CHAMISHOH MI YODEI'A - FIVE QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON PARSHIOS B'HAR-B'CHUKOSAI 5773 - BS"D
1) Ch. 25, v. 17: "V'lo sonu ish es amiso" - And you shall not distress your friend - Note 2 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."
2) 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?
3) Ch. 26, v. 32: "V'hashimosi ani es ho'oretz" - And I will lay to waste the land - The word "ani" seems superfluous, as it is contained in the suffix pronoun of the verb "v'hashimoSI."
4) Ch. 26, v. 40: "V'hisvadu es avonom" - And they will confess their sin - The response to their confessing their wrongdoing is in the next verse.
1) Why does Hashem say that He will respond in kind to their sin of attitude of happenstance with the same? After all, they are repenting and confessing that this was their wrongdoing.
2) Why in the previous verse do we have the plural "baavonOSE," the sinS, while here it is in the singular?
3) Why are they including the sins of their fathers in their confession?
4) Even with their inclusion of their fathers' sins, why is it mentioned as part of their inequity, "v'es avone avosom b'maalom asher mo'alu vi"? (This could be understood as the inequity of their fathers and not theirs, as the antecedent of the pronoun suffix of "b'maalOM" could well be their fathers.)
5) Why is their "walking with Me in a manner of happenstance" coupled with their sins and the sins of their fathers?
6) Why is exiling them to the land of their enemies (next verse) a proper response?
7) Why is sending them to their enemies' land called "I will also walk with them in a manner of happenstance?
8) The next verse ends with Hashem's saying that after this punishment their insensitive and insubordinate heart will hopefully become submissive, and only then will their sin be appeased. How will exile into their enemies' land remedy this?
9) How is this punishment in kind?
10) How does becoming subordinate automatically bring about atonement, as indicated by the words "oz yikona l'vovom he'o'reil v'oz yirtzu es avonom?"
5) Ch. 26, v. 42: "V'zocharti brisi Yaakov" - And I will remember My covenant with Yaakov - This verse, one of comfort, seems totally out of place in the middle of this lengthy admonishment.
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)
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)
When the bnei Yisroel are sent into exile, "V'es'chem ezo'reh vagoyim" (next verse), unfortunately Hashem Himself is also exiled. Translate "es" as WITH. With the destruction of the land, Hashem's Holy Presence in the land is likewise laid to waste. (Nirreh li)
All the above questions can be answered if we say that the confession is more of a "guilty with an excuse" plea than actual total penitence. They admit wrongdoing, but are placing the blame squarely on Hashem. "You have put us into an environment where we could do nothing else but sin. We were born into families where our fathers themselves transgressed Your laws. We learned to do the same. What can You expect of us?" This is the "keri," happenstance, of the verse. They say that they "happen" to find themselves in an environment that is not conducive to keeping the laws of the Torah. Thus they are saying that all their sins boil down to one sin. They admit that there is technically wrongdoing, but it makes no difference if it is one or many sins, as they developed no sensitivity towards the importance of Torah observance. Thus their inclusion of their fore-bearers' sins within their own is in and of itself a sin, as they are pushing the blame off themselves. Their confession is an attempt at absolving themselves, and nothing more.
Hashem's response is one of compassion. He says that He will act likewise, with "happenstance," meaning that He will expose them to "keri" that will awaken them to understanding that in spite of their challenging circumstances they can succeed. Hashem will send them into exile into the land of their enemies, where they will be exposed to the most base and depraved behaviours. These are beyond even the "sinning ben Yisroel's" experience and tolerance. When coming into contact with these people, the bnei Yisroel will likewise hear, "That's the way our parents, our peers, and society in general, do things." This is the "keri" of "eretz oyvei'hem." This will bring about an awakening in the recesses of their souls, as they will feel that this is no excuse for such depraved behaviour, as one could easily separate right from wrong and not follow society's decadent behaviour. Then their stoic hearts will open up and they will truly repent, realizing that they too can break away from their negative environment and better themselves.
In short, beyond their sinning, their excusing themselves by placing the blame on circumstances and on others, puts a damper on, or totally negates their repentance. It is only when one squarely puts the blame on himself, can he be on the path to proper teshuvoh. This is clearly stated in the Rambam hilchos teshuvoh 5:4. He brings verses to this affect from Nviim, but according to the above explanation of these two verses we have a Torah source for this concept. (Nirreh li)
It is not a consolation. Quite to the contrary, it is a strong indictment. If one is the son of an evil person and likewise behaves improperly, there is a somewhat mollifying claim, that he did not have a good role model from whom to learn. Our verse says that Hashem will also remember that we are descendants of the holy Patriarchs, Yaakov, Yitzchok, and Avrohom, and nevertheless behaved improperly. This is quite an indictment. (Shalo"h Hakodosh)
A GUTTEN SHABBOS KODESH. FEEL FREE TO DISTRIBUTE BY COPY OR ELECTRONICALLY.
FEEDBACK IS APPRECIATED. TO SUBSCRIBE, KINDLY SEND REQUEST TO: SHOLOM613@ROGERS.COM
See also Sedrah Selections, Oroh
V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha and Chasidic Insights