Below is a write-up of Rav Weinberger's Shalosh Seudos drasha from this Shabbos, Parshas Acharei-Kedoshim. This version reflects his review of the write-up. You can see past write-ups of Rav Weinberger's Shalosh Sheudos Torahs here and get thousands of his shiurim in mp3 format at ravmosheweinberger.com.
Rav Moshe Weinberger
Shalosh Seudos Drasha Parashas Acharei-Kedoshim 5752
Shalosh Seudos Drasha Parashas Acharei-Kedoshim 5752
The Yismach Yisroel of Alexander: The Tumah of the Ego
(Original text of the Yismach Yisroel (Pesach Sheini p.129) is in regular font. Rav Weinberger’s comments are in italics)
This is a Torah from the Yismach Yisroel of Alexander.
Tonight we are going into Pesach Sheini. We don't have the Bais Hamikdash right now, and we're all in the Geder of Tameh L'Nefesh u B'Derech Rechoka. But Pesach Sheini is for always! So this is a thought from the Alexander Rebbe on how this applies to us today.
The passuk says (Bamidbar 9:7) "ויאמרו למה נגרע לבלתי הקריב את קרבן ה׳ במועדו בתוך בנ״י" (They said "why should we be diminished by not offering Hashem's offering in it's appointed time among the Children of Israel?"). Their concern is understandable. But didn't they know that they were Tameh Meis (impure through a corpse)? Maybe they asked according to what is written in the Gemara (Sukkah 25), that they were impure from a Meis Mitzvah (a corpse that no one else is available to take care of) (see Rashi there).
Why was this even a question? There was a clear problem preventing them from bringing the korban, and they knew that!
They asked this knowing full well that everything comes from the One that ordains everything. What was it that brought about their sin that they should be Tameh Meis on Erev Pesach and not be able to bring their Pesach offering?
They were asking trying to understand the root of their problem that required such a punishment.
But their question is double: "why should we be diminished by not offering Hashem's offering" and "among the Children of Israel?". The words of Chazal are known (as brought down by Rashi in parshas Bechukosai) "אינו דומה מועטים העושים את המיצוה, למרובים העושים את המיצוה" (It's not the same when a few perform a Mitzvah, to a multitude performing a Mitzvah). Their question was "if we had been pure, we would have been able to bring the Pesach offering with the rest of Bnei Yisoel. Then the mitzvah would have been of a superior kashrus, as a larger multitude would have performed it". They were distressed by having caused the collective mitzvah of Am Yisroel to be deficient. When Moshe Rabbeinu saw how greatly distressed they were over causing Klal Yisroel's Pesach offering to be lacking, he told them to wait to hear what Hashem would command them to do.
Their intention was to find out from Moshe the cause of their sin. The answer came in the passuk "וידבר ה׳ וכו׳ איש איש כי יהיה טמא לנפש" (Hashem spoke etc., each and every man if he will become contaminated through a human corpse). Moshe Rabbeinu tells them that the cause is that had somehow separated themselves from the community of Bnei Yisroel. That they saw themselves as special individuals that should not be mixed up with the general public. "איש איש" means that "each one" thought of himself as an "איש", a separate individual.
There was a problem in their connection with other Jews.
As it's stated in the Zohar Hakadosh, they themselves felt their "greatness", that they deserved to be called "איש", from "שררות" (authority), from "אישי כוהן גדול" (My Lord Kohen Gadol).
This was the cause of their sin, and through Teshuvah M'Ahavah (Repentance out of love), they were able to come to Ahavas Yisroel (Love of other Jews), which is Ahavas Hakadosh Baruch Hu (Love of G'd). As it's written (Parshas Kedoshim) "ואהבת לרעך כמוך, אני ה׳" (And you will love your fellow Jew like yourself, I am your G'd). Through their longing to offer the Pesach sacrifice "Among the Children of Israel", their transgression became a Zchus (merit), and they deserved that this parsha be given over through them. Because a Zchus is brought about through one that deserves it.
If the agreement in the Gemara is that they were Tameh Meis Mitzvah, why did they deserve that this parsha be given through them and not through Moshe Rabbeinu? Maybe we can explain according to our words, that essence of the cause of their Tumah grew out of the sin of Gasus Haruach (Ego), this is what separated them from Klal Yisroel.
All Tumah comes from Gasus Haruach. Someone who holds of himself will inevitably have a problem in his connection to other Jews and to Hashem.
The tikkun (rectification) for this is humility and unity. It would have been proper for this to be said through Moshe Rabbeinu, the most humble of men, the Faithful Sheppard of Yisroel. Coming from his holy mouth, these words would have been received without a doubt. Through the reading of the parsha, they would have awakened love and brotherhood in Yisroel, and a lowly spirit of humility. However it was them, through their Teshuvah M'Ahavah, that deserved this to be written in their name. This way these words were able to go directly to the heart of Bnei Yisroel, even the ones already bearing this blemish of haughtiness that separates them from others. When Hashem helps them, through the sanctification of time, and opens their eyes to see that this is not the way to go up Har Hashem (the Mountain of G'd), then they will be able submit their uncircumcised heart, and return in Teshuvah to Hashem. They will be able to lower themselves and to annul their egos to Klal Yisroel, to return and be healed. Thus they will merit to feel the light of Kedusha of the Holidays just like the pure ones in Klal Yisorel were able to feel it the first night of Pesach.
The Ribbono Shel Olam should help us to remove the Tumah from ourselves, and to return us from the Derech Rechoka. We should be Zoche to "ותחזינה עינינו בשובך לציון ברחמים" (May our eyes behold Your return to Zion in compassion), so that we will be able to eat "מן הזבחים ומן הפסחים; מן הפסחים ומן הזבחים" (Of the offerings and Pesach sacrifices), with the Geulah HaSheleima VeHaamitis בב״א.