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

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Vol. 18   No. 33

This issue is sponsored
l'iluy Nishmas
Rivka bas Yosef n"y
Mrs. Regina Chrysler, of London,
by her family,
on the occasion of her second yorhzeit.

Parshas B'har

The Yovel Year
(Translated from the Ramban,
Hilchos Sh'mitah ve'Yovel, Perek 10)

1. It is a Mitzvas Asei to count seven times seven years and to sanctify the fiftieth year, as it says (in B'har) "And you shall count ". These two Mitzvos are incumbent upon the Beis-Din exclusively.

2. When did they first begin to count? Fourteen years after they entered Eretz Yisrael, as it says (there) "Six years you shall sow your fields and six years you shall plough your vineyards " - only after everyone recognizes his portion of land; and they spent seven years conquering the land and seven years distributing it. It emerges that they began counting in year 2503 from Rosh Hashanah after the Molad of the year after the creation of Adam ha'Rishon. And they subsequently fixed the year 2510 as the first Sh'mitah (twenty-one years after entering Eretz Yisrael). They then counted seven Sh'mitos and sanctified the fiftieth year (the sixty-fourth year after entering the land).

7. The Yovel-year is not included in the cycle of Sh'mitos. Rather the fourty-ninth year is a Sh'mitah, the fiftieth year is the Yovel and the fifty-first one begins the new cycle of six years which will culminate with the Sh'mitah, and so with each Yovel.

8. From the times the tribes of Re'uven, Gad and half of Menasheh went into exile they nullified the Yovlos, in keeping with the Pasuk " and you shall announce freedom for all its inhabitants" - 'when all its inhabitants are on it' (and even then) provided the tribes are not intermingled, but are living tribe by tribe as prescribed by the Torah. As long as the Yovel applies in Eretz Yisrael, it also applies in Chutz la'Aretz, as the Torah writes "It is Yovel" - in every location, both when the Beis-Hamikdash is standing or not.

9. As long as the Din of Yovel applies, the Din of Eved Ivri, Batei Arei Chomah, Sadeh Charamim and Sadeh Achuzah apply too; so too can one accept a Ger Toshav, and so too does Shevi'is apply in Eretz Yisrael and the cancellation of debts everywhere. But when there is no Yovel, none of the above apply, with the exception of Shevi'is in Eretz Yisrael, and the cancellation of debts , which applies mi'de'Rabbanan .

10. It is a Mitzvas Asei to blow the Shofar on the tenth of the month (Yom Kipur) of the Yovel year. This Mitzvah is initially incumbent upon the Beis-Din, after which every individual is obliged to blow the Shofar, as the Torah says "You (plural) shall blow the Shofar." One blows nine notes (as one does on Rosh Hashanah), throughout the borders of Eretz Yisrael.

11. The blowing of the Shofar in the Yovel is the same as that of Rosh Hashanah, even on Shabbos (see Radvaz), except that in Yovel they blow both in the Beis-Din in which they declared Rosh Chodesh and in one which they did not. And every individual is obliged to blow as long as Beis-Din is in session, though not necessarily in front of Beis-Din.

12. Whereas on Rosh Hashanah which falls on Shabbos, they only blew in the Beis-Din in which they declared Rosh Chodesh, and every individual blows only in front of Beis-Din.

13. Three things are crucial to the Yovel: Blowing the Shofar, releasing one's Jewish servants and returning (purchased) fields to their original owners - which is equivalent to 'Sh'mitas Karka'.

14. From Rosh Hashanah until Yom Kipur Jewish servants were not released, but neither did they serve their masters. Furthermore, the fields did not yet revert to their original owners. During that period, the servants ate, drank and rejoiced, 'with their crowns on their heads'. When Yom Kipur arrived and Beis-Din blew the Shofar (in day-time), the servants were released and the fields were returned to their original owners.

(to be cont.)

* * *

Parshas Pearls
(Adapted from the Riva)

The Difference between
the Poor and the Rich

"And the rest-day of the land shall be for you, your 'servant' and your 'maidservant ' (25:6).

Rashi explains that this Pasuk comes to counter the Pasuk in Mishpatim (23:11) which writes "and the needy of your people shall eat (Sh'mitah produce)". Therefore the Torah here specifically permits the owners of the 'servants' to eat it. Rashi does not however, explain the Pasuk in Mishpatim, implying that the rich are prohibited from eating Sh'mitah produce.

The Riva therefore points out that Rashi's source is a Toras Kohanim, which ends - 'So why does the Torah (in Mishpatim) refer to "the needy of your people"? To teach you that although the rich are forbidden to eat after the time of Biy'ur (when the season for each individual fruit ends), the poor are not included in the prohibition.

