Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Worst Form of Impurity

Rav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld, zt”l, gave a penetrating analysis of a famous Talmudic statement. “In Menachos 64 we find that when the Chashmonai kings were at war, every day the besiegers would bring lambs which would be lifted over the wall and used for the korban tamid. An old man turned traitor and told the besiegers that they would not conquer as long as the occupiers continue to supply the besieged with animals for the offerings. The next day the besiegers sent up a pig instead of the lambs. When it was halfway up the wall it stuck its hooves into the wall and an area of three hundred square parsah in Eretz Yisrael quaked. “This gemara is surely thought provoking. We may wonder why they sent specifically a pig. Also, what is the meaning of the term that Eretz Yisrael shook, ‘three hundred parsah by three hundred parsah.’ “We can understand the answer by considering that even from ancient times there was always a fight between those who lean towards foreign secular wisdom and those faithful to Jewish tradition. These enemies were the forerunners of the various ‘reforming’ movements of today. They chose a pig specifically since a pig has split hooves, the outward sign of a kosher animal. It is specifically when the pig displays it hooves, trying to show that it is kosher, and endeavors to scale the city walls and defile the mikdash that the very land quakes. Such duplicity is dangerous for our nation’s very survival. “The danger presented by people distanced from the Torah who act as though they are faithful is much greater than that presented by outright apostates or the like. It is precisely because the pig has split hooves yet is not kosher that it alludes to the worst impurity. Our sages warned us to stay away from the hypocrites who destroy many more souls than those who are openly against us.”

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