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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 25, v. 2: "V'shovsoh ho'oretz shabbos laShem" - Even though there is the advantage of the nutrients regenerating themselves when the earth is left fallow, you should fulfill the mitzvoh as a "shabbos laShem," only because Hashem has commanded you to do so. (Moshav Z'keinim)

Ch. 25, v. 4: "Uvashonoh hashviis shabbos shabbosone" - Even during the six years of agricultural pursuit the Torah scholar's weekday is on the level of Shabbos, as his involvement is only in Torah. His Shabbos is even more elevated, having the appellation "Shabbos Shabbosone." The working man's Shabbos is just Shabbos. During the "shmitoh" year even the working man immerses himself totally in Torah study. During that year his weekday is also "Shabbos." When Shabbos comes during the "shmitoh" year everyone's Shabbos is "Shabbos Shabbosone." (P'ninim Y'korim)

Ch. 25, v. 34: "U'sa'deI migraSH o'reiheM" - The Rokei'ach points out that the final letters of these three words spell the name Moshe in reverse. This alludes to the fact that although Moshe himself did not personally receive a portion of land among the L'viim, as he never merited entering the land, but his son Gershom did. Perhaps there is another allusion to this as well in the word MIGRASH, which is the name Gershom when the order of the letters is switched.

Ch. 25, v. 49: "O hisigoh yodo v'nigol" - If a relative may redeem him, isn't it obvious that he may redeem himself? The Meshech Chochmoh answers that it is necessary to mention his redeeming himself in relation to the ruling in the words immediately after, "o hisigoh yodo v'nigol." The following verse states, "v'chishav im koneihu," that he should make an accurate calculation with his purchaser, so as to not underpay. Not only does this apply when a relative redeems him, but even when he redeems himself and feels very hard-pressed to extricate himself from being a slave, he should still not take advantage of his purchaser, and should make sure to pay his full redemption value.


Ch. 26, v. 6: "V'nosati sholom bo'oretz ...... v'cherev lo saavor b'artzchem" - If you have internal peace within the land then you will have no enemy from the outside disturbing your peace. (Toldos Yaakov Yoseif)

Ch. 26, v. 8: "V'rodfu mi'kem chamishoh mei'oh" - Why will five bnei Yisroel be able to chase after 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) by saying 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.

Ch. 26, v. 21: "V'im teilchu imi keri" - The gemara Shabbos 118b says that one who recites Hallel daily is considered a blasphemer. On the other hand, the gemara Brochos 4b one who recites the chapter of "T'hiloh l'Dovid" (T'hilim #145, commonly known as "Ashrei") thrice daily is assured that he has a place in the world-to-come. Is one not praiseworthy for saying Hallel daily, extolling the great open miracles that Hashem has wrought? The Meshech Chochmoh explains that Hallel stresses the open miracles that Hashem wrought. We recite it only on the anniversary of special occasions. By reciting it daily we give credence to the concept that miracles are worthwhile praising daily, and that nature is relegated to a lower rung, to the level of "keri," happenstance. However, this is not so, as nature itself is also a miracle wrought by Hashem, just that our senses are dulled by its constant occurrence (See responsa Chacham Zvi #18 regarding the gematria taught by Rabbi Dovid Nieto that "Elokim = teva.") The praises in Ashrei are of Hashem acting within the rules of nature, sustaining all creatures, etc. For praising Hashem daily for His "miracles within nature" one is indeed assured that he has a place in the world-to-come.

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 eser 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 kimo 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.

Answers to last week's questions:

Ch. 21, v. 12: "Umin haMikdosh lo yeitzei" - Even upon suffering the loss of any close relative the Kohein Godol may not display mourning and continues to do service in the Mikdosh. However, as an "o'non," a mourner on the day of death and burial of a close relative, he may not partake of the meat of a sacrifice. Although permitted by the Torah, there is a Rabbinical decree against his doing the service of a sacrifice whose meat is eaten, as he might out of habit eat its meat once he has done the sacrificial service. A question is raised on this Rabbinical decree. It is well known to those who know it well, that the Rabbis do not institute a decree annulling that which the Torah clearly permits (Ra"n and others). If so, how could the Rabbis prohibit the Kohein Godol's processing a sacrifice since the Torah clearly states "umin haMikdosh lo yeitzei," which means that he may do ALL sacrificial services?

ANSWER: Since the Rabbinical ruling of refraining from doing the service is only because they fear that it might bring to his partaking of the sacrifice, if he were to become an "o'non" on Yom Kippur where there is no fear that he will eat, as everyone is prohibited from eating any food, the Rabbis would permit him to do the service of "chatos" sacrifices that are to be eaten that evening when Yom Kippur ends. Since their ruling is not a total dissolving of the verse of the Torah, as on Yom Kippur the Torah ruling is still in effect, they are empowered to make such a safeguard. (Tomar D'voroh in M'oroh shel Torah)

Ch. 23, v. 15: "Usfartem lochem ...... sheva shabosos t'mimos" - This is the mitzvoh to count 49 days from the day of bringing the Omer offering until Shovuos. Why don't we make a "shehecheyonu" blessing when commencing this mitzvoh?

1) We only say the "shehecheyonu" blessing on an occasion of happiness. The counting of the Omer reminds us that the Beis Hamikdosh no longer exists, as the mitzvoh is only Rabbinical today. (Baal Hamo'ore)

2) Since this mitzvoh is only done as a remembrance of what took place at the time the Beis Hamikdosh was standing, it is not intrinsically a Rabbinical form of the original Torah mitzvoh, so the "shehecheyonu" blessing is not said. (Ra"n)

3) Since if one missed counting at night may make it up by day, saying the words "lazman HA"ZEH" is inappropriate. (Ra"n)

4) Since this mitzvoh is only a preparation for another mitzvoh, that of bringing "bikurim" on Shovuos, it does not deserve the "shehecheyonu" blessing. (Avudrohom)



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