*

Three Kinds of Avadim Ivrim

"And you (the Jewish Servants) shall return each man to his family" (25:10).

Rashi establishes this by a 'Nirtza' (a servant who had his ear pierced and who now has to work until the Yovel).

The Riva explains: It cannot come refer to an Eved Ivri who is working for six years, and who goes out in the Yovel should it occur before the six years have terminated, since we already know that from "ve'Shov el Mishpachto" (Pasuk 41), as the Gemara explains in Kidushin.

Nor can it refer to an Eved Ivri who sold himself (as opposed to the above two, who were sold by Beis-Din), since there the Torah writes explicitly (in Pasuk 40) "until the Yovel he shall work with you".

The Pasuk must therefore be speaking about a Nirtza, as Rashi explains.

*

Not the Fifty-First

"It shall be for you a Jubilee-year, this fiftieth year !" (25:11).

The Gemara in Rosh Hashanah cited by Rashi, asks why, having just written "And you shall sanctify the fiftieth year", it sees fit to repeat here that the fiftieth year is the Yovel year?

The Riva, quoting the Gemara verbatim, explains that, since there is a Mitzvah to add to the Yovel year at the beginning, we would have thought that there is also a Mitzvah to add to it at the end. Therefore the Torah writes that the fiftieth year is Yovel, not the fifty-first!

*

What Will We Eat?

"And if you will say 'What will we eat in the seventh year? Behold we are not allowed to plant '?" (25:20).

Rashi comments that what the Pasuk really means is 'What will we eat in the eighth year?' (seeing as they were not allowed to plant in the seventh).

Rashi says that, the Riva explains, because there is not really any problem in the seventh year when they can eat the produce of the sixth year. According to Rashi, he points out, we are forced to invert the Pasuk, as if it had written "And if you will say (in the eighth year) what will we eat, seeing as we are not allowed to plant (in the seventh)? "

He suggests however, that maybe the Pasuk actually is referring specifically to the seventh year after all. This is because they used to reap the harvest in Nisan, from which time on they would begin eating the new corn after the bringing of the Omer. This meant that nothing remained from the crops that they planted the previous Nisan. In the Sh'mitah-year however, there was nothing to replace it, since they had not planted in Mar-Cheshvan - and it is between Nisan till the end of Sh'mitah to which the Pasuk is referring. In truth, the people could equally well have complained about the first half of the eighth year, when there would still be no new crops (seeing as they were unable to plant in Nisan either), but they mention only the Sh'mitah, which is the cause of the problem, or because it is the latter half of the Sh'mitah that would arrive first, and such is the way of man to complain about today's hunger, and to worry about tomorrow's when it arrives.

*

Once a Slave, Always a Slave

"You shall work with them (your slaves) forever (le'olom bahem ta'avodu)" (25:46).

Seeing as the Torah compares slaves to land (See 'Highlights ' on this Pasuk), asks the Riva, why do we not say that just as property reverts to its original owner in the Yovel, so too do slaves?

Nor is there a proof to the contrary from this Pasuk, since it is possible to explain "le'olom" as 'until the Yovel'.

And he answers that, if a slave would revert to his owner in the Yovel, as we suggested, then the Torah would not have found it necessary to insert "Le'olom bahem ta'avodu", which would then mean 'until the Yovel, year', which in turn, would be superfluous, since we know it already, as we just explained.

Consequently, when the Torah does insert, it must be to teach us that he serves his master forever, and not return to his original master when the Yovel arrives.

* * *

HIGHLIGHTS FROM ...
... THE BA'AL HA'TURIM<
p> " and he (a poor convert ) shall live with you. Do not take from him interest" (25:36).

The juxtaposition of "And he shall live with you" to "Do not take from him interest!", the Ba'al ha'Turim explains, implies that someone who does take interest will not live. And so the Pasuk writes in Yechezkel "He lends money on interest and takes interest; he shall not live!"

*

" you shall pass them on (your slaves) as an inheritance (Vehisnachaltem) to your children after you " (25:46).

The same word, says the Ba'al ha'Turim, appears in Mas'ei "And you shall inherit (Vehisnachaltem) the land by lots", hinting at what the Chachamim have said that slaves have the same Din as land, with regard to acquiring them by means of money, documentation and Chazakah (digging, putting up a fence etc.)

*

"Either his uncle or his cousin (ben Dodo) shall redeem him" (25:51).

The Ba'al ha'Turim observes that "ben Dodo" contains the same letters as 'ben David', a hint that, when the time arrives. it is Mashi'ach ben David who will redeem us from the long and bitter Galus.

