Thoughts on the Weekly Parshah by HaRav Eliezer Chrysler
Formerly Rav of Mercaz Ahavat Torah, Johannesburg

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Vol. 16   No. 30

This issue is sponsored jointly
l'iluy Nishmas
Alecsander Zusha ben Meir z"l
whose Yohrzeit will be 27 Iyar
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Rus bas Shlomo z"l

Parshas Behar-Bechukosai

The Shechinah Will Return - By Hook or by Crook!
(Adapted from Rabeinu Bachye)

Commenting on Pasuk (25:25), the Medrash writes

"And when your brother becomes poor" - This refers to Yisrael, who are poor in Mitzvah observance

"and he sells some of his possessions" - and they are 'sold' into the hands of their enemies

"and his redeemer who is close to him (his relative) will come" - this refers to G-d, who is called Yisrael's relation (Tehilim 105:18) and about whom the Navi Yirmiyah (50:34) writes "their redeemer is strong "

"and redeem the sale of his brother" - as the Navi Hoshei'a (5:15) states "I will go, I will return to My place (in the Beis-Hamikdash)". Even though I am removing My Shechinah, says Hashem, they will do Teshuvah and I will return. When the troubles strike them (at the end of the Galus) they will do Teshuvah and seek My Presence (as the Pasuk writes in Va'eschanan (4:30) "When you are in trouble, and all these things befall you at the end of days, then you will return to G-d, and He will listen to your voice".


The Medrash Tanchuma in Bechukosai comments on the above Pasuk in Hoshei'a 'It does not say 'I will go and I will return to My place' (but "I will go, I will return "), because if he had, this would have been the end of K'lal Yisrael (Chas ve'Shalom).

What the Medrash apparently means is that, had the Navi written 'I will go and I will return to My place', this would have implied that as a result of Menasheh placing images in the Beis-Hamikdash (the topic to which the Pasuk is referring), Hashem removed His Shechinah and returned to His place in Heaven - permanently, and that he would never return. But now that it omits the 'Vav' from "I will return", it is referring to the Shechinah's return to its place in the Beis-Hamikdash, following Yisrael's Teshuvah.


The Alshich ha'Kodosh (cited in the footnotes in the Medrash, poses the following question). If, he asks, G-d's return to the Beis-Hamikdash is dependent upon Yisrael's doing Teshuvah and 'seeking His Face', as the Medrash specifically states, then, bearing in mind that G-d has given us free choice to behave as we see fit, what will happen if Yisrael choose not to do Teshuvah? Does this mean that the Shechinah might never return to Yisrael (Chas ve'Shalom)?

Not at all, he answers! Citing the same Pasuk in Va'eschanan as well as the Pasuk in Nitzavim (beginning of Chapter 30), which emphatically states that as a result of the B'rachos and K'lalos listed there, Yisrael will do Teshuvah and that He will then gather them from their exile. Accordingly, he explains, that Yisrael will do Teshuvah is not a matter of doubt, but something that is bound to occur, once they experience the bitter pangs of Mashi'ach.


The Tanchuma there, commenting on the same Pasuk in Va'eschanan, after repeating the fact that when Yisrael do Teshuvah, they will be redeemed, concludes by citing three opinions regarding this matter.

R. Yehudah, based on a Pasuk in Yeshayah (30:15), states that if Yisrael do not do Teshuvah, they will not be redeemed; whereas R. Shimon maintains that they will be redeemed when the time arrives, whether they do Teshuvah or not, as the Pasuk there (60:22) writes "I am Hashem, I will 'rush it in' in its time (regardless)". And finally, there is the opinion of R. Elazar, who, citing Pesukim there (59:19/20) says that in the event that Yisrael fail to do Teshuvah on their own initiative, G-d will send upon them an evil king, who will impose on them decrees as harsh as those of Haman, and they will do Teshuvah - by hook or by crook!

The Alshich's explanation, it would seem, corresponds with the opinion of R. Elazar.

* * *

Parshah Pearls

(Adapted from Rabeinu Bachye)

Given at Har Sinai

"And G-d spoke to Moshe at Har Sinai " (25:1).

Commenting on the Torah's insertion of "at Har Sinai", Rashi, citing the Medrash, comments 'What is the connection between Sh'mitah and Har Sinai? Were all the Mitzvos not given at Har Sinai?'

