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

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Vol. 18   No. 51

This issue is sponsored
l'iluy Nishmas
Leah bas Yisroel z"l
t.n.tz.v.h.

Parshas Ki Sovo

Mashi'ach is Coming
(Based on the Da'as Zekeinim mi'Ba'alei Tosfos)

"And it will be that just as G-d rejoiced over you, to do good to you and to increase you, so will He cause others to rejoice over destroying you, and you will be moved from the land to which you are coming to inherit" (28:63).

This Pasuk hints at the date of the coming of Mashi'ach of which Daniel speaks, when he writes (12:11) " from the time that the Tamid was stopped and the mute abomination put in place, one thousand, two hundred and ninety (years until Mashi'ach)".

The years that "G-d rejoiced over you ", refers to the period beginning with the four hundred years of Galus (where He "did good" to the Avos and "increased us" in Egypt) and ending with the destruction of the first Beis-Hamikdash. This incorporates the four hundred years from the birth of Yitzchak until the Exodus from Egypt, the four hundred and eighty years from then until the construction of the Beis-Hamikdash, and the four hundred and ten years that the first Beis-Hamikdash stood.

And that is precisely how long the Galus was destined to last, as the angel swore to Daniel (12:7) " that after a period, two periods and a half all these would be finished". The "period" mentioned there refers to the first period of the Galus of Egypt, of which the Torah writes in Bo (12:20) " the time that B'nei Yisrael dwelt in Mitzrayim (starting from the B'ris bein ha'Besarim, that took place thirty years before the birth of Yitzchak) was four hundred and thirty years". Now three times four hundred and thirty (hinted in the three periods [I do not know how the author interprets the 'half-period' mentioned in the Pasuk]) is one thousand, two hundred and ninety.

We just saw how the dual periods of what is referred to as 'Galus Mitzrayim' that lasted a thousand, two hundred and ninety years is hinted both in Torah and in Kesuvim. It is also hinted in Nevi'im, says the Da'as Zekeinim, when, in connection with Yisrael's return from Galus, the Navi prophesies in Hoshei'a (2:17) " and she will dwell there like the days of her youth (Galus Mitzrayim) and the day that she left Egypt (with reference to the period between the Exodus from Egypt until the destruction of the second Beis-Hamikdash - a total of one thousand, two hundred and ninety years).

*

One may perhaps ask about the Pasuk at the end of Daniel (12:12), which specifically gives the years of Galus as one thousand, three hundred and thirty-five. Indeed, that figure is hinted in Nitazvim, where in the Pasuk "And I will surely hide (haster astir) My Face from you" (31:18), the Gematriyah of "haster astir" is one thousand, three hundred and thirty-six.

The answer to that, says the author, is that that is referring to the additional forty-five/six years that it will take Yisrael to gain jurisdiction over the entire world.

But Mashi'ach will arrive to redeem us from the nations after one thousand, two hundred and ninety years, though we do not know exactly when to begin counting those years, so as to know exactly when they will come to an end.

The same lack of clarity surrounded the termination of the Galus in Egypt, where G-d had told Avraham Avinu that they would be enslaved in a strange land for four hundred years, yet in the end, Yisrael did not know exactly when that period would terminate. In fact, it began with the birth of Yitzchak. And we find that the tribe of Efrayim, who thought that it began at the B'ris bein ha'Besarim that took place thirty years earlier (as we explained), left Egypt thirty years prior to the due date, for which they were all killed by the men of Gas.

And so it did with regard to the seventy years Galus in Bavel, as G-d informed Yirmiyah (29:10), yet Belshatzar, King of Bavel, Achashverosh, King of Persia and even Daniel all erred with regard to when the seventy years began and consequently, when they were destined to end.

So too here, says the Da'as Zekeinim, we do not know whether the years of Galus began when the Korban Tamid was stopped during the civil war between the Chashmona'i brothers Hurk'nus and Aristobulus, or whether it began some hundred and twenty years later with the Churban Beis-Hamikdash. That, he explains, we will only know retroactively when Mashi'ach comes.

*

This is what the Da'as Zekeinim (and other Rishonim) had to say about the date of the coming of Mashi'ach. Depending upon whether the thousand, two hundred and ninety years began with the destruction of the second Beis-Hamikdash (in the year 5828 [70 C.E.]) or with the nullification of the Korban Tamid (some hundred and twenty years earlier), Mashi'ach ought to have come either in the year 5118 (1358 C.E.) or around 4990 (1230), both still during the era of the Rishonim.

Unfortunately, however, both dates arrived, but Mashi'ach didn't.

