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

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Vol. 18   No. 32

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Parshas Emor

Love Your Fellow-Jew
(Part 2)

Last week, we cited the Maharsha, who explains that the Mitzvah of "Ve'ohavto le'rei'acho komo-cho" refers to the previous Mitzvah of not taking revenge, and that what the Torah means to say is "Do not take revenge from your fellow-Jew, just as you would not like him to take revenge from you!"

After giving the same explanation in the name of the Rambam, the Ha'amek Davar cites a Yerushalmi (Nedarim, 9:4) which also connects the two Mitzvos, but in a very different way. The Yerushalmi interprets the Pasuk "Ve'ohavto le'rei'acho komocho" to mean that you should love your fellow-Jew like yourself, because, in effect all Jews are one, in which case he and you are part of the same body. And just as a person would not dream of avenging his left hand which was struck by his right hand, so too, should one refrain from avenging the wrong that was done to him.


Irrespective of which of the two reasons one adopts, it seems to me that, having linked "Ve'ohavto le'Rei'acho komocho" to the prohibi-tion of taking revenge (and bearing a grudge, which is mentioned together with it), one can go one step further: The Torah has just presented a comprehensive list of Mitzvos bein adam la'chaveiro - 'Do not steal", "Do not withhold the wages of a laborer", "Do not rob", "Do not keep a labourer's wages over night", "Do not curse", "Do not perform an injustice", "Do not slander", "Do not hate" and "Do not take revenge or bear a grudge". Neither would one's right hand do these things to one's left, nor would one like somebody else to do them to oneself. Consequently, when the Torah concludes "Ve'ohavto le'Rei'acho komo-cho", it is saying - 'Don't do any of these things to somebody else!'


The K'li Yakar cites the Gemara at the end of Makos, which, based on the Pasuk in Chavakuk "ve'Tzadik be'Emunoso yich'yeh", teaches us that Chavakuk came and based all the Mitzvos on one Mitzvah - namely, that of Emunah (faith in G-d). How is it he asks, that the Gemara there cites the most fundamental Mitzvah as Emunah, whereas the Gemara in Shabbos (upon which this article is based), cites the most fundamental Mitzvah as "Ve'ohavto le'Rei'acho komocho"?

In his answer, he explains that the former pertains to the Mitzvos bein adam La'Makom, the latter, to the Mitzvos bein adam la'chaveiro, a theme on which he elaborates in his own inimitable way.

The question remains however, why on the one hand, Hillel picked specifically the Mitzvah which serves as the basis for the Mitzvos she'bein adam la'chaveiro, whereas on the other, the convert asked for a Mitzvah which serves as the basis for the whole Torah (seeing as each one represents only half the Torah)?

Moreover, Chavakuk was clearly referring to a Mitzvah that represents the whole Torah, and not just for Mitzvos bein Adam la'Mokom? And so too, was the convert. Indeed, in both the explana-tions that we discussed last week, Rashi explains "Ve'ohavto le'Rei'acho komocho" as the basis for the entire Torah - incorporating the Mitzvos she'bein Adam la'Makom, as well as those bein Adam la'Chaveiro!!


It therefore seems to me that each of the two Pe-sukim cited does indeed represent the entire Torah; Emunah is the basis even for Mitzvos she'bein adam la'Chaveiro, just as loving one's friend is the basis even for Mitzvos she'bein adam la'Mokom - only they represent different aspects of 'basis'. Whereas Chavakuk presents "ve'Tzadik be'Emunoso yich'yeh" as a prerequisite to Torah, Rebbi Akiva ('Zeh k'lal Godol ba'Torah') saw "Ve'ohavto le'Rei'acho komocho" as the Mitzvah, which more than any other, actually incorporates all the other Mitzvos, which is precisely what the convert was looking for.

* * *

Parshah Pearls
(Adapted from the Riva)

The Korban of a Gentile

"And from the hand of a gentile you shall not sacrifice the bread of your G-d from all these (blemished animals)" 22:25. But an animal that is not blemished, the Riva extrapolates, you may receive from him (to bring on the Mizbei'ach). Rashi however writes that we learn this from Pasuk 18, where (in connection with bringing a Korban Neder or Nedavah) the Torah writes "Ish Ish" - (to include the Korban of a gentile).

Why, asks the Riva, do we need "Ish Ish" to teach us that a gentile may bring a Korban on the Mizbei'ach? Why can we not learn it from the current Pasuk, as we just explained?


And he answers that, had the Torah not written "Ish Ish", we would have thought that one cannot accept a Korban from a gentile. It would then have transpired that a Kohen who does transgresses an Asei (that B'nei Yisrael shall bring Korbanos, but not gentiles - see Pasuk 18), whereas if he brings on his behalf an animal with a blemish, he transgresses a La'av (the current Pasuk) as well.


