by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS R'EI 5770 BS"D
IN HONOUR OF THE BIRTH OF OUR GRANDSON, 22 MENACHEM-OV Ch. 14, v. 1: "Bonim a'tem laShem Elokeichem lo sisgod'du" - You are children of Hashem your G-d do not scrape yourselves - even when a person experiences a most painful happening, the death of a close one, it is not in place to display extreme mourning. This is because we are Hashem's children. Just as a child who is brought up properly has trust in his father when he does something that disappoints the child, because he trusts his father that he knows what is in the child's best interest, so too, we should act the same. (Chizkuni)
Ch. 14, v. 6: "Maalas geiroh babheimoh osoh tocheilu" - Chews its cud among the animals that you may consume - The GR"A in Evven Shleimoh chapter 3 writes that the nature of chewing its cud is the trait of being satisfied with what it has and even giving back some. This is not the nature of carnivorous animals that kill their prey. Theirs is a characteristic of never being satisfied, a trait that we do not want to emulate, and surely not consume a creature that has this trait.
Ch. 15, v. 18: "Lo yiksheh v'einecho b'sha'leichacho oso u'veirach'cho Hashem Elokecho b'chol asher taa'seh" - It shall not be difficult in your eyes when you send him and Hashem your G-d will bless you in all that you will do - Since Hashem will bless you for complying it should not be hard for you to do so because you would thus be giving Hashem's bounty to your servant by offering the items enumerated in the previous verse. (Sforno)
Ch. 15, v. 18: "U'veirach'cho Hashem Elokecho b'chol asher taa'seh" - And Hashem your G-d will bless you in all that you will do - The gemara N'dorim 49b says, "G'doloh mlochoh shemcha'bedes es baa'lehoh," work is noble in that it brings honour to its masters." Although this seems to be an accolade for those who earn their livelihood by the sweat of their brow, we all know people who become slaves to their jobs. Perhaps this is why this maxim is expressed with the word "baa'leho," which when taken literally means its masters. It is only when one has mastery over his work, not letting it swallow him up both mentally and physically, that his working is to be praised. (n.l.)
Ch. 15, v. 18: "U'veirach'cho Hashem Elokecho b'chol asher taa'seh" - And Hashem your G-d will bless you in all that you will do - If a person were to say, "I am a descendant of the Patriarchs of the world. It is most demeaning for me to do actual physical labour," we should respond to him, "Your Creator has preempted you. He has done work before you even appeared on the face of the world, as the verse says, 'Mikol mlachto asher ossoh'" (Breishis 2:2).
Ch. 16, v. 15: "V'hoyiso ach so'mei'ach" - And you will be only joyous - The gemara Sukoh 12 derives from this expression that the night going into Shmini Atzerres also is included in the status of being joyous. Commentators struggle with this statement, as "ach" is a term that connotes limitation, and yet, it seems that we expand the joyous activities into the night of Shmini Atzerres. The Chasam Sofer in his "droshos" explains that if we were to not add on the night of Shmini Atzerres we would not slaughter a shlomim offering on Hoshanoh Raboh, as it would be sufficient to slaughter it the next day. A shlomim may be consumed on the day it was slaughtered, the following night, and the following day until nightfall. Although we are expanding the joy into the night of Shmini Atzerres, we are actually diminishing the joy, because we would then slaughter the shlomim on Hoshanoh Raboh and it would become void, "nosar," the next evening, rather than slaughtering it on the day of Shmini Atzerres and extending the joyous consumption of the shlomim into "isru chag."
Ch. 16, v. 16: "Sholosh p'omim bashonoh yeiro'eh chol z'churcho es pnei Hashem Elokecho" - Thrice a year shall all your males appear to the countenance of Hashem your G-d - The gemara R.H. 16b derives that a person should appear in front of his Rebbi during the three festivals. This is derived from a verse in Mlochim 2:4. it says "Madua at holeches hayom lo chodesh v'lo Shabbos." The Ponim Yofos says that this concept is to be derived from our verse. (The gemara prefers to derive this from a more overt passage.) We know that the word "es" connotes inclusion and addition, such as "ES Hashem Elokecho tiro," from which we derive that not only are we to fear Hashem, but also Torah scholars. Similarly here, the verse says, "chol z'churcho ES pnei Hashem." Not only should we appear in front of Hashem by making a pilgrimage, but also to appear in front of Torah scholars.
Ch. 16, v. 16: "Sholosh p'omim bashonoh yeiro'eh chol z'churcho es pnei Hashem Elokecho" - Thrice a year shall all your males appear to the countenance of Hashem your G-d - Our Rabbis expound on the words in Shir Hashirim 7:2, "Mah yofu foma'yich banolim," that the footsteps of the bnei Yisroel when they make their thrice yearly pilgrimage is beautiful. This is puzzling, as when the bnei Yisroel actually appear in front of Hashem in the Mikdosh compound they are prohibited to wear shoes.
In our Yom Tov prayers we say, "V'hosheiv Kohanim laavodosom uLviim l'shirom ulzimrom v'hosheiv Yisroel linveihem." True that it is a befitting prayer that the bnei Yisroel be returned safely to their abodes after their coming to Yerusholayim for the Yom Tov, but how does this request flow after the requests for those who do their services in the Beis Hamikdosh should be reinstated? The answer is that we pray that after being exposed to the holy services done by the Kohanim and Lviim, we express our wishes that the bnei Yisroel return to their homes with these exalted matters still percolating in their minds. If so, this is the intention of "banolim." When the bnei Yisroel make a pilgrimage their footsteps when shod and returning home with the spiritual fire still within them are "mah yofu." (Rabbi Shimon Schwab)
Ch. 16, v. 17: "Ish k'matnas yodo k'virkas Hashem Elokecho" - A man according to the giving of his hand according to the blessing that Hashem your G-d - The Mahara"m Shiff explains these words to mean, "Commensurate to the giving of one's hand is the blessing of Hashem." This is a similar theme to, "A'seir bishvil shetisasheir."
Ch. 16, v. 17: "Ish k'matnas yodo k'virkas Hashem Elokecho asher nosan loch" - A man according to the giving of his hand according to the blessing that Hashem your G-d has given you - The Sforno comments that we see from these words that the behaviour of some fools, who dispense all their holdings and then they themselves become public charges, is incorrect, as per the gemara Ksuvos 50a, "Hamvazveiz al y'vazveiz yoser michomesh," one who gemerously dispenses his money should not give away more than one fifth.
Rabbi S. ben R. Hirsch comments: "Ish k'matnas yodo," a person is measured according to his generosity, but at the same time he should not go overboard. It should be in consonance with the blessing he receives from Hashem.
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