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

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Vol. 9   No. 45

This issue is sponsored l'iluy Nishmos
Menachem Ze'ev ben Eliezer u'mishpachto hey'd
Yechezkel Sh'raga ben Menachem Monish
u'mishpachto hey'd

Parshas Ki Savo

Moshiach is Coming
(Adapted from Tosfos and Rashi)

The Torah relates how, in the same way as G-d rejoiced over us to do good to us and to increase us when we were worthy, when we are unworthy, He will let others rejoice as they proceed to destroy us and to wipe us out.

Tosfos takes this very literally, treating it as an equation between the good times and the bad. In fact, he says, this is a hint to the date when Moshi'ach will come.

And he bases his reckoning on the Pasuk in Daniel (12:11), "And from the time that the Korban Tamid was removed and replaced by an abomination, a time period of one thousand, two hundred and ninety", which traditionally sets the date for the coming of Moshi'ach.


The 400 years of Galus Mitzrayim, plus the 480 years from the time that they left Egypt and the 410 years that the first Beis-Hamikdash stood (as hinted in the Pasuk "be'Zos yovo Aharon el ha'Kodesh" - "be'Zos" = 410), add up to 1290 years. And the Pasuk here is saying that just as G-d rejoiced to do good to Yisrael (in the desert and in Eretz Yisrael, where the Shechinah was with them constantly), and to increase them (in Egypt, where they multiplied at a miraculous rate), so too, when the next Galus occurs, (after the destruction of the second Beis-Hamikdash that would take place shortly after Daniel's prophecy) will the nations of the world rejoice in destroying us and wiping us out - for 1290 years. And then, the era of Moshi'ach will begin. The Torah might have specifically alluded to the two and a half time-periods, Tosfos explains, only it stuck to its policy of avoiding direct mention of the ultimate redemption.


And that is "la'mo'ed, mo'adim va'chetzi" referred to by Daniel (in Pasuk 7), though we arrive at the total of 1290 using a slightly different method. We translate the first ''mo'ed" simply as 'time', and "mo'adim va'chetzi" then refers to two periods of Golus Mitzrayim, plus another half of that (which is another way of sayong that one should add a third period on to the first two). And if, based on the Pasuk in Bo (12:40), we reckon Galus Mitzrayim as having lasted 430 years, then "mo'adim va'chetzi" equals 430 x 3 = 1290.

And this same time-period is also hinted in Hoshei'a (2:17), where the Navi writes "Ve'onsoh shomoh ki'yemei ne'urehoh u'che'yom alosoh me'Eretz Mitzrayim". There too, if we explain the word "ve'onsoh" as a derivative of 'Mo'on' (dwelling), and "ki'yemei ne'urehah" to mean "ki'yemei Galus ne'urehah", Hoshei'a is hinting that Yisrael will dwell in Galus for the same period of time as they dwelt in Egypt and in the period that followed until the destruction of the first Beis-Hamikdash - a period of 1290 years.

So here we have the 1290 years that the current Galus is destined to last, hinted in the Torah, in Nevi'im and in Kesuvim. And what about the following Pasuk in Daniel, which writes "How praiseworthy is he who awaits and who reaches the days 1335? How does that tie up with the 1290 years mentioned in the previous Pasuk?

This Pasuk, explains Tosfos, takes into account the additional forty-five years that it will take for Moshi'ach to bring the entire world under the jurisdiction of Yisrael. That is when peace will ultimately reign in the world.


The only problem is that we do not know when the 1290 years began, and can therefore not know when they are due to end. Indeed, our ancestors faced the same dilemma in Egypt, where one Pasuk refers to 430 years(beginning from the B'ris bein ha'Besarim, thirty years before the birth of Yitzchak) and another Pasuk, to 400 years (starting from the birth of Yitzchak). And it was as a result of this dilemma, the B'nei Efrayim erred, and left Egypt thirty years too early (because they reckoned, not 430 years, but 400, from the B'ris bein ha'Besarim, as the Torah records in Lech-Lecho), and were killed by the men of Gas. In fact, there are even some opinions that reckon the years from the time that the slavery began. The truth of the matter is that the 400 years' Galus began with the birth of Yitzchak, as we now know. But that only knew it with certainty after they actually left Egypt.

And the same happened in connection with Galus Bavel. There too, G-d told Yirmiyah that He would visit the exiles at the end of seventy years, yet first Beltshatzar erred as to when the exile would end, then Achashverosh, and even Daniel made a wrong calculation, as the Gemara explains in Megilah.


