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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 26, v. 2: "V'samto ba'tenne" - The Rambam in hilchos Bikurim 2:15 writes that the Torah does not specify the amount required to be given for Bikurim. However, the Rabbis required a person to give 1/60th. The Ba'al Haturim says that this is alluded to in the word "tenne" which in gematria equals 60. He adds that therefore the letter "Samach" does not appear anywhere in the chapter dealing with the laws of Bikurim. I believe his intention is that since one is required by Rabbinical decree to give a sixtieth, he will be left with 59 parts, not sixty. Therefore we don't have the letter that equals 60 in this chapter.

The Aliose Eliyohu (GR"A) on mishnayos Z'ro'im says in the name of the Yo'ir Kino that this amount is alluded to in our verse. The gemara K'subos 111b says that even a barren tree in Eretz Yisroel will produce enough fruit to require two donkeys to carry the load. The gemara B.M. 80a says that the carrying capacity of one donkey is 15 "so'oh." Thus one tree produces a minimum of 15 "so'oh" of fruit. We see from the mishnoh Bikurim 1:11 that even if a person owns only one tree he is required to bring Bikurim from its produce. The mishnoh Keilim 12:3 says that the vessel called "tenne" has the capacity of of a "so'oh" according to the commentary of Rabbi Ovadioh of Bartenuroh. Our verse says that the Bikurim should be placed into a "tenne," which can be interpreted to mean to fill up the vessel. One-half a "so'oh" of produce is 1/60th of the produce of one tree, 30 "so'oh."

Ch. 26, v. 3: "Higadti ha'yom" - How can one say that he has "related today" in the past tense? It is only after the giving of the Bikurim to the Kohein and his placing them in front of the altar that the Torah says "v'oniso v'omarto," - and you shall respond and you shall say ......" (verse 5). It seems that it is the intention of the Sforno to forewarn this difficulty with his comment on "higadti ha'yom." He says that these words mean, "I have let it become known to all through these actions of mine." The Malbim says that the word "hagodoh" does not have to mean telling verbally, as we see in T'hilim 19:2,4 "U'maa'sei yodov MAGID horokia, Ein omeir v'ein dvorim." Perhaps with the interpretation of the Sforno of the word "higadti" we can have a new insight into a well-known section of the Pesach Hagodoh. "V'higadto l'vincho" (Shmos 13:8) - And you shall relate to your son. This is the mitzvoh of MAGID. The Hagodoh asks "Ee 'ba'yom hahu' yochol mi'b'ode yom? Talmud lomar 'baavur zeh,' 'baavur zeh' lo omarti elloh bizman she'yeish matzoh u'moror munochim l'fo'necho," - since the verse says 'on that DAY,' might I not conclude that the mitzvoh of MAGID takes place while it is still during the day of the 14th, on the eve of Pesach? The Hagodoh answers that this is incorrect because the verse teaches us through the words 'baavur ZEH' that the mitzvoh of MAGID only takes place when you have "THIS" in front of you. "THIS" refers to the matzoh and moror, which you use only on the night of Pesach and not on the eve of Pesach.

According to the Sforno it is possible that the Hagodoh is asking that since we so clearly show through our actions of preparing the Pesach sacrifice our connection to the values and ideals that Pesach encompasses, possibly this act in and of its own is a fulfillment of MAGID on the eve of the 15th of Pesach.

Ch. 26, v. 5: "V'ONISO v'omarto" - Rashi (gemara Sotoh 32b) says that "v'oniso" means to recite in a loud voice. The gemara Yerushalmi Bikurim 2:2 says that he who brought his Bikurim but did not know how to recite the required statement that accompanies the bringing of his offering had someone recite it for him and he would repeat the words. This caused embarrassment for some people and they refrained from bringing Bikurim the following year. When the Rabbis noticed that these people were absent they instituted that the text would be recited for everyone to repeat, even for those who knew the text well, thus removing the embarrassment from those who did not know it. The Rabbis based their action on the word "v'oniso" in our verse, which they translated as "and you shall RESPOND," referring to repeating the words that were read to them.

The Baal Mo'ore Vosho'mesh translates "v'oniso" as "and you shall cause yourself PAIN." When a person puts much effort and investment into his agricultural pursuits and finally reaps the first fruits of his tremendous toil, he has a great yearning to sink his teeth into the first ripened produce. By restraining himself and saving the first ripened fruit as Bikurim for Hashem, he causes himself to suffer. This is what the Torah requires of him to deeply indicate that he is cognizant of the fact that the land is Hashem's and was given to him as a present. Only after doing this is he ready to honestly say "ho'adomoh asher NOSATO li Hashem" (verse 10).

