Thoughts on the Weekly Parshah by HaRav Eliezer Chrysler
Formerly Rav of Mercaz Ahavat Torah, Johannesburg

For sponsorships and advertising opportunities, send e-mail to: parsha@shemayisrael.co.il

Back to This Week's Parsha Previous Issues

subscribe.gif (2332 bytes)


Vol. 17   No. 30

This issue is sponsored
l'iluy Nishmas
Gavriel ben Yitzchak z"l
whose Yohrzeit is 24 Iyar
t.n.tz.v.h.

Parshas Behar-Bechukosai

Galus and Ge'ulah
in Perspective

Galus

"If a sojourner (Ger) and a resident (Toshav) who lives with you strikes it rich, and your brother becomes impoverished and is subsequently sold to a Ger Toshav who lives with you, or to a gentile, the family of a sojourner (Eiker Mishpachas Ger)". (25:47).

"Ger" - comments R, Bachye, refers to Nevuchadnetzar, King of Bavel, "Toshav", to the Kingdom of Madai (Medes); "And he is sold to a Ger Toshav who lives with you" refers to the Kingdom of Greece, and "Eiker Mishpachas Ger", to the Kingdom of Rome (which is called "Eiker", because Hakadosh-Baruch Hu will eventually uproot him from the world (see Daniel 7:11). This Parshah, he explains, is a hint to the four exiles and to the final redemption from there. It also hints that the redemption will come about through Teshuvah, though eventually, if necessary, it will have to take place even without it. And it teaches us too that the nations that subjugated us, from the time the Galus began until the Ge'ulah, will be taken to task for their evil deeds, and finally that the Ten Tribes, as well the Tribes of Yehudah and Binyamin, will return from Galus.

*

Ge'ulah

"After he has been sold, he shall be redeemed, one of his brothers shall redeem him or if he becomes self-sufficient and is redeemed" (25:48/49).

Notice how "after he has been sold" follows the exile to Edom (Rome). Hence the Torah writes "Acharei" (as opposed to 'Achar'), implying after a long time, because Galus Edom, as we ruefully know, was destined to last close to two thousand years (a long time, by any standard).

"One of his brothers (echad me'echov) shall redeem him". This refers to Mashi'ach. The Pasuk implies that somebody from the chosen tribe Yehudah (as the word "echod" has connotations of 'special'). And the Torah is clearly referring to a mortal like Moshe, the first redeemer who took us out of Egypt, (to preclude from the Christian belief in the immortality of their redeemer).

"Or if he becomes self-sufficient and is redeemed" - with money. This is a reference to Teshuvah, to which Teshuvah is sometimes compared, because just as the whiteness of silver symbolizes purity, so too, does Teshuvah purify the soul and turn our sins white.

*

Retribution

"And he shall reckon with the one who acquired him, from the year he was sold to him until the Yovel-year" (25:50). This refers to Hakadosh-Baruch-Hu, who acquired Heaven and earth. He will bring to justice each and every nation that subjugated Yisrael from the time that they began dominating them up until the time of the Ge'ulah, which it calls 'Yovel' because it is a time of freedom, as the Pasuk writes in this Parshah (25:10) "And you shall announce freedom in the land for all its inhabitants, it is the Yovel!" Or because of the Pasuk in Tehilim (76:12) "And they shall bring (yovilu) a gift to Hashem", with reference to the nations of the world leading Yisrael back to their land 'a gift for G-d' (as the Navi teaches us in Yeshayah (66:20).

*

When & Who

"If many years remain Whereas if just a few years remain . If he is not redeemed with these, then he will go out in the Yovel year, he together with his sons" (25:51-54). The date of the redemption, R. Bachye explains, depends on the extent of the Teshuvah. The greater the scale of the Teshuvah, the sooner the Ge'ulah will take place.

"If he is not redeemed with these ". In any event, when the final date arrives, the Ge'ulah will take place, whether Yisrael have done Teshuvah or not, as Chazal, based on the Pasuk in Yeshayah (60:22) "I am Hashem, I will hurry it in its time", explain - if Yisrael are worthy, then G-d will bring it early; if not, then He will send it in its time. This is the opinion of Rebbi Yehoshua in Sanhedrin (93b [See footnote]).

"He together with his sons" - a hint to the two groups that will return from Galus simultaneously those who were 'expelled' and those who were 'scattered' (the Ten Tribes and the Kingdom of Yehudah, respectively).

