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And The Angel Split The Blood

R Pesach Siegel

Parshat Mishpatim

Feb 13, 2015

And The Angel Split The Blood


Parshas Mishpatim 5775


It was the 5th day of Sivan. It was the day before the giving of the Torah. Sacrifices were offered. Blood was collected. Moshe Rabeinu took half of the blood and sprinkled it on the altar. He took the other half of the blood and sprinkled it over the Children of Israel.


The blood was already separated in halves before Moshe Rabeinu sprinkled it.


Who split the blood?


An angel was sent. An angel came and split the blood.[1]

Angels are sent for a reason. Anyone could have divided the blood into two equal parts.


Why an angel?


Following the offering of the korbanos, Moshe Rabeinu arose. He was accompanied by Aharon, Nadav, Avihu and the seventy elders. The heavens were filled with a pure spiritual light. It was a joyous sight. Nadav and Avihu gazed at the spiritual vision. Nadav and Avihu ate and drank.[2]

The Kli Yakar explains that they didn’t eat and drink physical food. The prophetic vision that Nadav and Avihu were blessed with actually nourished them. They were as Moshe Rabeinu was when he went upon Har Sinai. Moshe Rabeinu didn’t eat bread. He didn’t drink water. For forty days and nights he was sustained by the Torah he absorbed during his stay in the heavens.[3]

Nadav and Avihu ate and drank spirituality.


Mori VeRabi Rav Mordechai Gifter, z”l,[4] would relate stories about the Ponovizher Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Elazar Shach, z”l.


During one of his encounters with Rav Shach, he mentioned to Rav Shach that he heard that the Rosh Yeshiva learns through the entire night. Rav Shach denied this. Out of his immense modesty, he replied to Rav Gifter, “I don’t learn through the night. I wish I could sleep. I suffer from insomnia. The doctors provide me with pills to enable me to sleep. They are effective for an hour or two. I cannot sleep. I am up anyway, so, I pass the time by learning.”


In his Mishnah Torah, the Rambam states that one is obligated to take care of the body. The proper amount of sleep is eight hours a night,[5] to sleep less than this is a danger to one’s health.


How is it that gedolei olam, the great ones of the generations, allow themselves to subsist on much less than the prescribed eight hours? How does one dare go against the words of the Rambam?


Rav Gifter explained. The body must be nourished. It is nourished by physical food and drink. It is also nourished by sleep. When one sleeps, the physical resources are replenished. The body is provided with the energy it requires to perform throughout the day.


The physical body requires no less than eight hours of sleep.


When one immerses one’s self in the study of Torah with body and soul a wondrous thing occurs. The body becomes transformed. The holy words of Torah have an effect upon the physical body. The body starts acquiring spiritual properties. It is a gradual process, but in time the body no longer needs to be nourished by the physical forms of nourishment. The body is sustained by the very Torah that it absorbs.


Gedolei Torah did not start upon their path by depriving themselves of sleep. The more they toiled in Torah the less their bodies depended on the physical. They get the eight hours of nourishment from a higher source.


Rabi Avahu tells us in the name of Rabi Elazar, the fire of Gehinom has no effect on talmidei chachomim. We learn this from a creature called the Salmandra. This creature emerges from a fire that was left burning uninterrupted for seven years. Its very being is a product of the fire. The blood of a Salamandra has the unique property of affording protection from fire. If the blood of a Salamandra can protect from fire, certainly the body of a talmid chochom is protected from fire. The body of a talmid chochom doesn’t just come from fire. The body of a talmid chochom is fire, as it states in the Torah, “Behold my words are like fire, so says the Lord.”[6]

The posuk states that that the words of Torah are fire. The posuk is not discussing the body of a talmid chochom.


How is it that the body of the talmid chochom is protected from fire?


The answer is that the two are one and the same. The gemara is saying that the body of the talmid chochom is affected by the Torah that he learns and the body is transformed and has the properties of the fire of Torah. It cannot be burned by the fire of Gehinom.


The blood that was sprinkled upon the altar and upon the Bnei Yisroel was the blood of a covenant. Up until the time of the giving of the Torah the physical body was limited. It was restrained. It could not transcend the physical limitations imposed upon it.


At the moment of Matan Torah, a bond was forged. A link was made between the visible physical universe and the life granting spiritual realms. It became possible to bridge the gap. It became possible for the physical to be transformed, to rise above its limitations and attain the properties of the holy neshama.


Nadav and Avihu were thus capable of “eating and drinking” the spiritual vision that they beheld. They were filled with spiritual “food” and had no need for physical sustenance.


This was a direct result of the covenant forged by the blood of the sacrifices. Blood represents a life force. The blood of a holy korban was shared between two entities. It forged a synthesis between the bodies of the Bnei Yisroel and the entity of an angel. Their bodies took on the qualities of the body of a mal’ach. Thus, it was a mal’ach that was dispatched to take part in this process.[7]

The body of one who bonds with the Torah with all heart, with all his soul, and with all his might, is not an entity of the physical realm. Such a body has no limits. It is connected to an endless source of outpouring life. As the ratzon, the will, of a person expands, so too, do the capabilities of the body.


The development of such a body was the necessary preliminary to the giving of the Torah in this lowly world.

 [1] Parshas Mishpatim, perek 24, posuk 6

 [2] Parshas Mishpatim, perek 24, posuk 11

 [3] Ohr HaChaim, Parshas Ki Sisa, perek 34, posuk 28

 [4] Rosh HaYeshiva – Yeshivas Telshe Cleveland

 [5] Hilchos Dei’os, perek 4, halacha 4

 [6] Meseches Chagiga, daf 27a

 [7] See the words of the Ramban, Parshas BeShalach, perek 16, posuk 6 – The angels are sustained by the Holiness of the Shechinah



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