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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 25, v. 8: "V'sofarto l'cho" - And you shall count for yourself - Tosfos RI"d asks, "Why doesn't each person count the years towards "yoveil" just as we do the days of "s'firas ho'omer?" He answers that the singular form, "v'sofarto l'cho" indicates that the responsibility lies on one only, in this case the court. By "s'firas ho'omer" the verse says, "usfartem lochem" in the plural form. Therefore it is incumbent upon all of the bnei Yisroel.

Ch. 25, v. 21: "V'tzivisi es birchosi" - And I will command My blessing - On the eve of a "shmitoh" year a farmer came to Rabbi Yoseif Chaim Sonnenfeld, imploring and begging him to give his approval to leniencies in working one's fields during the upcoming "shmitoh" year. Rabbi Sonnenfeld stood his ground, simply stating that halachically he found no basis to be lenient. The farmer was extremely distraught at this point. Rabbi Sonnenfeld removed the volume of Yirmiyohu from his bookshelf, opened it to 17:5, and showed the farmer the following: "Orur ha'gever asher yivtach bo'odom umin Hashem yosur libo" - cursed is the man who places his trust in a person and from Hashem he diverts his heart.

Rashi says that this refers to one who relies upon his own human efforts in agricultural pursuits during the "shmitoh" year, "and from Hashem he diverts his heart" means that he does not rely upon the Torah's promise of "v'tzivisi es birchosi."

Perhaps this is alluded to in the change from "ha'gever" earlier in the verse to "bo'odom" later, which we can read as "bo'adomoh," with a Ko'meitz under the final Mem. Thus this word has a dual meaning; he relies upon himself and the "ground" that he works. (n.l.)

Ch. 25, v. 35: "V'chi yomuch ochicho v'hechezakto bo" - And if your brother becomes impoverished and you shall strengthen him - The verse in T'hilim 41:2 says, "Ashrei maskil el dol b'yom ro'oh y'malteihu Hashem." This can be interpreted as follows: When one gives charity to an impoverished individual he should give it in a manner that the poor recipient should not feel embarrassed by receiving this handout. This is the intention of this verse. "Asherei maskil eldol," - fortunate is the man who acts wisely with a poor man, alleviating him of feeling that he is only a recipient.

The gemara P'sochim 8a states, "One who says, 'This coin is for charity so that the merit of the mitzvoh will sustain my son,' is considered a totally righteous person." When giving charity to the poor man he says, "I am deriving great benefit from giving you this money as it hopefully will remove a negative edict," - "b'yom ro'oh y'malteihu Hashem." This way the poor man feels that by accepting the alms he is reciprocating a benefit to the donour. (Yalkut Sofer)

Perhaps this concept is alluded to in the way the gemara expresses itself. We find the expression "haNOSEIN tzedokoh l'ishoh," and "haNOSEIN tzedokoh l'oni" (gemara Chagigoh 5a). This is the straightforward way of saying "One who gives charity to " Why does the gemara P'sochim say, "HO'OMEIR," - one who says " and not "one who gives"? There is an indication here that when giving charity one should verbalize this intention so the recipient will hear it. This might also explain why the gemara considers the donour a "tzadik gomur," - a TOTALLY righteous person. The gemara first lets us know that even though the donour gives with the intention of himself deriving benefit, this is just fine, and he is righteous in his act. Secondly, by verbalizing it so that the recipient will hear it and feel that he if reciprocating a benefit to the donour, thus lifting his spirit, the donour is further elevated to the status of "tzadik gomur." (migdo'lei haChasidus)


Ch. 26, v. 8: "V'rodfu mi'kem chamishoh mei'oh" - Why will five bnei Yisroel be able to chase one-hundred non-bnei Yisroel? The holy Admor of Ostrovtze explains that the gemara Chulin 92a derives from the words in Z'charyoh 11:12, "Va'yishklu es s'chori shloshim ko'sef" that the bnei Noach accepted upon themselves the responsibility of keeping thirty mitzvos. Thus 100 bnei Noach have the merit of 3,000 mitzvos. Each ben Yisroel has 613 mitzvos from the Torah and 7 Rabbinical mitzvos, for a total of 620 mitzvos. Five bnei Yisroel have the merit of 3,100 mitzvos, 100 more than 100 bnei Noach have. In the merit of these extra 100 mitzvos that 5 bnei Yisroel have, they are able to chase after 100 bnei Noach.

Ch. 26, v. 8: "U'mei'oh mi'kem r'vovoh yirdofu" - Rashi raises the question that in keeping with the ratio of five pursuing 100, we should have 100 pursuing only 2,000, not 10,000. He answers that a larger number of people are proportionately more powerful than a smaller number.

