by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS R'EI 5773 BS"DCh. 12, v. 4: "Lo saasun kein laShem Elokeichem" - Do not do so to Hashem your G-d - This refers back to the previous verse, which says that you should destroy the idols that are placed upon mountains. The gemara says that only the idols and not the mountains are to be destroyed. The mountains may remain and be put to use. Our verse continues and says to not do the same for Hashem. Do not make use of the mountain upon which there was an idol for Hashem. Do not build the Beis Hamikdosh on such a mountain as per the gemara Avodoh Zoroh 45. (Proshas Drochim)
Ch. 12, v. 19: "Pen taazove es haLevi kol yomecho al admosecho" - Lest you forsake the Levite all your days on your land - There is a mitzvoh of giving charity to the poor. This often includes the Levites, who are not given large tracts of land as their inheritance. One might readily skip over a Levite when distributing charity because he has already given him generously through his required agricultural mitzvoh of "maa'seir rishon." Our verse therefore says: Do not forsake the Levite by not giving him charity, a mitzvoh that is "kol yomecho," all the days of the year, because of "al admosecho," already giving him agricultural support. (Imrei Shefer)
Ch. 12, v. 20: "V'omarto o'chloh vossor …… b'chol avas naf'sh'cho tochal bossor" - And you will say I want to eat meat …… with your full desire will you eat meat - The next verse says that if you are at a distance from the place …… you should slaughter and eat meat. Odom was prohibited to eat meat and Noach was permitted post-deluvian. Are we to say that Noach was greater than Odom? Actually Odom was greater and therefore had no need to slaughter to eat meat. He was so elevated and close to Hashem that he could eat vegetables and if he wanted meat he would just think of meat and the food took on its taste, similar to the nature of manna. Noach needed to slaughter and then eat meat.
This is the intention of these two verses. When one is close to Hashem he can eat meat without slaughtering, as in verse 20 there is no mention of slaughtering. This is done through "V'omarto o'chal sossor" alone. If one is "Yirchak min haMokome," distanced from Hashem and on a lower level, then "V'zovachto …… v'ochalto." (Rabbi Shlomo Kluger cited in Mayonoh Shel Torah)
Ch. 13, v. 7: "Neilchoh v'naavdoh elohim acheirim asher lo yodato atoh vaavosecho" - Let us go and serve other gods that you and your fathers did not know - On a simple level the words actually said by the inciter are "Neilchoh v'naavdoh elohim acheirim." "Asher lo yodato atoh vaavosecho" seems to be the narrative of the Torah, saying that you have been accustomed to serve Hashem until now and are being seduced to deify gods whom neither you nor your father know. However, these are also the words of the seducer. He adds this on because he expects you to counter that if these gods are the "real thing" then they should have been served by our ancestors. He therefore says that it is only because you and they were not even aware that they existed. (Haksav V'hakaboloh)
Ch. 15, v. 8: "Ki foso'ach tiftach lo" - Rather you shall surely open your hand to him - There are many different petitioners for charity. Some are more needy than others as well as having different levels of importance of needs. When one closes his hand and gives nothing his finger tips are all aligned. He treats them all equally. Rather, one should open his hand and give. Nevertheless, just as an open hand has its fingers at different lengths, so too, the donour should measure the amount he gives based on need and importance. (Shaar Bas Rabim)
Ch. 15, v. 11: "Al kein ani m'tzavcho leimore poso'ach tiftach es yodcho l'ochicho l'ani'echo" - Therefore I command you so saying surely open your hand to your brother your poor man - What is meant by "leimore?" The donour is not saying anything. The intention of the verse is to assuage the embarrassment of the poor man who is forced to collect alms. Our verse tells us that when we donate to the poor man we should tell him that wealth and poorness are situations that come and go, just as any given point on a wheel that turns is on top, on the bottom, again and again. Tell the recipient, "You will one day open your hand to your poor brother and help him." (The Holy Rizhiner)
Ch. 15, v. 14,15: "Haaneik taanik lo, V'zocharto ki evved hoyiso b'Mitzrayim" - You shall surely bestow upon him, And you should remember that you were a slave in Egypt - Tipping the servant when he is sent away seems difficult, as just the sending away is quite a loss for the master, let alone the tipping. The next verse therefore says that you should remember that you were a slave in Egypt and not only were you emancipated, but you were also given great riches in Egypt and at Yam Suf. (Sforno)
In a similar vein, Haksav V'hakaboloh says that the verse says, "asher beirach'cho Hashem Elokecho" so that a person should realize that the added goods given to the emancipated servant come from Hashem. "Tein lo mishelo" (Pirkei Ovos)
Ch. 16, v. 15: "V'hoyiso ach somei'ach" - And you shall be only joyous - The rejoicing with a holiday is one of pure unadulterated joy, while regular physical joys either are mixed with sorrow or sorrow will later result. (Sforno)
Ch. 16, v. 15: "V'hoyiso ach somei'ach" - And you shall be only joyous - We derive from these words that even on the night of the eighth day, "leil Shmini Atzerres," one has the mitzvoh of rejoicing. This is a most unusual derivation, given that the verse says "Ach," which is restrictive, limiting, and here we add on a night. The GR"A explains that "Shmini Atzerres" comes on the heels of Sukos, which had the mitzvos of four species, residing in a sukoh, and "Simchas beis hasho'eivoh." They have now come to an end so we are left with ONLY rejoicing. "Ach" thus serves as a restrictive, but an addition is still derived from it.
Ch. 16, v. 15: "V'hoyiso ach somei'ach" - And you shall be only joyous - A person has gone through days of fasting, introspection, repentance from the beginning of the month through Yom Kippur. From the next day onwards there is preparation for Sukos and the joy of the seven days of Sukos, concluding with Shmini Atzerres. On this day one looks back at the previous 21 days, those of fasting and repentance and the joy of Sukos and realizes that the flow and blend of all these 21 days bring to pure simchoh. "Ach," mathematically 21 days, all become simchoh. (n.l.)
Ch. 16, v. 17: "Ish k'matnas yodo k'virkas Hashem Elokecho asher nosan loch" - A man as per the giving of his hand as per the blessing Hashem your G-d has given you - The gemara Yerushalmi Chagigoh 1:5 splits up our verse and explains that it is addressing two types of people. He who is poor and gives generously according to his means, albeit a small amount, fulfills "Ish k'matnas yodo," as his hand has limited funds. A person who has received "Birkas Hashem," an abundance of wealth and gives a limited amount in relation to what he has, albeit objectively a nice amount, has not fulfilled "k'virkas Hashem Elokecho asher nosan loch."
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