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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 12, v. 16: "Rak hadom lo socheilu" - But the blood you shall not consume - A person who thought of himself as a self educated scholar spoke disparagingly of Rabbinic authorities, claiming that they are overpaid and their skill in answering halachic queries is no great skill, as even he, a working man has studied Shulchan Oruch. "All one needs to know is where in Shulchan Oruch to find the subject matter and the rest is self evident," he claimed. Rabbi Chaim Brisker was once present when this man spouted his opinion. Rabbi Chaim asked him if he would be willing to answer a seemingly simple question. He agreed. The contents of a pot of kosher cooked meat were mixed with the contents of a pot of cooked meat that belonged to a gentile. The mixture was discarded before it was determined if the non-kosher contents were a 60th of the total mixture or less. Is the formerly kosher pot kosher or not? The person answered that since it was known that the kosher part was surely the majority and the non-kosher the minority, and both items were meat, giving the mixture a status of "min b'mino," both items of the same type, where on a Torah level the mixture would be permitted, and only by Rabbinical decree are 60 parts kosher required, since the meat was discarded it is but a doubt on a Rabbinical level, and we should therefore be lenient, "so'feik d'Rabonon l'kula" (see Y.D. #98). Rabbi Chaim said, "But the gentile surely didn't salt the meat to extract its blood. Blood and meat are not considered the same species, so it is not "min b'mino," and therefore the mixture has a Torah level restriction. When in doubt with a Torah level prohibition we are stringent."

"Oh, of course, Rabbi! How could I have overlooked this point? I am mistaken and the pot is prohibited."

Rabbi Chaim then said, "But we are discussing COOKED meat. The blood likewise was cooked. Cooked blood is only prohibited on a Rabbinical level, so we are back to a "so'feik d'Rabonon" and the pot should be permitted."

"How could I be so stupid! I have twice overlooked factors that you have mentioned. Anyone can make a mistake or two."

Rabbi Chaim continued. "Even if cooked blood does not have a Torah prohibition, but the blood itself is part of the animal and as such is 'n'veiloh,' again a Torah level restriction."

By this point the self appointed halacha authority was red in the face and had to admit he again overlooked a salient point that made all the difference. "Have you forgotten that Tosfos on the gemara P'sochim 22 d.h. 'v'ha'rei' says that blood of an animal that is a 'n'veiloh' is not considered 'n'veiloh' itself, as the 'n'veiloh' status of the animal only begins after its death? If so, it has the simple status of blood only, with no accompanying prohibition. Since it was cooked we are again back to a "so'feik d'Rabonon.'"

"Yes, Rabbi, I forgot that as well. We are definitely back to a 'so'feik d'Rabonon' and the pot is kosher."

"You have not taken into consideration that before the animal was dead it surely had the status of 't'reifoh' after being dealt a deathblow before dying. If so, the blood that was absorbed in the flesh of the 'treifoh' which flowed out of the non-kosher meat has the status of 'yotzei min ho'osur' (see gemara B'choros 6a), an object that is drawn from a prohibited item, which is prohibited just as the item from which it was drawn. This gives the non-kosher blood the status of 'treifoh.' Blood and meat are not one species, so we have 'min b'she'eino mino,' which has a Torah restriction. We need a definite 60 of kosher to negate the non-kosher. Since the mixture was spilled and we cannot determine the ratio we must rule stringently." Hopefully, the self appointed authority finally realized that giving a proper halachic ruling is not child's play.

Ch. 12, v. 19: "Pen taazove es haLevi kol yo'mecho" - Lest you forsake the Levite all your days - What is the intention of "all your days"? The next verse discusses when Hashem will broaden our borders. This refers to the time when we will receive our inheritance promised to Avrohom of the lands of Keini, Knizi, and Kadmoni. There is an opinion that Levites will receive a land portion there among the rest of the tribes (see gemara B.B. 56a, Mishneh L'melech at the end of hilchos shmitoh v'yoviel). Since we give Levites tithes because they service the Mikdosh and are in turn given no large land portions, we might think that in the days of the coming of Moshiach, when the Levites will also own land parcels, we will no longer be required to give them tithes. The words "kol yo'mecho" negate this line of thinking. (Meshech Chochmoh)

