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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 26, v. 3: "Higadti ha'yom" - I have today related - These are the first words of the one who brings his "bikurim." What words has he already said? The Sforno says that here "hagodoh" means that he has related information through his actions. By bringing the "bikurim" he has already shown that he connects his relationship with the land as a fulfillment of the promise Hashem has given to our Patriarchs.

Rabbeinu Chaim Paltiel says that "higadti" is sourced from the word meaning a group, as we find that battalions are called "g'dudim," "Gad g'dud y'gu'denu v'hu yogud o'keiv" (Breishis 49:19). Similarly here the person declares that he has brought bundles of produce.

Rabbeinu Bachyei says that it means that he has extracted the sanctity of the land into the fruits that he brings to Yerusholayim.

Ch. 26, v. 9: "Eretz zovas cholov udvosh" - A land that flows milk and honey - The Holy Ari z"l writes that the bringing of "bikurim" accompanied by all the praise and thanks given for meriting to live in Eretz Yisroel mitigate the sin of the spies, who complained about the Holy Land. This might be why "eretz zovas cholov udvash" is mentioned. The spies instigated the masses to say, "halo tov lonu shuv Mitzroymoh" (Bmidbar 14:3). Another set of complainers, Doson and Avirom, called Mitzrayim "eretz zovas cholov udvash" (Bmidbar 16:14). The attitude of those who were not eager to enter Eretz Yisroel was that Mitzrayim was a land at least as good as the Promised Land. To counter this, every "bikurim" bringer includes in his recitation that Eretz Yisroel is the land that is "zovas cholov udvash," to the exclusion of other lands. (n.l.)

Ch. 26, v. 12: "Masar" - A tenth - The word "masar" can also be read "m'asheir," it brings wealth. The tithe of one of ten alludes to the inherent blessing of he who complies, and the opposite for the one who does not give "maaseir." If we take the letters of the Alef-Beis from Alef through Yud as they are spelled out "b'miluy," i.e. Alef-Lamed-Fei, etc., we have 28 letters, which is the numerical value of "ko'ach." He who gives "maa'seir" experiences the fulfillment of, "Ki hu hanosein l'cho ko'ach laasos choyil" (Dvorim 8:18), and he who does not, has the words "V'sam lorik kochachem" (Vayikra 26:20) apply to him. (Rabbeinu Efrayim)

Ch. 27, v. 9: "Va'y'dabeir Moshe v'haKohanim haLviim el kol Yisroel leimore haskeis ushma Yisroel" - And Moshe spoke and the Kohanim the Levites to all Yisroel thus saying listen and hear Yisroel - The Ramban on 27:1 explains that The Kohanim caught the attention of the bnei Yisroel with the words, "haskeis ushma Yisroel." Moshe then said, hayom ha'zeh ni'h'yeiso l'om."

Ch. 27, v. 24: "Orur ma'kei rei'ei'hu baso'ser" - Cursed is the one who smites his friend covertly - If he smites him, why does the Torah call the victim his friend? On a simple level we could say that the perpetrator acts to his victim as a friend, but then smites him in a hidden manner. Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin in Ruach Chaim on Pirkei Ovos at the beginning of chapter 6 explains that a "rei'a" differs from an "ohuv," in that an "ohuv" has a bilateral friendship, each one loves the other. A "rei'a" is a person who loves the other, but this does not mean that it is reciprocal. He cites a verse in Mishlei to prove his point. (This would explain the wording of "Lomoh sakeh l'rei'echo" and "V'ohavto l'rei'acho komocho.") We might say that this is why our verse chooses this term, as the victim loves the attacker, but it is not reciprocal.

Ch. 28, v. 14: "V'lo sosur mikol hadvorim asher onochi m'tza'veh es'chem ha'yom yomin usmole lo'leches acharei elohim acheirim" - And you shall not turn from ANY of the matters that I command you today neither right nor left to go after others' gods - Turning away from ANY of the mitzvos, even though all the others are being observed, brings one to a great risk of going on the path to idol worship ch"v. (Ralbag)

Ch. 28, v. 15: "V'hoyoh im lo sishma" - And if it will come to pass that you will not hearken - It is the common custom to have the Torah reader, the "baal koreh" receive the "aliyoh" of the admonitions. If another person were to receive this "aliyoh," it might be misconstrued that the "baal koreh" is targeting the "oleh laTorah" with the admonitions. However, if the "baal koreh" receives this "aliyoh" this issue is alleviated. Rabbi Yehoshua Ibn Sho'iv has some harsh words for those who treat the parshios of admonitions lightly: Our Rabbis have explained that the reason for not breaking up the section of the admonitions with separate "aliyos" is to show that we do not despise the admonitions, as per the verse, "Al tokutz b'sochachto." The gemara Megiloh says that the prohibition to break up the admonitions is limited to those in parshas B'chukosai, but the admonitions of our parsha may be broken up into separate "aliyos." The admonitions of B'chukosai correspond to the period of the seventy year exile, and just as that exile had no chance of being shortened, so too, the reading of its admonitions cannot be shortened by breaking it into separate "aliyos." The admonitions of our parsha correspond to our present exile, and just as it can come to an abrupt end, as per the verse, "b'ito achishenoh," so too, an "aliyoh" can be shortened.

However, the custom has been instituted that even those of our parsha are given to only one "oleh laTorah."

The words "al tokutz" mentioned earlier can also be translated as "do not treat them like THORNS." Just as one who walks on thorns tries to get off them quickly, so too, we are told to not treat words of mussar like thorns, but instead be patient and even eager to hear such words. This teaches us that we should not read through the "tochachoh" in a rush, or quietly, as this indicates that we are not really interested. Rather, this section should be read in the same manner as any other section of the Torah is read.

Also, the "oleh laTorah" should not be treated like a poor "victim." He should not be an outsider who is just visiting, or the like. As well, the Torah reader should NOT be the "oleh laTorah." I have heard that the custom of the Rishonim was to have an elder sage be the "oleh laTorah," and with this we have the fulfillment of, "Mussar Hashem bni al timos."

Even though one is permitted to leave a shul "bein gavra l'gavra," between "aliyos," our Gaonim have instituted that no one should leave the shul just before the admonitions are read.

Ch. 28, v. 15: "Lishmore laasose es kol mitzvosov v'chukosov" - To safeguard to do all His precepts and His statutes - In verse 1, where it relates the blessings that are bestowed upon one who complies with Hashem's commands, the verse only says, "Lishmore laasose es kol mitzvosov," but does not mention, "chukosov," His statutes. Perhaps here it is in place to specify even the statutes. Do not think that the admonitions only target one who does not comply with mitzvos for which we have a rationale, but not for mitzvos whose rationale is hidden from us. Therefore the Torah specifies that the admonitions will visit one who does not fufill even "chukim." (n.l.)



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

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