by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS B'HAR 5774 BS"DCh. 25, v. 8: "V'sofarto" - And you shall count - Tosfos on the gemara M'nochos 65b d.h. "usfartem" asks why the court makes a blessing before counting the 49 years towards "yoveil" and we also make a blessing before counting the days of the "omer," but a woman who is calculating her "clean days" does not make a blessing. He answers that in the other 2 cases the counting will clearly take place to its completion, but a woman is not assured that her counting will be uninterrupted, as the "zivoh" flow might again begin. On the gemara K'subos 72a d.h. "v'sofroh" Tosfos says that same thing, but adds that since she cannot make a blessing she also doesn't count the days.
This requires clarification. Tosfos offers an understandable explanation for not making a blessing, as the count may not come to a successful completion, but why not count without a blessing, (and this is the position of some halachic authorities) as there would not be the mention of Hashem's Name in vain, but there would be the fulfillment of the mitzvoh of counting?
The Chinuch in mitzvoh #330 raises the question of why no verbal counting and answers that we have no logical explanation, but we do have the oral transmission from generation to generation that there is no verbal counting. He concludes by saying that "v'sofroh" requires that she take note of her not flowing and that she should mentally count the days.
Ch. 25, v. 8: "V'sofarto l'cho" - And you shall count for yourself - Tosfos RI"d asks, "Why doesn't each person count the years towards "yoveil" just as we do the days of "s'firas ho'omer?" He answers that the singular form, "v'sofarto l'cho" indicates that the responsibility lies on one only, in this case the court. By "s'firas ho'omer" the verse says, "usfartem lochem" in the plural form. Therefore it is incumbent upon all of the bnei Yisroel.
Ch. 25, v. 10: "Ukro'sem d'ror" - And you shall call for emancipation - Ibn Ezra says that the word "d'ror" refers to a bird of the wild, which has freedom to fly wherever it wants. The Holy Zohar likewise says that "d'ror" refers to a bird of the wild, but adds that when it builds a nest it inhabits it for fifty days, and this is why the Torah uses the term "d'ror," corresponding to the 50th year, when there is freedom for a slave and he leaves his master.
Ch. 25, v. 10: "V'shavtem ish el achuzoso v'ish el mishpachto toshuvu" - And you shall return a man to his inheritance and a man to his family shall you return - We explain these words to mean that this is the result of the two laws, that land inheritance is returned to the family, so a person returns to having ownership of the land, and that slaves are emancipated, so a person returns to his family. In a most novel manner the Chidushei HoRi"m connects these two thoughts. When a person has financial difficulties and is forced to sell even his land inheritance it impacts upon him socially as well. His relatives shy away from him because he is poor. When his land is returned to him, not only is the land returned, but he also has his relatives who distanced themselves from him when he was poor, now become close to him again.
Ch. 25, v. 11: "V'lo sik'tz'ru" - And you (plural) shall not harvest - The prohibition to harvest during the "yoveil" year is expressed in the plural form, while by "shmitoh" (verse 4) it is expressed in the singular form, "lo sizmor." Tosfos on the gemara Sukoh 39b d.h. "Ba'meh" writes that the Torah prohibition to harvest is limited to "m'shumor," that which is guarded, and does not apply to "mufkor," ownerless produce. Only the owner can properly make the produce guarded as he has the ability to fence it in and lock the gate. "Shmitoh" year does not specifically give us two owners for a field, as in general one person owns a field for quite a while. Therefore the Torah expresses the prohibition in the singular form. "Yoveil" year oft times finds a field with two owners, as the field is owned by the purchaser until Yom Kippur and it returns to the seller on Yom Kippur. Since the field has two owners during the "yoveil" year the Torah expresses the prohibition in the plural form. (Ragatchover Gaon)
Ch. 25, v. 14: "V'chi sim'k'ru" MIMKOR laami'secho o kono" - The Holy Alshich says that by reading these words as one expression we can learn the lesson that when you sell an item to your friend, set a price that would be satisfactory to you even if you would be the purchaser, "o kono."
This might answer a difficulty in this verse. By the case of selling the verse says "If you will sell AN ITEM," but by buying, it just says "o kono, - or selling." Perhaps it is to indicate that these words should be read as one phrase and the purchase also refers to that same item, as pointed out by the Holy Alshich.
Ch. 25, v. 21: "V'tzivisi es birchosi" - And I will command My blessing - On the eve of a "shmitoh" year a farmer came to Rabbi Yoseif Chaim Sonnenfeld, imploring and begging him to give his approval to leniencies in working one's fields during the upcoming "shmitoh" year. Rabbi Sonnenfeld stood his ground, simply stating that halachically he found no basis to be lenient. The farmer was extremely distraught at this point. Rabbi Sonnenfeld removed the volume of Yirmiyohu from his bookshelf, opened it to 17:5, and showed the farmer the following: "Orur ha'gever asher yivtach bo'odom umin Hashem yosur libo" - cursed is the man who places his trust in a person and from Hashem he diverts his heart.
Rashi says that this refers to one who relies upon his own human efforts in agricultural pursuits during the "shmitoh" year, "and from Hashem he diverts his heart" means that he does not rely upon the Torah's promise of "v'tzivisi es birchosi."
Perhaps this is alluded to in the change from "ha'gever" earlier in the verse to "bo'odom" later, which we can read as "bo'adomoh," with a Ko'meitz under the final Mem. Thus this word has a dual meaning; he relies upon himself and the "ground" that he works. (n.l.)
Ch. 25, v. 32: "G'ulas olom ti'h'yeh laL'viim" - A permanent redemption shall be for the Levites - This special privilege is not to be looked upon as favouritism towards the Levites. Rather, it is specifically because the Levites were not given a land inheritance in such a generous manner as the other tribes, being limited to 48 cities and their limited sprawl beyond city limits, that the Torah at least slightly compensated them with not losing their land as readily. (Chizkuni)
Perhaps this insight gives us a better understanding of the ruling of the following verse. Rashi explains that verse 33 teaches us that the law of verse 32, that Levite cities that are wall enclosed do not become permanent property of purchasers even when the Levites do not redeem them, even applies when a Levite was the purchaser. Why would I think that this makes a difference? According to the Chizkuni this is very well understood. Since the rational behind the law is that Levites deserve special protection to retain their limited property, I might think that if the property would remain permanently in the hands of another Levite the first Levite would have no special protection. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 25, v. 33: "Va'asher YIGAL" - This verse refers to a person BUYING a field from a Levi. Why is the word YIGAL used, which means redemption, rather than YIKNEH since there is no redemption taking place? The Ntzi"v answers that the cities of the Lviim are actually pockets of communities within the larger portions of the other tribes. There exists the possibility that the purchaser of a field from a Levi will be of the same tribe as the land surrounding the Levite city. Thus, upon purchasing the field from the Levi, he is actually RECLAIMING it for his tribe, hence the use of the word YIGAL.
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