Friday, May 20, 2022

Yevamos 9: The Nosi’s Offering

On this daf, we find that the nosi brought a male goat as a sin offering. The Gemara writes that the generation is fortunate if its nosi brings a chatos, the sacrifice brought for a shogeig, since he will be even more vigilant regarding intentional sins. But what does this really mean? How can it be a good thing if the nosi brings a chatos?

Rav Zalman Sorotzkin answers these questions by explaining a true leader’s role: “There are two ways to be a leader. One is decisive, making important decisions and taking large strides in improving what requires improvement. A nosi who is always acting, even with good intentions, will invariably fail somewhere and, if his error has to do with a sin that would make one liable for kareis had it been done intentionally, he will bring the nosi’s chatos. A person who doesn’t overlook his inadvertent sins will be very circumspect in avoiding sins b’meizid and will perform careful teshuvah if he does fall in this regard.

“The other type of leader is wishy-washy. Leaders of this ilk are always afraid to act, fearing the consequences of bold actions, however necessary they may be. Instead of acting, he will vacillate all the time. Although such a cautious leader avoids sin, he is of little practical use. Clearly, the generation whose nosi acts, even if he must bring a chatos, is fortunate.

“This is also why the nosi brings specifically a male goat for his offering. This teaches that while a leader must act decisively, he must also beware of the natural consequences of such boldness. If he uses this attribute incorrectly, he will have to make restitution to set things right. To remind him that misused azus is what brought him to sin in the first place, he brings a male goat. This also teaches that he must lift up his boldness to Hashem by renewing his commitment to use it to improve the lot of others. In this manner, he sacrifices this attribute to Hashem and earns atonement” (Oznayim LaTorah, Vayikra).

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