by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS R'EI 5774 BS"DCh. 26, v. 27: "Habrochoh asher tish'm'u" - The blessing that you will hearken - By the curse the verse does not say "asher," but rather "im." This indicates that the blessing is in and of itself the fulfilling of Hashem's mitzvos. This is akin to the commentary of Chosiid Yaavetz on the words in Pirkei Ovos 4:2, "Shes'char mitzvoh mitzvoh," that the reward for doing a mitzvoh is the mitzvoh itself. There is no greater satisfaction than knowing one has done Hashem's will. (Shevet Musor)
Ch. 26, v. 27: "Habrochoh asher tish'm'u el mitzvos Hashem Elokeichem" - The blessing that you will hearken to the precepts of Hashem your G-d - The Rambam in hilchos teshuvoh 9:1 writes that the physical benefits one derives from doing Hashem's will that are stated in the Torah are not an end in themselves and a reward for good behaviour, as per the gemara Kidushin 39b, "S'char mitzvoh b'hai alma leika." Rather they are good that Hashem bestows on people who follow His edicts that facilitates doing more mitzvos with more ease than if he was lacking, for example if a person were totally destitute and had no funds with which to purchase tefillin.
This is the intention of these words of our verse. The blessing is given so that you may further hearken to Hashem's precepts. (Tiferes Shlomo)
Ch. 12, v. 10: "Vaavartem es haYardein vishavtem bo'oretz …… v'hiniach lochem mikol oiveichem misoviv vishavtem betach" - And you will cross the Jordan and you will reside in the land …… and He will give you respite from all your enemies from around and you will reside in safety - There would seem to be no need to add that you will reside in safety if you are given respite from ALL your enemies.
Although there is a commitment to not having troubles from your enemies from around there is still a possibility to have troubles from within, i.e. from a fellow ben Yisroel. The gemara N'dorin 22a relates that Rabbi Yochonon was walking with two people on their way to Eretz Yisroel. One became so angered at the other that he killed him. Rabbi Yochonon thought that they had already entered Eretz Yisroel and was shocked that a person could be so enflamed to bring himself to murder, as the verse says that in Babylonia, to the exclusion of Eretz Yisroel, is where Hashem allows a person to have a "lev ragoz." He found out that this took place before they had crossed the border into Eretz Yisroel.
Thus our verse says that when you cross the Jordan not only will you be safe from external enemies but also from internal enemies. (Tiferes Y'honoson)
Ch. 13, v. 19: "Laasos ha'yoshor b'einei Hashem Elokecho" - To do that which is right in the eyes of Hashem your G-d - The next verse says, "Bonim a'tem laShem Elokeichem." The juxtaposition can be explained as follows: The gemara Shabbos 88b relates that when Moshe ascended to the heavens to receive the Torah from Hashem he met fierce opposition. The angels claimed that the Torah should remain in the celestial spheres. The Chid"o in Pnei Dovid explains that the angels, who reside on high near Hashem, claimed that if Hashem is giving the ownership of the Torah to another then they have a priority. This is based on the maxim of "bar metzra." The gemara B.M. 108a says that the law is (see Sh.O. Ch.M. #175) that when a person is ready to sell his field then he must give a priority to the owner of an abutting field. This is the proper thing to do because then the next-door field owner can have his fields in a continuum, a most convenient situation, rather than scattered acquisitions. This is based on the verse "V'ossiso es ha'yoshor b'einei Hashem," doing that which is upright. Given that the angels' abode is next to Hashem they had a claim of "bar metzra," the owner of the abutting field, over mankind, who resides at a distance.
The Pis'chei Teshuvoh #13 on Sh.O. cited above cites the response of the Ri"f who writes that of the owner of the field wants to sell his field to his own son, even if the son has no abutting field, this overrides "bar metzra" as keeping the field in the hands of his family is "yoshor" and "tov." This even applies to a grandson.
We now have a wonderful understanding of our two verses. We are required to do "ha'yoshor b'einei Hashem." This means to comply with the rule of "bar metzra." If this brings you to wonder why Hashem gave the Torah to the bnei Yisroel instead of to the local angels, the answer is, "Bonim a'tem laShem Elokeichem." Since we are Hashem's children it is appropriate for Hashem to give us the Torah over giving it to the angels. (Bnei Yisos'chor)
Ch. 14, v. 21: "Lo sochlu chol n'veiloh la'geir asher bisho'recho titnenoh vaacholoh" - Don't eat any creature that died to the sojourner in your gateways shall you give it - Why does the Torah tell us what the "geir" should do with the "n'veiloh" that you give him gratis? This verse also gives another option, to sell it to a foreigner who has not accepted upon himself the seven Noachide laws. The gemara A.Z. 20 says that if given both options the owner must give preference to giving it away gratis to the "geir," the person who has accepted upon himself to keep the seven Noachide laws over selling it to a person who has not. The gemara P'sochim 21 clearly states that the basis for giving it gratis is to sustain the "geir" with food. Therefore the Torah says "vaacholoh." If you know that he plans to sell it to another rather than to eat it, you may sell it to someone else. (Rabbi Chaim haLevi Brisker)
Ch. 14, v. 22: "A'seir t'a'seir eis tvuas za'recho" - You shall surely tithe the grain of your planted seed - The next verse tells us that it is to be consumed in Yerusholayim, "V'ochalto lifnei Hashem Elokecho bamokome asher yivchar l'sh'kein shmo shom …… l'maan tilmad l'yiroh es Hashem Elokecho." How does consuming the tithe of agricultural produce in Yerusholayim bring to "learning" to fear Hashem? The sefer Hachinuch #360 explains this in a most compelling manner. A person whose livelihood is from raising herds of cattle or from growing produce or both is required to tithe the newborn cattle and the new produce. The amount is one tenth. This must be consumed only in Yerusholayim. Usually this is done during the thrice annual pilgrimages a person makes to Yerusholayim. However, how much can he consume even when staying for an eight day Yom Tov and even with inviting the downtrodden to his meals? This will bring him to send one or more of his children to take up permanent residence in Yerusholayim. The tithes will sustain this child's family year round. That child will be exposed to the cr?me de la cr?me of Jewish spirituality, the holy men who reside there. There is an abundance of Kohanim and Lviim present who serve in the Beis Hamikdosh. There are the elders of the supreme court that functions in the Mikdosh compound. He will learn G-dliness from them. When the family gets together in Yerusholayim on the pilgrimages instead of the table talk being some secular matters, sports, politics, etc., he will speak of spirituality, divrei Torah and musor. He will elevate the whole family and this will bring to "L'maan tilmode l'yiroh es Hashem Elokecho." Hashem's requiring the tithes to be eaten in Yerusholayim brings each family to have at least one "kollel member," and not one residing "out of town."
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