Category Archives: Sefer Vayikrah

Parshas Bechukosai – He Turned On The Faucet But Nothing Came Out!

Parshas Bechukosai

He Turned On The Faucet But Nothing Came Out!

“If you follow My statutes and keep My commandments and you will fulfill them.” (Vayikra 26:3)

Rabbi Yaakov Galinsky zt”l said a beautiful moshol: The Bedouins lived in the desert, far from civilization. They had to travel far to get water from wells. Once, some of the Bedouins traveled to the city. They were astounded that the city dwellers did not have to travel far to get water. All they had to do was to open the faucet and water came out. The Bedouins had the “brilliant” idea to purchase faucets which they would place in all their tents. When they returned to the desert, they excitedly told their friends that they brought a wonderous way of getting water. They would no longer have to go far to get the water, it would be right there, in their tents. They installed the faucets and turned them on. Nothing happened! No water came out. They were very distraught. They sent a message to the plumber from the city to quickly come. When the plumber arrived and saw the problem, he started laughing. He said that water does not come from the faucets alone. The faucets had to be connected to long pipes which were connected to a well, a source of water.

Rabbi Galinsky zt”l said that the Torah promises great blessings to those who toil in learning Torah and to those who fulfill the mitzvos. The Torah is the source, the “well”, for all those blessings. If someone is not connected to the “well”, how can he expect to get all those blessings?

The Torah (Vayikra 26:3-8) says,” If you follow My statutes and keep My commandments and you will fulfill them…”, then you will receive a multitude of physical blessings, besides spiritual reward. It will rain in the proper time, the earth shall give forth its produce…, you will feel satiated from eating, you will live securely in your land, there will be peace in the land, you will sleep without fear, no sword shall pass through your land, and you will pursue your enemies who will fall before you by the sword….

Rashi explains that “keeping My commandments” refers to fulfilling the mitzvos. What does “following My statutes” refer to? Rashi says that it means one should toil in learning Torah, with the intention of fulfilling the mitzvos. If one does not toil in learning Torah, G-D forbid, it could lead to a chain reaction of devastating results. He may not properly understand how to properly fulfill the mitzvos. That can lead to despising others who fulfill the mitzvos, hating the chachamim, preventing others from fulfilling the mitzvos, denying the mitzvos, and, eventually, denying Hashem.

The Talmud (Sanhedrin 94B) records the story about Sancherev, king of Assyria, who was in the process of conquering the world. He conquered heavily fortified cities. The Jewish king, Chizkiyahu realized the great danger to the Jewish People. How could the Jews protect themselves? King Chizkiyahu, aware of the blessings recorded in Parshas Bechukosai felt that the merit of learning Torah with intensity, would save the Jews. The Jewish people understood the message. Through their efforts, every Jew; man, woman, and child, became well-versed in Torah. The Talmud quotes Rabbi Yitzḥak Nappaḥa who said that the yoke of Sancherev was destroyed due to the oil of Chizkiyahu that would burn in the synagogues and study halls when the Jewish people were engaged in Torah study at night. Chidushei Agados says that an open miracle occurred, and an angel killed 186,000 of Sancherev’s soldiers. Then Sancherev fled.

Pirkei Avos (2:8) quotes Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakai who received [the oral tradition] from Hillel and Shammai. He used to say, “If you have learned much Torah, do not claim credit for yourself, because that is why you were you created”. The Talmud (Shabbos 88A) says that Hashem established a condition with the act of Creation that if Bnei Yisroel would accept the Torah on the sixth day of Sivan, the World would exist. If they would not accept it, the World would revert to the primordial state of chaos and disorder. Therefore, the earth was “afraid” lest it be returned to a state of chaos. Once the Jewish people accepted the Torah, the earth was “calmed”.

Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler zt”l (Michtav Me’eliyahu) says that when you toil at something, you come to feel an attachment to it, a love for it. For example, if you work hard to plant a tree, water it, prune it, etc., you feel an attachment to it. When you toil in Torah, you develop a love of Torah. That makes you feel that the Torah is a part of you.

The Chofetz Chaim zt”l says that everyone is obligated to toil in Torah according to his own ability.

Furthermore, toil in Torah is a mitzvah in and of itself, for which one receives reward. The Talmud (Brachos 28B) says that upon leaving the beis midrash where he learned Torah, Rabbi Nechunia ben Hakana said a prayer. “I give thanks before You, Hashem, that You have placed my lot among those who sit in the study hall, and that you have not given me my portion among those who sit idly on street corners. I rise early, and they rise early. I rise early to pursue matters of Torah, and they rise early to pursue frivolous matters. I toil and they toil. I toil and receive a reward, and they toil and do not receive a reward….” The Chofetz Chaim zt”l asks, what does it mean that others toil and do not receive a reward? For example, wouldn’t a tailor who fixed a suit get paid for the job? The Chofetz Chaim zt”l answers that the difference is in the effort. If a tailor works hard but does not sew a suit properly, he will not get paid for his effort. He gets paid only if he produces the required results.  However, Hashem handsomely rewards one for his effort in learning Torah. One who tries hard to understand a portion of the Torah yet does not understand it will still be greatly rewarded!

(dvar Torah based largely on Yalkut Lekach Tov by Yaakov Yisroel Beyfus)

We are approaching the Holiday of Shavuos, when we received the Torah. It is important to remember that we were created for the purpose of learning Torah and performing mitzvos. Our acceptance of the Torah ensured the continuation of the Creation of the World! We are obligated to work hard and toil in our Torah learning. Hashem promises us numerous blessings for that. It is important to remember that Hashem greatly values our efforts in learning Torah.


Parshas Behar – Give Back The Extra Change!

Parshas Behar

Give Back The Extra Change!

“If you sell anything to your neighbor, or purchase [something] from your neighbor, do not cheat one another.” (Vayikra 25:14)

Many years ago, I read a story by Rabbi Hanoch Teller: Vladimer was a non-Jewish postmaster in a town in Europe. He made all his calculations in his head, never making a mistake. Once, he made a mistake and gave a Jewish customer too much change. The customer did not realize the mistake until he arrived home. He asked a halachic question from his rav, Rav Yaakov Kaminetsky zt”l, who told him to return the money. He tried to return the money, but Vladimer did not believe him since Vladimer never made a monetary mistake. The Jew insisted. Finally, Vladimer acknowledged his mistake and took the money. Vladimer thought to himself that the Jew returned the money only because he was afraid that he would be caught and that all the Jews in the town would be punished because of that. From that time on, Vladimer tested his Jewish customers by giving them extra change. Each and every time, the Jews returned the extra money. Vladimer was very impressed by the honesty shown by the Jews. Sometime after, the Nazis entered the town. There was only one non-Jew in the town who tried to save Jews. It was none other than Vladimer.

