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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 26, v. 15: "V'eis ho'adomoh asher nosatoh lonu .. eretz zovas cholov udvosh" - And the land that You gave us .. a land that flows milk and honey - The gemara Yerushalmi Bikurim 1:8 states two opinions regarding land requirements for the mitzvoh of bringing bikurim. One opinion is that bikurim can only be brought from produce grown in Eretz Yisroel, since our verse says "eretz zovas cholov udvosh." Only Eretz Yisroel has this accolade. A second opinion is that the stress should be placed on the words "asher nosatoh lonu," meaning that only Eretz Yisroel, which was GIVEN to us, is the land from which bikurim may be brought. (The parcels of land that were given to the tribes of Reuvein and Gad were REQUESTED by these tribes.) The gemara says that there is a difference in law between these two reasons. According to the opinion that we require a land that flows milk and honey, even the land parcel of half the tribe of Menasheh that was outside Eretz Yisroel is exempt from bikurim, while according to the opinion that bikurim is brought only from a land that was GIVEN, there is a requirement to bring bikurim from the land of Menasheh even though it is not part of Eretz Yisroel and does not flow milk and honey, but nevertheless, because the tribe of Menasheh did not request this land bikurim must be brought.

According to the opinion that bikurim are brought from the land of half the tribe of Menasheh that resides outside Eretz Yisroel a difficulty later on in our parsha can be resolved. In 29:7 the verse says, "Vanikach es artzom vanitnoh l'nachaloh loReuveini v'laGadi v'lachatzi sheivet haM'nashi." The cantellation places an "esnachto" by the word "v'laGadi." This is most unusual as logic dictates that the action of giving the land is the end of one concept, thus deserving an "esnachto," i.e. a comma, and the recipients, namely Reuvein, Gad, and half of Menasheh, should be listed without interruption. However, according to the opinion that regarding bikurim Menasheh had a different status from the other two tribes, we understand why they are separated.

Please note that in Bmidbar 34:14,15 the term "kichoh" is used for all three tribes, and in 32:33 and Dvorim 3:12,13 the term "n'sinoh" is also used for all three tribes.

Ch. 26, v. 15,16: "Udvosh, Ha'yom Ha'zeh Hashem" - And honey, This day Hashem - The Ibn Ezra on verse 16 says that "Ha'yom ha'zeh" are the words of Moshe. The Avi Ezer, a commentator on the Ibn Ezra says that the Ibn Ezra is explaining that one should not think that the words of this verse are a continuation of the declaration of the person who brings bikurim, but rather that the declaration ends with the word "udvosh."

Why would one even contemplate that this is a continuum? We have a paragraph space between these two words clearly indicating that the previous chapter has come to an end. Perhaps one might think that it is a continuation since one of the 12 "tzirufim," permutations, of Hashem's Holy Name of 4 letters is an acronym of the first letters of the words "Udvosh Ha'yom Ha'zeh Hashem," (Look into your siddur in the Musof service of Rosh Chodesh and you will find it there on the blessing "m'ka'deish Yisroel v'roshei chodoshim.") we might think that it is also a continuation of the declaration of the one who brings bikurim. Obviously, this is a very weak answer. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Ch. 28, v. 12,13: "V'hilviso goyim rabim, Unsoncho Hashem L'rosh" - And you will lend to many nations, And Hashem will place you to a head" - The juxtaposition of these words can be understood as follows: Even if you are blessed with an abundance of funds and will lend to many nations, how are you assured that they will pay you back? The answer is that Hashem will also place you in a position of authority to the point that you can force them to pay you back if they do not do so of their own volition. (Paa'nei'ach Rozo)

Ch. 28, v. 13: "Unsoncho Hashem L'rosh v'lo L'zonov" - And Hashem will place you TO a head and not TO a tail - Why does the verse not say "Unsoncho Hashem rosh v'lo zonov"? Being a head is not always advantageous. In Pirkei Ovos 4:20 Rabbi Masya ben Chorosh says that it is better for one to be a tail of a lion rather than a head of a fox. On a simple level this means that it is better for one to be connected, even at the lowest level, to greatness, rather than to be at the highest level of mediocrity. Thus the intention of our verse is that Hashem will place you, connect you, TO a head, to greatness, and not TO a tail, to mediocrity. (Oheiv Yisroel) This also explains the text of our Rosh Hashonoh prayer "shen'h'yeh L'rosh v'lo L'zonov," which also seemingly has an extra letter Lamed before "rosh" and "zonov."

Ch. 28, v. 59: "V'hiflo" - And he will make unique - The gemara Makos 23a says that this verse is read while the 39 lashes are administered to one who has transgressed a negative command. As, well, the gemara Makos 13b says that when the Torah uses the terms "hisho'mer, pen, lo," or "al," this connotes a negative command. This is alluded to in the word "v'hiflo." The letters after the conjunctive Vov are Hei, Fei, Lamed, Alef, an acronym for "hishomer, pen, lo, al." (Rabbi Noach Mindes in Parp'ro'ose L'chochmoh)

Ch. 28, v. 59: "V'hiflo Hashem es makos'cho" - And Hashem will make your plagues unique - Rashi writes that the plagues will be "muflo'os umuvdolos," unique and separate. On the words in Shmos 9:4, "V'hifloh Hashem bein miknei Yisroel" Rashi only writes "v'hivdil," and on Shmos "v'niflinu," he writes "v'n'h'yeh muvdolim." Why does Rashi add "muflo'os" to his standard "havdoloh" translation? Perhaps it is because only here do we find the word form "haflo'oh" with a letter Alef, allowing for the extra translation of "muflo'os," while by the rest we do not find an Alef. The Baa'lei Tosfos on Shmos 9:4 say that the word "v'hifloh" should have appeared with an Alef, but because this was to be the fifth plague, a letter Hei, which has the numerical value of five, was used. Again any help would be appreciated.

Ch. 28, v. 67: "Baboker tomar mi yi'tein erev uvo'erev tomar mi yi'tein boker" - Rashi (gemara Sotoh 49a) says that the person who is bemoaning his lot is saying that things are only getting worse. In the morning he says, "If it were only as bad as the PREVIOUS night," and by night he bemoans more severe problems and says, "If it were only as bad as it was by day." The person is referring to the past. However, Targum Yonoson ben Uziel says that because he is suffering so greatly, a short period of time seems to be greatly elongated. Thus the person is saying by day, "This day is taking forever. Night should already have come." Similarly, by night he says, "Day should have already come." He refers to the future and not to the past.

Ch. 29, v. 7: "Vanitnoh l'nachaloh loReuveini v'laGadi" - And we have given as an inheritance to the Reuvein and to the Gad tribes - Here we find that Reuvein is mentioned ahead of Gad while in Bmidbar 32:33 we find Gad ahead of Reuvein. An explanation for the switch in order would be greatly appreciated.



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

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