by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS KI SOVO 5774 BS"DCh. 26, v. 5: "Arami oveid ovi va'yei'red Mitzraimoh" - An Aramite destroys my father and he descended to Egypt - What is the connection between these two thoughts? Based on the understanding that the Aramite was Lovon and "ovi" was Yaakov we can say: Our Rabbis expound the verse in Iyov 28:23, "Elokim heivin darkoh v'hu yoda es m'komoh" to mean that the bnei Yisroel could not have withstood the daunting difficulties posed by the Aramites so He exiled them to Babylonia instead. Similarly, Yaakov and his descendants could have fulfilled their years of exile that were prophesied to Avrohom at the hand of Lovon and his descendants, but they would have totally succumbed, as per our verse "Arami o'veid ovi." Hashem knew this and therefore had them descend to Egypt for the remainder of their exile. (Chasam Sofer)
Ch. 26, v. 13: "V'omarto lifnei Hashem Elokecho" - And you shall say in front of Hashem your G-d - This verse begins the recitation of the person who brings his tithe to Yerusholayim. He tells Hashem that he has complied with the many, many minutiae halachic requirements. This is very unusual. There are numerous mitzvos that entail many details and we do not find that when they are done that a declaration has to be made that there was compliance with all aspects of the mitzvoh. The key to this lies in the words "lifnei Hashem Elokecho."
Proper tithing during the six active productive agricultural years involves tithing a small amount for "trumoh," but one tenth and again one tenth yearly. This is approximately twenty percent of one's produce, for which he worked by the sweat of his brow. There is a true fear that a person will shortchange the intended recipients of the tithes, given that it totals a tidy portion of his produce.
Hashem, in His infinite wisdom, instituted that the farmer recite in front of the Beis Hamikdosh that he tithed properly, including all details. A person would be morally hard pressed to cheat when it comes to tithing, knowing that he will be standing in front of Hashem's headquarters on this earth and have to clearly declare that he has tithed properly if indeed he hasn't. This forces him to comply with all the laws of tithing. (Sefer Hachinuch mitzvoh #606)
Ch. 26, v. 13: "Lo ovarti mimitzvo'secho v'lo shochochti" - I have not passed over Your precepts and I have not forgotten - There is a rule that "ein maavirin al hamitzvos," that if a person intends to do two mitzvos, if one is physically closer to him than the other, he may not pass up the closer one to do the further one first (There are exceptions to this rule). When a person's mind is on doing a mitzvoh he is considered as making an extremely unintentional mistake if he errs and ends up not doing the mitzvoh and ends up sinning. An example of this is when he has twin sons, one born on Friday and one on Shabbos. He intends to perform circumcision on the eight day old Shabbos baby the next Shabbos and accidentally circumcises the nine day old baby. Although this is a desecration of Shabbos he is not responsible to offer a sin offering according to Rabbi Yehoshua because he was pursuing a true mitzvoh, the circumcision of the eight day old.
Similarly, if a person has two mitzvos to do and one is closer, he is involved in a mitzvoh pursuit and can easily overlook the law of priority, "ein maavirin al hamitzvos." We might say that this is alluded to in these words of our verse. "Lo ovarti mimitzvo'secho," I have not passes up Your mitzvos to do a mitzvoh that is further away, and I have not forgotten about this even though I was involved in a mitzvoh pursuit. (n.l.)
Ch. 28, v. 2,3: "Uvo'u o'lecho kol habrochos ho'eileh v'hisigucho ki sishma b'kole Hashem Elokecho" - And all of these blessing will come upon you and reach you when you will hearken to the voice of Hashem your G-d - Why are there so many admonitions (98), and so few blessings? There is an overriding factor that is qualitative that makes the blessings greater. Note that by the admonitions the verse says, "ki lo shomato," meaning that the punishments will come only AFTER one has not acted properly. By the blessings our verse says "sishma," you WILL hear. This means that Hashem will bestow reward even before the good act was done.
We can add that this is the intention of the words in T'hilim 62, "Ulcho Hashem hacho'sed ki atoh s'shaleim l'ish k'maa'seihu." All commentators ask why it is considered kindness to reward a person commensurate with his behaviour. Based on the above we can say that "K'maa'sehu" means "as if he has acted," i.e. Hashem rewards even beforehand. This is indeed a great kindness. (Binoh L'itim)
Ch. 28, v. 2,3: "Uvo'u o'lecho kol habrochos ho'eileh, Boruch atoh bo'ir uvoruch atoh baso'deh" - And all of these blessing will come upon you, Blessed are you in the city and blessed are you in the field - What does the word "kol" add to "habrochos ho'eileh?" When Yitzchok gave Yaakov the blessings and Eisov came at the tail end he screamed out "Havrochoh achas hee l'cho ovi!" Yitzchok then gave him a blessing (Breishis 27:37,38). Yaakov was considered a city dweller, "V'Yaakov ish tam yosheiv oholim," and Eisov a field dweller, "Ish so'deh" (Breishis 25:27). This is the intention of "kol habrochos," not just the blessings that Yaakov received, but also Eisov's. This is the intention of the next verse, "Boruch atoh bo'ir," you have the blessing of Yaakov, the city dweller, and also that of Eisov, the field dweller, "uvoruch atoh baso'deh." (Tiferes Y'honoson)
Ch. 28, v. 13: "V'hoyiso rak l'maloh v'lo si'h'yeh l'matoh" - And you will be only above and you will not be down - Later in verse 48 the verse says, "Ha'geir asher b'kirb'cho Yaakov'leh maloh moloh v'atoh sei'reid matoh motoh." Why doesn't our verse simply say the reverse, that the bnei Yisroel will be "maloh moloh" and not "matoh motoh?"
Either double expression means to that direction to the extreme, extremely up or extremely down. When one reaches the apex he is very likely to fall. Likewise when one reaches rock bottom and there is no room to go further down he can be assured that he will go up. Therefore by the blessings the verse says that the bnei Yisroel will be "rak l'maloh," no double expression and also a bit of limitation in the heights reached ("rak" is a limitation). This assures him that he is not likely to fall because he is only at a penultimate height. Even when the curse comes there is a hidden message of hope. The bnei Yisroel will be "matoh matoh," at a nadir, doubly down, and upward movement is surely on the way. (Chid"o in Nachal K'dumim citing K'hunas Olom)
Ch. 28, v. 31: "Shorcho tovuach l'ei'necho v'lo sochal mi'menu" - Your ox will be slaughtered in front of your eyes and you will not partake of it - There is the well known "taanis" of the Raava"d. It is not a fast in the traditional sense, but rather, when a person is eating and still has an appetite, if he restrains himself from eating his full, it is considered an even greater fast. This is explained by the Butchatsher Rov, the Daas K'doshim. Even though a person fasts, totally restraining himself from food and drink, when the fast is over, he throws himself into a heavy meal, making up for lost time, plus, plus. He has thus not weakened his inclination for eating in the slightest. But when one is allowed to eat and refrains from eating to his fill, he has accomplished a lot in the sense of training himself to not indulge.
This is alluded to in our verse. "Shorcho tuvuach l'einecho v'lo sochal mi'menu." When you have your ox slaughtered in front of you and you will not eat your fill, then "chamorcho gozul milfonecho," your "chumrius," your physical drive, will be taken from you, "v'lo yoshuv loch," and will not return, which is not the case when one breaks a regular fast.
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