Just as Sh'mitah was said together with all its details at Har Sinai, answers Rashi, so too were all the Mitzvos said together with all their details at Har Sinai.


Citing the Ramban, R. Bachye explains that we find the basic Mitzvah of Sh'mitah at Har Sinai, in Parshas Mishpatim (23:9/10), where the Torah writes " and the seventh year you shall leave it untended and un-harvested ", whereas the Pasuk adds here that all the details contained in the Parshah were said at Har Sinai too. And when, at the end of Bechukosai, the Torah repeats the words "These are the Mitzvos that G-d commanded Moshe to (tell) B'nei Yisrael at Har Sinai, it is teaching us that all the Mitzvos, like Sh'mitah, were taught to Moshe at Har Sinai.


Don't Sow, Don't Prune, Don't Reap, Don't Harvest the Grapes!

"Don't sow your field don't harvest what grew by itself and don't harvest the grapes that you distanced from yourself " (Ibid.)

In short, says R. Bachye, desist from all work in the field, plowing and sowing, and what's more, do not harvest even what grew by itself, without your having ploughed, and the grapes from the vines that you did not work on, that you neither dug nor pruned, but separated from as if they were Hefker (see Rashi)

What the Torah wants is that we desist from doing anything to the land that indicates ownership, but rather to declare all one's fruit Hefker, for all to take, so that everybody has equal rights in all the produce of the land. In this way everyone will come to realize that the true owner of the land is G-d, and G-d alone.



" and you shall proclaim freedom in the land for all its inhabitants, it shall be the Yovel (the Jubilee Year) for you " (25:10).

Rashi explains that it is called 'Yovel' because of the Shofar (the ram's horn) on which they blew at the beginning of the year (on Yom Kipur), to announce the release of all Jewish servants and the return of all property to its original owner. The Ramban disagrees however, since the Mitzvah of blowing on a ram's horn is confined to Rosh Hashanah of each year; whereas on Yom Kipur of the Yovel year, the Mitzvah is to blow on the horn of a ya'el (a mountain goat).

He therefore explains that it is called 'Yovel' because of the freedom that the Yovel brings in its wake (from the word 'Yuval' - return), since all servants are then free to return to their homes. And that explains, he says, why the Torah writes "it is Yovel" immediately after the phrase "and you shall declare freedom to all its inhabitants" (and not after "And you shall blow the Shofar in the seventh month " in the previous Pasuk, as it ought to have done according to Rashi). And it is for the same reason that produce is called 'Yevul'(because it is brought back to the house from one's field) and pools of water 'Yivlei mayim' (because the water gathers there from other places).


Parshas Bechukosai

All because of Sh'mitah and Yovel

"If you will go in My statutes I will give the rain in its right time " (26:3).

The statutes referred to here are the Mitzvos of Sh'mitah and Yovel, says R. Bachye - based on the fact that the Torah juxtaposes this Parshah to that of Behar. If we keep the Sh'mitah and Yovel, the Torah is saying, then G-d will send rain in its right time, and will bless the produce together with the fruit of the trees and the plants of the ground, so that we should enjoy a bountiful harvest and all the other advantages that this brings in its wake.

See also Rashi.


The Circle

"And I will walk around in your midst and I will be for you a G-d " (26:12).

The Medrash learns from this Pasuk, says R. Bachye, that G-d will walk with the Tzadikim in the World to Come and His Glory will settle among them. The immense pleasure that the Souls will then experience, is compared elsewhere to a circle (see end of Maseches Ta'anis), which has no beginning or end (likewise that pleasure will never end). And because a circle surrounds the spot in the middle, so will the Souls of the Tzadikim dance round the Shechinah, which will be in the middle (as hinted in the word "be'sochechem" - in your midst).

Whereas when the Gemara continues 'and each and every Tzadik will point with his finger and declare "behold this is My G-d for whose deliverance I hoped" ', it is explaining the continuation of the Pasuk "and I will be for you a G-d".

The Gemara's statement cannot be taken literally, says R. Bachye, but is merely describing the level of understanding that the Tzadikim will attain at that time, that they will be able to visualize Him as if He was standing in front of them.


