by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHIOS B'HAR-B'CHUKOSAI 5769 BS"D
Ch. 25, v. 2: "V'shovsoh ho'oretz" - And the land shall rest - Mateh Moshe #473 explains the need for the "shmitoh" year as follows: Hashem runs the world according to the laws He imbedded into it, called nature. Therefore, even though we are prohibited to engage in agricultural pursuits on Shabbos, nevertheless, the earth functions agriculturally even on Shabbos, i.e. plants grow, etc. During the course of seven solar years we have 52 Shabbosos times 7 = 364 days on which the earth grew things on Shabbos. It is therefore befitting to allow the earth to lie fallow for one year to make up for this lack of "resting" on Shabbos. During the seven "shmitoh" years the earth still has agricultural activities, as stray seeds turn into plants and thrive even on Shabbos. So we again have 52 Shabbosos times 7 = 364 days on which the earth grew things during "shmitoh" years. This is why we have a Yoveil year after seven "shmitos."
The Shaarei Aharon does not comprehend this. Yoveil compensating for the seven "shmitos" is understood, as it comes after and not during a "shmitoh" year. However, the calculation of years should be six years of Shabbos growth and not seven, as the seventh year is "shmitoh" itself. He therefore offers that we calculate lunar years of 354 days each. This gives us 50 Shabbosos a year times 6 = 300 days. The 354 day year of "shmitoh" is reduced by the 50 Shabbosos that it itself has, during which plants grow, so we have approximately 300 days to compensate for the Shabbosos of six years.
(If you are bothered with the fact that there are two years of thirteen months each during a "shmitoh," which in turn add eight Shabbosos, remember that the Shaarei Aharon's calculation is approximate, and the 354 days minus 50 Shabbosos leaves us with 304 days, still quite close to the 308 Shabbosos of six lunar years.)
Ch. 25, v. 3: "Sheish shonim …… v'osafto es tvu'ossoh" - Six years …… and you will gather its grain - Just as the verse says that during six years you may sow, but not on the seventh year, so too, it is only during the first six years that you may gather the produce. On the seventh year, although you are permitted to take "sfichim," that which grew on its own, but you may only take a limited amount for immediate consumption, but you may not gather a large amount. (Haameik Dovor)
Ch. 25, v. 3: "Tvu'ossoh" - Its grain - The verse mentions "so'decho" and "karmecho." Does "tvu'ossoh" refer only to the produce of "sodcho," as the produce of a "kerem" is grapes or wine, and not "tv'uoh?" Imrei Noam says that it refers also to "kerem," as we find this expression even by a vineyard, "Usvuas kerem" (Dvorim 22).
Ch. 25, v. 5: "V'es invei n'zi'recho lo sivtzor" - And the grapes that you have sequestered you shall not harvest - This is Rashi's interpretation. If you have restrained people from taking grapes you may not harvest them for yourself.
Rabbeinu Saadioh Gaon has a totally different understanding of these words. The Torah tells us that on non-"shmitoh" years to not harvest and take for ourselves the weak produce of the vineyard, i.e. "ol'los, perret," (Vayikra 19:10). The high quality grapes one keeps for himself. On the "shmitoh" year one may not keep for himself even the quality grapes. Understand "n'zi'recho" to mean top quality, a borrowed term from 'nozir," a person who has elevated himself from common folk and has taken on numerous stringencies.
Ch. 25, v. 5: "Shnas shabosson yi'h'yeh lo'oretz" - A year of rest there shall be for the land - Whether "yi'h'yeh" refers back to "shnas" or "shabboson" shouldn't the word be "si'h'yeh," in the female form?
Ch. 25, v. 30: "Ad m'los lo shonoh t'mimoh" - Until there is completed for him a full year - The word "lo" seems to be superfluous. The gemara Arochin 31a and the T.K. derive from this the following ruling: One can only redeem a property in a walled city within a year of selling it. What if Reuvein sold it to Shimon during Nison and Shimon then sold it to Levi during Tishrei? Do we say that Reuvein can only redeem it from Levi until the following Nison, or do we give Reuvein a full year from the sale to the present owner? The word "lo" of our verse tells us that he is limited to the time frame of the sale to the first purchaser, as "lo" refers to the person to whom he sold it, and not to a subsequent owner.
Ch. 25, v. 33: "Vaasher yigal min haLviim" - And when he will redeem from the Lviim - The intention of "yigal" is simply that he will purchase, so why doesn't the verse say "yikneh?" The Paa'nei'ach Rozo answers that the complete land of Eretz Yisroel in essence belongs to the tribes, save the Lviim. Hashem, so to say, has taken 42 cities from the other tribes and allotted them to the Lviim. The verse therefore stresses that when someone purchases a property from a Levite and in a sense is redeeming it, reclaiming it for his tribe, nevertheless, it is to be returned on the Yoveil year.
The Ibn Ezra says that since the previous verse uses the term "geuloh," it just carries on with the same term in our verse.
Ch. 26, v. 6: "V'hishbati chayoh ro'oh min ho'oretz v'cherev lo saavor b'artz'chem" - And I will lay to rest a wild animal from the land and a sword will not pass through your land - Most commentators explain that the sword refers to war. However, Tzror Hamor connects the "chayoh ro'oh" with the "cherev." I will lay wild animals to rest, meaning that they will not appear in the land, and in turn there will be no need for a sword to kill wild animals.
Ch. 26, v. 17: "V'rodu vochem soneichem" - And your enemies will lord over you - Rashi explains that this means that your enemies will be people from among you, i.e. fellow bnei Yisroel. This is derived from the order of the words "vochem soneichem." If the intention would be that your enemies will lord over you the verse would have said "soneichem bochem." "Bochem soneichem" means from within you come your enemies.
Ch. 26, v. 19: "Es shmeichem kabarzel v'es artz'chem kanchushoh" - Your heavens as iron and your land as copper - The possessive suffix "chem" after the heavens and earth is puzzling. Since the verse relates that they will not cooperate, why would they be called "your?" This teaches us that when the bnei Yisroel have unfortunately reached such a level of sin, even the prayers of someone who usually has mastery over the heavens and earth, for example Choni Hamagol whose prayers brought immediate results of massive rain, will not be heard. This is an application of the verse in Eichoh 3, "Gam ki ezak vaashavei'a sosam tfilosi." (Rokei'ach)
Ch. 26, v. 25: "Cherev nokemmes n'kam bris" - A sword that takes revenge the revenge of a covenant - The N'tziv explains the severity of a "revenge of a covenant." If a king were to do war with a totally foreign country and vanquish it, once it is under his control he will not punish the people who fought against him. After all, it was their land until now and they had allegiance to their king. However, if there is an uprising against a king in his own land, he will not only quash it, but will also punish the rebellious people to the extreme, as they were under his protection until now. This is the intention of "n'kam bris." The bnei Yisroel made a covenant at Har Sinai to fulfill the Torah and when they ch"v forsake it, they have rebelled against their King with Whom they have made a covenant. The response is a powerful punishment ch"v.
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