Monday, April 25, 2016

The Torah was concerned that the holy cohen gadol at the holiest moment of the year would lust for a married women and pray that her husband die

As we have noted a number of times before - the baalei mussar make a point of saying that the sins of great people are minor things which are described in an exaggerated manner because they are held to a more severe standard than everyone else.

Rav Silberstein notes a case which seems to strongly go against this view and in fact fits in clearly with the statement that the greater the person - the greater is his yetzer.

The Torah (Vayikra 21:14) tells us that a cohen gadol can not marry either a widow or a divorcee. The question is why? He notes that this question was asked by the Baalei Tosfos [the only source I could find is an attribution to Rav Yehuda HaChasid but I couldn't find it in Sefer Chasidim]. The answer they give is astounding and it illustrates the power of the yetzer harah.

"Because the Cohen Gadol would mention the special name of G-d, there was a danger that he might have lust for a married women and he would use the opportunity to wish for the death of her husband. Consequently the Torah prohibited him from marrying a widow and only allowed a virgin"

These astounding words have to be fully understood. We are talking about the holy cohen gadol who was more holy than all the other Jews. He is now standing in the most holy part of the Temple at the holies part of the year - Yom Kippur. And it is specifically at the time that he is mentioning G-d's special name. Is there any situation which surpasses this holiness?

Nevertheless the Torah is concerned  that he is lusting for a married woman at such a time and such a place and that he will take advantage of his situation to use G-d's special name to kill the husband. It is incredible to see the extent of the power of the yetzer harah.

Furthermore we see something else - how great the power of prayer is. That G-d is prepared to listen to even disgusting prayer such as this - whose whole nature is to cause evil to another who is totally innocent.

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