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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 25, v. 2,3: "V'shovso ho'oretz ......, Sheish shonim tizra" - Shouldn't the order be reversed, first stating that for six years you will plant, and then on the seventh year the earth shall rest? The Taamo Dikro answers with the words of the Mechilta in parshas Mishpotim. If you will keep the Sabbatical year properly, you have a Heavenly assurance that for six consecutive years you will plant. If however, you don't keep the laws of the Sabbatical year, then you will only plant three of the six years, as Hashem will weaken the growing power of the earth and it will only be able to bring forth produce if planting is done on alternate years. Ch. 25, v. 2: "Shabbos LaShem" - The N'tzi"v derives from these words that the purpose of leaving the land fallow on the seventh year is not to allow the earth to regenerate its minerals, but rather "LaShem," to fulfill Hashem's wishes.

Ch. 25, v. 2: "Shabbos Lashem" - The gemara Brochos 35b relates that Rovo told his students that they should not come to his lectures during the months of Nison and Tishrei, thus allowing them an opportunity to pursue a bit of income. This would free them from the distraction financial pressures the rest of the year. Over a period of six years this would add up to 12 months. The Chomas Anoch (Chid"o) says that to make up for the lost learning time of a year the Torah gives the Shmitoh year to devote oneself to Torah study, "Shabbos LaShem."

Ch. 25, v. 3: "Sheish shonim tizra SO'DECHO" - Compare this with "Sheish shonim tizra ARTZECHO" (Shmos 23:10). The Mechiltoh explains that the choice of the word ARTZECHO is used because it alludes to the time of the entry of the bnei Yisroel into Eretz Yisroel in the days of Yehoshua. No one had a specific parcel of land to call his field, although the land was the possession of the bnei Yisroel. (Do not misunderstand this to mean that Shmitoh calculations began immediately upon entry into Eretz Yisroel. They did not begin until after 14 years of conquest and division of the land.) Our verse, which expresses itself with SO'DECHO alludes to the re-entry into Eretz Yisroel after being in Golus.

Ch. 25, v. 3,4: "Sheish shonim tizra ...... v'osafto, U'vashonoh hashviis ...... lo sizro" - The Holy Alshich interprets these words homiletically: "Six (decades of) years (from bar-mitzvoh until death at the age of the early seventies) you shall plant and reap (by amassing Torah knowledge and doing mitzvos), and in the seventh year (decade of years past your bar-mitzvoh) you will not be able to plant (as one has passed from this world and all one's Torah and mitzvos must be amassed while in the physical world).

Ch. 25, v. 11: "Yovel hee ...... t'h'yeh LOCHEM" - The Sforno says that Yovel should be an equal joy for both the landowner who is relinquishing his land and for the inheritor who sold it many years ago, who is now getting the field back. Similarly it should be equally joyous for the master who is losing his slave as it is for the slave who will now enjoy freedom. Why so? Because "u'kro'sem DRORE." If you fulfill the mitzvoh of giving FREEDOM to the fields and slaves it will go good for you. Otherwise, ch"v Hashem will call for freedom of the sword of the enemy, punishment in kind. If you do not realize that you have no permanent ownership of land and slaves, then your enemies will take over your land and enslave you.

Ch. 25, v. 13: "Toshuvu ish el achuzoso" - The Meshech Chochmoh asks why Hashem placed Yovel and Shmitoh back to back creating a two year continuum of prohibition of almost all agricultural activities. He answers that Hashem has commanded in this verse that all fields that were an inheritance handed down from generation to generation from the times of Yehoshua which were sold, should be returned to their original owners. After the purchaser has owned the field for possibly close to five decades, he has emotionally become attached to the field, truly feeling that it will always be his. To soften the blow of having to return it gratis, Hashem has given two consecutive years during which one may have no agricultural pursuits. Thus it is not as difficult to relinquish the property during the beginning of the second year of the agricultural moratorium. I have seen written similar reasoning for the law (gemara R.H. 8b, Rambam hilchos Shmitoh v'Yovel 10:14) that when releasing slaves in the Yovel year, the slaves are freed from work on Rosh Hashonoh and only go free ten days later on Yom Kippur after the sounding of the shofar. In the interim the responsibility to feed and house them still rests upon the master although they do not work for him. This ruling similarly softens the hardship of relinquishing a slave.

Ch. 25, v. 13: "Achuzoso" - The GR"A in his commentary on Yechezkel 44:25 differentiates between "achuzoh" and "nachaloh" when used regarding Kohanim. "Nachaloh" refers to land that they receive, while "achuzoh" refers to other priestly benefits that they receive.

Ch. 25, v. 14: "V'chi sim'k'rU" - The Abarbenel explains that the plural term is used here to indicate that to execute a proper sale it is required to have the approval of both the vendor and the purchaser.

Ch. 25, v. 14: "V'chi sim'k'ru" MIMKOR laami'secho o kono" - The Holy Alshich says that by reading there words as one expression we can learn the lesson that when you sell an item to your friend, set a price that would be satisfactory to you even if you would be the purchaser, "o kono." This might answer a difficulty in this verse. By the case of selling the verse says "If you will sell AN ITEM," but by buying, it just says "o kono, - or selling." Perhaps it is to indicate that these words should be read as one phrase and the purchase also refers to that same item, as pointed out by the Holy Alshich.

