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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 19, v. 3: "Ish imo v'oviv tiro'u v'es Shabsosai tishmoru" - Each man shall fear his mother and his father and My Shabbosos you shall safeguard - If one does not fulfill the laws of Shabbos it is exceedingly unlikely that he will be properly in awe of his parents. By keeping Shabbos one stops weekday activities, gets off the livelihood treadmill, and can spend meaningful time with his family. By having all seven days of the week be a continuous pursuit of livelihood and entertainment distractions, one does not connect properly with his parents, siblings, or children. There will be no fear, nor honouring of parents, without Shabbos. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 19, v. 10,11: "Le'oni v'la'geir taazove osom, Lo tignovu" - For the poor and the convert shall you leave them, you shall not steal - The juxtaposition is a warning for a kindhearted person who leaves a corner of his field unharvested so that the destitute and needy benefit. He might have a leaning towards carrying on his business ventures while crossing the line of honesty, rationalizing his behaviour by thinking that he will come home with more income and in turn offering more charity to the needy. The Torah therefore says that even if you leave over for the needy, do not steal. (Tiferes Shlomo - Admor of Radomsk)

Ch. 19, v. 15: "B'tzedek tishpote ami'secho" - With righteousness shall you judge your friend - The gemara Sanhedrin 32 and Toras Kohanim say that this means that you shall judge your fellowman favourably when you see that he has acted in a manner that can be interpreted as either being correct or a sin. The Mahari"l Diskin says that the reason one should judge his fellowman favourably is for his own benefit. If one concludes that the person has sinned, it weakens his resolve to not sin, we are influenced by our surroundings, both positively and otherwise.

The mishnoh Kidushin 39 says that one should view the world as having an equal amounts of merits as demerits. When you see someone behave in a manner that leaves you in doubt, if you judge him favourably, you will then assume that the world has a majority of merits. This might be alluded to in another verse, where we also find "b'tzedek," - "V'hu yishpote teiveil b'tzedek" (T'hilim 9:9). Not only are you judging the person but also "teiveil," the whole world. Judge it "b'tzedek." (Nirreh li)

Ch. 19, v. 17: "Lo sisno es ochicho bilvo'vecho hochei'ach tochiach es ami'secho v'lo siso olov cheit" - Do not harbour hatred for your brother in your heart you shall surely admonish your friend and you will not bear through him a sin - One might be very reluctant to admonish his friend by rationalizing that it would bring his friend to hate him, and his friend is likewise exhorted to not hate his fellowman. Our verse therefore places the command to admonish our friend immediately after the prohibition against bearing hatred, to teach that if the admonition is properly carried out there will be no outcome of hatred. This is the intention of the final words of our verse, that you will bear no sin of causing him to hate you. (Rabbi Moshe Kordovero in Tomar D'voroh)

Another explanation of the juxtaposition: If you see your friend going down a bad path and you do not speak up, he will likely continue and spiral downhill further and further. It will come to a point where his reprehensible behaviour will bring you to hate him. Therefore you should immediately admonish your friend so that you so not come to hate him. (Rabbi Yonoson Eibeschitz)

Ch. 19, v. 17: "Hochei'ach tochiach es ami'secho" - You shall surely admonish your friend - The gemara Ksubos says that if you find a Torah scholar who is hated by his community, you should assume that it is a result of his admonishing them in heavenly matters. Proper admonition is not limited to matters pertaining to one's lack of proper performance of mitzvos related to Hashem, but also to "person to person" mitzvos. If a Torah scholar is only admonishing people in heavenly matters it is likely because he himself is very lacking in inter-personal behaviour and is ashamed to bring this up. This is why he hated by the community. (Rabbi Yonoson Eibeschitz)

Ch. 19, v. 18: "V'ohavto l'rei'acho komocho" - And you shall love your fellowman as yourself - This is a major tenet of the Torah, "Zeh klal godol baTorah." The Ksav Sofer interprets: This is a major tenet WITH Torah. Your love for your fellowman in the main should be in regard to sharing Torah knowledge and values with him.

Ch. 19, v. 23: "V'chi sovo'u el ho'oretz untatem kol eitz maachol" - And when you will come into the land and you will plant every food producing tree - This is to be taken literally, that in Eretz Yisroel it is possible to plant and grow any type of fruit tree. Medrash Koheles says that King Shlomo was endowed with the wisdom to recognize channels in the ground that spread out all over the world and expanded there. For example, he knew where the channels for peppers that went to Ethiopia, renown for peppers, where. He planted peppers in these channels and they grew very successfully. Every fruit type in the world is based in Eretz Yisroel, and if one has the knowledge of where they are, he can successfully grow any fruit. (Rabbi Chaim Palagi)

Ch. 20, v. 2: "Asher yi'tein mizaro lamolech" - Who will give from his children to molech - This law is juxtaposed to illicit relations (verses 10-21) because the pagan nations who freely had illicit relations, and in turn were never sure that the children were their own, readily gave of their children to molech, which entails having their children burned alive. (Abarbanel)

Ch. 20, v. 7: "V'hikadishtem vi'h'yi'sem k'doshim" - And you shall sanctify yourselves and you will be holy - "V'hiskadishtem" refers to washing one's hands before eating bread, and "vi'h'yi'sem k'doshim" refers to washing one's hands at the conclusion of the meal. By washing before partaking of bread one has the cognizance that his eating is holy, just like a Kohein eating trumoh. Washing at the end of the meal removes any vestiges of "melach S'domis," which could bring to blindness. The message is that one should sanctify his eating, but at the same time not be struck by the blindness of thinking that he has indeed become totally holy. One should constantly be on the road to holiness, but never think that he has arrived. (Arugas Habosem)

Ch. 20, v. 9: "Asher y'ka'leil es ovi v'es imo" - Who will curse his father or his mother - The gemara B.K. 65 says that the word "es" connotes a division between one item and the other. Our verse, by saying "es" by both the father and mother is indicating that the strict punishment of death for cursing one's father or mother, applies even if his father and mother do not live together. The child might readily blame one or the other on the deplorable situation, which may well have caused extreme heartache and anguish for the spouse and for the children. We might take this into consideration and slightly soften the sin of cursing a parent, at least to not take the child's life. Therefore the verse says that even if the parents are estranged, the same law applies. (Meshech Chochmoh)



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

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