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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 19, v. 3: "Ish imo v'oviv tiro'u" - Every man his mother and father you shall fear - This comes immediately after the exhortation to be holy because, as Rashi explains, holiness means being distanced from immorality. The gemara Sotoh 36 says that when Yoseif was enticed by Potifar's wife, he felt his resolve weakening. A vision of his father appeared in front of him, and he overcame his inclination. Fearing one's mother and father, even when they appear in a vision, is a powerful tool in complying with "k'doshim ti'h'yu." (Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh)

Ch. 19, v. 5: "Lirtzonchem tizbochuhu" - To your will shall you slaughter it - Rashi says that this means that you should have the proper intentions, to offer it with good will to Hashem, and not with thoughts of "pigul," that it be processed or eaten out of the proper location or time frame. The Chizkuni says that it simply means to offer the sacrifice in a generous giving manner, and not begrudgingly, either by peer pressure or out of embarrassment.

Ch. 19, v. 9: "Uvkutz'r'chem" - And when you harvest - The mishnoh Pei'oh 1:2 says that a 1/60th portion of the produce of the field should be left over as "pei'oh." This is alluded to in this word of our verse. We can split it into two parts, "u'viktzor," and Kof-Mem, and with the harvest Kof-Mem = 60. Leave a 60th over.

Another allusion: "p'as sodcho" has the same numerical value as "hapei'oh echod mishishim." (Baal Haturim)

Ch. 19, v. 10: "Le'oni v'la'geir taazove osom" - For the poor man and the convert shall you leave them - The next verse begins with "Lo signovu." The connection is readily understood. People are drawn to thievery when they are totally destitute, and act out of utter desperation. If however, you leave over some of the produce of your field for the under-privileged, you can help avoid someone's being pushed into thievery. (Mahar"i Karo in Itu'rei Torah)

Ch. 19, v. 15: "B'tzedek tishpote ami'secho" - With righteousness shall you judge your friend - The gemara B.K. 82 a says that the courts should convene on Mondays and Thursdays. This is alluded to in these words. With the dominance of the "traveling star" (planet) named "Tzedek," shall you judge. "Tzedek" dominates the sky at the beginning of the day on Mondays and Thursdays (gemara Shabbos 129b). (Baal Haturim)

Ch. 19, v. 16: "Lo seileich rochil b'a'mecho lo saamode al dam rei'echo" - Do not tale-bear against your friend do not stand idly by your friend's blood - Even though the Torah prohibits tale-bearing, nevertheless, if you become aware of someone's intent to kill his friend, don't keep it to yourself, saying that transmitting this information is loshon hora. Let him know so that he can protect himself. (Rabbeinu Yonoh in Shaa'rei Teshuvoh shaar #3)

Ch. 19, v. 17: "Lo sisno es ochicho bilvo'vecho" - Do not hate your brother in your heart - When dealing with your brother all the Torah requires of you is to not hate him in your heart. Yet, the next verse demands more of you when dealing with your friend, "v'ohavto l'rei'acho komocho." You are required to actually love him. Regarding your relationship with a judge or tribal leader, the Torah seems to require the least, "Elohim lo s'ka'leil v'nosi v'amcho lo so'ore," - do not denigrate a judge and a tribal leader you shall not curse. Why does the Torah give us four distinct levels of behaviour towards these four different of people?

The gemara A.Z. 3a says that the Holy One does not demand from His creations beyond their ability, "Ein haKodosh Boruch Hu bo bitrunia al briyosov." In general people can have cordial relationships with their fellow man. The Torah therefore requires that we love our fellow man. When it comes to familial relationships, although they are usually the strongest and warmest, sometimes there is strife that is worse than with an outsider, because of competition, inheritance, etc. The Torah therefore only commands us to not hate our brother. A judge can rule against you and this brings much anger, especially because people often truly feel they are in the right. Even greater is the possible enmity towards a tribal leader, a spiritual head. On an ongoing basis he chides, scolds, and rebukes. Even though it is with true concern for his charges betterment, but it is only natural that they will sometimes harbour ill will towards him. The Torah therefore only asks of us to not curse him. (Rabbi Moshe Shatzkes Lomzer Rov)

Ch. 19, v. 17: "Hochei'ach tochiach es ami'secho" - You shall surely rebuke your friend - What is the intention of the double expression? Talmi'dei Baal Shem Tov relate from their master that when a person sees another sin it is not by chance. It is a sign from heaven that he has been lax in a similar vein. When you see your friend doing something wrong, first there should be self rebuking, "hochei'ach," and then rebuking of your friend, "tochiach." Do not think that only he has done something wrong. "V'lo siso olov cheit," do not attribute the sin only to him. (Toras Bnei Yisos'chor)

Ch. 19, v. 17: "Hochei'ach tochiach es ami'secho v'lo siso olov cheit" - You shall surely rebuke your friend and you shall not bear on his account a sin - This is the positive mitzvoh to rebuke a person who has behaved improperly, and the negative precept of not embarrassing him when rebuking him. (Rambam hilchos dei'os 6:7) The Ramban says that the negative precept is the sin of not rebuking when it is required.

This mitzvoh is unique among all the mitzvos of the Torah in that if a prophet has prophesied that Hashem would bring good upon a person or a group, even if he/they later sin and no longer deserve this kindness, nevertheless, Hashem will not rescind His kindness. The one and only exception is if he/they were in the position of rebuking wrongdoers and refrained from doing so, Hashem might rescind the kindness. (Gemara Shabbos 55a)

Ch. 19, v. 18: "V'ohavto l'rei'acho komocho" - And you shall love your friend as yourself - Rashi (Toras Kohanim 19:45) says in the name of Rabbi Akiva, "Zeh klal godol baTorah." In the prelude of the Yam Hatalmud on B.K. he explains that all Yisroel is responsible one for the other. Because of this when a person sins it negatively affects his friend. Thus if you love your friend you will refrain from sinning, as it would be damaging to your innocent friend. This is a basic behaviour for complying with all the Torah's commands, "klal godol baTorah."

Our Rabbis explain this verse as: "Ma d'aloch soni l'chavroch lo saavid," - that which is hated by you, to your friend do not do. Rabbi Akiva Eiger explains these words as follows: That which hates you, your evil inclination, do not make it your friend.



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha and Chasidic Insights

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