Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

subscribe.gif (2332 bytes)

by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

Back to This Week's Parsha| Previous Issues

Please send your answers and comments to: SHOLOM613@ROGERS.COM


1) Ch. 25, v. 3: "Sheish shonim tizra" - Six years you will sow - Rabbi Yaakov of Vienna comments that this is a great praise of the agricultural advantage in Eretz Yisroel, that one can plant continuously for six years and have abundant crops, without having to skip any years to allow the land to replenish its mineral content.

The Kli Yokor says that it is the norm to skip every third year to allow the land to rebuild its depleted minerals. If so, what is the greatness of keeping shmitoh, with the medrash calling the observant farmers "giborei ko'ach?" Even a gentile farmer leaves the land fallow, and with even greater frequency.

2) Ch. 25, v. 3: "V'osafto es tvu'osoh" - And you will harvest HER grain - The female form "HER grain" refers back to what?

3) Ch. 25, v. 36: "V'yo'reiso meiElokecho" - And you shall have fear of your G-d - Rashi says that Hashem knows if you are using a subterfuge, "hanging one's money on a non-Jew to be able to lend it to a ben Yisroel with interest." EXACTLY what is this ploy?

4) Ch. 26, v. 5: "Vaachaltem lach'm'chem losova" - And you will eat your bread to the point of satiation - Rashi (Toras Kohanim) explains that this is the blessing of eating a small amount but being satiated, as if one ate a large amount. How is this indicated by our verse?

5) Ch. 26, v. 19: "Es shmeichem kabarzel v'es artz'chem kanchushoh" - Your heavens as iron and your land as copper - The possessive suffix "chem" after the heavens and earth is puzzling. Since the verse relates that they will not cooperate, why would they be called "YOUR heavens?"



The answer is simple. Hashem requires the farmers to leave the land fallow in unison, with everyone observing shmitoh during the same year. A non-believer might be frightened, thinking that there will be no food available.


From the flow of the verse it would seem that it refers to the six years' produce. If so the word should be "tvu'osoN." We might say that it refers to the earth, mentioned in the previous verse. However, Rabbeinu Yoel says that the suffix letter Hei alludes to the five types of grain, wheat, barley, spelt, oats, and rye.


The Chid"o in Pnei Dovid cites the Nimukei Ri"d, who explains that this does not mean that when approached for a loan, the ben Yisroel tells the potential borrower that he only has money to lend that he himself borrowed from a non-Jew that is interest bearing, and therefore he has to pass on the interest cost of the loan, although in reality it is his own money. This is not the proper explanation, as even if it were true, it is still prohibited to lend such money with interest, as explained in the gemara B.M. chapter Ei'zehu Neshech. Rather, the explanation is that when the person was approached for a loan, he turned the petitioner down, but advised him that such-and-such a non-Jew has money to lend with interest. The ben Yisroel who was approached for the loan goes to the non-Jew, lends him money and tells him that this person will approach him for a loan, and the non-Jew should lend him this ben Yisroel's money with interest, and they would later split the profits. This is the intention of "v'yo'reiso," to prohibit even this.


Mizrochi says that since the verse begins with the blessing of a bumper crop, "V'hisig lochem da'yish es botzir," that there will be so much to thresh, that by the time you have completed threshing it all you will have the next crop ready for harvest, what are these words of our verse adding? If one has so much it is obvious that he will eat a lot and be satiated. The answer is that there is an additional blessing, that even if one were to only consume a little, he would nevertheless be full.

Moshav Z'keinim explains that if one has an extremely large yield he will be totally consumed with agricultural activities, a lot of harvesting, laying out to dry, bundling, bringing into silos, etc. There would be no time to eat to one's satisfaction. This blessing must carry with it that there is no bigger yield than normal, hence there is plenty of time to enjoy the food, and that a little satiates. (The earlier blessing of a bumper crop can be explained as follows: The Kedushas Levi says that one who is lacking somewhat in faith and asks what will be available since there will be no planting receives a bumper crop, while one who doesn't ask receives the greater blessing of a regular sized crop that goes much further.)


This teaches us that when the bnei Yisroel have unfortunately reached such a level of sin, even the prayers of someone who usually has mastery over the heavens and earth, for example Choni Hamagol whose prayers brought immediate results of massive rain, will not be heard. This is an application of the verse in Eichoh 3, "Gam ki ezak vaashavei'a sosam tfilosi." (Rokei'ach)



See also Sedrah Selections, Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha and Chasidic Insights

Back to This Week's Parsha| Previous Issues

This article is provided as part of Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Permission is granted to redistribute electronically or on paper,
provided that this notice is included intact.

For information on subscriptions, archives, and
other Shema Yisrael Classes,
send mail to
Jerusalem, Israel