And the reason that the Torah never speaks about the World to Come directly (only by way of hint, such as here) is because as long as man is in human form, the World to Come is beyond his comprehension. For so Chazal have said in B'rachos (34b) 'All the prophesies of the prophets refer to the days of Mashi'ach, but as far as the Olam ha'Ba is concerned "No eye other than Yours has seen it" (Yeshayah 64:3).


Ma'aser Beheimah & Bechorah

"And all the tenths of cattle and sheep, all that pass under the staff " (27:32).

The Mitzvah of Ma'aser Beheimah, says R, Bachye, does not extend to animals that one purchases or even to animals that one owns jointly with somebody else, only to those that are born in one's own herd or flock.

And the same applies to that of Bechorah (see footnote there).

And by the same token, animals that fall into any of the following are also exempt from both Mitzvos Kil'ayim (a cross between a goat and a sheep), one that is born to a Nidmeh (whose mother is a sheep, but it resembles a goat), a Yotzei Dofen (that is born by cesarean section), or an orphan (whose mother died at childbirth).

Both Ma'aser Beheimah and Bechor are Kodshim Kalim that are brought on the Mizbei'ach; both are eaten, the former (which is not one of the twenty-four gifts of Kehunah) by the owner; the latter by the Kohen to whom the owner subsequently gives it. Neither may be redeemed or sold unless it obtains a blemish.

* * *



"And G-d spoke to Moshe on Har Sinai " (25:1).

The Torah juxtaposes the Parshah of the man who cursed G-d next to Har Sinai, says the Ba'al ha'Turim, because it was on Har Sinai that they heard the command of "Lo sissa " (not to swear falsely by the Name of Hashem, incorporating the La'av of mentioning His Holy Name in vain), at which the entire world trembled; and this man heard but did not take note!


"And the grapes that you set aside (invei nezirecho) you shall not harvest" (25:5).

The same word invei appears in Devarim (32:32) "Their grapes are bitter grapes".

The Ba'al ha'Turim hints at the connection by citing Chazal, who have taught that Yisrael tasted the bitter taste of exile due to the sin of Sh'mitah.


"Do not sow (Lo tizra'u ") 25:11.

The same word is written in Yirmiyah (35:7), where Yonadav ben Reichav (a descendent of Yisro) instructed his children, among other things, not to sow their fields.

They obeyed their father's instructions; that is why the Pasuk there writes "And not a man from (the descendents) of Yonadav ben Reichav will be cut off before Me all the days; Whereas about Yisrael, who failed to observe the current Mitzvah, Yirmiyah (15:1) wrote "Send them away from My Presence and let them go!"


" do not overcharge your brother" (25:14).

The Pasuk continues with the word "be'mispar" (according to the number ), a hint that whatever is sold by measurement, number or weight is not subject to the Din of Ona'ah (overcharging).



The ten Pesukim of B'rachah (from "Im Bechukosai - komemiyus'), says the Ba'al ha'Turim, correspond to the ten B'rachos in "ve'yiten l'cho" (that Yitzchak blessed Ya'akov) and to the Ten Commandments.


'"And I will destroy wild beasts (ve'hishbati chayoh ro'oh) from the land" (26:6).

The Gematriyah of "ve'hishbati chayah ro'oh", the Ba'al ha'Turim points out, is equivalent to that of 'Eilu arba Malchiyos - Bavel, Madai, Yavan, Edom'.


"And I will turn to you (u'Fanisi aleichem)" 26:9.

The rearranged letters of "u'fanisi aleichem" spell 'u'Fanai 'Tav' 'Yud', the Ba'al ha'Turim points out, hinting to first Beis-Hamikdash, which housed Hashem's Face (the Shechinah), as the Navi says ("And My Eyes and My Heart will be there all the days" [Melachim 1, 9:3]) for four hundred and ten years


"Venasati Mishkani be'Sochechem" (26:11).

the Gematriyah of "Mishkani" is four hundred and twenty, the number of years that the second Beis Hamikdash stood. This in turn, is preceded by the Pasuk "And you shall eat old produce (see Rashi), a hint that the blessing of plenty comes on the merit of the Beis Hamikdash.


" and I will lead you erect (Komemiyus)" 26:13.

There are crowns on the 'Kuf', says the Ba'al ha'Turim, hinting at the stature of a hundred Amos, that mankind will attain in the days of Mashi'ach. There are some who say that they will grow to a height of two hundred Amos, which explains why there two crowns.


