by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS KI SOVO 5772 BS"D
Ch. 26, v. 1: "V'hoyoh ki sovo el ho'oretz" - And it will be when you will come to the land - The Baal Haturim says that these words coming on the heel of the parsha of annihilating Amoleik teaches us that we are commanded to eradicate Amoleik immediately upon entering Eretz Yisroel. This is very puzzling, as the gemara Sanhedrin 20b lists three mitzvos that the bnei Yisroel were commanded to do once they were in Eretz Yisroel, to appoint a king, to destroy the descendants of Amoleik, and to build a Beis Hamikdosh. The order is to first appoint a king. The Aderres takes note of this and comments that the words of the Baal Haturim are not precise.
However, the Baal Haturim can be explained as follows: In Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer chapter #44 says that the time to fulfill "Zochor eis asher ossoh l'cho Amoleik" is upon entry to Eretz Yisroel, "lo sishkoch." Rabbi Dovid Luria in his commentary #42 says that this statement is in disagreement with the gemara Sanhedrin quoted earlier. Notwithstanding what the actual halacha is, given that this opinion gives us this insight into the juxtaposition, the Baal Haturim chose to follow the Pikei d'Rebbi Eliezer. (Kerem Yaakov - Rabbi Yaakov Chaim Sofer)
Ch. 26, v. 2: "V'lokachto meireishis kol pri oh'adomoh" - And you shall take from the first of the fruit of the land - It would seem that the verse should have said, "v'nosato" rather than "v'lokachto," since you are giving it to Hashem. However, the gemara Kidushin 5 says that when a simple person gives a present to a highly positioned person, it is as if the giver was the receiver, since he is receiving the great honour of having a highly placed person accept his present.
Here too, since Hashem is willing to accept our "bikurim" offering it is as if we are the recipients. This concept follows through when the verse says, "Heiveisi es reishis pri ho'adomoh asher NOSATOH li Hashem." Even though I have given the fruit, it is as if Hashem has given it to me. (The words "asher nosatoh li" refer back to the fruit.) (Nachal K'dumim)
Ch. 26, v. 2: "V'lokachto meireishis kol pri oh'adomoh" - And you shall take from the first of the fruit of the land - The Rambam in Moreh N'vuchim 3:39 writes that there are four main benefits derived from bringing "bikurim." They are: 1) To rein in our lusts. No doubt, when a farmer slaves in his field, sweating greatly during the growing season, and finally has a ripened fruit, he is eager to consume it. The Torah teaches him to control himself.
2) To distance a person from being an ingrate. The required recitation of thanksgiving to Hashem teaches the farmer to recognize in a palpable way that Hashem has brought him agricultural success.
3) To teach a person that when he is experiencing success and great feelings of accomplishment that there are ups and downs in life and that life isn't one continuum of smiles and laughter. This is clearly demonstrated by the recital of vignettes of our history, when we were greatly harassed.
4) To implant into us the character trait of humility. The farmer likely feels that he has much for which to be proud. He has invested much work and sweat. Nevertheless, he is enjoined to verbalize in a public setting that the credit goes to Hashem.
Ch. 26, v. 5: "Arami oveid ovi" - One who is a deceiver, a "ramai," he loses the merits accrued from his forefathers, "oveid ovi." (Chidushei Hori"m)
Ch. 27, v. 4: "V'sadto osom basid" - And you shall plaster them with gypsum - This is an allusion to retaining our knowledge of the Torah similar to a cistern that is lined with plaster, which does not loose even a drop of liquid. (Chasam Sofer)
Ch. 27, v. 6: "Avonim shleimos tivneh es mizbach Hashem Elokecho" - With complete stones shall you build the altar of Hashem your G-d - The Holy Zohar (tikunim #139) writes that Rashb"i told his son that those who read the Torah in front of the congregation and those who lead the congregation in prayer must enunciate the words they say clearly. They should not swallow their words, as this is the characteristic of Eisov, who said to Yaakov, "Hali'teini," pour so that I may gulp down. This is further alluded to in our verse. The three daily prayers contain 19 blessings each, totaling 57, the numeric value of "mizbei'ach." The words, "avonim," must be "shleimos."
The story is told of a chosid to whom Eliyohu haNovi appeared. One day Eliyohu came later than usual and was asked why he delayed. He responded that it was a result of the prayer leaders who don't clearly enunciate the words of the prayers and the Torah reading. This is further alluded to in T'hilim 145. "Korove Hashem l'chol korov l'chole asher yikro'uhu ve'emes." "EMeS" is an acronym for "Osios, Milim, Tnu'os," letters, words, and cantillation. (Mei'am Lo'eiz)
Ch. 27, v. 7: "V'zovachto …… v'somachto lifnei Hashem Elokecho" - And you shall slaughter …… and you shall be joyous in front of Hashem your G-d - This was to be done at Mount Eivol, the mountain upon which the admonitions were uttered. This is most unusual, to rejoice at the site of severe threats. However, this is well understood in light of understanding that all that Hashem sends our way is for our good. This is especially true when Hashem, as our caring, merciful Father, is the orchestrator. There is therefore ample reason to rejoice. (Rabbi Moshe Feinstein)
Ch. 27, v. 8: "V'chosavto al ho'avonim es kol divrei haTorah hazose" - And you shall write onto the stones all the words of this Torah - This was to be done upon crossing the Jordan into Eretz Yisroel. This is akin to writing and placing a mezuzoh in the gateway of entry. (Abarbanel)
Ch. 27, v. 12,13: "Eileh yaamdu l'voreich, V'eileh yaamdu al hakloloh" - These shall stand to bless, And these shall stand on the admonition - Note that by the blessing it is expressed as "TO bless," while by the curse it is expressed as "ON the curse." This is because the blessing comes from Hashem, hence it is expressed as a verb, a transitive action. The curse, however, comes from Hashem's removal of His protection, not His active intervention to curse, as is stated in Eichoh 3:38, "Mipi Elyon lo seitzei ho'ro'os" (see words of Rabbi Yaakov of Lisa there who explains that good does emanate from Hashem not withstanding the word "v'hatov' that follows). (Kli Yokor)
Ch. 27, v. 16: "Orur makleh oviv v'imo" - Cursed is one who cheapens his father and his mother - This applies to children who behave improperly even after the death of their parents. This also causes the parents pain in the next world. (Rabbeinu Yonoh)
Ch. 28, v. 12: "V'hilviso goyim rabim v'atoh lo silveh" - And you will lend to many nations and you will not borrow - This is a blessing for great success in commerce. You will have sufficient funds to pay immediately for goods offered you by the nations. They will therefore lower their prices. When they want to purchase from you, they will not have the funds to pay in full immediately. You will then not only profit from the sale, but also from the interest charged on the outstanding balance. (Abarbanel)
Ch. 28, v. 15: "V'hoyoh im lo sishma" - And it will be if you will not listen - Why does this verse begin with "vhoyoh," a word that connotes joy? The Holy Zohar Hechodosh writes that all the negativity that follows in the verses is actually Hashem's prodding us to do that which is correct. Having a Father care to push us in the right direction is indeed something over which to rejoice.
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