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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 19, v. 2: "K'doshim t'y'hu ki kodosh Ani Hashem Elokeichem" - The M.R. Vayikroh 24:9 says that one might think that he could equate human sanctity with Hashem's sanctity. Therefore the verse ends with "ki kodosh Ani Hashem Elokeichem," to teach us that Hashem's sanctity is greater.

The Holy Admor of Satmar explains this with the gemara Yoma 56b, which derives from the verse "Hashochein itom b'soch tumosom" (Vayikroh 16:16), that even if the bnei Yisroel act ch"v in a manner that brings impurity upon themselves, nevertheless Hashem remains among them. One who has elevated himself to great spiritual plains might also feel that it is safe for him to be amongst people who are great sinners, and their negative actions will have no deleterious effect upon him. Therefore the Torah says that Hashem's sanctity is greater than any level of sanctity that a human is capable of reaching, and one should not risk remaining in such a negative environment.

Perhaps the idea of Hashem's sanctity being greater than man's is alluded to in more than just the juxtaposition of the words in our verse. The word "K'doshim" referring to man's sanctity, is spelled lacking the letter Vov between the Dalet and the Shin, indicating an incomplete sanctity, while the word "Kodosh" referring to Hashem's sanctity, is spelled with the letter Vov between the Dalet and the Shin, indicating complete sanctity.

Ch. 19, v. 3: "Ish imO v'oviV tiro'U" - Why does the verse begin in the singular form "Ish imO v'oviV" and continue in the plural form "tiro'U?" The ShaLo"H answers that although this mitzvoh is incumbent upon each child (singular), the parents are also held responsible to behave in a manner that does not put such a burden upon the child that he would be strongly tempted to not fulfill the mitzvoh. Hence they become partners in the fulfillment of the mitzvoh and the Torah expresses this in the plural form "tiro'U."

In a similar vein the words in the Ten Commandments "Ka'beid es ovicho v'es i'mecho" (Shmos 20:12, Dvorim 5:16), have been interpreted as, "Honour your fatherhood and motherhood," meaning that the parents should behave in a befitting manner that readily elicits honour from their children.

Ch. 19, v. 3: "ISH imo v'oviv tiro'u v'es Shabsosai tishmoru" - The gemara K'dushin 30b derives from the word ISH that a man is always responsible to fulfill this mitzvoh, while a woman sometimes is not because when she is married, her responsibilities to her husband might conflict with her responsibilities to her husband, and since she is subordinate to her husband, this takes precedence over the mitzvoh of our verse.

The Chid"o in Nachal K'dumim writes that this explains why the Torah teaches us at the end of this verse that if one's father commands him to desecrate the Shabbos, or transgress any mitzvoh, as explained in the gemara B.M. 32a, that one should not comply since the child and his parents are responsible to honour Hashem. Just as a woman is exempt because she is subordinate to her spouse, so also the parents are subordinate to Hashem.

The Chid"o raises a question on the gemara B.M. 32a. Why is there a need for this verse to exempt the son? According to the SMa"G and the Tur Y.D. #240, the only time a son is responsible to fear and honour his parents is if they do not have the status of "rosho," a blatant transgressor of the Torah's commands. If the father commands his son to desecrate the Shabbos he is a rosho, so why do we need our verse to teach that he should not heed his father's command? He answers that the verse is needed in the case where it was shortly before Shabbos and the son had already accepted the Shabbos early, known as "tosfos Shabbos," and the father had not, thus it was still a weekday for the father.

I have difficulty understanding this answer. The Chid"o posits that the father is to be considered a rosho by virtue of his commanding that his son transgress the Torah even though the father himself does not transgress with his own actions. If so, it is the same with "tosfos Shabbos." Even though it is not yet Shabbos for the father, he nevertheless is commanding his son to desecrate the Shabbos. Perhaps the intention of the Chid"o is that the father was not aware of the son's having made "tosfos Shabbos."

