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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 21, v. 1: "Emor v'omarto" - Say and you shall say - Rashi says that these words teach us, "L'hazhir hagdolim al haktanim," - to warn the adults about their responsibility to likewise warm the children. The words "L'hazhir hagdolim" are not the way to express the straightforward idea that the adults should warn the children. Rather something like "She'hagdolim yazhiru haktanim" would be in place. We see from the manner in which this is expressed that the adults likewise have to be warned. They have to be told that to be successful in transmitting values and rules to the next generation, they must likewise behave properly in the matters that they preach.

The story is told of the Chosid who came to his Rebbe, the Holy Admor of Kotzk, and placed a kvittel in front of the Rebbe upon which was written a request that the Rebbe pray that his son should develop into a Talmid Chochom. The Holy Rebbe responded that if this was truly his wish he should devote himself to Torah study and his son would see a living example of what it takes to become one. Otherwise, the son would not open a sefer and just do as his father did, to go to his Rebbe and offer a kvittel that the Rebbe pray that his son should become a Talmid Chochom.

"V'chol ho'om ro'im es hakolos" is understood by our sages to mean that at the time when Hashem said the Ten Commandments the bnei Yisroel SAW the words that emanated. We can similarly explain this to mean that they would be instilled with these mitzvos when they SEE them in action by their parents and teachers. (Beis Aharon, Rabbi S.Z. Horowitz)

Ch. 22, v. 27: "Shor o kesev o eiz ki yivo'leid" - An ox or a sheep or a goat when it will be born - At birth they should be called "eigel, seh, g'di." The verse is calling them by their fully developed name. We find a similar expression where the Torah says, "yumas ha'meis, yipol hanofeil," expressing itself with the end result.

Alternatively, our verse is pointing out the greatness of mankind compared to animals. Although when newborn the animals have a different appellation, there is no effort expended in their developing into the mature status, so they may immediately be called the mature name, "Shor ben yomo koruy shor" (gemara B.K. 65b). People are very different. They must work on developing into proper mature people. (Minchoh V'luloh)

Ch. 22, v. 32: "V'lo s'chal'lu es shem kodshi" - And you shall not desecrate My Holy Name - The Rambam in hilchos teshuvoh 1:4 writes that he who has desecrated Hashem's Holy Name, even after gone through suffering, he is not purged of this sin until he dies. However, Rabbeinu Yonah in Shaarei Teshuvoh 4:16 writes that there is a remedy where one can remain living. It is to steadily bring sanctification of Hashem's Holy Name. He offers a second remedy, to steadily toil in Torah thought.

Ch. 23, v. 2: "Eileh heim mo'adoy" - These are My festivals - Some people have the incorrect notion that our Yomim Tovim are memorials of what happened a long, long time ago. However, this is quite inaccurate. When our Yomim Tovim come it is more of a repeat of the actual original scenario. This can be starkly illustrated by an halacha, based on the gemara Shabbos 129b, which says that it is prohibit to go through the procedure of blood-letting on the eve of Shovuos. This is because at the time of the giving of the Torah, it was in doubt if the bnei Yisroel would or would not accept the Torah, as is explained in the gemara near the beginning of Avodoh Zoroh. The gemara says that had the bnei Yisroel ch"v not accepted the Torah the world would have returned to its state of emptiness. The fact that this possibility existed brought powerful powers of destruction into our physical world. The destructive powers were embodied in a spirit called "tovuach," which is capable of slaughtering all of mankind. Because this spirit was present on the eve of Shovuos, it is prohibited to take on a dangerous procedure. Lest one not have sufficient merits, and when he is physically vulnerable he might be done in by "tovuach." Now, if the Yom Tov of Shovuos just memorializes an historical event, how did "tovuach" get into the Yom Tov script? We clearly see from this halacha that we are to an extent reliving the happening.

Ch. 23, v. 10: "Vaha'veisem es omer" - And you shall bring an omer - We call this offering an "omer" and the counting until Shovuos is likewise called the counting of the "omer." Technically, this word means a volume that is one tenth of a an "eifoh" volume, as is stated in parshas B'shalach. Why do we stress the volume aspect of this offering more than its being the first-ripened barley?

In parshas B'shalach it likewise says that if someone collected more than his due share or if the reverse happened, "Va'yomodu bo'omer v'lo he'edif hamarbeh v'lo hachesir hamamit," taking extra or taking less brought no change in the final amount one had. This is a powerful lesson in our having the proper attitude towards our income. One who puts in unnecessary extra effort (a matter that might not be so simple to calculate) or if one put in less effort than the average person does, each receives what is ordained in heaven.

This is an insight into the words of the Mechilta at the beginning of parshas B'shalach, that the Torah was given only to those who consume manna, meaning that unless one realizes that his income is calculated in the heavens and is exactly what he is supposed to receive, his Torah learning is compromised.

Upon setting out to count the days in preparation for receiving the Torah with renewed enthusiasm, it is therefore most appropriate to stress the VOLUME aspect of the offering and likewise give this appellation to the counting. (B'eir Yoseif)

Ch. 23, v. 42: "Basukos teishvu shivas yomim" - In sukos shall you reside for seven days - The concept of the sukoh being a temporary dwelling is dealt with right at the onset of the gemara Sukos. A structure that is considered permanent is disqualified. At the same time we have a ruling derived from "teishvu" of "teishvu k'ein toduru," that out dwelling in the sukoh should be similar to our dwelling the rest of the year in our permanent homes. Based on this ruling a "mitz'ta'eir," one who experiences discomfort in the sukoh, rain, extreme cold, etc., is exempt from residing there. This seems to be contradictory, that the sukoh is a temporary dwelling, for example if rain cannot enter through the roof the sukoh is disqualified, and at the same time discomfort while residing there is sufficient reason to leave the sukoh.

Rabbi Shlomo haKohein of Vilna explains that the next verse explains that our dwelling in the sukoh is for the purpose of, "L'maan yeidu dosoreishem ki basukos hoshavti es bnei Yisroel b'hotzii osom mei'eretz Mitzroyim." Although the bnei Yisroel left permanent dwellings in Egypt, they entered temporary dwellings in the desert. Following the opinion that this refers to the clouds of glory, all is understood. Normally a nomad in the desert suffers from heat by day and cold by night, etc, etc. However, the bnei Yisroel had all the conveniences possible. The clouds of glory provided them with protection from the heat. The pillar of fire at night kept them warm. They had manna to eat and water from Miriam's wellspring to drink. Indeed there is a contradiction between "diras aro'i" and "teishvu k'ein toduru, mitz'ta'eir potur," but that is the essence of memorializing the situation in the desert. The bnei Yisroel dwelled in a temporary dwelling in the desert but did not suffer any deprivation.



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha, Chasidic Insights and Chamisha Mi Yodei'a

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