This entire B'rachah (from "Im Bechukosai" until "Komemiyus") contains all the letters of the 'Alef Beis', except for 'Samech' and 'Pey', and the same applies to the B'rachah of "Veyitein l'cho" (Bereishis 27:28/29). This is because these B'rachos completely preclude 'Satan', 'aF (anger), 'ketzeF (wrath), 'EneF (fury) and 'negeF (plague) - Ba'al ha'Turim.

* * *

(Adapted from the Seifer ha'Chinuch)

Please bear in mind that the rulings in this article reflect the opinion of the Seifer ha'Chinuch and are not necessarily Halachah.

Mitzvah 169:
Tum'as Tzara'as (cont.)

When Chazal say that the Shi'ur of Tzara'as is that of a Kilki bean (alias a k'G'ris), what they mean is that if the size of a Kilki-bean of any of the above-mentioned appearances are seen on the skin of a person's flesh, it is considered Tzara'as, but not if it is less than that. This Shi'ur is the equivalent of an area that measures six by six barley-grains (thirty-six barley-grains square). Should the area measure a width of five barley-grains, then even if it is one Amah long, it is not Tzara'as Wherever the Torah says Baheres, it incorporates all four appearances of Tzara'as There are three signs of Tum'ah - white hair, a Michyah (a piece of live flesh) and spreading. How is that? Someone on whose skin there appears a Se'eis, a Sapachas or a Baheres containing white hair or a piece of healthy flesh, when the Kohen examines it, he immediately declares the person a Tamei Muchlat; If not, he quarantines him for seven days. If the plague spreads, the Kohen locks him up immediately, since spreading too, is considered a sign of Tum'ah as we explained. If none of the three signs of Tum'ah appear during the first week, then the Kohen locks him up for a second set of seven days. Should one of the signs of Tum'ah appear during those seven days, then he declares him a Tamei Muchlat; if not, then he sends him home, since there is no quarantine regarding Tzara'as of the skin for more than two weeks. If, after he has been declared Tahor one of the three signs of Tum'ah recurs, the Kohen declares him Tamei immediately, because these three sign always render the Metzora Tamei, irrespective of whether they occur at the beginning or after one or even two periods of quarantine If a plague of Tzara'as is extremely white like white wool or snow, and then it becomes dim like the skin of an egg or like the lime of the Heichal, this is not considered a sign of purity at all, but it remains Tamei just as it was previously, until it reaches a degree of white that is less pale than the lime of the Heichal. Only then is it called a Bohak and is completely Tahor Perhaps you will then ask why the Torah then writes " and behold the plague has become dim, and the plague has not spread on the skin, then the Kohen shall declare him Tahor!"? The answer is that the Torah is speaking about a case where the plague became less white than the skin of an egg; but if it is still as white as the skin of an egg or more, it is not considered 'dimmer', seeing as it is still included in the appearances that are Tamei. Also, since the Torah writes that if the plague has not spread, the Kohen shall declare it Tahor, this indicates that as long as it has not spread at all and neither of the two signs of Tum'ah appear, that he is Tahor, even though the plague remained the same and did not become dimmer And the Din of the locations on the body that are not subject to Tzora'as .. the Din of the measurements of the Michyah and the spreading and the white hairs (e.g. how many white hairs constitute a Si'man Tum'ah) the Din of Nega'im of the head and the beard (with regard to hair falling out and Tzara'as appearing on the bald patch - which the Torah calls 'Nesek' (whose minimum size is a 'k'G'ris) The Din of how one shaves a Metzora, and the signs of Tum'ah and Taharah The Din of what Chazal have said that everybody is subject to Tzara'as, even a baby of one-day old and even Avadim Cana'anim - but not gentiles and not even a Ger toshav (a gentile who undertakes to observe all seven Mitzvos B'nei No'ach) The Din that anyone is eligible to examine Nega'im, though only a Kohen can declare a Metzora Tamei or Tahor. How does that work? If a Kohen is not conversant with the laws of Tzara'as, a Chacham Yisrael examines the stricken man and then instructs the Kohen to say 'Tamei' or 'Tahor' (whichever is appropriate), and the Kohen complies and the remaining Dinim are all discussed in Maseches Nega'im (and in the Rambam Hilchos Tum'as Tzara'as).

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