Alternatively, the Riva explains, if not for "Ish Ish", we would have thought that one even accepts a sin or a guilt-offering from a gentile; but now that the Torah writes "Ish Ish", which speaks specifically about a Neder or Nedavah (voluntary offerings) as we mentioned earlier, they are precluded from bringing any obligatory Korbanos, such as a sin or a guilt-offering.


The Man Who Cursed G-d (1)

"And the son of a Jewish woman went out " (24:10).

Rashi explains that, the Egyptian man wanted to pitch his tent in the tribe of Dan (his mother's tribe), but they pointed out to him that the Torah writes how each man shall encamp by his flag according to the house of his fathers (whereas the man's father was not a Jew). So they took him to the Beis-Din of Moshe and he lost his case.

Why did he lose his case, asks the Riva? Bear in mind, he explains, that, as Rashi himself comments in Parshas Sh'lach-l'cha, this episode took place at the same time as that of the man who gathered wood on Shabbos, and that Parshah took place within two weeks of Yisrael leaving Egypt (presumably that means 'after Yisrael were commanded about Shabbos at Marah' - as Chazal have said 'Yisrael only kept one Shabbos in the Desert; the second Shabbos along came the Mekoshesh and broke it!). That being the case, both episodes occurred early in the first year, long before Yisrael were divided into camps - in the second year. At that time then, there was no reason for anyone not to be permitted to camp wherever he pleased! On what grounds then, did the Mekalel lose his case?


Granted, says the Riva, the official division into camps took place only at Sinai, in the second year; yet they already camped according to their tribes upon leaving Egypt, in accordance with the tradition that had been handed down to them from Ya'akov Avinu. And it was on the strength of that Minhag that the Beis-Din ruled against him.


The Man Who Cursed Hashem (2)


Rashi also comments that 'He went out of his world'.

The Riva explains that what Rashi means is that he lost his portion in both this world and the next. And he cites the Pasuk at the end of Sh'lach-l'cha, which writes (in connection with someone who curses Hashem) "hikoreis tikoreis ha'nefesh ha'hi", on which Chazal comment - "hikoreis" in this world, "tikoreis", in the next.


Making Semichah on One's Korban

"Take out the one who cursed and all those who heard shall lean their hands on his head " (24:14).

Of all those who receive the death-sentence, says the Riva, this is the only one where we find the concept of 'Semichah' (placing one's hands on the head of the sinner).

The reason for this, he explains, is because they also sinned like he did - the witnesses sinned when they testified and were obligated to repeat what they heard him say, and those who heard him curse G-d (who had to rent their garments upon hearing such blasphemy). It turns out that all those who were present sinned. Consequently, because he caused all of them to sin, he became their Korban, and as is generally the case, the owner needs to perform Semichah on his Korban.

* * *


"And the Kohen who is greater than his brothers (ha'Godol me'echav)" 21:10.

Chazal have said that a Kohen Gadol had to be superior to his fellow Kohanim in five areas - in looks, in strength, in wealth, in wisdom and in years. And this is hinted in the above words, which is the acronym of ' "Hey" Godol me'achav' - in five ways he is greater than his brothers.


"V e'al kol nafshos meis lo yavo, le'oviv u'le'imo lo yitamo" (He [the Kohen Gadol] shall not render himself tamei for any of his dead relatives, for his father or his mother, he shall not render himself tamei" (21:11).

The Ba'al ha'Turim observes that each two (consecutive) words in the Pasuk ends with the same letter. This hints, he says, at the Halachah that a revi'is of blood (the minimum amount of blood that flows from a dead person that renders tamei those who touch it), does so even if it comes from two corpses.


"And he (ve'hu [the Kohen Gadol) shall marry a virgin" (21:13).

The Gematriyah of "ve'hu" is eighteen. A hint, the Ba'al ha'Turim points out, at what Chazal say - that eighteen is the age for a man to get married. And the same hint lies in the same word in the Pasuk in Tehilim "And he (ve'hu) ke'choson yotzei me'chuposo".


"The bread of his G-d (lechem Elokov [i.e. Terumah]) he (the Kohen) may eat " (21:22).

The Pasuk (which is talking about a Kohen who has a blemish) goes on to forbid him to bring the Korbanos, though he does receive a portion like all other Kohanim in his group, which he is permitted to eat.

The Ba'al ha'Turim remarks that the Pasuk begins with a 'Lamed' ("Lechem") and ends with a "Lamed" ("yochel"), adding up to sixty. A hint, he says, to the sixty different blemishes, listed in Bechoros, that invalidate a Kohen from performing the Avodah.


"Only (ach) to the Curtain (that divides the Kodesh from the Kodesh Kodshim) he shall not come, and to the Mizbei'ach he shall not approach, for he has a blemish " (21:23).

As is well-known, the word "Ach" comes to preclude something (to mark an exception).

And so it does here, says the Ba'al ha'Turim; as Chazal have said: 'If there are no Kohanim, then Levi'im enter (to perform the Avodah; if there are no (Kohanim) Tehorim, then Temei'im may enter; and if there are no Temei'im, then Kohanim who are blemished may enter'.