Ch. 19, v. 11: "Lo tignovU" - This verse refers to the prohibition of stealing property while the verses in Shmos 20:13 and Dvorim 5:17 refer to the prohibition of kidnapping as explained in the gemara B.M. 61a. Why does our verse express itself in the plural form "Lo tignovU," while the verses referring to kidnapping in the singular form, "Lo signove?"

1) The Ibn Ezra answers that one who keeps quiet about the theft of property is considered an accomplice in the crime, hence the plural expression. This requires clarification since the same can be said about one who knows of a kidnapping and remains silent can also be considered an accomplice. Perhaps because of the severity of the punishment for kidnapping and selling, the death penalty, it is very unusual to have a witness to the crime, while common theft sometimes takes place even when there is an onlooker.

2) The Noam Hamitzvos answers that the person who knowingly purchases stolen goods is an accomplice in the crime.

3) The Ponim Yofos answers that the ruling that two or more people committing a kidnapping and selling of the person are not culpable to receive the death penalty is derived from the use of the singular form "lo signove" in the prohibition. However, when two or more people steal property they are all responsible. This is why the Torah expresses this prohibition in the plural form "lo tignovu."

4) Rabbi Yonoson Eibeschitz answers that once one person has stolen, he has opened the floodgates for others to steal, as explained in the gemara Brochos 5b.

5) He offers a second answer. Since our parshas deals with the concept of sanctifying oneself even in the realm of that which is permitted, as explained by the Ramban in the beginning of our parsha, the Torah is telling us that even if one has not committed outright theft, as in the case of stealing property that has the value of less than a "prutoh," he should refrain from doing so. The Torah therefore expresses this in the plural form to tell us that even if the value of the stolen property is a "prutoh" only by virtue of numerous people taking fractions of a "prutoh," it should still not be done. Indeed, the Talmud Yerushalmi B.M. 4:2 says that this was a sin that the generation of the great deluge was guilty.

6) The Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh answers that even if the victim of the robbery finds out who the thief is, he should not respond by stealing an object from the robber to compensate for the theft.

7) The Shiltos of Rabbi Hai Gaon on parshas Noach #4 derives from the gemara B.M. 61b that the prohibition of our verse even applies to a case where the robber has no intention to keep the stolen object, and has stolen only to aggravate the victim. The Toras Chaim in his commentary on the gemara says that this is derived from the use of the plural form in our verse. It is logical to assume that the person who has stolen only with the intent to cause aggravation and plans to return the object at a later time will surely let an outsider know of his plans. Otherwise, if he is either caught in the act or if the stolen object is found on his premises, he will be suspected of committing a full-fledged robbery. The outsider is considered an accomplice in the crime.

Ch. 19, v. 14: "V'lifnei i'veir lo si'tein mich'shole" - The gemara P'sochim 22b derives from these words that it is forbidden for a ben Yisroel to give a non-Jew a limb taken from a live animal for him to consume. The eating of a limb taken from a live animal applies to bnei Noach as well as to bnei Yisroel. Rabbi Elchonon Bunim Wasserman in Koveitz Shiurim on P'sochim #95 and MVRHRHG Rabbi Yaakov Kamenecki in Emes L'Yaakov both ask why this sin applies to a Jew in relation to how he acts towards a non-Jew, since we find that other prohibitions dealing with inter-personal acts only apply to Jews.

They answer that although the aspect of not knowingly giving bad advice to another person is included in the prohibition of this verse (Toras Kohanim 19:34), and it only applies to giving bad advice to a fellow ben Yisroel, the aspect of this prohibition of facilitating someone else's sinning does apply.

They explain that the intention of this prohibition is to refrain from promoting ANYONE to do an act that is against the laws of the Torah. Since the eating of a limb taken from a live animal is a sin for bnei Noach as well as for bnei Yisroel (Breishis 9:5), the same prohibition applies.

As mentioned before, the Toras Kohanim says that included in the prohibition of not placing a stumbling block in front of a blind person is the prohibition "to not knowingly give advice (a stumbling block) that is bad FOR HIM, 'Eitzoh she'einoh hu'gennes LO,' to a person who is not knowledgeable (blind) in that matter."