The Talmud (Bava Basra 89B) discusses different laws regarding honesty in business:  A person was not permitted to prepare measuring weights of tin, lead, or of any other type of metal because they deteriorate over time. As a result, the buyer would pay for more merchandise than he would receive.  A leveler was used to remove the excess from the mouth of a vessel. A leveler was not permitted to be made from a gourd because it is a light material and does not level effectively. That would cause a loss for the seller. It was also forbidden to make a leveler of metal because it weighs down and removes too much of the merchandise. That would cause a loss for the buyer. And, conversely, one may not level little by little, i.e., with several slow movements, since this would be bad for the buyer and good for the seller.

Rabbi Yocḥanan ben Zakai wanted to give a shiur discussing the laws of honesty and deceitfulness in business, using some of the specific examples that the Talmud discusses. However, he had a dilemma. If he would give the shiur, then dishonest people may learn new methods of cheating unsuspecting buyers. On the other hand, if he would not give the shiur, then dishonest people may say, “Torah scholars are not well versed in our handiwork.” Perhaps the dishonest people would think that wise men are naïve and unaware of the different methods of cheating.

The Maharsha explains that, on the one hand, Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakai felt that it was important that dishonest people realize that talmidei chachamim, Torah scholars, know all the tricks of how to cheat others yet refrain from doing so. Upon hearing this, many dishonest people would repent. Why? They rationalize their dishonesty by telling themselves that everyone else would also cheat if they knew how. When they learn that many people have the knowledge on how to be dishonest, yet do not do so because they value honesty, then many would repent. The example set by an honest Jew can be a powerful influence to impress others about the Torah way of life. Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakai knew that even professional thieves can be brought to repentance by seeing a Jew act with honesty. That is the power of making a kiddush Hashem. That is the positive influence you can have on others by doing the right thing. On the other hand, Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakai was afraid that his shiur would teach some of the dishonest people new methods of cheating. Because of this quandary, Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakai was not going to give the shiur. The Talmud then quotes Rav Shmuel bar Rav Yitzcḥak who says that Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakai finally decided to give the shiur on the basis of the pasuk, “Whoever is wise, let him understand these things, whoever is prudent let him know them; for the ways of Hashem are righteous, tzadikim will walk in them: and sinners will stumble in them.” (Hoshea 14:10). The Maharsha explains that Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakai derived from this pasuk another benefit of giving the shiur. Righteous people who would hear the shiur would become more sensitive to and would avoid deceiving others in ways in which they may have been doing so unintentionally. This additional benefit convinced Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakai to give the shiur.

Rabbi Henach Leibowitz zt”l had a question on this. Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakai was not going to give the shiur because of the deadlock between the consideration of encouraging outright thievery versus making a kiddush Hashem. Why would the benefit learned from the pasuk, make a difference in tipping the scales in favor of giving the shiur? Wasn’t this potential benefit very unlikely? After all, tzadikim, righteous people are honest. They review their actions to make sure that they act properly. The odds were minimal that they would cheat others, even unintentionally.

Rabbi Leibowitz zt”l answered that apparently, even though the chance of affecting a benefit to the righteous was minimal, it was still worth giving the shiur for their benefit. This teaches us how terrible it is to deceive others, even when done unintentionally. There is no such thing as a small deception, or a tiny lie! Hashem wants us to be totally, 100% truthful! Any slight deviation is not considered truthful (However, there are some, limited exceptions where the Torah does permit one)!

Acting with emes, with Truth, is one of the obligations of Judaism. The example set by a Jew acting with honesty, can be a very powerful influence to attract others to a Torah way of life!

(Dvar Torah based on the shiurim of HaRav Henach Leibowitz zt”l as recorded in

The Pinnacle of Creation by Rabbi Aryeh Striks and Rabbi Shimon Zehnwirth,

as well as Chidushei Halev by Rabbi Binyamin Luban).


Parshas Kedoshim – Please Talk To Me!

Parshas Kedoshim

Please Talk To Me!

“You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall certainly rebuke your friend ….” (Vayikra 19:17)

Numerous times, every single day, in our heartfelt tefillos, we beseech Hashem to send Moshiach and to rebuild the Bais HaMikdash. We have been asking for almost 2,000 years! Why hasn’t Hashem responded to our tefillos?

The Chofetz Chaim zt”l answers this question. Our first Bais HaMikdash was destroyed because of three terrible sins: idolatry, immorality, and murder. During the period of the second Bais HaMikdash, the Jews were involved in learning Torah, doing mitzvos, and performing acts of kindness. Yet, our Bais HaMikdash was destroyed because we harbored baseless hatred in our hearts.

The Chofetz Chaim zt”l says that since unwarranted hatred caused the destruction of the Bais HaMikdash, that sin must first be repaired before the Bais HaMikdash can be rebuilt. One of the mitzvos in the Torah is not to hate our fellow Jew in our heart (Vayikra 19:17). That applies to all Jews, regardless of their knowledge or observance. The only exception is that one is permitted to hate a heretic.

According to the Torah, as soon as a person distances himself mentally and emotionally from his fellow Jew, he begins to violate the prohibition of hating a Jew. At times, a very minor annoyance can balloon into a full-fledged hatred in one’s heart.

Hating a fellow Jew in one’s heart, covers one’s heart with a spirit of impurity which can last for eternity, even in the World to Come. The Talmud (Shabbos 32) lists a few, very serious punishments, to one who harbors unwarranted hatred in his heart.

Why is this sin of harboring hatred so severe that it equaled the three major sins of idolatry, immorality, and murder? The Chofetz Chaim zt”l explains that, unlike other sins with which a person sins one time, every moment that one’s heart feels hatred, one is sinning anew. Sometimes the feelings of hatred last a month, sometimes a year, and sometimes even longer! Additionally, hatred is the root cause of many other serious sins such as dissension, lashon hara, hurtful speech, the embarrassment of others, slander, and even murder!

What triggers the feelings of baseless hatred? Often, it stems from jealousy of one’s friend’s success, the honor that he receives, or his good middos.