This question is also answered by many Rishonim (Rosh, Rabbeinu Tam, others) who say that "u'mei'oh mi'kem" does not mean "one-hundred of you," but rather one- hundred of the above- mentioned amount, "a group of five" of you. Thus there are 500 of you pursuing 10,000 of your enemy, keeping the ratio at one pursuing twenty. Perhaps Rashi is not happy with this explanation as the verse gives no new information by adding that 500 will pursue 1,000, since after all, this is the same ratio as five pursuing 100.

Perhaps another answer can be given by first raising two questions on the wording of the verse. Why didn't the verse express itself the same way and in the same order by saying "V'rodfu mi'kem chamishoh mei'oh V'RODFU mi'kem mei'oh r'vovoh?" We would thus have the same term "v'rodfu" and we would have it mentioned both times before the numbers of the pursuers and the pursued. Perhaps the verse is telling us that only after five have already pursued 100, "v'rodfu" translates as "and they have pursued," will the 100 pursuing 10,000 take place. It is not unusual for an army that sees that its side is beginning to falter and the few are successful in pursuing the many, that its resolve weakens. Once in a weakened frame of mind and less courageous, 100 WILL THEN pursue, "yirdofu," 10,000. Thus the word "yirdofu" is placed at the end of the second encounter, as this is what will take place in the future as a result of the first successful pursuit. This does not explain the switching of order of the word "mi'kem," which is more understandable according to the Rosh and Rabbeinu Tam. (n.l.)

Ch. 26, v. 21: "Keri" - This word appears as is or with the prefix of the letter Beis in this chapter seven times. The "Mesoroh" writes that the first and second time it is "keri," the third and fourth time it is "b'keri," the fifth time it is "keri," and the sixth and seventh time it is "b'keri." The "Mesoroh" goes on to say that where we find "es" it is "keri," and where we find "v'es" it is "b'keri." What does this connection with the words "es" and "v'es" mean?

There is a verse in M'lochim 1:8:64 that has the words "es" and "v'es" appearing seven times. The order of these two words corresponds exactly to the order of "keri" and "b'keri" as they appear in our chapter. (Minchas Shai, Chid"o, and GR"A)

Ch. 26, v. 26: "V'ofu esser noshim lach'm'chem b'sanur echod v'heishivu lach'm'chem bamishkol, va'achaltem v'lo sisbo'u" - The Ponis Yofos explains these words to contain three curses, one connected to the next. It is obvious that the verse is discussing a situation where there is a shortage of fuel, thus necessitating ten women to simultaneously bake their bread together in one oven. Although the shortage of fuel is a curse, nevertheless there is one advantage in filling the oven with ten people's breads. The gemara Beitzoh 17a says that bread is better baked when the oven if full.

When bread is well baked it is noticeably lighter than when it was dough, as most of its liquid dissipates during the baking process. Only when it is not well baked is its weight about the same as when the raw dough went into the oven, as it retains almost all of its liquid. This is the second curse mentioned in this verse. Even though the oven is full and normally the breads bake very well, when they will be taken out they will have the same weight as when put in, "v'heishivu lach'm'chem bamishkol."

Even this deplorable situation normally has its good side. Although not well baked, a heavy bread remains in ones intestines for longer as it is more difficult to digest, as explained by the Avudrohom in his commentary on the Hagodoh, that this is why the Egyptians fed the bnei Yisroel matzoh, which is difficult to digest. By staying in ones intestines for longer the person feels satiated for longer. This is the third curse of this verse. Even though the bread is heavy and not well baked and should normally satiate for a long period of time, this will not be the case, "va'achaltem v'lo sisbo'u."

A different approach to these words is offered by Rabbi Yoseif Sho'ul Natanson in Divrei Sho'ul. The gemara B.M. 30a says that if a person finds a lost object he should hold it until the rightful owner claims it as per Dvorim 22:3. The gemara goes on to say that one is required to care for the item and tend to its needs. If a wall hanging was found it should be spread out so that it does not become moldy and deteriorate. However, the gemara says that it should not be spread out where guests view it as someone might cast an evil eye, "ayin hora," upon it and this will also cause its deterioration. Similarly, the gemara a few folios later (42a) says that items that are weighed or measured have no blessing in them, i.e. they will not flourish nor thrive. This is the curse of our verse. Because ten women will bake bread together they will each eye the others' breads and cause an "ayin hora." As well the verse says that the bread, when taken out of the oven, will be measured, "v'heishivu lach'm'chem baMISHKOL." This also causes the bread to not be successful. Thus the verse ends, "va'achaltem v'lo sisbo'u," - and you will eat but not be satiated. He adds that we find by the blessing in this week's reading, "va'achaltem lach'm'chem losova" (26:5), that Rashi comments, "Ocheil kima v'hu misbo'reich b'mei'ov," one eats A BIT and he feels the blessing (satiation) in his INNARDS. Here we have a blessing, as both of the above causes of "ayin hora" are avoided. He eats A BIT, a small amount that is not measured, and the blessing is in his INNARDS, away from the public eye.



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha, Chasidic Insights and Chamisha Mi Yodei'a

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