To explain the peculiarity of the words of this statement "that is bad FOR HIM," a story is offered. There were two Gerrer Chasidim, both adherents of the Imrei Emes who thought that it would be appropriate to have their children join in marriage. It was decided between them that they should first ask the Imrei Emes his opinion and if he would give the union his blessing they would follow through with the marriage. Each one went to the Imrei Emes on his own. After they had both met with the Imrei Emes they came together to discuss further plans.

Imagine their surprise and shock when one said to the other "'Mazel Tov' on our joint upcoming simchoh' on the strength of the advice and blessings of the Holy Admor of Ger, and the other responded that he didn't know what his friend was talking about, given that the Imrei Emes had strongly dissuaded him from pursuing the shidduch. Being exceedingly puzzled they decided to seek clarification of what was actually said by the Rebbe.

They went to the Rebbe together and presented their puzzling situation to him, asking the Rebbe if he had not inadvertently contradicted himself, or if one of the parties had totally misunderstood the words of the Rebbe. The Rebbe responded that he was quite perplexed by their not understanding that he had given them diametrically opposed advice and yet there was absolutely no contradiction in his words. He explained that halacha requires that one give advice which is appropriate for that person, "hu'gennes LO." The Imrei Emes felt that the shidduch was a very good one for one party while a bad idea for the other. He therefore gave each one appropriate advice.

Ch. 19, v. 16: "Lo seileich rochil b'a'mecho lo saamode al dom rei'echo" - The Chid"o in Nachal K'dumim explains the juxtaposition of these two laws in the same verse. Although it is forbidden to speak loshon hora or r'chilus, when the law requires that one give this infirmation and one refrains from doing so, it is tantamount to standing idly by when someone is dying.

Ch. 19, v. 17: "Lo sisno es ochicho Bilvo'vecho" - This is commonly translated as "Do not hate your brother IN your heart." The Chemdas Shlomo offers a novel interpretation. The gemara Kedushin 70a says that the "flaw one finds in his fellow man is the flaw that he himself has." As a rule one hates his fellow man by believing that he has a shortcoming. The Torah is telling us "Do not hate your brother WITH (the flaw of) your heart."

Ch. 19, v. 18: "Lo sikome v'lo sitore" - This is the prohibition against either taking revenge or harbouring hatred towards one's fellow man in his heart. The gemara Yoma 23a says that any Torah scholar who does not take revenge and does not harbour hatred towards one who has wronged him, "as a snake does," is not a true Torah scholar. Is a Torah scholar exempt from these two prohibitions? Rabbi Yonoson Eibeschitz answers that the key words in this statement are "as a snake does." The gemara Arochin 15b says that although a snake bites and causes much damage with its venom, all that it eats tastes like sand and it derives no pleasure from its food. This is what the gemara Yoma means. Although it is prohibited to take revenge, this is only because doing so usually entails not only reacted to someone's wrongdoing, but also one derives personal pleasure from seeing the wrongdoer suffer from the act of revenge. A Torah scholar is capable of reacting while only having the sake of the honour of the Torah he represents being uplifted in mind. He takes revenge and bites "as a snake does," not deriving an iota of personal gratification from the act.

Ch. 20, v. 26: "Vi'h'yi'sem li k'doshim ...... vo'AVDIL es'chem min hoamim" - Rabbi Chaim Brisker explains: If you on your own will be holy to me by keeping the Torah and its mitzvos, then "I" will separate you from the nations. We derive from this that if ch"v the bnei Yisroel do not behave in a sanctified and holy manner, then instead the non-Jews will perform this task through harsh decrees singling out the Jews, thus separating them from the nations.

Ch. 20, v. 27: "Bo'evven yir'g'mu osom d'mei'hem bom"- At the end of parshas Vayikroh it was mentioned that we do not end a parshas with a negative statement. The last words in our final verse seem to be quite negative. An explanation would be appreciated.


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