Exactly what Daniel meant remains a mystery. Perhaps Daniel was referring to "Achishenah" (the Pasuk that predicts the coming of Mashi'ach before the final date [of six thousand]), and indeed, that is the date on which he would have come had K'lal Yisrael been worthy. Whereas we now have to wait until "be'Itah" (the final date by which time he has to come). Or perhaps there is some other way of explaining Daniel's words, which predict his arrival on any date since then, and which could occur at any time. Be that as it may, it would seem that, ever since Ya'akov Avinu was made to forget the date of Mashi'ach - just as he was about to divulge it to his sons as they stood around his death-bed, G-d has deliberately hidden the actual date from us. The reason for this, no doubt, is to kindle the flame of yearning in our hearts, thereby enabling us to fulfill the famous words of the Rambam - 'I wait for him on any day that he comes!' may we merit to witness that day very soon! (to be continued)

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Parshah Pearls
(Adapted from the Riva)

Bringing Bikurim

" then you shall take some of the first fruit (me'reishis )" (26:2).

" of the first-fruit", comments Rashi, 'but not all of them!'. Since not all fruit is subject to Bikurim, only the seven species, and we learn this from the 'G'zeirah-Shavah' from "Eretz" "Eretz" (from the Pasuk in Eikev [8:8] "Eretz Chitah, u'se'orah ve'gefen ve'rimon ").

Now that we have the 'G'zeirah-Shavah' of "Eretz" "Eretz", asks the Riva, why do we need "me'reishis"?

Citing Rabeinu Tam from Orleans, he explains that, if not for "me'Reishis", we would have thought that the owner is obligated to bring Bikurim from each of the seven species. "Me'Reishis" teaches us that he only needs to bring from whichever one ripens first.

And citing R. Aharon from Kutboira, he explains how Rabeinu Tam's response answers another question on Rashi. Namely, if all seven species were subject to Bikurim, one would be forced to spend the entire summer traveling backwards and forwards bringing one's Bikurim to Yerushalayim from each individual species as it ripens? But now this would no longer be necessary.

Moreover, it conforms to Rashi's comment on the word in Pasuk 3 'I have told today" - 'once a year, and not twice a year'! The Chizkuni explains that when Rashi says that one does not need to bring all the species, he means that it is not necessary to give all the fruit of the first tree to ripen as Bikurim, but that a little will suffice.

And the Riva supports this explanation from the S'mag, who extrapolates from the Pasuk in Sh'lach l'cho (15:21, in connection with Chalah) " from the first of your doughs ", "from the first", 'but not all the first!' - that somebody who declares his entire dough Chalah or all his granary Terumah has in fact achieved nothing. And so it will be with a tree which the owner declared entirely Bikurim.

*

Using Ma'aser Sheini
for a Dead Person

" I did not 'use' some of it (mimenu [i.e. Ma'aser Sheini]) for a dead person" (26:14).

Rashi explains - To make for him a coffin and shrouds (with the proceeds of Ma'aser Sheini money),.

The Riva, citing R, Tam from Orleans, queries Rashi from the Gemara in Yevamos (74a). The Gemara there initially cites the current Pasuk as the source for the concession of anointing oneself with Ma'aser Sheini oil (since it can also be used for anointing living people, and is not confined to the dead). It then suggests that perhaps the Pasuk is coming to teach us the prohibition of purchasing a coffin and shrouds with the proceeds of Ma'aser Sheini money; and it answers that the word "mimenu" implies from the actual Ma'aser Sheini, and not from the proceeds of Ma'aser Sheini money.

In view of this Gemara, how can Rashi issue an explanation that the Gemara has rejected?

*

To answer the question, R. Elyakim explains that what the Gemara in Yevamos is asking is that perhaps the Pasuk is coming to teach us the prohibition of purchasing a coffin and shrouds with the proceeds of Ma'aser Sheini money exclusively; And it answers that it is also coming to teach us the concession of anointing oneself with Ma'aser Sheni oil, which it extrapolates from the word "mimenu", which implies from the actual Maa'ser Sheni itself.

Consequently, both the actual prohibition and the inference remain intact, and Rashi's explanation is justified. The Riva concludes by citing the Tosfos Shantz, who explains the Gemara in Yevamos in exactly the same way.

*

Where Did the Tribe of Levi Stand

"These will stand to bless the people " (27:12).

Rashi explains that the Kohanim, the Levi'im and the Aron remained below, between the two mountains. But how can that be, asks the Riva, when the Torah specifically lists the tribe of Levi among those who ascended Har Gerizim?

And he cites the Gemara in Sotah, which asks this very question, to which it gives two answers: Those who remained below with the Aron, he says, were either the elders of the tribe, or all those who were fit to serve (between the ages of thirty and fifty); whilst the rest of the tribe ascended the mountain.

*

Which Tribes Went Where

"And these shall stand by the curse, Reuven, Gad, Asher, Zevulun, Dan and Naftali" (27:13).

Citing R. B'rachyah ha'Nakdan, the Riva points out that the six tribes who ascended Har Gerizim (representing the B'rachos) were the sons of Ya'akov's main wives (Shimon, Levi, Yehudah, Yisachar,Yosef and Binyamin) - except for Reuven and Zevulun, who joined the sons of the maidservants on Har Eival (which represented the curses); Zevulun, because he was the youngest of Le'ah's sons, and Reuven, because he interfered in his father's matrimonial affairs, so he had to answer 'Amen' when the curse regarding someone who has relations with his father's wife was read out.