Ch. 26, v. 5: "Va'yei'red Mitzraymoh" - If we say that "Arami" mentioned earlier in this verse refers to Lovon of Aram, then the words "va'yei'red Mitzraymoh" might possibly also refer to Lovon's descending to Egypt. The gemara Sotoh 11a and Sanhedrin 106a says that there were three people involved in the council meeting with Paroh who discussed the "Jewish problem." They were Bilom, Yisro, and Iyov. The Medrash Tanchumoh parshas Vayeitzei #13 says that Lovon is Bilom and even uses our verse as a proof for this. Since Bilom, a.k.a. Lovon, was present at Paroh's meeting we can say that Lovon descended to Egypt.

Ch. 26, v. 5: "Va'y'hi SHOM l'goy" - Haksav V'hakaboloh on the words in Breishis 39:20, "Va'y'hi SHOM b'veis hasohar," which seems to be a totally superfluous expression since the verse has already stated "va'yitneihu b'veis hasohar," says that the verse is stressing that although Yoseif was already FAR from his father's home, now that he was in jail, he was VERY DISTANCED from his father. Possibly we can similarly say that our verse is stressing that although the bnei Yisroel were distanced from Eretz Yisroel, nevertheless, even in Mitzrayim they were able to become a nation. Indeed, Rabbi Tzodok haKohein writes in Pri Tzadik on parshas Va'y'chi that the "parshoh s'sumoh," the enclosed parsha of Va'y'chi, which does not have the normal paragraph spacing that all other parshios have indicates that there is an unfathomable concept taking place, namely that Yaakov's complete family settled into Egypt and developed there into a nation in spite of not being in Eretz Yisroel.

Perhaps this concept can be applied to a few other places as well. Our verse says "Va'y'hi SHOM l'goy," from which the Pesach Hagodoh derives that the bnei Yisroel were conspicuous in Egypt, as the medrash says that they were unique in their names, their clothing, and their language. The word SHOM seems to be superfluous. But according to the Haksav V'hakaboloh that SHOM connotes a great distance, according to the medrash that the bnei Yisroel were unique in the above-mentioned three manners, they were thus greatly distanced from the Egyptians even though they lived among them. (Another explanation of the seemingly extra word SHOM and the extra letter Lamed of the next word "L'goy" might be that the three letters Shin-Mem-Lamed allude to Shmom, Malbushom, and L'shonom.) As well, we find the term SHOM by the death of the three siblings Miriam, Aharon, and Moshe (Bmidbar 20:1, 20:28, and Dvorim 34:5). The gemara Avodoh Zoroh 29b derives from this word that it is prohibited to derive benefit from the corpse of a dead person, similar to Egloh Arufoh, where it also says SHOM. The extreme prohibition of not deriving benefit is also a DISTANCING the corpse from living people. Perhaps another insight can be given. Since Miriam, Aharon, and Moshe all died through "misas n'shikoh," death by the personal "kiss of Hashem," this indicates DISTANCING. Normally Hashem sends the angel of death to take people's souls. In the case of these three illustrious siblings Hashem came from His high heavenly abode to personally take their holy souls, hence SHOM, at a great distance from the heavenly abode of Hashem, on high.

Most interestingly, the Haksav V'hakaboloh writes that the word "shomayim," heaven, has as its source the word SHOM, DISTANT. SHOMAYIM, a word that is seemingly SHOM in a doubling form, like "yad-yodayim," indicates a doubly far away place.

Ch. 26, v. 6: "Va'yo'rei'u OSONU haMitzrim" - The Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh derives from the use of the word OSONU rather than LONU that the intention of these words is that the Egyptians turned us into bad people. Yet in Bmidbar 20:15 we find that when the bnei Yisroel attempted to persuade the nation of Edom to allow them to traverse their land on the way to Eretz Yisroel and the bnei Yisroel related their travails, they said "va'yo'rei'u LONU haMitzrim," - the Egyptians treated us badly. Perhaps since the bnei Yisroel were making a plea to be allowed to enter Edom's land, they felt that it would not further their case if they would be self incriminating aand state that they had become bad people, even if it was caused by their host country, Egypt. The N'tzi"v says that the intention of our verse is to say that the Egyptians gave us bad press. For a supposedly enlightened ruler to issue such harsh and heartless edicts against an innocent people would be impossible, as he would be met with a public outcry bemoaning the injustice. However, if enough bad press is aimed at the bnei Yisroel, he could change public opinion and get away with even the greatest injustice. It seems that history has repeated itself numerous times in this manner, even in most recent years.

