Vertluch: Parshas Achrei-Mos/Kedoshim

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‘You shall observe my Shabbos and revere my Sanctuary. I am Hashem.’ (19; 30)

The juxtaposition of keeping Shabbos and fearing the Bais Hamikdash seem to be perplexing. Typically, when the pasuk speaks of two such mitzvos so close together, there is usually a similarity between the two. But here what can the connection be? Rashi seems to imply that it means the ‘construction of the Bais Hamikdashdoes not supersede the laws of Shabbos.’ However, this seems a bit difficult because our pasuk is talking about fearing the Bais Hamikdash and not its construction. Thus, what can we say is a possible similarity between these two aforementioned mitzvos?

The Meshech Chochma answers powerfully.

The Mishna in Avos (2;2) says that it is important to have a balance of Talmud Torah as well as an occupation so that your involvement in both will minimize your likelihood of committing aveiros. The Meiri learns that this means any inclination that a person has towards sinning will be removed through his Torah; he will be educated as to what he can and cannot do. From the fact that he will be occupied in his business he will not swindle others or work in ‘grey areas’ because he is honest and will be knowledgeable in what he is allowed to do.

Says the Meshech Chochma: All week long, while one is preoccupied with work, by default they won’t have much time to contemplate sinning. But what about on Shabbos and Yom Tov when there is no work? It seems there would be more opportunity for people to sin during those times. Gemara in Kiddushin (81a) says during yomim tovim men and women tend to mingle (especially outside) and that was one of the reasons the chachamim instituted the fasting of behab.

Rambam at the end of hilchos Yom Tov writes that Bais Din was obligated to provide guards to watch and minimize men and women gathering together, which may lead to aveiros. Since we are out of work at those times and are lacking full time structure there is more exposure for committing aveiros. Meshech Chochma adds that the gemara in Shabbos says that in the Bais Hamikdash the children of Ailee Hakohen would accept the korbanos from the many women that had to bring them which led to interacting with them and ultimately bad came of this.

By both Shabbos and the Bais Hamikdash-albeit there is kedusha-there is still more of an opportunity for laxity and thereby less vigilance in the interactions of men and women. Both this day and this place is when and where the Torah is telling us. ‘You shall observe my Shabbos and revere my Sanctuary. I am Hashem!’ Watch the Shabbos when it comes to what you look at, and even though you may be in the Bais Hamikdash, be careful!

The sixth perek in Shabbos discusses what type of jewelry women can wear in public without a problem of carrying. Ran says that the entire concern of wearing jewelry was only to women. Men can wear whatever they wear all the time. Why specifically women? Says the Meshech Chochma because Shabbos we are lacking the workplace to shield us and protect us by preoccupying our minds! Let them not wear jewelry to not entice anyone and to protect the men’s level of kedusha to the best of their ability.

Ohr Hachaim in Achrei Mos says that by every single mitzvah in the Torah, once a person makes a commitment that they are now going to follow it, there are no natural elements that will pull them in the opposite direction. Perhaps laziness, but that’s testimony to the lack of seriousness. When a true commitment is made nothing can naturally stop them- except by arayus.

A person is naturally drawn toward znus. The only answer is not to say I’m going to watch myself-but to set up boundaries where our eyes won’t wander. Otherwise says the Ohr Hachaim, it is impossible for a person to walk away clean from znus; even those who are sincerely interested in growing and controlling themselves will not be able to overpower their desires unless they set boundaries.

With the summer months approaching it’s important for us to be cognizant of our surroundings. Although we can’t control other people, setting up boundaries for ourselves is the only way to ensure that our level of kedusha stays top notch.