The Parochet: Holy or Not? By Eli Gartenberg


When addressing the sprinkling of the blood for the Korban Chatat in this week’s Parashah, the Torah states that the blood should be sprinkled, “Et Penei HaParochet” “toward the curtain” (4:17). Rashi questions why in (6:17), the Torah states to sprinkle the blood in the direction of the Parochet while earlier in the Perek, the Pasuk states, “Et Penei Parochet HaKadosh” “ towards the holy curtain” (4:6); why does the Torah refer to the Parochet as holy in one Pasuk and just a regular Parochet in another? Rashi offers a parable to solve the problem. If a minority group in a country rebelled against its king, the king would most likely maintain power. However, if the majority of the country rebelled against him, the King would most probably lose his kingship. Rashi explains that when a Kohen sins, the Beit HaMikdash will still retain its holiness. On the other hand, if all of Bnei Yisrael sin, the Kedushah will leave the Beit HaMikdash. When the Torah discusses a single Kohen’s sin in (4:6), it describes the Parochet as Kadosh because the Beit HaMikdash maintains its holiness when a single person sins. On the other hand, when the Torah describes a situation in which all of Bnei Yisrael sin in (4:17), it describes the Parochet as a normal one, not a holy one. The Parochet cannot be holy when the entire nation sins because the Kedushah leaves the Beit HaMikdash under those circumstances.

By informing us that the Kedushah leaves the Beit HaMikdash when all of Bnei Yisrael sin, the Torah demonstrates the importance of serving Hashem as a nation. We cannot be satisfied with fulfilling the Mitzvot as individuals, but rather we must make sure that the entire nation obeys Hashem’s commandments as well. In order to assure that Am Yisrael remains an “Am Kadosh,” it is imperative to serve Hashem as individuals and as a nation.

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