The Chofetz Chaim zt”l says that it is foolish to be jealous of another’s wealth. Being wealthy is a challenge which not everyone can manage successfully. Hashem knows who is capable of being a custodian for wealth, sharing enough of it properly with appropriate charitable causes. Sometimes Hashem gives wealth to one who is notably undeserving to reward him for his few mitzvos. That is so that he won’t receive an even greater reward for his few good deeds in the World to Come.

It is foolish to be jealous of another’s success in business, feeling that he is encroaching on your business. Hashem predetermines one’s success or failure. No one can take even a penny from you if it was not predetermined by Hashem.

It is also pointless being jealous of the honor that another is receiving instead of you. Hashem honors those who deserve it. If you try to disgrace a person’s honor, you will become more disgraced by others.

Furthermore, we each have different missions to accomplish in our lives. Hashem gives us all that we need to accomplish our specific mission. If there is something that we feel we are lacking, it is because we do not need it to fulfill our life’s mission.

What can we do to remove this terrible sin from our hearts?

The Chofetz Chaim zt”l suggests that we “talk to” the yetzer hara who tries to implant ill feelings in our heart towards our friend. He tries to get us angry at others. We should tell the yetzer hara that we hate him for he distorts reality and tries to get us to sin. Those words will help erase the hatred from our hearts.

Judging our fellow Jew favorably can help stop hatred from taking root in our hearts. It can also help remove any hatred that we may already feel.

Sometimes one is upset because his friend did not do him a favor. It says in Pirkei Avos (2:5) that we should not judge our fellow Jew (Avos 2:5) unless we are in his place. Had the situation been reversed and we were in the position to do the favor with the same set of circumstances that your friend had, maybe we would not have acted any differently than he. Perhaps we would have also refused to do the favor.

Many commentaries say that the best advice is communication. Chizkuni & Bchor Shor (Vayikra 19:17) say that if someone made negative comments about you or falsely accused you of wrongdoing, behind your back, don’t bottle-up resentment in your heart by hating him. Rather, in a soft tone, approach him and ask, “Why did you do that to me? What prompted you to act that way towards me?” Perhaps you will be able to prove to him that he had completely misinterpreted your action. This is not merely a good idea to bridge peace. Even if you are convinced that your remonstrations will not help at all, the Torah obligates you to attempt a reconciliation.

Similarly, the Or HaChaim says that you must communicate. Do not assume that the action done against you cause was done purposely. Do not assume that he feels hostility towards you. Give him the benefit of the doubt and discuss the matter with him. Your discussion will give him the opportunity to explain why he said or did what he did. Once you hear his reason for what he did, the hatred may be erased from your heart. Your open communication may also help change his attitude towards you. This conversation can lead to harmonious relations.

Especially during this period of Sefiras haOmer, we should do all we can to promote peace with each other.

(The dvar Torah is largely based on Ahavas Yisroel by the Chofetz Chaim zt”l)


Parshas Acharei Mos – What Happened To All The Money In Your Bank Account?

Parshas Acharie Mos

What Happened To All The Money In Your Bank Account?

“No man shall be present in the Tent of Meeting when he comes in to atone for the Holy [Sanctuary] until he leaves. He shall atone on his behalf and on behalf of his household and on behalf of the entire assembly of Israel.” (Vayikra 16:17)

HaRav Chaim Kanievsky zt”l and HaRav Aharon Leib Shteinman zt”l would often send people seeking a yeshuah, a salvation, to Rav Shimon Galai. A widow once came to Rabbi Galai and said, “Please promise me. I need a yeshuah.” “I cannot promise,” he said. She said, “But people say you can bring yeshuos. Miracles happen for you.” He replied, “I cannot make miracles. I can only say one thing about myself. I have tried my best to make sure that my mouth will not say one word of lashon hara.” (Pesach Newsletter of the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation)

When a person speaks lashon hara, derogatory speech, it impacts his words of Torah and prayer. Sometimes, it prevents his prayers from reaching Heaven. On the other hand, when one is careful not to speak lashon hara, his prayers are more powerful!

On Yom Kippur, the Kohen Gadol would bring the korban Ketores, a mixture of spices which he would burn on the golden altar, which was in the Kodesh HaKadashim, the Holy of Holies, in the Bais HaMikdash. This was a special korban. It could only be performed by the Kohen Gadol and only on Yom Kippur. It was done in the sacred area of the Bais HaMikdash which even the Kohen Gadol was forbidden to enter, save on Yom Kippur.

The Talmud (Yoma 44A) teaches that the ketores offering atoned for the sin of lashon hara. It is noteworthy that the very first sin for which the Kohen Gadol had to achieve forgiveness on behalf of the Jewish People, on Yom Kippur, was the sin of lashon hara. Rav Avraham Pam zt”l (Messages from Rav Pam by Rabbi Sholom Smith) quotes the Chofetz Chaim zt”l who points out that this teaches us the grave seriousness of the sin of lashon hara. The Kohen Gadol had to first counteract the prosecuting angel who condemns the Jewish People for their careless and improper speech. Once that sin was rectified, then the Kohen Gadol was able to strive to obtain forgiveness for the other sins of the Jewish People.

Lashon hara is the source of many social ills. It has caused the dissolution of many friendships and marriages. It has generated immeasurable suffering. It causes hatred, jealousy, and disputes. The evils of lashon hara are universally recognized. Yet, due to various rationalizations, people condone making derogatory comments.

Our second Bais HaMikdash was destroyed, and we are still in exile lasting over 2,000 years! What sins have been the primary cause for our continued exile? What do we have to rectify? The Talmud (Yoma 9B) details lashon hara as the cause of the continued exile. The main sin to correct is the speaking of lashon hara.

Every word of lashon hara is a sin, in of, itself. With each word spoken, one may violate numerous positive AND negative commandments! The gravity of speaking lashon hara is compounded with each word & sentence one utters! One who is not careful with his speech can violate the prohibition thousands of times in a short while.

Midrash Rabbah (98:19) asks, “Why are our tongues are compared to arrows, more so than other weapons?” The Midrash answers that other weapons cause harm at the spot of the attack. Arrows, however, can cause harm a great distance away. With the touch of a button on a computer or smartphone, one can reach millions of people. Do we really want to use that power to spread slander about someone? Once the harmful word is said and sent, it can never be retrieved! The harm caused can never be undone!

