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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 11, v. 26: "R'ei onochi nosein lifneichem ha'yom brochoh ukloloh" - See that I today give you blessing and curse - This is a continuum of the theme of "V'hoyoh im shomo'a" of the previous chapter (11:13-17), where it says that if you obey I will give you timely rains, etc. If ch"v you do not obey, then the heavens will hold back their precipitation. (Tzror Hamor)

Ch. 12, v. 5: "L'shichno sid'r'shu uvoso shomoh" - You will search for His residence and you will come there - The so-called holy sites of the pagans and idol worshippers seem so grandiose, but upon coming to them we see that they are hollow and devoid of true spirituality, only a fa?ade. However, when coming to Hashem's Sanctuary, one is not turned off, but to the contrary, he seeks to absorb its holiness, and to come again and again for more. (Rabbi Zev Volf of Boskovitz)

Ch. 12, v. 18: "V'hachasidoh" - And the bird called chasidoh - The gemara Chulin 63a explains that the appellation "chasidoh" is apprprite for this bird because it does kindness with its friends. It shares its food with them. The question is raised: "If it displays this positive trait, why indeed is it a non-kosher species?" the well-known answer is that it only shares with its "friends," and not with a wider range of birds. This is in actuality a negative trait. This concept seems to run contrary to the gemara Yerushalmi B.M. 3:5, "Mice are wicked. It is not sufficient for them to eat, but they also call others to eat with them." We see that sharing with all others is a negative trait. The difference is that the "chasidoh" shares honestly gotten food, and by limiting its distribution to only its friends it displays a negative trait. Mice steal people's food. By calling others to also partake, more is stolen. (Ma'yonoh Shel Torah)

Ch. 13, v. 7: "Ki y'sis'cho ochicho ven i'mecho" - If your maternal brother will seduce you - This is an allusion to the "immaculate deception." He will attempt to talk you into believing that you have a brother who is only from a mother. (Yalkut P'ninim)

Ch. 14, v. 1: "Bonim a'tem laShem Elokeichem" - You are children of Hashem your G-d -

1) Because you are Hashem's children you should not damage yourselves or your appearance, as this is not befitting for the King's children. (Rashi)

2) You should not over react because you are always left with your Father in Heaven. Likewise you should not do this because of the loss of the deceased. He is likewise Hashem's child and will receive his reward in the world-to-come. (Sforno)

3) You should not over react because your loss is only temporary. This is like mourning over the descent of the sun below the horizon. It will shine again. Similarly, the souls of the departed are collected by Hashem, and will shine again. (Ramban, Kli Yokor, Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh)

Ch. 14, v. 1: "Lo sisgod'du v'lo sosimu korchoh bein eineichem" - Do not gouge and do not create a bald area between your eyes - The Torah prohibits these forms of mourning upon the death of a person. We likewise derive from these words two other important rules. One is that we should not create separate groups that might bring rancor, disparity among us (gemara Y'vomos 13b). The second is that although the Torah says to place our head tefillin between our eyes (Dvorim 6:8, 11:18), the intention is on our hair above the area between our eyes, as our verse also mentions "between your eyes," and obviously the intention is our hair on the top of our heads, as this is the place that we can create a bald spot.

It is most interesting to note that the placement of our tefillin is clarified in a verse that carries the message to not create rancor and disunity in our ranks. This is because the gemara Brochos 6a says that Hashem's tefillin contain the passage, "U'mi k'amcho Yisroel goy ECHOD bo'oretz" (Divrei Ha'yomim 1:17:21). (Nirreh li)

Ch. 14, v. 22: "Asseir t'asseir" - Tithe you shall surely tithe - The gemara Taanis 9a derives from these words, "Asseir bishvil shetisasheir," - tithe so that you will become wealthy. The Holy Alshich explains that the blessing is ten-fold. If you will tithe properly, and give 1/10th, then Hashem will allow you to tithe the total amount of this year's produce next year, "shonoh shonoh," meaning that you will have ten times as much produce the following year. Even though we are not allowed to "test" Hashem to see if He will fulfill his promises of blessing us for doing His mitzvos, or to do mitzvos only with the intention of reaping a reward, the prophet says that one is allowed to do so with giving charity. This is an exception because if Hashem gives us much more in the future, we will likewise be giving more to charity. This should really be the intention of the one who tithes, as indicated by the word "t'asseir," you WILL tithe, future tense. Your intention should be so that in the future you will become wealthy to be able to give more. (Imrei Shefer)

Ch. 14, v. 21,22: "Bacha'leiv imo, .. Shonoh Shonoh" - In its mother's milk, .. year after year - The juxtaposition of there two phrases alludes to the ruling in the gemara K'suvos 60b, that one who wants to marry a divorced woman who is nursing should wait until the nursing child is two years old. (Baal Haturim)

The difference between a husband, who may resume relations with his nursing wife, even shortly after she gave birth, thus bringing about the possibility that she would become pregnant and not be able to properly continue nursing her child, and becoming pregnant for a new husband, is explained in the gemara. The father of the first child will go to the expense of properly nourishing the child, while a new husband, who is not the father of the nursing child, will not do so, and the child will not be properly fed.

Ch. 14, v. 22: "Asseir t'asseir" - Tithe you shall surely tithe - The gemara Taanis 9a derives from these words, "Asseir bishvil shetisasheir," - tithe so that you will become wealthy. From this we have an insight into the mishnoh Pirkei Ovos 3:13, "Meso'res syog laTorah, maasros syog l'o'sher," the written words of the Torah are its safeguard fence, tithes are the safeguard fence for wealth.

The Words of our verse with the vowels only refer to tithing. The "meso'res" allows for the reading "asseir bishvil shetisasheir." This allows us to derive that tithing "maasros" safeguards one's becoming wealthy. (Lacha'mei Todoh)

Ch. 15, v. 7: "Ki yi'h'yeh v'cho evyon" - If there will be within you a destitute person - The word "v'cho" seems superfluous.

1) The reason there is a destitute person is within you. It is because you need the merit of supplying him with his needs, as per the gemara B. B. 10a. (Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh)

2) The poor man is Moshiach, as per the verse "Oni v'rocheiv al chamore" (Zecharioh 9:9). He is WITHIN you, i.e. it is your fault that he is not able to herald in the "days of Moshiach." (Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh)

3) Do not think that you are donating YOUR money. His money is in your safekeeping, "v'cho." (Ohel Yaakov)

4) Poverty is like a turning wheel. That which on top one moment, is on the bottom a moment later. Do not harden your heart, because poverty is within you, it could well be your lot. (Nirreh li)



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

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