels produc......

Read Halacha


The Laws of Fire on Yom Tov

In previous Halachot we have explained that Yom Tov and Shabbat are equal regarding all prohibitions besides for certain works associated with food preparation, such as cooking, which are permitted on Yom Tov. Igniting a Flame One may not produce a new fire on Yom Tov, for instance by striking a......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Cooking on Yom Tov

In the previous Halacha, we have explained that although Shabbat and Yom Tov are equal in their prohibition to perform work on them and it is therefore a Torah prohibition to drive a car on Yom Tov, nevertheless, certain works associated with food preparation, such as cooking and frying, are permitt......

Read Halacha

Barechu Et Hashem Ha’Mevorach

Question: When the Chazzan recites “Barechu Et Hashem Ha’Mevorach” and the congregation responds “Baruch Hashem Ha’Mevorach Le’Olam Va’ed,” must one rise and bow or is this unnecessary? Answer: Regarding the obligation to rise while answering &ldquo......

Read Halacha

Which Vessels Require Immersion in a Mikveh-Continued

In previous Halachot, we have explained that vessels purchased from a non-Jew, such as those produced outside of Israel, require immersion in a Mikveh before using them. We have also discussed which types of vessels require immersion and which do not. We shall now continue discussing this topic. ......

Read Halacha