by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS B'HAR - B'CHUKOSAI 5762 BS"D
Ch. 25, v. 1: "B'har Sinai" - The previous parsha of the blasphemer is placed next to our verse of "b'har Sinai" to accentuate that although everyone heard the command of "Lo siso es sheim Hashem Elokecho lashov" (Shmos 20:7) at Har Sinai, and the gemara Shvuos 39a says that upon hearing this command the whole world trembled, yet in spite of this the blasphemer sinned. (Baal Haturim)
Ch. 25, v. 8: "V'sofarto l'cho sheva shabsose shonim" - Since the Torah mentions counting the years for the calculation of "shmitoh" only once, we interpret that the command is placed on our courts and not upon individuals. Therefore no blessing is made for this counting. However, the counting of the Omer in mentioned in the Torah twice, once in parshas Emor (23:15), and once in parshas R'ei (16:9). One verse tells us that the court is required to count the Omer, and the second verse places this responsibility on each individual. We therefore make a blessing upon counting the Omer. (Chizkuni)
Ch. 25, v. 9,10: "B'yom hakipurim, V'shavtem ish el achuzoso v'ish el mishpachto toshuvu" - Yom Kippur is a most appropriate day for a slave to be emancipated. Just as sin enslaves a person and when Yom Kippur comes and atonement is effected, the person is released from the sin's ensnarement and enters into the custody of Hashem, so too in the physical realm, a slave is released on the day of Yom Kippur. (Mahara"l of Prague in N'siv Ha'teshuvoh chapter #2)
Ch. 25, v. 10: "U'kro'sem drore bo'oretz l'CHOL yoshvehoh" - Since on Yom Kippur of the Yoveil year we herald the release of those who are enslaved, why does the verse say that we announce freedom in the land for ALL its inhabitants, "l'CHOL yoshvehoh"? Rabbi Zalman Sorotzkin in Oznayim laTorah answers that the prophet Yirmiyohu decries those who do not release their slaves in a timely fashion as required by the Torah. He says, "A'tem lo shma'tem eilai likro drore ish l'ochiv v'ish l'rei'eihu hi'ni korei lochem drore n'um Hashem el hacherev el ha'devver v'el horo'ov" (Yirmiyohu 34:17), - You have not hearkened to Me to herald freedom to your brother and friend (who are enslaved to you). In response, says Hashem, I announce that you are free (open) to the attack of the sword, the pestilence, and the famine. Thus if the bnei Yisroel release their slaves as prescribed by the Torah, ALL are freed from the sword, etc., that would otherwise befall them.
Ch. 25, v. 12: "Ki yoveil hee .. min haso'deh tochlu es tvu'osoh" - During a non-"shmitoh" or non-"yoveil" year one normally harvests a large amount of produce, processes it, and places it into storage. He then takes from the storage houses for his family's consumption. This is prohibited during the "shmitoh" or "yoveil" year. Although one may take produce of his own field, he may not take large amounts that would be placed into storage. He therefore eats "hand to mouth," taking from the field to his table, "min haso'deh tochlu." (Haksav V'hakaboloh)
Ch. 25, v. 14: "V'chi sim'k'rU mimkor laami'secho.. al tonu ish es OCHIV" - The N'tzi"v explains the use of the plural term "sim'k'rU" and the choice of OCHIV rather than "amiso," which was used earlier in the verse. Our verse is discussing a field that fell as an inheritance to two brothers. Neither one has sufficient funds to buy out the other's portion. Together, they sell the field to "ami'secho," an acquaintance. The verse ends by telling us that the BROTHERS should not unfairly divide the proceeds. (See the Sforno regarding the question of "ein ono'oh b'karko'ose" (gemara B.M. 56a), there is no claim of being overcharged by real estate.)
The Abarbenel explains the plural form "sim'k'ru" as follows: When the two of you, the seller and the buyer, are involved in a sale.
Ch. 25, v. 36: "Al tikach mei'ito neshech v'sarbis" - Tosfos on the gemara B.M. 70b-71a d.h. "tashich" quotes the Targum Yerushalmi at the beginning of parshas B'shalach (we do not have this in our text) who says that when the prophet Yechezkel resurrected the dry bones in the valley of Dora, there was one person who was not resurrected because he lent money and collected interest on it. Tosfos asks, "Why did he deserve to not be resurrected? The people Yechezkel resurrected where of the tribe of Efrayim, who left Egypt 30 years earlier than the exodus. If so, they were not bnei Yisroel, as they were killed by the Plishtim before the bnei Yisroel received the Torah. A non-Jew is not prohibited from collecting interest.