*

G-d & Yisrael

"For B'nei Yisrael are Servants of Mine, they are My servants whom I took out of Egypt, I am Hashem your G-d" (25).

"For B'nei Yisrael are Servants of Mine" - When the time of the Ge'ulah falls due, R. Bachye explains, nothing will hold them back even for one moment; for they will be subservient to G-d and to G-d alone.

"They are My servants whom I took out of Egypt" - just as Yisrael left Egypt as soon as the due date arrived, without a moment's delay, so will we leave Galus Edom\Yishmael, when the time arrives, and not a moment later.

"I am Hashem your G-d" - Who made the Promise, and who will keep it!

* * *

The Miracle of the
Lechem ha'Panim
(Part 2)

Last week, we cited R. Tzadok ha'Kohen's question as to why the Torah chose specifically the miracle of the hot Lechem ha'Panim to show the people each Yom-Tov, when they came on Aliyas ha'Regel. Why not show them, for example, 'the Western lamp' on the Menorah that was the first to be lit each day, yet, day in, day out, it continued to burn long after all the other lamps had gone out - despite the fact that it contained exactly the same amount of oil as they did?

And we cited his answer, which we questioned.

*

The Gemara in Chagigah points out that, when the Kohanim lifted up the Shulchan to show the people the steaming loaves, they announced 'See how G-d loves you! The Bread is as fresh now as when it was placed on the Table!'

Serving a guest fresh bread on a daily basis is connected with Hachnosas Orchim. It is something that we would envisage Avraham Avinu doing for his guests, and being praised for. In contrast, not switching the light off whilst one's guests are sitting at table is hardly the mark of a good host. Switching it off would certainly be the mark of a bad one! Consequently, to stress G-d's love of K'lal Yisrael, the miracle of the Lechem ha'Panim was far more appropriate than that of the Menorah.

*

Besides, the Gemara in Yuma (39a) informs us that, after the death of Shimon ha'Tzadik (the first Kohen Gadol in the time of the second Beis-Hamikdash), the miracle of the Ner ha'Ma'aravi was not constant; sometimes it burned longer than the other lamps, sometimes it didn't. The Gemara does not say the same about the miracle of the Lechem ha'Panim.

* * *

Parshah Pearls

Behar
(Adapted from Rabeinu Bachye)

Sh'mitah and Galus

"And you shall perform my statutes and My judgements you shall keep " (25:18).

"My statutes" says R. Bachye, refers to Sh'mitah and Yovel in general, and "My judgements", to the return of property, the setting free of servants in the Yovel year and the Dinim of overcharging, which are connected with the Yovel year, too. If you observe these Mitzvos, the Pasuk concludes, Yisrael will dwell safely in Eretz Yisrael. Otherwise, they will be exiled from the land, as the Torah specifically states in Parshas Bechukosai (27:34).

And so we find, says the author, that because the people reneged on their Teshuvah and took back all the servants that they had set free in the Yovel year, they were sold to the Babylonians in the days of Tzidkiyahu at the time of the Churban Beis-Hamikdash, when, in connection with this very sin, thee Pasuk writes in Divrei-Hayamim (36:17/18) "And G-d sent the King of Bavel against them, and he killed their young men by the sword in their Beis-Hamikdash. He took no pity on the youths and the maidens, on the elderly and the old men; everyone He (G-d) delivered into his hand. And all the vessels of the House of G-d, large and small, together with the treasures of G-d's House and of the king and his officers, everything he brought to Bavel".

*

Bechukosai

Standing Tall

"And I will lead you upright (komemi'us)" 26:13.

R. Bachye has already mentioned the fact that the amazing blessings contained in this Parshah have never yet taken place, neither in the time of the first Beis-Hamikdash nor in the time of the second. They are destined however, to come to fruition in the time of the third Beis-Hamikdash.

*

The Gemara in Sanhedrin (100a) learns from this Pasuk that in the time of Mashi'ach, people will grow to a height of two hundred Amos. This is because the word "Komemi'us" is the acronym of 'sh'tei komos' (two heights), with reference to Adam ha'Rishon, whose height, following his sin, was reduced to a hundred Amos (according to the opinion of Rebbi Meir there). Rebbi Yehudah maintains however, that they will attain the height of a hundred Amos - the height of the Heichal (the Kodesh) in the time of the second Beis-Hamikdash.

