by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS R'EI 5775 BS"D
Ch. 11, v. 32: "Ushmartem laasose" - And you shall guard to fulfill - Translate "ushmartem" as "and you shall eagerly await," as in "v'oviv shomar es hadovor" (Breishis 37:11). You find yourselves in the desert, where the laws that are connected with the Holy Land do not apply. However, once you have been taught these laws, you should eagerly await the opportunity to fulfill them. (Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh)
Ch. 12, v. 6: "Trumas yedchem" - Tithing of your hand - Rashi (Sifri) says that this refers to the bringing of "bikurim," the first ripened produce. Haksav V'hakaboloh says that "bikurim" are alluded to through the word "yedchem." Rather than translating it as "your hand," we should translate it as "your THANKS." When one brings "bikurim" there is a ritual that includes saying a few verses of thanks to Hashem for giving us this land (Dvorim 26:3-10). We find this word form meaning thanks in Yeshayohu 44:5, "V'zeh yichtov YODo laShem," and in Chabakuk 3:10, "YOD'eihu nosso."
Ch. 13, v. 16: "Ha'kei sa'keh ES yoshvei ho'ir" - You shall surely smite the inhabitants of the city - The Ramban writes that the Sifri says that the wives of those who sinned are killed along with their husbands as ancillary accomplices. However, the children of the sinner who are minors are not punished. (Surely children who have reached the age of majority are not punished, as they are not secondary to their parents.) He also quotes the Tosefta Sanhedrin 14:1 which states that R' Eliezer holds that ES teaches to kill even the children. Rabbi Akiva argues and posits that children are saved. The Rambam in hilchos avodoh zoroh 4:6 says to punish both wives and children of the sinner. The Pri Chodosh says that the correct text in the Rambam is that children are punished but not wives. This is neither like the Sifri, nor like the Tosefta. See Moreh N'vuchim 1:54.
Ch. 14, v. 22: "A'seir t'a'seir" - You shall surely give a tenth - The gemara Shabbos 119a derives from these words, "A'seir bishvil shetisa'sheir," give a tenth so that you may become wealthy, a phonetically derived "droshoh" based on the letter Sin of "t'a'seir" being read as a Shin. The Medrash Plioh says that these words of our verse are the fulfillment of the verse, "Im hasmole v'eiminoh v'im ha'yomin v'as'm'iloh" (Breishis 13:9). Yalkut Eliezer explains this with the above-mentioned gemara. If one tithes properly by giving a tenth away, then he has done "t'a'seir," with the dot of the letter Sin appearing on the left side of the letter. Hashem will respond by giving wealth, "t'asheir," the letter Sin changing to a Shin with the dot on the right side, hence "im hasmole v'eiminoh." If however, a person does not properly tithe, and he attempts to have wealth by being stingy, and thus "t'asheir," Hashem will respond by having his fields produce in the future only a tenth of what it previously produced, "t'a'seir." This is the fulfillment of "v'im ha'yomin v'as'm'iloh."
The Botzina d'Nohora says that the concept of "a'seir bishvil shetisa'sheir" is alluded to in Bmidbar 7:14, "Kaf achas asoroh zohov m'lei'oh." A hand that gives "achas asoroh," one out of ten, "zohov m'lei'oh," will merit to be filled with gold.
Ch. 16, v. 8: "Sheishes yomim tochal matzos uva'yom hashvii atzerres" - Six days shall you eat matzoh and on the seventh day there shall be an ingathering/restraint - Although the seventh day of Pesach is mentioned as a Holiday three times earlier in the Torah, Shmos 12:16, 13:6, and Bmidbar 28:25, it is called either "chag" or "mikra kodesh." Why here, the fourth time the Torah mentions the seventh day of Pesach as a Holiday, is it called "atzerres" and not earlier? Perhaps with the translation offered by Rashi that "atzerres" means restraint from doing work, we can say that the previous times the information was given to the generation that left Egypt, and those people had almost all their needs taken care of for themselves miraculously in the desert. There was no need to plow, sow, water, harvest, nor to do laundry, prepare food, etc. Thus restraint from work was not very noticeable when Yom Tov came. However, for the generation that would enter Eretz Yisroel and work the land, the prohibition of doing work would be very pronounced. This, however, only explains the two verses in parshas Bo and not the verse in parshas Pinchos, which was related to those who would enter the land. A possible answer might emerge based on the words of the Kedushas Levi.
<< The Torah calls the day after Sukos "Atzerres" (Vayikra 23:36). As well the seventh day of Pesach is also called "Atzerres" in our verse. Each Yom Tov has a positive action that is connected with the Yom Tov, i.e. blowing shofar on Rosh Hashonoh, repenting on Yom Kippur, taking the four species on the first day and residing in a Sukoh on all days of Sukos, eating matzoh, Korban Pesach, and moror on Pesach, etc. Even Shovuos has a positive mitzvoh of bringing the two loaves of bread as an offering to the Beis Hamikdosh to permit bringing further flour offerings from the new crop. However, Shmini Atzerres and the seventh day of Pesach have no inherent positive mitzvos, only the command to restrain from work. Hence having only restraint causes these particular days to be called "Atzerres."
After the destruction of the Beis Hamikdosh even Shovuos was left with no positive mitzvoh, only restraint. Therefore the Rabbis who lived after the destruction of the Beis Hamikdosh gave Shovuos the name "Atzerres." >>
Rashi (gemara P'sochim 120a) on the first words of our verse, "Sheishes yomim tochal matzos," in his second explanation says that these words do not contradict the verse in Shmos 12:15, "Shivas yomim matzos tocheilu," because our verse teaches us that eating matzos throughout the seven days of Pesach is not obligatory (save the first night as indicated by the verse in Shmos 12:18, "bo'erev tochlu matzos"), but when one eats bread during Pesach it must be unleavened. Since we do not know this ruling until now, the Torah did not want to call the seventh day of Pesach ATZERRES in any verse earlier than ours, as this would indicate that its only characteristic is that it is a day of restraint from work, information that is unknown earlier as we had thought that there was an obligatory command to eat matzoh on each of the seven days of Pesach. Only after the beginning of our verse tells us that beyond the first night eating matzoh is voluntary, does the Torah call the seventh day "Atzerres," as only now do we know that there is only a mitzvoh of restraint from doing work on the seventh day of Pesach.
Ch. 16, v. 15: "V'hoyiso ach somei'ach" - And you shall only be joyous - "V'hoyiso ach," even if you are of limited sources, nevertheless "somei'ach," be joyous. (Otzar Chaim)
Ch. 16, v. 16: "Sholosh p'omim bashonoh" - Thrice a year - The word "sholosh" is spelled with a Vov after the Lamed. The numeric value of Vov is six. This teaches us that with the three pilgrimages there should also be three visits to one's Torah teacher. (Bikurei Oviv)
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