Ch. 25, v. 14: "Al tonu ish es OCHIV" - Why is the word "his brother" used here? The Ponim Yofos answers that this alludes to the opinion of Shmuel in the gemara B.K. 9a that brothers who split an inheritance are not to be considered as inheritors of the items they receive, but rather as equal owners who upon splitting the estate are purchasers one from another. Our verse tells us that they should divide the inheritance fairly, thus not transgressing the sin of deceiving one's BROTHER financially.

Ch. 25, v. 17: "V'lo sonu ish es amiso" - Rashi says that this is the prohibition against speaking to another in a hurtful manner. The Chinuch in mitzvoh #338 says that this applies equally to a child who is a minor, and even to one's own children! Verbal harshness is only permitted to the extent that it is calculated and required to properly guide the child.

Ch. 25, v. 21: "V'OSOS es hatvuoh" - Rabbeinu Bachyei in parshas Mikeitz says that the word V'OSOS means "and it will PRODUCE ABUNDANTLY," similar to the word "VATAAS ho'o'retz bisheva shnei hasovo likmotzim(Breishis 41:47)."

Ch. 25, v. 25: "Ki yomuch ochicho u'mochar mei'achuzoso" - How poor must a person be before he is allowed to sell his inheritance property? The Toras Kohanim 25:41 says that he must be so destitute that he is left with nothing to eat. Otherwise he is prohibited to sell his inheritance field. It is prohibited to sell it to help purchase a home or to have capital for a business venture.

Ch. 25, v. 30: "Chomoh" - This word is spelled deficiently, lacking the letter Vov between the Ches and the Mem. It can be read Chamoh, with a Pasach. The law is that a house located in an enclosed walled-in city may be redeemed only within a year of the purchase date. This is not calculated in the usual manner of a year based on twelve lunar months but instead on a 365-day solar year. This is alluded to in the word CHAMOH, meaning sun. (Yalkut Moshe)

Ch. 25, v. 31: "U'VO'TEI hachatzeirim ...... geuloh t'h'yeh LO u'vaYovel YEITZEI" - Why does the verse begin in the plural form U'VO'TEI, and end in the singular form LO, rather than LOHEM and YEITZEI, rather than YEITZU? An answer would be greatly appreciated.

Ch. 25, v. 33: "Va'asher YIGAL" - This verse refers to a person BUYING a field from a Levi. Why is the word YIGAL used, which means redemption, rather than YIKNEH since there is no redemption taking place? The Ntzi"v answers that the cities of the Lviim are actually pockets of communities within the larger portions of the other tribes. There exists the possibility that the purchaser of a field from a Levi will be of the same tribe as the land surrounding the Levite city. Thus, upon purchasing the field from the Levi, he is actually RECLAIMING it for his tribe, hence the use of the word YIGAL.

Ch. 25, v. 35,36: "Geir v'soshov ......, al tikach mei'ito neshech" - The Meshech Chochmoh says that the Torah mentions a Geir here to tell us that even if one gave an interest bearing loan to a non-Jew, if that non-Jew has converted to Judaism, "al tikach mei'ito neshech," it is still forbidden to ask for interest payments.

Ch. 25, v. 37: "Es kas'p'cho lo SI'TEIN lo b'neshech" - Shouldn't the verse say "lo SALVEH lo b'neshech" since a loan is taking place rather than a cash grant? The Oznayim laTorah answers that the Torah is giving a warning to those who are so eager to make easy money by lending with the expectation of receiving interest payments. It is logical to lend to one who seems to have visible means to repay the loan. An eager loan shark might overlook this in his eagerness to collect interest and lend his money to someone who might very well not be able to repay. The Torah warns, " Don't GIVE AWAY your money for interest."

Ch. 25, v. 50: "V'chishav im ko'neihu" - The Torah tells us that when calculating the fair price of redeeming a Jewish slave sold to a non-Jew, one must treat him fairly and take into consideration how many years are left until the Yovel year to arrive at a proper figure. The Tosefto says that theft from a non-Jew has a dimension beyond that of theft from a Jew, chilul Hashem, the desecration of Hashem's Name.

Ch. 26, v. 1: "V'evven MASKIS" - Rashi says that the word MASKIS means "covering," as stone tiles cover the earth below them. He brings a source for this translation from Shmos 33:22, "v'SAKOSI chapi." The Ibn Ezra, Ramban, Rashbam, and Baalei Tosfos translate this word as "look." They source this from T'hilim 73:7, "MASKIOS leivov." The Rashbam explains that it was common practice to etch into or paint forms onto large tiled stones. When one prostrates himself on such a stone it appears as if he is bowing down to the form on the stone.

Answer to last week's question: How does setting the date of when Pesach begins affect the laws of Shabbos?

1) The slaughtering of the Paschal lamb on the fourteenth of Nison overrides the prohibition of Shabbos. Setting the first day of Pesach to begin on a Sunday will cause the desecration of Shabbos.

2) The cutting and processing of the Minchas Ho'omer involve acts that desecrate the Shabbos. This takes place on the second day of Pesach. Thus, if the first day of Pesach falls on a Friday rather than Thursday or Shabbos, Shabbos will be overridden by the processing of the Minchas Ho'omer.



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