by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 26, v. 1: ""NOSEIN l'cho" - The Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh says that the word NOSEIN teaches us that there is no mitzvoh to bring "bikurim" on a Shmitoh year. Since during that year no one has full ownership of his fields, as anyone may enter and take the produce, it is not a year in which Hashem fully GIVES you your fields as an inheritance, so the laws of bringing "bikurim" do not apply.

Ch. 26, v. 2: "V'lokachto meireishis" - Rashi mentions the mishneh in Bikurim 3:1 which says that when a person enters his field of fig trees and sees that a fig has ripened, he should designate it as such by tying a GAMI band around it.

The word GAMI seems to literally mean a gum-base thread. I heard that the word GAMI is intentionally used to allude to the farmer's giving recognition to Hashem for the fruitful results. One who works hard in his orchards and fields has a tendency to accredit only himself with the results. Naturally, this is shortsighted. Without the cooperation of Hashem with His rainfall, sunshine, etc., all farming efforts would be futile. The person therefore designates his first ripe fruit with a band called a GAMI, spelled Gimmel-Mem-Yud, which is an acronym for G'dolim Maa'sei Hashem (Yud), thus acknowledging that his agricultural success is all due to Hashem.

We know that Hashem has instituted constant reminders that the Holy Land He has given us is in reality His. This is demonstrated in the mitzvoh of Shmitoh as well. Perhaps this is why at the onset of the mitzvoh of bringing "bikurim" to Yerusholayim, the previous verse says "El ho'oretz asher Hashem Elokecho NOSEIN l'cho nachaloh," in the present tense, rather than YITEIN in the future tense, similar to "sovo" which is in the future tense. One should always be cognizant that Hashem is the true owner of the Holy Land and that He is constantly giving us the privilege to occupy it.

Ch. 26, v. 5: "V'oniso" - How should this word be translated?

1) Say in a raised voice. (Rashi, as per gemara Gitin 83a, Sotoh 32b)

2) Respond to the Kohein who has asked you, "What is this that you are bringing?" (Ibn Ezra)

3) Open your remarks. (Ibn Ezra, as per Iyov 3:2, "Va'yaan Iyov horishon")

4) Act in a humble subordinate manner, as an "oni." (Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh.

Feel that you have received an undeserved wonderful gift from the King of Kings, which automatically brings about this feeling of humbleness and appreciation.)

Ch. 26, v. 5 "Arami oveid ovi va'yeired Mitzraimoh" - The Ga'lei Rozo says that since Yaakov caused Lovon to express himself in Aramaic when they created a mound of rocks as a monument to their making a covenant, "Vayikro lo Lovon YGAR SOHADUSO" (Breishis 31:47), this brought about the exile to Egypt, since the negative powers of foreign languages had now found themselves imbedded in the Torah. The Leiv Aryeh says that this can be the intention of our verse. "Arami," the foreign language which Lovon used and became part of the Torah, "oveid ovi," has caused my forefather Yaakov to be lost, to descend to Egypt, "va'yeired Mitzraimoh."

The Hagodoh Tal'lei Oros says that perhaps this can be the intention of the Baal Hagodoh when he says that Yaakov descended to Egypt against his will, "onus al pi hadibur," forced as per the "dibur," the words of Lovon who spoke in Aramaic which became part of the Torah.

Ch. 26, v. 9: "Va'y'vi'einu el hamokom ha'zeh" - And He has brought us to this place and he has given us this land. Rashi explains "this place" to mean the location of the Beis Hamikdosh. It would then seem that the two occurrences mentioned here are out of order, as the bnei Yisroel first were given Eretz Yisroel, and only afterwards were at the location of the of the Beis Hamikdosh.

Horav Chaim Abollefia answers this with the words of the Targum Yonoson ben Uziel in Shmos 19:4, on the words "Vo'essoh es'chem al kanfei n'shorim" which most commentators translate as I WILL carry you on eagles' wings. The Targum Yonoson ben Uziel translates it as I HAVE carried you on eagles' wings. He relates that on the night of the exodus from Egypt the bnei Yisroel were miraculously transported to the site of the future Beis Hamikdosh and ate their Pesach sacrifices there. Afterwards they were transported back to Egypt and left the next morning. According to this, the bnei Yisroel were at the location of the Beis Hamikdosh first, and later were given the land.

There is a bit of difficulty with this interpretation, as the verse says "And He has brought US." Since this verse is referring to the new generation that is about to enter the land, the word US is problematic. It was the previous generation which had died that was brought to the Mikdosh site to eat the Pesach sacrifice.

Rabbi Shmuel Wolkin answers, instead, with a Medrash Shochar Tov on T'hilim 68, s. 9, that says that at the time of the giving of the Torah on Har Sinai, Har Hamorioh (the site of the future Beis Hamikdosh) was uprooted and brought next to Har Sinai. At the time of the giving of the Torah the souls of all the bnei Yisroel, including future generations were present, as it says in Dvorim 29:14. Therefore it can be said that Hashem brought US to this place. Incidentally, we can possibly have a new insight into an enigmatic verse in parshas R'ei (Dvorim 16:1) which says "Hashem has taken you out of Egypt by NIGHT." Rashi asks that the Torah clearly states that the bnei Yisroel left by DAY (Bmidbar 33:3). He answers that the exodus was physically by day, but the Torah says it took place at night (Dvorim 16:1) because permission was given by Paroh at night. According to the above Targum Yonoson ben Uziel, there were two exodi (exoduses?), one as mentioned in Dvorim 16:1, which took place at night, and the second by day (Bmidbar 33:3).