Moshe Rabbeinu could not understand why the Jews were suffering so terribly in Egypt. The Sifsei Chachamim (Shmos 2:14) explains that Moshe knew Hashem had already told our forefather, Avraham, that his children would be slaves and would suffer affliction for 400 years. That, however, did not explain why the Jews had to suffer so horrifically or why the servitude was so harsh. Then something happened which opened Moshe’s eyes to the answer as to why this was happening to the Jews. One day, Moshe uttered Hashem’s holy name to justifiably kill a cruel Egyptian taskmaster. The following day, Moshe attempted to stop two Jews from fighting.  Immediately, one of the two Jews said to Moshe, “Do you intend to murder me as you had murdered the Egyptian?” (Shmos 2:14) Moshe was taken aback. He said to himself, “Indeed the matter is known!” Rashi says Moshe realized that his act of killing the Egyptian was known to others. Rashi quotes the Midrash explaining that now Moshe understood why the Jews were suffering so terribly in Egypt. “Now, I understand why the Jews are deserving this” because they are speaking lashon hara, slandering fellow Jews. In fact, those two Jews slandered Moshe to Pharaoh. Moshe would have been killed by Pharaoh had Hashem not miraculously saved him.

The Jews were on the 49th level (out of 50) of impurity. They served idols (Midrash). With all that, Moshe could not understand why the Jews were suffering terribly. Once Moshe saw that there was also the sin of slander, then he understood. The Chofetz Chaim zt”l (Shmiras Halashon; Part 2 perek 4) quotes a Zohar. The Zohar explains that lashon hara awakens accusations in heaven against the Jewish People. Apparently, other sins, even serious ones, do not have the power to bring accusations against the perpetrator and the Jewish People as a whole. Once lashon hara is spoken, it enables all the other sins to “accuse” the Jews.  That is what the pasuk means, “Indeed the matter is known!” The lashon hara “opened the door” for other sins to prosecute the Jewish People. It allowed the serious sin of serving idols to stand in accusation against the Jews. Now Moshe understood why the Jews deserved such harsh treatment by the Egyptians.

The sin of speaking lashon hara is very severe, especially if one habitually speaks lashon hara. The Chofetz Chaim zt”l (Shmiras Halashon; Sha’ar Zechira perek 3) quotes the Chovos Halevavos by Rabbeinu Bechaya (Sha’ar Hachniya perek 7, at the end of hasiman hashlishi) who writes about the terrible shock that awaits one who habitually speaks lashon hara. He says that after a person dies and is judged he will be shown the mitzvos and sins that he had done during his lifetime. He will notice, to his great chagrin, that many mitzvos that he had done in his lifetime are no longer there. In addition, there will be sins recorded that he had never done. What happened?!! When he habitually spoke lashon hara about another person, his mitzvos were transferred to that person. In addition, that person’s sins were transferred to him.  It was as if he had $100,000 in his bank account. He went to make a withdrawal, to use the money as a down payment on a house. When he gave the teller the withdrawal slip, she told him that he only had $20 left in the account.

We should refrain from speaking or listening to any negative comments about others. We should learn the laws of shmiras halashon, guarding our mouths, to know what we are permitted to say and what we are not. May our efforts facilitate peace in the world and the speedy rebuilding of the Bais HaMikdash!

      Some basic information to be aware of:

  • You are forbidden to make a derogatory comment even if it is true.
  • Any comment, even if not derogatory, that may cause financial loss, physical pain, or mental anguish is considered lashon hara.
  • Even negative writing, hand motions, or facial expressions can be lashon hara.
  • If you say something derogatory and then say that you were just joking, it is considered lashon hara.
  • You may not even say lashon hara to a close relative or a spouse.
  • If it is needed for a constructive purpose you are obligated to say it, but you must meet the 7 conditions listed below.




     The Chofetz Chaim, A Daily Companion, Day 77

A summary of the 7 Rules to permit speaking lashon hara for a constructive purpose:

  • You must be 100% certain that the information is accurate.
  • You must be 100% certain that a wrong has been committed.
  • You must first approach the wrongdoer to persuade him to correct his behavior, unless it will make things worse.
  • When telling it over you may not exaggerate at all.
  • Your intention must be solely to help the one who was victimized and not because you harbor ill will towards the perpetrator.
  • You should try to first solve the problem without having to speak lashon hara.
  • You may not say it if your words will cause more harm to the perpetrator than allowed by the Torah.


When in doubt what to do, ask your rav or call the Shmiras Halashon hotline

of the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation, 718-951-3696.


Check out the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation website,, for easy-to-read books, short video clips, etc… to become more familiar with the laws of shmiras halashon.


Parshas Shmini – He Was Willing To Give Up His Life…!

Parshas Shmini

He Was Willing To Give Up His Life…!

“Moshe said to Aharon: Approach the altar and perform [the services of] your sin-offering and your burnt-offering and atone on your [own] behalf and on behalf of the people; and perform [the service of] the peoples offering and atone on their behalf, just as Hashem commanded.” (Vayikra 9:7)

The Titanic was a British ocean liner which was the largest ship afloat at that time.  On its first voyage, it carried some of the wealthiest people in the world, as well as hundreds of emigrants who were seeking a new life in the United States and Canada. It had advanced safety features, such as watertight compartments and remotely activated watertight doors, contributing to its reputation as “unsinkable”. It sank after striking an iceberg during its very first voyage. It did not have enough lifeboats for all the passengers and crew aboard. Of the estimated 2,224 passengers and crew aboard, about 1,500 died. (Wikopedia)

John Harper was on the Titanic. He placed his niece and his six-year-old daughter into a lifeboat. He gave up his seat for a woman or a child, knowing that he might not survive. As the Titanic was sinking, John Harper went into the freezing water, holding onto a piece of wreckage. He died in the freezing water. John Harper sacrificed his life for another human being.

There were seven days of festivities leading up to the permanent and lasting construction of the Mishkan. On the eighth day, the Mishkan was erected permanently. Moshe instructed Aharon and the Jewish People to offer specific korbanos. Afterwards, Hashem’s Shechina would reside in the Mishkan. Moshe told Aharon, “Approach the altar and perform [the services of] your sin-offering and your burnt-offering and atone on your [own] behalf and on behalf of the people; and perform [the service of] the peoples offering and atone on their behalf, just as Hashem commanded.” (Vayikra 9:7). Rashi, as explained by Sifsei Chachamim, as well as Gur Aryeh, and others, question the apparent extra words of the pasuk. Why didn’t the pasuk simply say that Moshe asked Aharon to perform the services? Why does it add that Moshe also told Aharon to “approach the mibayach, the altar”? Rashi and Gur Aryeh answer that Aharon was hesitant to approach the mizbayach because he felt ashamed and afraid.

