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Vol. 21 No. 46
R' Tzvi Hirsch ben R' Yosef Pinchas Halevi z"l
The Second Parshah of the Sh'ma
(Adapted from the Oznayim la'Torah)
The Omission of
" … to love Hashem your G-d and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your souls" (11:13).
A popular question on this Pasuk is why it omits "and with all your might" (money, according to Chazal), although these words do appear in the first Parshah of the Sh'ma?
Based on Chazal's interpretation of "with all your might" with reference to one's money and on the fact that this Parshah is written in the plural, the Oznayim la'Torah, citing an answer that he heard, explains that it is rare enough to find such a trait in an individual, but to find it in a community is highly unlikely.
In a second answer, he cites the Kotzker Rebbe, who explains that if one person gives away all that he owns, he can still survive on tzedakah funds. But if a community gives away all its money, the lives of its members are now in danger, in which case it becomes a case of loving G-d "with all your life", which is already mentioned.
Reward in This World
"Then I give will the rain of your land in its right time …" (11:14).
To answer the question how G-d can promise reward in this world, in light of the principle that 'There is no remuneration in this world (only in the next)', the Oznayim la'Torah explains that just as an employer (who hires a day-labourer) is obligated to provide his employees with food during the course of the day, so too, is Hakadosh-Baruch-Hu liable to provide his labourers with their meals. That is not remuneration!
Alternatively, it seems to me (as I have already explained before) that the above principle may well apply to individuals, whose remuneration is due in the World to Come; it does not however apply to the community at large, who are not subject to the World to Come. Their reward for performing the Mitzvos will be paid in this world.
Animals and All
" … I shall give grass/vegetation in your fields for your animals, and you will eat and be satisfied" (11:15).
This Pasuk, says the Oznayim la'Torah, informs us that, if we adhere to Torah and Mitzvos, besides plenty of corn, wine and oil, we will also be blessed with fat, healthy animals of which to partake. Moreover, fat and healthy sheep means plenty of milk and plenty of good quality wool too. Whereas fat, healthy cows will provide the means with which to plow the fields.
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(Adapted from the Oznayim la'Torah)
Blessing with Love
" … He will love you and bless you" (7:13)
A blessing is fully effective only if it is based on love (i.e. if it comes from the heart); otherwise it is not a proper blessing, says the Oznayim la'Torah.
And he cites the example of the Kohanim, who, before blessing Yisrael, recite the B'rachah ' … to bless His people Yisrael with love'.
Hence the Pasuk precedes "and He will bless you" with "He will love you".
G-d will Provide for All One's Children
" … He will bless the fruit of your womb (the children) and the fruit of the earth" (Ibid.).
The Torah deliberately places the B'rachah for having children before that of Parnasah, says the Oznayim la'Torah, to counter those who apply birth-control because they are afraid that their means of income is insufficient to provide for so many children.
The Pasuk here teaches us that the same G-d who provides the children will also provide the means to sustain them.
Lots of Children- No Miscarriages
"There will not be among you a man or a woman who is barren" (7:14).
In spite of having issued the blessing of many children (in the previous Pasuk), the Torah sees fit to add this B'rachah, comments the Oznayim la'Torah. It is possible to have more children that all the other nations (See the opening phrase in the Pasuk), he explains, even if a few of them die at childbirth. Therefore the Torah writes here that not only will Yisrael be blessed with more children than all the other nations, but that in addition, they will not suffer any miscarriages.
A Holy Generation
"Your garments did not wear out from on you" (8:4).
To explain the words "from on you", the Oznayim la'Torah explains that the bodies of the generation of the desert (despite their sins) were holy. And he cites a Pirkei de'Rebbi Eliezer which states that all those who merited hearing the voice of G-d at Har Sinai were considered like angels, and that not one of them ever suffered from lice.
He also quotes the Gemara in Bava Basra (73), which describes how Rabah bar bar Chanah once came upon a group of those who had died in the desert, and how he found their bodies intact and their faces shining. Hence the Torah writes that their garments did not wear out from on them, and adds in Parshas Ki Savo (28:4) that their shoes did not wear out from on their feet.
The Seven Species
"A land of wheat and barley, vines, fig and pomegranate trees, a land of olive-oil and (date) honey" (8:8).
The Gemara in B'rachos (Daf 41) learns that the fruit that is closer to the word "Eretz" takes precedence with regards to the B'rachah. Hence, olives (which are placed next to the second Eretz) take precedence over grapes (which is third to the first Eretz).
According to that, the order of precedence of the seven species is 1. Wheat 2. Olives 3. Barley 4. Dates 5. Grapes 6. Figs 7. Pomegranates.
The Oznayim la'Torah asks why the Torah finds it necessary to write "Eretz" twice in order to bring olives and dates forward in the order of precedencies. Why did it not simply list the seven species in the above order after the first "Eretz"?
He presents an answer in the name of the Tz'lach, but he concludes that in any event, B'rachos are only mi'de'Rabbanan, so it cannot be to teach us the order of priorities with regard to the B'rachah that the Torah repeats the word "Eretz".
To explain why it does, he offers a number of explanations. Quoting the P'nei Yehoshua, he explains that the second "Eretz" is needed for a Gezeirah-Shavah, to teach us that Bikurim (by which the Torah also uses the word "Eretz") are confined to the seven species, but do not extend to any other fruit.
And in the name of the Yerushalmi, he points out that the first Eretz is written next to wheat (bread) and the second, next to olive-oil, because these two commodities are the most necessary, as the one consists of the staple diet, whilst the other, is used for fuel and lighting.
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In last week's Parshah sheet (Parshas Mas'ei 'the Borders of Eretz Yisrael'), we inadvertently wrote 'This insinuates that the West Bank of Eretz Yisrael is precluded from all the Mitzvos of Eretz Yisrael'. It should of course, have read 'the East Bank … ').
We thank the writer who pointed out the error.
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