*

The Eleven Curses

The eleven curses (which incidentally, were first said in the form of blessings - See Rashi on Pasuk nine), all deal with sins that are generally performed in secret, such as idolatry and 'smiting one's friend in secret' (i.e. lashon ha'ra). Sins that are performed in public, the Riva explains, do not require curses, since Beis-Din will find out about them and punish the sinner.

And he proves it from the fact that the Torah does not include adultery with a married woman among the curses - precisely because it is a sin that will become revealed, since people will become suspicious when they see Reuven entering Shimon's house when he is not there.

* * *

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE BA'AL HA'TURIM

"And you shall write on these stones all the words of this Torah, well-explained" (ha'Torah ha'zos, ba'er heiteiv)" 27:8. Commenting on the words "ba'er heiteiv", Rashi explains 'in seventy languages'.

The Ba'al ha'Turim points out that the Gematriyah of "ha'Torah ha'zos ba'er heiteiv" is equivalent to that of 'gam be'shiv'im lashon'.

Presumably, Rashi too, means in seventy languages over and above that of Lashon ha'Kodesh.

*

"and all the people shall declare "Omein!" (27:26)

The Gematriyah of "Omein", says the Ba'al ha'Turim, is equivalent to that of the combined Names of 'Havayah' and Adnus'. Hence Chazal have said that someone who answers 'Omein!' to a B'rachah is greater than the person who recited the B'rachah, he explains, since his declaration incorporates two Names of Hashem as against the one Name recited by the person who recites the B'rochoh.

*

"Hashem will smite you (yakcho Hashem )" 28:22.

The words "yakcho Hashem" appear four times in the Tochachah, hinting at the four exiles - Babylon, Medes, Greece and Edom ((Ba'al ha'Turim).

*

" from the sole of your feet up to your skull Hashem will lead you and your king " (28:35/6).

The juxtaposition of these two phrases hints at King Yehoyakim, whose skull was not buried together with his body.

*

" and you will go lower and lower (matoh motoh)" 28:49.

The Gematiyah of "matoh motoh", the Ba'al ha'Turim points out, is equivalent to that of 'Gehinom'.

*

" G-d will return you to Egypt (ve'heshivcho Hashem) in ships " (28:68).

The Gematriyah of "ve'heshivcho Hashem" says the Ba'al ha'Turim, is equivalent to that of 'zeh yih'yeh bi'yemei Yirmiyah' (that will take place in the time of Yirmiyah).

He also points out that the Name of Hashem (Havayeh) appears twenty-six times in the Tochachah, as it does in the Amidah (apart from the one in the B'rachah of 'Ve'lamalshinim', which was only added later). This teaches us, he says, that Tefilah is the antidote to the curses of the Tochachah.

*

"And Hashem did not give you a heart to know up to this day. And I led you for forty years" (29:3.4).

The juxtaposition of these two phrases, says the Ba'al ha'Turim, teaches us that it takes forty years to fully understand one's Rebbe.

* * *

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 231:
Not to Curse a Fellow-Jew (cont.)

The Gemara in Shavu'os (36a) rules that someone who curses himself is Chayav Malkos for transgressing this La'av, as the Torah writes in Va'eschanan (4:9) "Only beware and guard yourself very much ". The author adds that a prince who curses his father is guilty of transgressing four independent La'avin - his father, a judge, a king and "be'amcho lo so'or", as the Choshen Mishpat writes (in Si'man 26).

This Mitzvah applies everywhere and at all times to both men and women. Whoever contravenes it be'Meizid and curses a fellow-Jew using a Name of G-d or a Kinuy, and there are witnesses and warning, receives Malkos. In fact, this is one of the only three La'avin for which one receives Malkos, despite the fact that it is a La'av she'ein bo Ma'aseh, and the Torah does not specifically mention Malkos. The other two La'avin are swearing falsely and declaring an animal a Temurah (switching the Kedushah from a Kodshim on to one that is Chulin, as the Gemara states in Sanhedrin.

*

Mitzvah 232:
Not to Mislead an Innocent Person on the Way

It is forbidden to give a fellow-Jew bad advice, but rather to give someone who seeks it, advice that is correct and helpful, as the Torah writes in Kedoshim (19:14) "And before a blind person do not place a stumbling block". Commenting on the Pasuk The Sifra explains that if 'Before someone who is blind' in a certain matter asks you for advice concerning it, do not offer him advice that is beneficial to you, but what is beneficial to him. For example, one should not advise him to sell his field and with the proceeds to purchase a donkey, having in mind to then buy his field. And this La'av incorporates assisting someone to perform a sin, by talking him into doing something which is sinful. That is why the Gemara in Bava Metzi'a (75b) rules that both the lender and the borrower on interest transgress (the above La'av of 'Lifnri Iver'), since each one causes the other to transgress it.

A reason for the Mitzvah is, because as is well-known, the smooth running of the world depends largely upon one person guiding the other, and upon giving good advice to one another.

(to be cont.)

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