"The toshav of a Kohen and his sochir may eat it (T'rumah)" 22:10.

Rashi explains that a "toshav" is a Jewish servant who has had his ears pierced and who then continues working until the Yovel (which the Torah describes as "le'olom"); whereas a "sochir" is one who works initially for six years.

The Ba'al ha'Turim supports this by pointing out that the Gematriyah of "Toshav Kohen ve'sochir" is equivalent to that of 'Konuy kinyan olom, Kanuy kinyan shonim' (One who is acquired forever (and one who is acquired for a number of years').


" and in your land you shall not do this (i.e. castrate an animal)" 22:24.

The Pasuk continues with the words "And from the hand of a gentile ".

Although the latter Pasuk is actually speaking about accepting a castrated or a blemished animal as a Korban, the Ba'al ha'Turim extrapolates from the juxtaposition of the two phrases that one is not even permitted to castrate an animal through a non-Jewish agent, as Chazal have taught.

* * *

(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 216:
To Leave Pe'ah in One's Field

To leave Pe'ah from one's produce, as the Torah writes in Kedoshim (19:10) "Leave them for the poor and for the Ger", after having written (in Pasuk 9) "Do not finish the corner of your field". "Ger" in this Pasuk means a Ger Tzedek (a righteous convert [as opposed to a Ger Toshav - a gentile sojourner who lives in our midst]), as it does throughout the Parshah of Matnos Aniyim. Since it writes in connection with Ma'aser Ani (in Ki Savo) "leave it for the Ger, the orphan and the widow", which definitely refers to a Ger who is a Jew (just like the orphan and the widow which the Torah places next to it in the Pasuk). And this extends to all Matnos Aniyim. Nevertheless, Chazal have said that one may not withhold Pe'ah from poor gentiles, on account of 'Darkei Sholom' (to keep the peace with our gentile neighbors). The Mitzvah of Pe'ah entails that when cutting the harvest, one leaves a small amount of produce in the corner of one's field un-cut, The Torah does not give any specific measurement for Pe'ah. The Chachamim however, did. They fixed the Shi'ur at a sixtieth of one's total produce.

A reason for the Mitzvah Because G-d wants the nation that He chose, to be crowned with all refined and precious character-traits, and that they should be possessed of a 'blessed soul and a generous spirit'. And the author has already pointed out that the active performance of good deeds affects a person's soul, transforming it into a good one that is worthy to receive G-d's blessings. And there is no doubt that by leaving some of one's fruit in the field and declaring it Hefker for the benefit of those who need it, one's soul becomes satiated with goodwill and with a spirit of correctness and blessing. In return, G-d will satiate him with His goodness, and his soul will dwell in goodness. Whilst on the other hand, someone who gathers all his crops into his house, failing to leave behind him a blessing from which the needy (who have seen the fully-grown crops in the field waiting to be picked and who long to partake of them to satisfy their hunger) will benefit, indicates he has a hardhearted character and that he is a bad soul. He will find that his evil will boomerang on him. For so the Gemara says in the first Perek of Sotah 'The measure that one metes out to others, so will be meted out to him'. And this reason will also cover the Mitzvos of Leket (not to collect the grains that fall from the harvest), Shikchah (not to go back for sheaves that one forgot), Peret (the equivalent of Leket - but in a vineyard) and Ol'los (leaving the incomplete clusters of grapes on the vine).

Some of the Dinim of the Mitzvah The Gemara says in Chulin (137a) that, despite the fact that the Torah writes "u've'kutzr'chem" (and when you reap), one is Chayav to leave Pe'ah irrespective of whether one reaps the crops or simply picks them, because "u've'kuztr'chem" is la'av Davka (not meant literally) In the event that the owner harvests the entire crop, he is obligated to give a little of what he harvested to the poor Chazal have also said that with regard to this group of Matnos Aniyim, the owner does not have the right to choose the recipients of the gift; he must leave it in the field for the poor to come and help themselves without requesting the owner's consent The Chachamim also discuss as to when anybody may come and help themselves to the Pe'ah that remains in the field And in Chulin (134b) they say that if no poor people are coming to take the Pe'ah then the owner may even take it for himself - since the Torah writes that one should "leave it for the poor and the Ger", from which they expounded 'but not for the ravens and the bats!' They issued the following rule (to determine the species that are subject to Pe'ah), covering both the Pe'ah of crops and the Pe'ah of trees 'Whatever is food, grows from the ground, is guarded, is picked all at once and is placed in storage is Chayav Pe'ah'. These five specifications include grain, legumes, carobs, nuts, almonds, grapes, olives and dates, and similar products which incorporate all of the above specifications. It does not include things such as dyes (that are not food), mushrooms (which one does not tend to guard), figs (which are not harvested all at once), and vegetables (which cannot be placed in storage [prior to the invention of cold storage].

(to be cont.)

* * *

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