*

The Gemara (based on a Pasuk in Yeshayah [54:12]) states that G-d will bring precious stones and pearls and carve into them cavities measuring ten by twenty Amos and place them at the gates of Yerushalayim. That is speaking about windows, not doors; otherwise what use are doors measuring ten or even twenty Amos, to allow people measuring two hundred (or even a hundred) Amos to pass through them?

*

First and Last Letters

"Im be'chokosai teilechu vo'olech eschem komemi'us" (26:3-13).

The B'rochos begin with an Alef, Rabeinu Bachye explains, an indication that we will only merit all these remarkable blessings if we study the Torah from 'Alef' till 'Tav'.

The curses on the other hand, begin with a 'Vav' ("ve'im lo sishme'u li" - 'and if you don't listen to me ' ) and finish with a 'Hey' ("be'Har Sinai be'yad Mosheh"). These two letters constitute half of Hashem's Holy Name, a hint that even when Yisrael sin, Hashem does not forsake them, but remains with them even in Galus. This is what the Pasuk in Tehilim (91:15) specifically writes "I am with them in their troubles", and which Chazal echo, when they say that when Yisrael went down to Egypt, the Shechinah was with them, and likewise He accompanied them in all their other exiles.

*

Inspired by Fear

It is noteworthy, comments R. Bachye, that both here, and in Parshas Ki Savo, the Pesukim of the curses exceed those of the blessings by far - a deliberate tactic that G-d employs to implant fear into the hearts of the people, to stop them from sinning. And it is with the same aim in mind that, at the Giving of the Torah, the Shechinah (which symbolizes the Midas ha'Din) appeared on top of Har Sinai in the form of "a consuming fire before the eyes of all the people", containing the Midah of Rachamim hidden inside it - to implant fear in the hearts of all who saw it.

*

Consoled by Mercy

Perhaps we will wonder in trepidation, says R. Bachye, quoting the Medrash, why it is that the blessings are so few and the curses so many?

It is to dispel this concern, he answers, that the B'rachos begin with an 'Alef' and end with a 'Tav' (see above 'First and Last Letters'), incorporating the entire spectrum of letters - a sign that the B'rachos are more significant than the K'lalos, which begin with a 'Vav' and end with a 'Hey' (as short a distance as is conceivable).

The commentaries add to this the fact that whereas the B'rachos are destined to expand (from 'Alef' to 'Tav'), the K'lalos will decrease (from 'Vav' to 'Hey').

* * *

HIGHLIGHTS FROM . . .
THE BA'AL HA'TURIM
(Parshas Behar)

" and do not harvest its wild seeds (sefichehah) " (25:11).

The same word appears in Iyov, where the Pasuk writes (14:19) " dirt that produces its own wild seeds (sefichehah)". The Ba'al ha'Turim points to the Tosefta, which rules that in the Sh'mitah-year, a man is obligated to breach the fence surrounding his vineyard and to demolish its walls. As the above Pasuk in Iyov states "Stones are worn away by water, it washes them into dirt that produces its own wild seeds"; because even if there is a stone wall he must break it, and even if a torrent of water is gushing into his field, he is not permitted to build a protective wall around it.

*

"Yisrael negated seventy Sh'mitos and Yovlos; that is why they suffered seventy years of exile, the Ba'al ha'Turim explains. And this is hinted in the Pasuk in Tazri'a (in connection with the birth of a girl) " and she shall be Tamei for two weeks (shevu'ayim) like the days of her Nidus". Viewing the Pasuk out of context, the Ba'al ha'Turim explains that the word "shevu'ayim" (which is missing a 'Vav') can also be read as "shiv'im" (seventy). What the Torah is now hinting is that She (Klal Yisrael) will be Tamei (rejected) for seventy years, during which time she will be considered an outcast (like a Nidah) by her neighbors - as the Pasuk writes in Eichah (1:17) "Yerushalayim became like a Nidah among her enemies that surround her". "

*

"No man among you shall cheat (overcharge) his fellow-Jew, and you shall fear (ish es amiso ve'yoreiso ) your G-d " (25:17).

The last letters of the four words" ish es amiso ve'yoreiso spell 'Sh'tus' (a sixth), to teach us, says the Ba'al ha'Turim, that one is allowed to charge up to a sixth more than the value of the article with impunity.

*

" I am Hashem your G-d And you shall guard My statutes" (25:17/18).

The juxtaposition of the two phrases indicates Chazal's teaching - that 'one should carry out G-d's commands because He told us to', and not for any ulterior motive.