Why did Aharon feel ashamed and afraid to approach the mizbayach? Ramban explains that Aharon had only been involved in one sin in his life and he constantly kept that sin in his mind to raise his teshuva to a higher level. That “sin” was his involvement in the sin of the Golden Calf. As Aharon approached the Mizbayach haZahav, the Golden Altar, the mizbayach appeared to him as a calf. He felt as if the form of a calf was there to stop him from sacrificing the korbanos which would bring forgiveness.  This aroused within him an intense fear that his offering would not be accepted.

Ramban brings another opinion (see the Rosh) that the Satan caused the actual form of a calf to appear. Da’as Zekanim explains that Aharon feared that he was no longer qualified to serve as a kohain. Aharon hesitated to bring the korbanos. He felt that he was inadequate to do so because of the reluctant role he had played in the sin of the Golden Calf. Moshe encouraged Aharon by telling him not to be afraid because Hashem had specifically chosen him to be the Kohain Gadol.

What was the background of the sin of the Golden Calf? Moshe had ascended Har Sinai to receive the first set of Luchos (the 10 Commandments). The people miscalculated when Moshe was supposed to return. So, when Moshe did not come when they expected him, some people, mostly the erev rav (the non-Jews from different nations who had joined the Jewish People after seeing all the miracles that Hashem had performed in Egypt), wanted to make an idol to take the place of Moshe. Aharon had seen Chur murdered for trying to stop them from making an idol. Aharon knew that he could not stop them. Therefore, he got involved, hoping to stall for time until Moshe returned. He told the Jewish People to gather and bring gold jewelry. Events moved much quicker than Aharon planned. Two magicians from amongst the erev rav used magic to make a living, golden calf.

Rabbi Yissocher Frand (Rabbi Frand on the Parashah) says that Moshe told Aharon, ‘You, of all people, don’t have to fear what the calf represents.” What did Moshe mean? Yalkut Yehudah explains, based on the Midrash. Why did Aharon participate in making the Golden Calf? Aharon acted in the best interests of the Jewish People. He knew that if the Jewish People would make the idol, then they would bear the guilt of that sin. Aharon felt that it would be better for him to make it and bear the sin for doing so. He placed their welfare above his own. He was willing to sacrifice his olam haba for the sake of the Jewish People. This demonstration of love for the Jewish People, made him worthy to be anointed the Kohain Gadol. This was what Moshe meant when he told Aharon, “This is precisely why you were chosen.” Don’t be afraid and approach the mizbayach to bring the korban.

Aharon exhibited a special ahavas Yisroel, love for his fellow Jew. What a beautiful lesson for us to emulate. We are all a part of the one neshama. Let us exhibit only love to one another!


Parshas Vayikra – Zachor: United We Stand Divided We Fall!

Parshas Vayikra – Zachor

United We Stand Divided We Fall!

“He [Moshe] named the place Massah and Merivah because the B’nei Yisrael had quarreled [Merivah] and because they had tested [Massah] Hashem, saying, “Is Hashem among us or not?” Amalek came and fought with [B’nei] Yisrael in Rephidim.” (Shmos 17:7-8)

This Shabbos, we have a mitzvah to hear Parshas Zachor being read from the Torah. The Torah exhorts us to always remember Amalek’s evil and cruelty. They had no reason to attack us. All the other nations feared Hashem when they heard about all the miracles that Hashem had done when freeing us from Egypt. The nation of Amalek was the only nation that did not fear Hashem. They fought against us because we represent Hashem! The battle against Amalek is an eternal, ongoing battle, even in our time. When Moshiach comes, Hashem will eradicate all traces of this evil people.

Since the battle against Amalek is a battle throughout the ages, it is beneficial for us to know what causes Amalek to battle us. It is also exceedingly important to know what WE can do to weaken Amalek’s power.

The Kli Yakar says that when Jews are at peace with Hashem and at peace with one another, then Amalek has no power at all. The Chofetz Chaim zt”l adds, that when we don’t have strife, we are also protected from other nations (Sefer Shmiras HaLashon, quoted in Biurei Chofetz Chaim on the Torah by Rabbi Yisroel Braunstein).

“He [Moshe] named the place Massah and Merivah because B’nei Yisrael had quarreled [Merivah] and because they had tested [Massah] Hashem, saying, “Is Hashem among us or not?” Amalek came and fought with [B’nei] Yisrael in Rephidim.” (Shmos 17:7-8)

The Kli Yakar continues that the Jewish People quarreled with each other and against Moshe. They also questioned if Hashem was there to help them. These two behaviors enabled Amalek to wage war.

The Jews complained against Moshe, demanding water, even though they still had some water. “Refidim”, the name that the Torah gives for their location in the desert, at that time, hints as to why they had no water then. Ref-idim, is a contraction of raf and yadayim. This hints to the fact that their yadayim, their hands, were weakened, because they had weakened their Torah learning. The Jews also questioned if Hashem was there to help them. (See HaEmek Davar who questions how the Jews could possibly have said this after having witnessed so many miracles. He says that the Jewish people wondered if Hashem would continue to perform daily miracles for them even after Moshe passed away.)  Haman, a descendant of Amalek, wanted to annihilate the Jewish People. When he spoke to King Achashverosh, requesting permission to do so, he said that the Jews had failed in these same two areas. “Haman said to King Achashverosh: “There exists a particular people, far-flung, widespread among the peoples in all the colonies of your realm. Their customs differ from those of all peoples, and they do not abide by his majesty’s bylaws; his majesty has nothing to gain by tolerating them.” (Megilas Esther 3:8) The words of the pasuk, “מְפֻזָר וּמְפֹרָד”, scattered and separate, refer to the fact that the Jews were not unified with each other, and that they also separated themselves from Hashem.

The Beis HaLevi quotes the Talmud (Bechoros 5) that Hashem allowed Amalek to fight against us in the desert because of these two sins; The Jews weakened their Torah learning and questioned if Hashem was in their midst.

The Ohr HaChaim says that Hashem allowed Amalek to fight against the Jews as a punishment for having neglected Torah which is compared to both fire and water. The fiery sword of Amalek and the thirst for water were the punishments which fit the “crime”.