And with our Golus too, perhaps the 1290 years began with the nullification of the Korban Tamid during the civil war between Hurkanus and Aristobulus, or perhaps it was from the time that Herod was crowned king ...

In any event, once Moshi'ach arrives, we will know retroactively when the 1290 years began.

If we reckon from the time of the Galus, Tosfos concludes, then the due date of Moshi'ach was the year 5163, six hundred years ago.


Rashi in Daniel (12:9, and 8:14), starting with Galus Mitzrayim, gives the following calculation. If one adds the 210 years of Galus Mitzrayim, the 480 years until the building of the first Beis Hamikdash plus the 410 years that the first Beis-Hamikdash stood, the 70 years of Galus plus the 420 of the second Beis Hamikdash, one arrives at 1590. However, the Tamid was stopped six years before the Churban, leaving a total of 1584 years. And if one adds to that the 1290 years predicted by Daniel, one reaches a total of 2874 years.

Now 2874 years is mentioned by Daniel in chapter 8, Pasuk 14, where he cites a prophecy which states "Ad Erev Boker Alpayim u'shelosh me'os ... ". "Alpayim shelosh me'os (2300) plus the numerical value of 'Erev boker" (574) = 2874. Truly amazing! According to Rashi then, Moshi'ach ought to have come in the year 5157, 2874 years after the commencement of Galus Mitzrayim (six years earlier than the date suggested by Tosfos).

Both dates alas, have long passed. Let us hope that Moshi'ach comes soon, and all the calculations will fall into place.


Parshah Pearls
Ki Savo

(adapted from the Ba'al ha'Turim)

Thirty Tzadikim

"Ve'hoyoh ki sovo el ho'oretz (And it shall be when you come to the land)" 26:1.

The numerical value of "Ki" is thirty, and the letters of "sovo" spell 'Ovos'. A hint, says the Ba'al ha'Turim, that there will always be thirty Tzadikim in Eretz Yisrael, who are comparable to the Ovos, as Chazal have said.


In Seventy Languages

" ... ha'Torah ha'zos ba'er heitev (... this Torah clearly explained)" 27:8.

The numerical value of these words is equivalent to 'gam be'shiv'im lashon' (also in seventy languages - see Rashi).

This Parshah does not contain a 'Samech', explains the Ba'al ha'Turim. This is because even though G-d told Moshe that they would put up these stones on the day that they crossed the Jordan River, they would travel 60 Mil (a Mil = a kilometer) before doing so. Note, they also returned on the same day, travelling 120 Mil, besides the duration of the lengthy ceremony - an absolute miracle.


The Three Partners

"Cursed be the man who makes a carved or molten image ... Cursed be the man who treats his father and mother with disrespect" (27:16/17).

The Torah begins the list of curses with avodah-zarah, because it is compared to the entire Torah. And it follows with disrespect to one's parents, because, since Chazal have taught that a person has three partners - G-d, a father and a mother, that is the appropriate order (Ba'al ha'Turim).


Animal Secrets

"Cursed be the man who lies with his father's wife ... with an animal ... with his sister ... with his mother-in-law"(27:20-22).

The Torah juxtaposes adultery with one's father's wife next to lying with an animal, says the Ba'al ha'Turim, because he is together with her in the house, and is drawn after her like an animal.In the same way the Torah continues with his sister, and with his mother-in-law, who live in the same house, and with whom he develops a secret relationship. That is why it continues "Cursed be the one who strikes his friend in secret" (see also Rabeinu Bachye).


Two Kinds of Sinister Secrets

"Cursed be the one who strikes his friend in secret (be'seiser)" (27:24).

The numerical value of "be'seiser" is equivalent to that of 'be'lashon ho'ra' (see Rashi), which is self-explanatory. And it also tallies with that of 'masar momon chaveiro' (someone who delivers one's fellow-Jew's money into the hands of non-Jews) Ba'al ha'Turim.


Tefilin and Its Rewards

" Ve'ro'u kol amei ho'oretz ki Sheim Hashem nikro olecho veyor'u mimeko (and all the nations of the world will see that the Name of G-d is called upon you and they will be afraid of you)". This, says Rebbi Eliezer, refers to the Tefilin shel Rosh. That explains, says the Ba'al ha'Turim, why the first letters of "Sheim Hashem nikro" spell 'Shin', a clear reference to the Tefilin shel Rosh.

And the Torah continues "And Hashem will leave you over ... ", a hint at the long life that result from the Mitzvah of Tefilin.


Afraid of those Who Fear

"Ve'yor'u mikem (and they will be afraid of you)" 28:10.

This word also appears in Va'yeilech (31:12) "Ve' yor'u es Hashem" (And they will fear G-d").