Ch. 14, v. 21: "La'geir asher bisho'recho titnenoh vaacholoh" - To the inhabitant who is within your gates shall you give it and he shall eat it - Why does the verse say that he shall eat it? Isn't this obvious? A ben Yisroel is prohibited from doing commerce with "n'veiloh." However, if he happens to own "n'veiloh," for example he owns an abattoir and inevitably there will be "n'veilos" among the animals slaughtered, he may sell them. He is not only permitted to sell to a gentile, but also to another ben Yisroel who will eventually sell them to a gentile. However, if one has sold or given the "n'veiloh" to a gentile, a ben Yisroel may no longer buy it from him, even with the intention of selling it to another gentile (see Y.D. #117). This is why the verse says "vaacholoh." Once it has become the property of a gentile, he should eat it, and a ben Yisroel may not buy it from him. (Meshech Chochmoh)

Ch. 15, v. 8: "Ki foso'ach tiftach es yodcho" - Rather you shall surely open your hand - The mishnoh Pei'oh 8:8 says that if a person has less than 200 "zuz" he is considered a poor man who may receive alms. Is there a Torah source for this threshold? In the parsha of "arochin," donating the value of a person to the Mikdosh, the Torah gives set sums for the payments. A poor person pays a reduced amount. The verse says "V'im moch hu mei'erkecho" (Vayikra 27:8), - if he is too poor for the value. The amount just mentioned as the payment is 50 "slo'im," which equal 200 "zuz." If he has less than this amount he is called a "moch," a poor person. (Meshech Chochmoh)

There is a mathematical allusion to the 200 "zuz" threshold. The word "tzedokoh" has the numerical value of 199. If one has 199 "zuz" or less he may receive alms.

Ch. 15, v. 8: "Ki foso'ach tiftach es yodcho lo v'haa'veit taavi'tenu dei mach'soro" - Rather you shall surely open your hand and you should lend him for that which he lacks - These words discuss two situations. The first is where a person seeks alms because he lacks basic food. The Torah says that you shall surely open your hand and give with no restrictions and no delays in giving. "V'haa'veit" is the Torah's response to one who asks for a loan for other items he lacks, "dei mach'soro." In this situation you may investigate and ask for surety (hence the term/word source "ovote," collateral) before giving him help. (Meshech Chochmoh)

Ch. 15, v. 18: "Lo yiksheh v'ei'necho b'sha'leichacho oso chofshi" - Do not find it difficult in your eyes when you send him away free - This verse seems out of place, as it is again discussing the six year slave of verse 12. Verse 15 softens the blow of sending him away gratis and also giving him a bonus. Our verse is another reason for accepting the requirement to send him away gratis magnanimously. Why do verses 16 and 17 interrupt with the laws of a slave who stays on until "yoveil," a double departure, changing which slave is under discussion and interrupting the reasons for graciously sending away the slave? Any help would be appreciated.

Ch. 15, v. 18: "Lo yiksheh v'ei'necho b'sha'leichacho oso chofshi .. avodcho sheish shonim" - Do not find it difficult in your eyes when you send him away free .. he has served you for six years - The master owned this slave for a maximum of six years only. When sending away an indentured slave who might have worked for his master as for as long as 49 years (Vayikra 25:10,13) the Torah does not commensurate with the owner or comfort him by stating that the servant did what was required of him and that we were likewise slaves in Egypt and were freed (verses 15 and 18). It would seem that there is a greater need to mention these concepts there.

Possibly, we can answer this with the insight of the Meshech Chochmoh. He says that to lessen the impact of setting a slave free on Yom Kippur of the "yoveil" year and receiving no compensation, the Torah gives a transition period. >From Rosh Hashonoh of "yoveil" until the blowing of the shofar on Yom Kippur, which is when the servant actually leaves, he has no responsibility to work and must still be given room and board by the master gratis (gemara R.H. 10a). This makes it relatively easy for the master to let go with no pep-talk. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 16, v. 15: "V'hoyiso ach so'mei'ach" - And you should only be joyous - Another interpretation: And only you will be joyous, to the exclusion of the 70 nations. They have been very happy during the 7 days of Sukos, as during Sukos 70 offerings were brought for their well-being. On Shmini Atzerres a single offering is brought, and only for the bnei Yisroel. Therefore, only you will be joyous on this day. (Meshech Chochmoh)



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

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