Rav Elchonon Wasserman zt”l (Koveitz Ma’amarim, quoted in in Biurei Chofetz Chaim on the Torah by Rabbi Yisroel Braunstein) says that our best weapon against our enemies is to increase our Torah learning. He says that every Jew who learns a chapter of Mishnayos or a page of Gemorah weakens the power of Amalek and has a share in the mitzvah of eradicating Amalek. This helps protect us even more than military strategies. 

During the war with Amalek, “When Moshe raised his hand, [B’nei] Yisrael prevailed; but when he let his hand down [to rest] Amalek prevailed.”  (Shmos 17:11). The Chofetz Chaim zt”l points out that it says,”כַּאֲשֶׁר יָרִים מֹשֶׁה”, “When Moshe will raise his hand”, in the future tense. Moshe raising his hand refers to the strengthening of Torah. This teaches us that, even in the future, when we strengthen our Torah learning, “וְגָבַר יִשְׂרָאֵל”, “[B’nei] Yisrael prevailed”; We will overcome Amalek.

We should not underestimate the importance of Jewish unity and the importance of our Torah learning. They bring us closer to each other and to Hashem.

They also protect us from ALL our enemies!


Parshas Behar – Bechukosai: The Power of 1!

Parshas Behar – Bechukosai

The Power of 1!


“If your brother becomes poor and his means fail with you, you must support him….” (Vayikra 25:35)
“I am the L-rd your G-d, who brought you out of the land of Mitżrayim, to give you the land of Cana’an, and to be your G-d.” (Vayikra 25:38)

On Yom Kippur, an elderly resident of Lakewood, New Jersey, davened in Bais Medrash Gavoha, the Lakewood yeshiva. He felt ill and was taken to a dormitory room to lie down. Just before Tefilas Ne’ila, the last tefilla of Yom Kippur, Rabbi Aharon Kotler zt”l, the Rosh HaYeshiva, asked one of his students to go to the dormitory room to daven together with the elderly man. The student said, “But the I won’t be able to daven Ne’ila with a minyan.” Rabbi Kotler replied,”To do chesed for another person is just as important!”

Studying Torah late one night in synagogue, Rabbi Yisroel Salanter zt”l, overheard two poor men talking to each other. One asked the other to accompany him to the well, as he was afraid to go out alone at night. The other was very tired and refused. Immediately, Rabbi Yisroel stopped learning and went to the well to get water for the poor man. (Love Thy Neighbor by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin) [There are times when we should not stop learning Torah to do chesed. Our rabbis can guide us when we should stop learning and when we should not. In this instance, Rabbi Yisroel Salanter stopped learning because he was the only one who could have performed the act of chesed.]

The Talmud (Sotah 14A) says that one should copy the attributes of Hashem and do acts of chesed, acts of kindness. The Talmud brings examples where Hashem clothed the naked, visited the sick, consoled mourners, and buried the dead. Rabbi Simlai said, “Great is chesed for the Torah begins with chesed and ends with chesed. In the beginning of the Torah, Hashem clothed Adam & Chava. In the end of the Torah, Hashem buried Moshe.

Rabbi Moshe Alshich zt”l (as quoted in Iturei Torah by A.Y. Greenberg) points out that in the previous psukim the Torah uses plural terms. However, when the Torah discusses helping a poor person, it changes to the singular. Why? The Alshich explains that it is not uncommon for people to ignore a person in need. People may try to pass the chesed opportunity to someone else who may be a closer friend of the one in need. Or they may try to pass it on to another person who is wealthier and has more money to help. By changing to the singular tense, the Torah is telling us an important lesson. YOU have the obligation to help the poor person in need [if you are able]! Do not try to relieve yourself of the responsibility, by passing it on to another person!

HaRav Henach Leibowitz zt”l explains that the Sforno (Vayikra 25:38) is referring to previous psukim which discuss doing acts of chesed. The Sforno says that when you do an act of chesed, you are doing MORE than an act of chesed for an individual. Rather, it is like you are doing chesed for the entire Jewish People! Your act of chesed is helping to fulfill the purpose of Creation, that of recognizing Hashem.

Rabbi Binyomin Luban (in Chidushei Halev) quotes Harav Henach Leibowitz zt”l  with an additional idea from the Sforno. It is impossible for an individual to achieve the purpose of Creation, by himself. It can only be accomplished together with other Jews. Even if the individual is a tzadik or a chasid, he still cannot attain that on his own. It can only be achieved when Jews live together and do acts of chesed for one another. Doing acts of chesed for each other, unifies us as one.

Even a small act of kindness is the fulfillment of the mitzva of chesed. We should be eager to do the chesed and we should run to do it! It is incumbent on us to do so! Every act of chesed that we do for an individual Jew is considered as if we are doing chesed for the entire Jewish nation!

Our act of chesed helps fulfill the purpose of Creation, that of recognizing Hashem!


Parshas Emor: You Can’t Touch It!

Parshas Emor

You Can’t Touch It!


“He shall put the incense on the fire before Hashem and the cloud of incense will cover the Ark-cover….” (Vayikra 16:13)

On Jan. 12, 2019, a fire destroyed Yossi’s Fish Market on 13th Avenue and 54th Street in Boro Park. Shea Langsam, the owner of Fish to Dish, offered Yossi’s Fish Market a temporary location inside his own, competing store which was just a few blocks away.

“While we are a community that is known for its chesed (kindness), the act of offering a direct competitor into your own storefront truly goes above and beyond,” said Assembly Member Simcha Eichenstein. “Fish to Dish is setting a new bar for what it means to be a neighbor and business owner in our community.”  (Yeshiva World News, February 4, 2019)

            The Ben Ish Chai, in his Commentary Ben Yehoyada (Tractate Yoma, 38A), cites an interesting story:

A jar filled with precious stones was hidden in the ground. Every summer, groups of people would pitch their tents in the ground, near the jar of precious stones. Even though they hammered stakes, metal poles, into the ground to pitch their tents, they did not come across the jar of precious stones. This routine went on for many years. However, no one found the jar of precious stones. Once, a different person came to the area. He hammered his stake in the ground and immediately found the jar of precious gems.

This story teaches us that no person can take what Hashem designated to go to another person.

