by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS R'EI 5769 BS"D
Ch. 11, v. 27: "R'ei onochi nosein lifneichem hayom brochoh ukloloh" - See that I today place in front of you a blessing and a curse - Note that the verse says "nosein," in the PRESENT tense. There is a powerful message inherent in this word. Had the verse said, "nosati," I GAVE, one might incorrectly conclude that once he has chosen the path of sin, even if he wants to turn a new leaf, he is caught in the net of sin and there is no return to the proper way. The verse therefore expresses itself in the present tense to teach that no matter which choice a person has made in the past, "Onochi nosein lifneichem hayom ……," I today GIVE you the same choice again, and there is no reason for you to not pick the path of "brochoh." (GR"A)
Ch. 11, v. 27: "Es habrochoh asher tish'm'u" - The blessing that you will hear - Rashi comments, "Al m'nas asher tish'm'u," - on the condition that you will hear. Rabbi Yochonon Luria in Meishiv Nefesh explains that Rashi is stressing the inherent advantage of a mitzvoh over a sin. By explaining the intention of these words to mean that it is conditional, we invoke the Talmudic axiom that "al m'nas" connotes that the matter is activated starting right them, "Kol ho'omer al m'nas k'omer mei'ach'shov domi." Thus if you will just listen to the mitzvos the reward will begin at that moment, in contra-distinction to a sin. The retribution for a sin takes place only upon actually committing it.
Ch. 11, v. 29,30: "Har Grizim …… Har Eivol, B'eiver haYardein acharei derech m'vo hashemesh b'etretz HaCanaani ha'yosheiv boArovoh mul haGilgol eitzel Eilonei Moreh" - If we include the information conveyed by telling us the names of the mountains, we have a total of seven points of information told to the bnei Yisroel to pinpoint the correct location of these two mountains. (GR"A in A'derres Eliyohu)
Ch. 12, v. 7: "Usmachtem b'chol mishlach yedchem" - And you shall rejoice in all that you apply your hand - What does this mean?
1) The Sifri derives from the word form "simchoh found here and also later in verse 27, that just as over there the verse discusses offering "shlomim" sacrifices on Yom Tov (called "shalmei simchoh"), so too here, the verse means "shalmei simchoh."
2) Sforno says that it means that all your endeavours should be done in joy, as per the verse, "Ivdu es Hashem b'simchoh" (T'hilim 100:2).
3) Rabbi S.R. Hirsch writes that we are to rejoice in our realization that the success of "b'chol mishlach yedchem" comes from "asher beirach'cho Hashem Elokecho."
Ch. 12, v. 7: "Usmachtem …… a'tem uvo'teichem" - And you shall rejoice …… you and your household - Why is the Levi left out of those who are to rejoice with you? The Chizkuni answers that this verse is discussing the time before the land was apportioned to the tribes. The Levi is no less privileged at this point than is any person of another tribe.
Ch. 12, v. 12: "A'tem uvneichem uvnoseichem v'avdeichem v'amhoseichem" - You and your sons and your daughters and your male servants and your maid servants - The Sifri comments that these people are placed in order of dearness, the dearer earlier, "choviv chovi kodem." This is in no way a contradiction to Rashi's comment on the order of placement of Yaakov's household as they appeared in front of Eisov, "Acharon acharon choviv," the later, later is more beloved. In general the more endeared is mentioned earlier, as here and in parshas Bo, where the list of items taken from the Egyptians is silver, gold, and garments. It is only where Yaakov was afraid of someone coming to harm at the hands of Eisov that he placed the dearer further back.
Ch. 12, v. 15: "Katzvi v'cho'ayol" - Like a deer and like a hart - Rashi explains that this verse is discussing an animal set aside as a sacrifice that later received a disqualifying blemish. One may not use its shearing or work it, but it may be slaughtered, and eaten in an unrestricted manner, as are a deer and a hart. The gemara Makos 22a says a startling "chidush." If one were to plow through the use of an ox that is a disqualified sacrifice, he has transgressed the sin of plowing with two species. Rashi there explains that the animal has a sort of split identity. It retains some stringencies of sacrifices in that its shearing may not be used and it may also not be used as a beast of burden, and it is also a non-consecrated animal in that one may slaughter it for consumption just as he would a never before consecrated animal. This seems very far-fetched. Just because the animal has laws of a holy and a non-holy animal, how can we look at it as if it were an ox and a donkey in one? Tosfos there says that based on our verse this is understood. Our verse says that the animal is like both a deer and a hart, two distinct animals.
Ch. 12, v. 18: "Atoh uvincho uvi'techo v'av'd'cho vaamo'secho" - You and your son and your daughter and your male servant and your maid servant - In verse 12 we find this same lineup, and in the same order. Both verse are dealing with the same items, tithes and sacrifices. Why does the verse express itself earlier in the plural and here in the singular? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Ch. 12, v. 19: "Al admo'secho" - On your land - Rashi says that these words teach us that the command to give preferential treatment to the Levi applies only when we are in our land, but when we are in the Diaspora a poor Levi has no priority over a poor Yisroel. Rabbeinu Avigdor asks that we find the gemara Horios, which says that we give preference to a Levi, and as is well known, the Amoro'im live in Babylonia.
Ch. 12, v. 23: "Rak chazak l'vilti achole hadom" - Just be diligent to not eat the blood - Rashi offers two explanations for "rak chazak," a sort of indication that much effort has to be put into avoiding this transgression. The first is that of Rabbi Yehudoh. He says that we must assume that consumption of blood by the heathens was very prevalent at that time, so effort must be expended to not follow the trend. Rabbi Shimon ben Azai (Yochai) says that blood is repulsive, and nevertheless, the verse says to strengthen oneself to not transgress. This is an overall exhortation to put much effort into fulfilling every mitzvoh. If an easy mitzvoh such as not consuming blood is prefaced with "strengthen yourself," other mitzvos that are harder to do surely require much intensity.
Rabbi Yoseif Bchor Shor has a simple approach. Even though no one lusts consumption of blood, it nevertheless takes quite an effort to make sure that the blood is totally drained from meat.
Ch. 12, v. 25: "Lo socha'lenu l'maan yeetav l'cho ulvo'necho acha'recho" - Do not eat it so that He will do good to you and to your children after you - Following on the heels of the three insights into why avoiding consumption of blood is predicated with being strong (verse 23), we might offer as follows: Rabbi Yehudoh says that eating blood was very prevalent. A father, by putting in effort to buck the trend teaches his children a powerful lesson, to do that which is correct and not follow the herd. Rabbi Shimon ben Azai (Yochai) says that this is a lesson in our approach to all mitzvos, to put in much effort. This likewise, when witnessed by our children, will teach them that our main efforts in life should be targeted at doing mitzvos properly, another powerful educational tool in guaranteeing Torah/mitzvoh continuity. According to Rabbi Yoseif Bchor Shor, that much effort must be expended in properly extracting blood from the meat, the same lesson is drilled into our children when they see that we expend so much effort to avoid having even a little blood remain in the meat. They will likewise put their strength into adhering to the mitzvos. (n.l.)
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