CHAMISHOH MI YODEI'A - FIVE QUESTIONS ON THE WEEKLY SEDRAH - PARSHAS B'HAR 5768 - BS"D
1) Ch. 25, v. 11: "V'lo sik'tz'ru" - And you (plural) shall not harvest - The prohibition to harvest during the "yoveil" year is expressed in the plural form, while by "shmitoh" (verse 4) it is expressed in the singular form, "lo sizmor." Why the change?
2) Ch. 25, v. 17: "V'lo sonu ish es amiso" - And you shall not distress your friend - Note two differences between our verse and verse 14. There the verse says "al tonu," while here it says "v'lo sonu," and there it says "ochiv," while here it says "amiso."
3) Ch. 25, v. 18,19: "Vishavtem al ho'oretz lo'vetach, Vishavtem lo'vetach o'lehoh" - And you will reside on the land securely, And you will reside with security upon it - Why the repetition?
4) Ch. 25, v. 32: "G'ulas olom ti'h'yeh laL'viim" - A permanent redemption shall be for the Levites - Is this simply favouritism towards the Levites or is there an explanation for their deserving this special ruling over non-Levites, whose properties remain permanently sold?
5) Ch. 25, v. 36,37: "V'sarbis,Uvmarbis" - With interest, And with interest - Why do we have two forms of the same word, one beginning with a Tof and one with a Mem?
Tosfos on the gemara Sukoh 39b d.h. "Ba'meh" writes that the Torah prohibition to harvest is limited to "m'shumor," that which is guarded, and does not apply to "mufkor," ownerless produce. Only the owner can properly make the produce guarded as he has the ability to fence it in and lock the gate. "Shmitoh" year does not specifically give us two owners for a field, as in general one person owns a field for quite a while. Therefore the Torah expresses the prohibition in the singular form. "Yoveil" year oft times finds a field with two owners, as the field is owned by the purchaser until Yom Kippur and it returns to the seller on Yom Kippur. Since the field has two owners during the "yoveil" year the Torah expresses the prohibition in the plural form. (Ragatchover Gaon)
Perhaps we can say, based on the words of the Meshech Chochmoh that AL means "PLEASE don't" and LO means DON'T, that there is no pressing issue that forces a person to speak abusively to his friend. All that is required is control of the tongue, and the same message, even one of complaint and rebuke, can be gotten across in a kinder gentler manner. The prohibition therefore comes in an unequivocal DON'T. When it comes to money matters, when a person sees an opportunity to deceive his friend, and perceives monetary gain, his evil inclination pushes him quite strongly in that direction, to seemingly gain financially. There Hashem's command to not do so takes the above into consideration, and the command is expressed as PLEASE don't. (Nirreh li)
The gemara B.M. 59a explains the word "amiso" as a composite of "am" and "ito" (see Rashi), a member of the nation who is with him (in behaviour), who fulfills Torah and mitzvos properly. This excludes a blatant sinner. He may be sharply reproved, if this does not contravene the rule of "v'lo siso olov cheit" (Vayikra 19:17). However, when it comes to money matters, even if the person you are dealing with is an incorrigible sinner, you may not deceive him, hence the Torah does not say "amiso." (Maharsh"a)
1) You will not be exiled. You will not worry about famine. (Rashi)
2) You will not be exiled. You will not have to leave Eretz Yisroel and reside in the Diaspora for the year of "shmitoh" for lack of food. (Ramban)
3) You will not be exiled. You will not have to travel to the Diaspora to purchase food during the "shmitoh" year. (Abarbanel, Sforno, Holy Alshich)
4) You will not be exiled. You will not even have to leave your city to live in another city within Eretz Yisroel. (Raava"d, Rabbi Shimshon of Shantz)
5) You will not have terrorists come upon you. In spite of the world-renowned reputation of the lusciousness of your fruits, no enemies will attempt to attack. (Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh)
6) When there is limited produce there is no fear of outsiders attacking, but you might fear internal fighting. Rest assured that this will not happen. When there will be an abundance of crops you will not fear outsiders attacking. (Ksav Sofer)
7) You will not be exiled, You will not incur the jealousy of the surrounding nations because your being satiated will not be through a bumper crop, but rather through a normal amount, but with the blessing of eating little but having great satisfaction within, - "o'cheil kimo umisbo'reich b'mei'ov" T.K. 25:36). (Malbim)
This special privilege is not to be looked upon as favouritism towards the Levites. Rather, it is specifically because the Levites were not given a land inheritance in such a generous manner as the other tribes, being limited to 48 cities and their limited sprawl beyond city limits, that the Torah at least slightly compensated them with not losing their land as readily. (Chizkuni)
Perhaps this insight gives us a better understanding of the ruling of the following verse. Rashi explains that verse 33 teaches us that the law of verse 32, that Levite cities that are wall enclosed do not become permanent property of purchasers even when the Levites do not redeem them, even applies when a Levite was the purchaser. Why would I think that this makes a difference? According to the Chizkuni this is very well understood. Since the rational behind the law is that Levites deserve special protection to retain their limited property, I might think that if the property would remain permanently in the hands of another Levite the first Levite would have no special protection. (Nirreh li)
These two letters form the word "MeiS." This alludes to the severe punishment meted out to one who lends and charges interest. Yechezkeil witnessed the resurrection of many dead, with the exception of one person who remained dead. He was told that this one person did not merit being resurrected because he lent money and charged interest. (Rabbi Yehudoh Chosid)
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