He also points out that the word "Yovel" appears fourteen times in the current Parshah, corresponding to the fourteen Yovlos that Yisrael (the Ten Tribes) lived in Eretz Yisrael before they were exiled in the days of Hoshei'a ben Eilah and that "Ge'ulah" appears in the Parshah nineteen times in various forms, hinting at the nineteen B'rachos of the Amidah. Hence the obligation to juxtapose Ge'ulah to Tefilah.

*

"My Shabbosos you shall keep (tishmoru) " (26:2).

The Torah places Shabbos next to Avodah-Zarah, the Ba'al ha'Turim explains, to teach us that Shabbos is on a par with Avodah-Zarah in severity,

Here, says the Ba'al ha'Turim, the Torah puts 'shemirah' after Shabbos; whereas in the Ten Commandments it writes "Keep (Shomor) the day of Shabbos!", placing 'shemirah' first, This teaches us, he points out, that Shabbos requires Shemirah both before it arrives (i.e. to bring it in early) and after it has gone out, This is the Mitzvah of 'Tosefes Shabbos', add to the Shabbos at both ends.

*

... THE DA'AS ZEKEINIM MI'BA'ALEI TOSFOS

" he (the gentile) shall not subjugate him (his Jewish servant in your sight)" 25:53.

From here we learn, says the Da'as Zekeinim mi'Ba'alei Tosfos, that a gentile is forbidden to make a Yisrael work unnecessarily, as the Gemara explains in Kesubos (111a).

*

" and a Maskis Stone do not place in your land to prostrate yourself on it " (26:1).

"A Maskis stone, says the Da'as Zekeinim, is a slab of stone with a picture carved on it (see Rashi, Parshas Lech-L'cha 11:29). People would stare at the picture and then prostrate themselves on it.

*

"Observe My Shabbasos and revere My Mikdash " (26:2).

The Torah compares Mikdash to Shabbos, to teach us that just as Shabbos is eternal (as the Torah writes in Ki Sisa "it is an everlasting sign"), so too, is the respect for the Mikdash eternal, even when it is destroyed.

* * *

She'yavo She'yavo She'yavo!

Two Pesukim, seen through the eyes of
the Da'as Zekeinim mi'Ba'alei Tosfos

"And if he (the Eved Ivri) is not redeemed with these (redeemed with money by one of his relatives), then he shall go free in the Yovel year, he together with his sons. For B'nei Yisrael belong to Me (Says Hashem), since I took them out of the land of Egypt; I am Hashem your G-d" (25:54/55).

*

This is how the Da'as Zekeinim explains the Pasuk:

"And if he (K'lal Yisrael) is not redeemed with these" ("be'eileh") - through keeping the Miztvos (as the Torah writes "ve'Eileh ha'Mishpatim ").

"Then he will go out in the Yovel" - I will not leave them in Galus, but they will go free anyway when the great day of Yovel arrives and the great Shofar will be blown (as the Pasuk writes in Yeshayah 27:13).

"He and His sons with Him" - G-d together with K'lal Yisrael (who are called 'His sons'), as the Pasuk writes in Nitzavim (30:3) "And He (Himself) will return and gather you (as well)".

"For B'nei Yisrael belong to Me" (and not to Eisav).

"I am Hashem your G-d (The Torah inserts this here, the Da'as Zekeinim explains, to explain why we will be redeemed even without the merit of Mitzvos. It is because whatever the circumstances, we steadfastly adhere to the second Commandment "Do not have other gods").

It certainly seems that we have come a long way since the sin of the Golden Calf.

* * *

THE MITZVOS AND THEIR MEANING
(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 217:
Not to Harvest the Final Corner of One's Field (cont.)

The Yerushalmi states that the obligation to leave Pe'ah only takes effect when the produce has reached one third of its full ripeness, and that one must leave Pe'ah at the edge of the field so that the poor will find it easily The Din of brothers and partners who divide a field - how they behave with regard to Pe'ah, and what happens if someone sells his field to various buyers .. If one poor man asks to divide the Pe'ah equally among the poor who have come to collect Pe'ah, whilst the others demand that they leave it and every man collects for himself, we listen to the one, irrespective of the numbers involved, since the Halachah is on his side on which times during the day the Pe'ah is distributed and they also ruled that if a poor man picks a batch of Pe'ah and throws it or his coat on top of another batch of Pe'ah, or if he stands next to it, in order to acquire it, that if another poor man comes and takes it, he has acquired it, since neither does a poor man acquire Pe'ah nor does anybody else acquire a Sela (coin) that he finds, until he holds it in his hand And Chazal said furthermore that a person should increase the amount of Pe'ah that he leaves, according to the size of his field, the number of poor who come to collect and the Divine blessing that he enjoys and all the many other details of the Mitzvah are to be found in Maseches Pe'ah.

(cont.)

* * *

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