GEVUROS SHLOMO
Beha’alosecha
Gevuros Shlomo - Parshas Beha’alosecha
   

If the bodies of dead Tzaddikim do not cause people to become unclean, why were the men who carried Yosef’s coffin not able to perform the Pesach sacrifice?

(9,6) “There were men who were unclean from a dead person and were not able to perform the Pesach sacrifice on that day.”

There is a puzzling Midrash which writes that Hashem said to Yosef: You said (to your brothers) “I will sustain you”. Therefore, by your life, because of you Pesach Sheni will be performed, as it says “there were men who were unclean from a dead person”.

Even though I have given a complicated explanation of this Midrash in the past, a straightforward explanation can be learned from the teaching of Tosfos that dead Tzaddikim do not cause people to become unclean. But Chazal taught that the men in our posuk who had become unclean were those who carried the coffin of Yosef. This would seem to prove that Tzaddikim do cause people to become unclean! But we can resolve this problem by explaining that there is a difference between those who die by the Angel of Death and those who die by the kiss of Hashem - those who die through the kiss of Hashem do not cause uncleanliness, but those who die through the Angel of Death do.

And a different Midrash teaches that because the angels who were involved with the destruction of Sodom ascribed to themselves greatness when they said “we are destroyers”, instead of acknowledging that it was Hashem who was the power behind the destruction, they were excluded from dwelling in Hashem’s partition in heaven for 130 years. If so, also Yosef who said “I will sustain you” and thus ascribed greatness to himself instead of acknowledging that it is Hashem who sustained them, was fitting to be punished. Therefore, he too was not fitting to be in the division of Hashem and if so his death would not have been by the kiss of Hashem but through the Angel of Death. Therefore then men who carried his coffin became unclean. This is what the Midrash is teaching - You said “I will sustain you”, by your life that because of you they will do the second Pesach and will pushed off that those who are unclean.

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