The Talmud (Yoma 38A) discusses the family of Avtinas, experts in preparing the ketores, the incense that was burned in the Bais HaMikdash. They were the only ones who knew the secret of how to properly prepare the ketores so that its smoke went straight up, like a stick. When asked by the sages, they refused to teach the secret to others. The sages dismissed them and brought craftsmen from Alexandria, Egypt. The Alexandrian craftsmen knew how to blend the spices, but they could not cause the smoke to rise straight up like a stick, as the House of Avtinas could. Rashi explains that the Alexandrian craftsmen did not know which particular herb to use to enable the smoke to rise straight up. When the sages saw the failure of the Alexandrian craftsmen, they asked the people from the House of Avtinas to return to their original position. The members of the House of Avtinas refused to return until the sages doubled their wages. The sages asked them why they refused to teach others the secret of their craft. They said, “The members of our father’s house knew that the Beis HaMikdash, is destined to be destroyed. They were concerned lest an unworthy man learn the skill of preparing incense and use that in idol worship.”  Therefore, they attempted to prevent this skill from spreading beyond their family. The Talmud comments, “And for this matter they are mentioned favorably.”

Ben Azzai learned from the fact that the sages had to rehire the family of Avtinas, and at double their previous salary, that one should never be concerned lest others take away his livelihood.

Accordingly, one should never feel the need to be dishonest since he can never acquire that which Hashem did not designate for him. Even if it appears that he “gained” some money, there are many ways that Hashem has, to take it away from him.


We have full faith that Hashem provides a livelihood for everyone.

Hashem designates a particular portion for each individual.

We will each receive exactly that which Hashem wants us to have, no more and no less.

No other person can touch that which is prepared for us by Hashem.


Parshas Acharei Mos – Kedoshim: The Clothes Make the Man. And You Had Better Watch Out!

Parshas Acharei Mos – Kedoshim

The Clothes Make the Man. And You Had Better Watch Out!


He [the Kohain Gadol] shall don a sanctified, linen tunic and linen pants shall be on his body. He shall gird himself with a linen sash and place a linen turban on his head.” (Vayikra 16:4)

Rabbi Shimon Schwab zt”l held a rabbinical position in Germany in 1933, prior to immigrating to the United States. He had given a Shabbos sermon that was misunderstood to be criticizing Hitler. The Gestapo called Rabbi Schwab in for questioning. He explained the misunderstanding. He was freed but was told that they were going to investigate him. Over the next two months, he did not know what the Gestapo would do to him. During that entire time, he went to sleep at night wearing his clothes, not his pajamas. When asked about it, he explained his unusual behavior. Apparently, another rav had been recently executed by the Gestapo, in the middle of the night. He had been wearing his pajamas and was left hanging in a public place. Rabbi Schwab was afraid that he, too, would be arrested and hung in the middle of the night. He felt that it would be a chilul Hashem, a desecration of Hashem’s name, for a rav to be left hanging while wearing his pajamas.  Therefore, he slept in his clothes for the entire two months that his life was in the balance.

The Kohain Gadol performed various holy services in the Beis HaMikdash on Yom Kippur. When performing the services outside of the Kodesh HaKedashim, the Holy of Holies, he wore all eight special garments of the Kohain Gadol. Before entering the Holy of Holies, he removed the four special garments that were made from gold. Thus, he entered wearing only the remaining four linen garments, the same garments that a regular Kohain wore when he officiated.

Why did the Kohain Gadol remove the four golden garments? Rashi explains that the prosecutor cannot become the defender. The golden garments were a reminder of the egel hazahav the golden calf. The sin of the golden calf still hovered over the Jewish People. It would not have been judicious for the Kohain Gadol to wear clothes that were a reminder of the golden calf, while he was davening to Hashem to forgive the Jewish People for their sins.

The Midrash Rabba (Vayikra 21:10) cites various opinions as to why the Kohain Gadol did not wear the golden clothes while performing the service in the Kodesh HaKedashim. One opinion was quoted in the above Rashi. The Midrash quotes another opinion that it was because of arrogance. The Matnos Kehuna explains that the Kohain Gadol should not have any feelings of arrogance while standing before Hashem.  This is based on a pasuk in Mishlei (25:6), “Do not exalt yourself in the king’s presence.”  The Malbim explains that one’s own honor should be nullified in comparison to the king’s honor. By dressing in a certain way, one is exhibiting the feeling that his honor is something important as well. That is not appropriate when standing before Hashem, the King of kings. One’s actions would then seem to be diminishing Hashem’s honor. Similarly, Rashi says, “Do not glorify yourself before a king to show your honor and to be proud before one who is greater than you.”  Rabbeinu Yona on the Torah adds that the Kohain Gadol should enter the Kodesh HaKedashim with fear and trepidation. He should not feel arrogance that he, alone, was chosen from amongst all the Jewish People to perform this holy service. Therefore, in order not to feel arrogant before Hashem, the Kohain Gadol removed his golden garments.

The Kohain Gadol might feel a trace of arrogance before Hashem because he was singled-out for this holy task of davening for the entire Jewish People. If so, then why would those feelings of arrogance disappear if he would only wear the white linen garments without the golden ones? Apparently, the Kohain Gadol would only feel this trace of arrogance if he also wore the golden garments.

What a beautiful lesson for us! Even the Kohain Gadol, on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year, in the Kodesh Kedashim, in the holiest place, while standing before the Shechina, would be apt to feel a trace of arrogance. Why? Only because of the golden clothes that he would be wearing.  Even such a holy person, in such a holy place, at such a holy time, could be influenced by the type of clothing that he would be wearing. 

Chananya, Mishael, and Azarya were thrown into a fiery furnace by King Nevuchadnetzar. The Talmud (Sanhedrin 92B) quotes the school of Rabbi Eliezer ben Yaakov who taught that even during a period of danger, a person should not deviate from his prominence and demean himself. Rashi (Daniel 3:21) says that Chananya, Mishael, and Azarya wore their royal garments when they were cast into the blazing, fiery furnace. The Maharsha (Sanhedrin 92B) adds that if one doesn’t wear respectful clothes, it shows that he is pained and saddened by Hashem’s justice. Wearing respectful clothes will help one lovingly and joyfully accept Hashem’s justice.

We see from this that even tzadikim who are ready to give their lives al kiuddush Hashem, for the sanctification of Hashem’s name, can have their feelings influenced by the clothes that they wear.

The clothes that we wear influence our thoughts and feelings. We should be alert to how we dress.

We should dress respectfully, modestly, not extravagantly, and not arrogantly.