This is measure for measure, explains the Ba'al ha'Turim. When we fear Hashem, Hashem makes sure that nations fear us. It doesn't take too much effort to work out what is missing on our part, when the nations of the world treat us with disdain, does it?


Smitten Four Times

Four times, the Torah repeats the phrase "yakcho Hashem" (G-d will smite you), hinting to the four exiles, says the Ba'al ha'Turim.


Hanging in the Balance

"And your lives will hang (telu'im) in the balance" (28:66).

The same word also appears in Hoshei'a (11:7), where the Navi writes And My people will waver (telu'im) about returning to Me".

This hints at the Gemara in Rosh Hashanah, which decribes how the beinonim (the average Jews) hang in the balance between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kipur, to see whether they do Teshuvah or not.


Going Back to Egypt

"And G-d will return you (Ve'heshivcho Hashem) to Egypt in ships" (28:68).

The numerical value of these two words is equivalent to that of 'Zeh yih'yeh bi'yemei Yirmiyah' (this will occur in the days of Yirmiyah).


The Name of Hashem appears twenty-six times in the Tochachah. Correspondingly, the Ba'al ha'Turim comments, Chazal inserted it twenty-six times in the Amidah (not counting Birchas ha'Minim ['ve'Lamalshinim]), to counter the evil effects of the Tochachah.



Hilchos Orlah and Neta Revai
(Chap. 19)
Translated from the Seifer of Rav Kalman Kahana z.l.

1. The Torah warns us not to eat the fruit of a tree within three years of its having been planted. This Isur is min ha'Torah in Eretz Yisrael, but Halachah le'Moshe mi'Sinai in Chutz la'Aretz.


2. Fruit that begins to ripen (i.e. reaches the stage of 'chanotoh', see para. 6) during this period, irrespective of when it becomes fully ripe, is considered Orlah and is forbidden.


3. This three-year period is not counted from day to day (i.e. three full years from the time of planting), but from the first of Tishri (Rosh Hashanah) to the first of Tishri, beginning from when the tree becomes attached to the ground (as we will now explain).

As far as the first year of Orlah is concerned, thirty days in the year are considered a year. Bearing in mind that, added to that, it takes fourteen days for the tree to become attached to the ground, if someone plants a tree before the sixteenth of Av, the year of planting is considered one year, and he counts another two years from Rosh Hashanah.


4. The date that divides between the final year of Orlah and the year of Heter is not Rosh Hashanah, but Tu bi'Sh'vat. Consequently, any fruit that began to ripen before Tu bi'Sh'vat of the fourth year, is still considered Orlah.


5. The fruit that ripens after Tu bi'Sh'vat in the fourth year is called 'Neta Revai' (which will be explained in the following chapter). And whatever begins to ripen between Rosh Hashanah and Tu bi'Sh'vat depends on the time that the tree becomes attached to the ground. There are various differences of opinion regarding this point. In any event, since it is uncommon for the fruit to begin to ripen at this time of year, we will not elaborate. In the event that a She'eilah arises, one should refer to a competent halachic authority.


6. 'Chanotoh' (in connection with Orlah), with regard to most fruit refers to the stage after the flower has dropped off, and the first stage of fruit ('S'madar') is recognizable. In the case of vines, carobs and olives however, we go after the stage known as 'boser' - when the grapes produce pips, the carobs take on the knotty shape and the olives develop blossoms.


7. If someone plants a fruit-tree as a fence, to provide wood for beams or for fire-wood, it is not subject to Orlah, provided the purpose of the tree is discernable (i.e. if it is growing in a gap in a fence, if he cuts off the branches [leaving just a thick trunk] or if he planted a few trees closely-bunched together).

If he changed his mind and decided to use the tree for its fruit, it becomes subject to Orlah from then on, though he counts the years of Orlah retroactively from the time of planting, as we explained above.


8. The Isur of Orlah applies, irrespective of whether one planted grain or a branch, or even if an entire tree was uprooted and was transplanted in a new location. In the latter two cases, the three-year time period begins from the time that it is transplanted. However, if earth remained stuck to the roots, to the extent that in the opinion of the experts, the tree was not disconnected from its source of life before it was re-connected to the earth (i.e. it would have continued to grow), then the period of Orlah continues from its initial planting. If the tree died and began to wither before it took root the second time, then one counts from the second planting.

In all of the above, it makes no difference whether it was a person who transplanted the tree, or the wind. In fact, one is permitted to uproot a tree together with the earth to which it is attached, and transplant it somewhere else, provided it does not involve 'bal tashchis' (the destruction or damaging of a fruit-tree).


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