*

THE BA'AL HA'TURIM
(Parshas Bechukosai)

" you will plant your seeds in vain, for your enemies will eat them (va'acholuhu oyveichem)" (26:16).

The same word appears in Emor (24:9 [in connection with the Lechem ha'Panim]) "and eat it (va'acholuhu) in a holy place"', and again in Yirmiyah (10:25) " for they consumed Ya'akov, they consumed (va'acholuhu) him and finished him off". 'I said' (says Hashem) 'that you will keep the Mitzvos and remain in the land, a holy place. But you did not comply with My wishes. Therefore, they consumed you and finished you off (laid waste to the Beis-Hamikdash), and the enemy consumed it'.

*

"And I will break the pride of your strength (es g'eon uzchem)".

The Gematriyah of "es Ge'on" is equivalent to that of 'Zeh ha'Mikdash'; and the Gematriyah of 'es g'eon uzchem', to that of 'zeh Yerushalayim'.

*

"And if you go with Me casually then I will continue to strike you seven-fold like your sins (ke'chatoseichem)" (26:21). The Gematriyah of "ke'chatoseichem" is equivalent to that of 'bein be'Shogeg, bein be'Meizid', says the Ba'al ha'Turim. To be sure it is! The moment one takes a casual approach towards Torah and Mitzvos, one becomes prone to sin more easily and more often, with errors occurring regularly, for lack of any guilt-feelings the last time that one sinned. No wonder then that G-d no longer makes a distinction between Shogeg and Meizid as regards punishment.

*

TARGUM YONASAN
(Parshas Bechukosai)

'These are the Mitzvos that Hashem commanded Moshe, and it is no longer possible to add to them anything new ' (26:34).

* * *

THE MITZVOS AND THEIR MEANING
(Adapted from the Seifer ha'Chinuch)

Please bear in mind that the rulings in this article reflect the opinion of the Seifer ha'Chinuch and are not necessarily Halachah.

Mitzvah 451:
To Shecht a Beheimah, a Chayah
and a Bird Properly (cont.)

The definition of 'Hagramah' is based on the fact that, although Shechitah is performed on the neck of the animal, the Torah has nevertheless placed limitations as to whereabout on the neck the Shechitah is permitted, and one may not Shecht below or above those points.

The location of Shechitah on top of the wind-pipe begins from the 'Shipuy Kova' (the thyroid cartilage [or Adam's Apple]), and stretches down to the beginning of the small flaps of the lung, not the main section of the flaps that is actually joined to the lung. This Shi'ur is equivalent to the entire section of the neck that the animal stretches (naturally, without exerting itself) when it grazes. Whilst the equivalent location on the esophagus is after leaving a space on top measuring a hand-grip, and at the bottom, up to the point where the esophagus becomes 'hairy' (meaning that it becomes full of 'cracks', in the same way as the stomach does). Some define 'a hand-grip' as three finger-breadths, others, as sufficient for the Shochet to grip with his two fingers, one on either side of the neck (which is the equivalent of one finger-breadth). This measurement pertains to an animal or a Chayah; As far as birds are concerned, it all depends on the size of the bird. The Gemara in Chulin rules that if one Shechts one third of the Shechitah below the Shipuy Kova, one third above it, and the final third below it, this is considered Hagramah, and the Shechitah is invalid. This is because the majority of the animal's death must be effected by means of Shechitah. Consequently, it is only if the animal dies during the middle third of the Shechitah that the Shechitah can be Kasher. Otherwise, it is Pasul. This case is confined to the top of the wind-pipe. It is not applicable at the bottom end (where the lung begins), and where the slightest hole invalidates the Shechitah; and it is not applicable at either end of the esophagus, for precisely the same reason.

Whoever is not conversant with the above four things that disqualify the Shechitah is not permitted to Shecht. In the event that he did, one may not eat from his Shechitah, Even if after being asked about his Shechitah, he assures us that he Shechted correctly, we cannot accept his assurance. This is because, since to begin with, he did not know the Dinim of Shechitah, how can we take his word that he did not make a mistake or simply forget something that is crucial to the Shechitah?

* * *

For sponsorships and adverts call 651 9502


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.

Shema Yisrael Torah Network
For information on subscriptions, archives, and
other Shema Yisrael Classes,
send mail to parsha@shemayisrael.co.il

http://www.shemayisrael.com
Jerusalem, Israel
732-370-3344