Tosfos answers that this was not a punishment for lending with interest, as they were not prohibited to do so. We are dealing with the supernatural resurrection of the dead. To deserve "tchias ha'meisim" one must behave beyond the basic halacha. All those who were resurrected never lent with interest, behaving in the manner of our Patriarchs by keeping the laws of the Torah even before it was given. They therefore merited to be resurrected.
Ch. 25, v. 37: "Es kas'p'cho lo si'tein lo b'neshech u'v'marbis lo si'tein es ochlecho" - Although we derive from these words that there is a prohibition against charging interest not only when lending money, but even when lending food, on a simple level these words can possibly be understood as follows: Do not charge interest when you lend your money. If you do you will likely be prompted to lend even to a high-risk person, hoping to reap a handsome profit. There will be a great likelihood that you will not be paid back and if you lose a large sum of money you might be left lacking even the basics, food on your table. The Torah therefore exhorts us, "Don't lend your money with interest, lest you end up giving away your basic food."
Alternatively, some people totally immerse themselves into lending as much money as possible, with the hope of maximizing their income by collecting vast amounts of interest. They even limit their food consumption to have more money to lend. The Torah addresses such a person by saying, "Don't give away your food; don't deprive yourself of food, with the hope of collecting interest." (Pardes Yoseif)
Rabbi Moshe Shternbuch shlit"a in Taam Vodaas explains these words by interpreting "marbis" as "excess." Don't give away your food for excesses. If you live beyond your means and are thus forced to borrow money, you might even borrow with interest. This can devastate you financially, even to the point that you have no money for basic food.
Ch. 25, v. 48: "ECHOD mei'echov yigo'lenu" - The word ECHOD seems superfluous. Rabbi Chaim Kanievski shlit"a in Taamo Dikro answers that the gemara Kidushin 20a says that a slave may not be redeemed "lachatzo'in," in sections, i.e. if the value of his remaining servitude is $100 then one cannot redeem half the time left for $50. Similarly the Sma"g rules that even if the slave is to be totally redeemed by two people, this is not acceptable, as each one's payment is for a portion of the total redemption value, and this is still considered redemption "lachatzo'in." This is why the Torah says ECHOD mei'echov," - ONE of his brothers, to stress that redemption by two people is not valid.
Ch. 26, v. 4: "V'nosati gishmeichem b'itom" - The M.R. 35:8 derives from "V'nosati" that Hashem personally will cause it to rain and will not send rain through an intermediary. The M.R. (gemara Taanis 23a) goes on to say that we derive from the word "b'itom" that the rain will fall at a convenient time, on the night of Shabbos. How are these two thoughts connected?
Rabbi Yonoson Eibeschitz in Divrei Y'honoson answers with the words of the Breishis M.R. 11:5. Tornosrufus asked Rabbi Akiva, "If your G-d guards Shabbos, how does He allow it to rain?" This question is based on the concept that rain coming from the heavens to earth is akin to transporting something from one domain to another. Rabbi Akiva answered, "If two people share one domain and only one places an "eruvei chatzeiros" it does not permit carrying from one domain to the other. But if only one person occupies the domain then it is permitted to carry in it, as there is no movement from domain to domain, since it all belongs to one person.
Likewise, Hashem owns all spheres and domains. He is therefore permitted to send rain from the heavens to earth.
We now understand the connection of the concepts mentioned in our medrash. If an angel were to cause it to rain, then he would be restricted from doing so on Shabbos, as he would be transporting rain from one domain to another. However, since Hashem, and only Hashem brings rain, then it may sent even on Shabbos, because all the areas through which the rain travels are to be considered one domain for Hashem.
Ch. 26, v. 5: "Vaachaltem lach'm'chem losova" - Rashi (Toras Kohanim) says that this is the blessing of eating a small bit and being fully satiated. Since our verse tells us that Hashem responds to our fulfilling His mitzvos with an abundance of physical needs, what need is there for the blessing of being satiated with just a bit of food, since much food abounds?
The Chasam Sofer answers that the gemara Ksubos 104a relates that just before Rabbi Yehudoh Hanossi died he lifted his ten fingers skyward and pronounced, "I have used my fingers for Torah only and in spite of my being very wealthy I have not derived even a finger's worth of pleasure from this world." Tosfos d.h. "lo" brings a medrash that says that before a person prays that Torah should fill him, he should pray that tasty food should not fill him. The medrash brings our story with Rabbi Yehudoh Hanossi as an example of this. We thus derive that satiating oneself is contrary to allowing Torah to permeate one's being. This is the blessing and advantage of being able to eat just a bit and being satiated over having an abundance of food and eating large amounts.
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