Hashem’s Shecinah descended on Har Sinai and the Torah was given from there. At the time of the giving of the Torah no one was allowed to ascend the mountain or even touch it because of its great kedusha. Yet immediately after Matan Torah no vestiges of the event’s kedusha remained. The mountain was from here on available even for one to chop out souvenirs that possess a fossil of the Burning Bush and sell them. What is the difference between this and finding vessels from the Bais Hamikdash which would be forbidden to touch and defile them? Hashem also dwelled in the Bais Hamikdash and therefore His presence sanctified all the vessels like Har Sinai itself?
Similarly, we find a difference of opinions to whether on Yom Tov does one receive a neshamah yesairah. On Shabbos everyone agrees that we are infused with an extra neshamah which leaves Motzai Shabbos. At this departure the custom is to smell incense at Havadalla to revive ourselves from this loss. At the end of Yom Tov we do not say the beracha over besamim. It must be because there is no neshama yesariah. Others are of the opinion that even though there is a neshama yesairah on Yom Tov nevertheless part of it remains at Motzai Yom Tov and therefore the Besamim beracha is not recited. This explanation is difficult to understand. Shabbos is more stringent than Yom Tov. Why then do we find that it is Yom Tov that preserves a part of the neshama yesairah inside of us, in contrast to Shabbos when it leaves entirely?
At the beginning of the parsha the Torah lists the seven relatives that a Kohen is allowed to defile himself upon their deaths. Yet the Kohen Gadol cannot defile himself even to his parents who died. Why allow the regular Kohen to defile himself for his parents and not the Kohen Gadol?
In life we find freebees, things or presents that do not cost us anything. I am not only talking just about financial cost but also mental, psychological, emotional, and physical, toil and investment of our energies. Freebees are at no charge at all. However, toil is the caviar of life which brings inner satisfaction and happiness. Shlomo Hamelech wrote שונא מתנות יחיה one who despises presents possesses life which is contrary to the way the world thinks. People who seek a freebee lifestyle feel no meaning and purpose in life. Take the word loiter which means to stand or act idly without meaning. The word לוט in Lashon Hakodesh means curse. Freebees are a curse because you become free from be“ing” and becoming. You merely exist but you lack life. This same word loiter possesses the letters that spell its opposite toiler. Toiling for something or someone gives meaning and purpose to life. As the saying declares, “Easy come easy go”. Without toil, the freebee leaves one with no satisfying lasting impression of what was accomplished. As Chazal say a person desires one measure that he himself earned rather than ten measurements from his friend (Baba Metziah 38).
The regular Kohen defiles himself for his seven relatives who originate from his parents. After all he is only a Kohenbecause his father was a Kohen so he must honor his father at his death. However the level of Kohen Gadol is a title that one attained only through toil and spiritual ascent, not a freebee. That madraigah was achieved on his own and was not inherited from his father. Therefore he does not have to honor his father at death by defiling himself because he is a self made man who solely on his own merits acquired such a lofty status.
Shabbos also in a certain way is a freebee. It arrives punctually at our doorstep every seven days by Hashem who is מקדש השבת. Not so with Yom Tov. Firstly, the Yomim Tovim were shaped and were an outgrowth of Am Yisrael’s experiences, Pesach, Shevuous, Succos. Secondly, the date of the Yom Tov depends upon Beis Din and the Kiddush Hachodesh after seeing the new moon. This is why we end the beracha on Yom Tov with מקדש ישראל והזמנים which means that Hashem sanctifies Yisrael who sanctifies the times. Hashem is mekadaish the Shabbos and we are the ones who is mekadaish Yom Tov. Therefore on Shabbos the neshama yesairah leaves for we did not bring it down into the world. Not so with Yom Tov where we toiled to make it happen and therefore a remnant of the neshamah yesairah stays with us.
Har Sinai became holy because of Hashem’s descent on the mountain. It was like Shabbos when the kedusha in this world is aroused by Shamayim. When it is over, everything “closes shop” and reverts back to its former state. However, the Bais Hamikdash and all its vessels were built and formed by the toil of Am Yisrael. Hashem rested His Shechinah upon the products of their toil. Even after the Churban, the works of their hands still retain the same kedusha.
Let us take an individual who is born with an exceptional IQ. In many ways this freebee that Hashem granted him before he was born, will most probably help him in life to achieve a higher education with less hurdles and to get an outstanding paying job or career to name just a few. Achievements that average people must struggle with, come as a breeze to him. If he sets his life focus in Torah it can make him into a Talmid Chacham much faster than the normal Talmid. Sometimes during one’s frustration he eats his heart out with jealousy why he wasn’t born that way.
Let me tell you a healing story that will sober you up to reality. Rav Hutner ztl once met with Rav Ahron Kotler ztl who was known to be a genius and he told him a vort from Rav Yehoshuah Leib Diskin ztl. Chazal say כל הלומד תורה מעוני סופו ללמוד תורה מעושר one who learns Torah from poverty will eventually learn Torah from wealth. Upon this Rav Yehoshuah Leib interpreted that the words poor and riches does not apply only to physical money but also to intellect. If an individual possesses a poor intellect and nevertheless he continues to toil in learning Torah, Hashem will give him a siyatah dishmaya that his intellect will be supernaturally upgraded and enriched to make him into a true Talmid Chacham. After all אתה חונן לאדם דעת ומלמד לאנוש בינה .
When Rav Ahron heard this vort he quickly rose from his seat and left and went into another room. Rav Hutner then heard Rav Ahron sobbing. He quickly went to Rav Ahron to find out what suddenly occurred that made him leave the room and begin to cry. Rav Ahron told Rav Hutner that Hashem created him a genius. He can never merit to such a Siyatah Dishmayathat a weak head will merit to.
If one is a genius then it is very possible that he will lack the toil in learning because it comes so easy to him. If so, his brilliance is not a beracha for it was a freebee and he relies on it instead of toiling.
Sefirah is the time when we work on our Middos and spirituality. The Seforim explain that at the night of the Seder Hashem bestowed an incredible light that made us skip the normal route and journey of ascent to Hashem and brought us to the high point of deveikus without the required toil. That might have been necessary for the geulah to happen that night but since it was a freebee those madraigosdisappeared as fast as they came. Hashem wanted the struggle and the toil for they make the madraigos stick and remain within the nefesh of a person. That is the mitzvah of Sefiras Haomer.