Ch. 26, v. 7: "Va'yar Elokim es on'yeinu v'es amo'leinu v'es lachatzeinu" - The Rebbi R' Heshel says that what was supposed to be 400 years of enslavement in Egypt (Breishis 15:13) was compacted into 210 years for three reasons:

1) The bnei Yisroel worked at night as well as by day.

2) Their population explosion brought about a large amount of work being done.

3) They had an extremely heavy and painful workload, "koshi hashibud."

He says that this is indicated in our verse and the next verse. "Va'yar Elokim es ON'YEINU v'es AMO'LEINU v'es LACHATZEINU. Va'yotzi'einu Hashem." The Hagodoh tells us that "on'yeinu" refers to the men being separated from their wives at night. The men were forced to work at night as well as by day. "Amo'leinu" refers to their children. The great increase in the number of bnei Yisroel. "Lachatzeinu" refers to the great oppression. Their extremely heavy and painful workload. Because of all the above, "And Hashem took us out (earlier)"(verse 8).

Ch. 26, v. 10: "Reishis pri HO'ADOMOH" - Fruit grows from trees and hence we say the blessing of "bo'rei pri HO'EITZ" before eating them. Vegetables grow from the ground as does grain from which we make bread. Yet for vegetables we make the blessing "bo'rei pri HO'ADOMOH" while over bread we say "hamotzi lechem min HO'O'RETZ." Why don't we either say HO'ADOMOH by both or HO'ORETZ by both? The Abudrohom answers that the Rabbis instituted the wording of these two blessings to correspond with the terms expressed in the Torah. In our verse we find the words "pri HO'ADOMOH" referring to the fruit grown on the ground. In T'hilim 104:14 we find, "l'hotzi lechem min HO'O'RETZ" referring to bread.

Ch. 27, v. 15: "Orur ho'ish asher YAA'SEH fessel u'ma'seichoh" - Why is this admonition expressed in the future tense, YAA'SEH, while all the others are expressed in the present tense, "makleh" (v. 16), "masig" (v. 17), "mashgeh" (v. 18), etc.? The gemara Kidushin 40a says that when a ben Yisroel only contemplates to sin this is not counted as a sin. However, there is an exception in the case of thoughts of heresy and idol worship. In those matters a thought of sinning is also considered as sinning. Thus the other admonitions only apply to one who does them, hence present tense. When it comes to idol worship even planning to do so in the future is a sin, hence the future tense is used in this case. (Niflo'ose Chadoshose by Rabbi Noach Mindes)

If you will raise the question that we also find the future tense used in verse 26, "Orur asher lo YOKIM," we may say that either this does not count as an admonition, as it is a general term used to encompass all the previous admonitions, as we see from Rashi in verse 24 and the Ibn Ezra in verse 14, where they both say that there are a total of 11 admonitions. If we were to count verse 26 as well we would have 12 admonitions. Even if we were to count this as an admonition as is the opinion of some Baalei Tosfos, we can say that the reason the future tense is used is because the general admonition of this verse "Orur asher lo YOKIM es divrei haTorah hazose" includes the sin of heresy, as mentioned by the Ramban on this verse. As mentioned before, even thoughts of heresy are also a sin, thus justifying the use of the future tense in verse 26 as in verse 15.

Answer to last week's question:

Ch. 22, v. 10: "B'shor u'VAchamor" - Why is there no specificity by the ox, "b'shor," - with AN ox, while there is specificity by the donkey, "u'VAchamor," - and with THE donkey?

This is a mistake. The vowel "pasach" under the Veis of "u'VAchamor" is not in the place of a letter Hei of specificity. It is called a "n'kodoh m'sha'meshes," and comes in the place of a "shvo" to serve the ease of pronounciation of the next syllable, a Ches with a "chatof pasach," and therefore changes to a "pasach." As well there can be no "shvo" under the Veis because it would have to be a "shvo nuch," ending a syllable, as is the rule when two "shvos" appear in a row. The "chatof pasach" under the Veis is considered a "shvo." A "shvo nuch" cannot appear immediately after a strong vowel, a "tnu'oh g'doloh." (Answer given by Rabbi Y.G.)



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