Based on a dvar Torah by Rabbi Alter Henach Leibowitz zt”l

as recorded in Sefer Chidushei Halev by Rabbi Binyamin Luban


Parshas Tazria- Metzora: This Cloud had a Silver Lining!

Parshas Tazria- Metzora

This Cloud had a Silver Lining!


“When you will come into the land of Canaan that I will give to you for a possession, and I shall put the plague of tzora’as in the house of the land of your possession.” (Vayikra 14:34)

Once, Eliyahu HaNavi, the prophet, was met by Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi. Rabbi Yehoshua begged Eliyahu HaNavi to take him along on his journey. Eliyahu HaNavi agreed on the condition that Rabbi Yehoshua was not permitted to question his actions. They began their travels. Towards evening, they came to an old, shaky hut belonging to a poor couple. Both the man and his wife welcomed the strangers to their humble home, sharing their meager food and giving their own beds for their guests to rest. Their cow was their only valuable possession, for its milk was their sole source of income. In the morning, after thanking the kindly couple, Eliyahu HaNavi prayed that the couple’s cow should die. It did. Rabbi Yehoshua was terribly shocked. He wanted to speak-up but remembered that he was not permitted to question Eliyahu HaNavi’s actions. The next night, they came to a fine mansion and asked permission to spend the night there. The rich owner was not welcoming. After much begging by the travelers, he begrudgingly permitted them to stay in the barn with the animals. In the morning, Eliyahu HaNavi noticed a crumbling wall near the rich man’s house. Eliyahu HaNavi fixed it so well that it would last for a long time. Rabbi Yehoshua was perplexed why Eliyahu HaNavi had done a favor for the unkind rich man. They continued their travels. Rabbi Yehoshua was perturbed by many of Eliyahu HaNavi’s actions. Finally, Rabbi Yehoshua was no longer able to control himself. “It seems to me that you reward good with evil, and evil with good. Please explain to me your strange ways.” Eliyahu HaNavi explained that the poor old couple who had treated them so nicely on the first night of our journey, certainly deserved their gratitude. Eliyahu HaNavi saw that that the woman was destined to die that day. He prayed to Hashem that she should live, and that their cow should die in her place. “What about that rich miser, and his cracked wall?”  Eliyahu answered, “There was a huge treasure buried beneath the wall. Had it collapsed, the miser would have found it and he did not deserve it. Before Eliyahu took leave of Rabbi Yehoshua, he told him that people should not be disheartened when they see the wicked prosper, or the righteous suffer. For while man judges by the sight of his eyes, Hashem looks into the heart, and He rules the world with justice and mercy.” (A Treasury of Judaism by Philip Birnbaum)

Hashem told Moshe and Aharon to tell the Jews that when they enter the Land of Israel, their houses will be plagued by tzora’as. The tzora’as will be manifest by colors of deep green or deep red on the walls. If the tzora’as would remain for one week, then the stones which contained those colors would need to be removed from the house and would need to be taken outside the city. The mortar on the house would need to be scraped clean and new stones would need to be put in its place. If the colors would return the following week, then the entire house would be demolished, and the stones would be taken outside the city.

Rashi and the Ohr HaChaim quoting the Midrash Rabba (Vayikra 17:6), explain that it was good news when the plague of “tzora’as” appeared on a person’s home. How did the Midrash know that it was good news? The Torah Temimah elaborates on the Ohr HaChaim’s explanation. When the Torah described the plague of tzora’as on a person’s body it says, “When there is a plague of tzora’as on a person” (Vayikra 13:9). When the Torah described the plague of tzora’as on a person’s clothing it says, “When there is a plague of tzora’as in a garment” (Vayikra 13:47). However, when describing the plague of tzora’as on a person’s house, the Torah changed the wording. It does not say, “When there is a plague of tzora’as on a person’s house”. Rather, it says, “וְנָתַתִּי“, that Hashem will put (give) the plague of tzora’as on the house. The Torah Temimah continues that the word “וְנָתַתִּי“usually refers to Hashem giving something good: As in, “I [Hashem] will give rains in its time”, “I [Hashem] will give peace in the land”, “I [Hashem] will bring salvation to Zion.”

So, what was good about the fact that the house was demolished due to the plague of tzora’as?

Rashi and the Ohr HaChaim answer that during the whole 40 years that the Jews were in the desert, the Canaanites and Amorites concealed treasures of gold in the walls of their houses. They knew that the Jewish People would be entering the Land of Israel and would conquer it from them. They hid their treasures to prevent the Jews from finding them. When the Jews conquered the land, they found the hidden treasures only because their homes were demolished because of tzora’as. Thus, the plague of tzora’as turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as it resulted in the Jews becoming very rich.

The Sifsei Chachamim asks, if so, what was the purpose of a plague of tzora’as in the case in which the tzora’as disappeared after one week? In that case, the home was not destroyed! Furthermore, according to the Talmud (Arachin 16A) it seems that the tzora’as was a punishment and not an act of kindness! The Talmud says that one of the causes of the plague of tzora’as was as a punishment for stinginess. A person would ask his neighbor to borrow some wheat. The neighbor would reply, “I don’t have any.”  A woman would ask her neighbor to borrow a strainer.  The neighbor would reply, “I don’t have one.”  As a punishment for this stinginess, Hashem brought the plague of tzora’as on the house. While the person was bringing out their possessions to prevent them from becoming tamei, impure, the people will see, and say, “Didn’t they say that they didn’t have what I had asked for? Look, they do have it!”

The Sifsei Chachamim bridges these two explanations, by saying that one question can answer the other. Certainly, the plague on the house came because of a transgression. However, Hashem graciously made it possible that sometimes good would come out of the punishment. Sometimes, the Jewish homeowner would find the hidden treasures.

Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l (as quoted in Talelei Oros by Rabbi Yissacha Dov Rubin) offers a different answer. Rav Moshe zt”l questioned why sinners would be worthy of finding the hidden wealth. “How is it conceivable that specifically those who are guilty of stinginess are granted such reward?” Furthermore, “Why is their reward directly connected to the punishment that they receive because of their flawed character?!”

Rav Moshe zt”l answered that had the man not been a sinner, he would have discovered the treasures without having to break the walls of his house. However, when he finds the treasures only because he had sinned and had to destroy his house, it will be an embarrassment to him. That embarrassment will cause him to improve his ways, if only to avoid being placed into this position in the future.

Sometimes there is a “silver-lining in a dark cloud”.

What may appear to us to be bad may actually be the source of much blessing from Hashem in our lives.