What is most interesting is the interpretation of the Targum Yonoson ben Uziel on the word LEILOH. Even though he could have simply just translated this word literally, as explained above, instead he gives a remarkably different insight. The verse says, "You should sacrifice the Paschal lamb in the month of spring because during the month of spring Hashem has taken you out of Egypt at night." The cantillation on the word Egypt is a TIPCHO, which is a minor stop, similar to a comma. He says that the word LEILOH, at night, is not connected to the previous words "out of Egypt," but rather is the dangling end of the previous phrase, "You should sacrifice the Paschal lamb in the month of spring, at night (it should be eaten)."

Why indeed does he convolute the verse (mikro m'soros) when he could leave it in a straight forward manner as per his words on Shmos 19:4?

Ch. 27, v. 19,20: "Orur matteh, Orur shocheiv"- We find 12 (11 according to Rashi in verse 24) "arurim" at Har Eivol. Each "orur" is a separate parsha, separated from the previous one by a blank space called a "s'sumoh." However, between the two "arurim" of verses 19 and 20 we find no separation. Perhaps Rashi's intention in saying that there are 11 curses (verse 24) although we find 12, is that there are 11 parshios of curses. Why are these two "arurim" not separated?

The Mahari"l Diskin explains that since one of these two curses is committing adultery with one's father's wife, which the overt words of the Torah indicate that Reuvane had done (Breishis 35:22), the Torah connects it with a second sin in the same parsha to soften its impact, since Reuvane was not guilty of this sin in a literal sense, as per the gemara Shabbos 55b.

Rabbi Chaim Kanievski shlit"a in his work "Taamoh Dikro" answers that these two curses correspond to the tribes of Yisochor and Zvulun. (He has a different order of corresponding tribes to curses than will be mentioned in the next offering in the name of the Pnei Yehoshua.) Since these two tribes were so strongly connected in their work-study partnership, their "arurim" are not separated into different parshios.

Ch. 27, v. 20: "Orur shocheiv im eishes oviv" - The gemara Shabbos 55b says: "Rabbi Shmuel bar Nachamani says that whoever says that Reuvane sinned with his father's concubine (Breishis 35:22) is mistaken. Rabbi Shimon ben Elozor said, "Is it possible that Reuvane's descendants would stand on Mount Eivol and utter the curse, 'Orur shocheiv im eishes oviv,' if their forefather had committed this sin?"

The Pnei Yehoshua explains this gemara according to the words Rashi brings in verse 24 in the name of Rabbi Moshe Hadarshan. He says that there were 11 curses mentioned. (The Sifsei Chachomim says that "Orur asher lo yokim" (verse 26) is a general curse, not pinpointing a specific sin, and is not included in the count. Another explanation was given in the offering on 27:19,20.) These 11 curses correspond to the 11 tribes. Shimon was left out, as his tribe was not to receive a direct blessing in parshas Zose Habrochoh. (Others say that there were 12 curses corresponding to the 12 tribes; see Rashbam.)

There is seemingly no rhyme nor reason for the order of the placement of the tribes in verses 12 and 13. In particular, why was Reuvane separated from his maternal brothers?

The Pnei Yehoshua says that according to the above gemara it is well understood and as well we have a deeper understanding of the words of Rabbi Shimon ben Elozor. According to Rabbi Moshe Hadarshan since no curse was mentioned to correspond to the tribe of Shimon, the sixth curse, "Orur shocheiv im eishes oviv," corresponds to Reuvane. This is why he was placed on the second mountain as the seventh tribe and the sixth one to utter this particular "orur." Rabbi Shimon is not only saying that Reuvane was present at the time of the verbalisation of this curse, but also that his tribe was the one that said it. This clearly shows that Reuvane was not guilty of this sin.

A careful reading of the Chizkuni will show that he preceded the Pnei Yehoshua in saying this interpretation of the above gemara. The Baalei Tosfos in the name of Rabbi Moshe of Kutzi also say that this curse corresponds to the tribe of Reuvane. However, they bring out the opposite point. By corresponding to the tribe of Reuvane, this curse is a sharp reminder of the sin of their forefather.

Ch. 28, v. 43: " Ha'geir asher b'kir'b'cho ya'aleh o'lecho maloh moloh v'atoh seireid matoh motoh" - Earlier by the blessings in verse 13 we find, "V'hoyiso rok l'maloh v'lo s'h'yeh l'motoh." If so, why don't we have the opposite expressed here, "Ha'geir asher b'kir'b'cho y'h'yeh rok l'maloh v'atoh s'h'yeh rok l'matoh?"

The Alshich Hakodosh answers that if a person is destitute and there is a sudden change in his fortunes and he becomes suddenly wealthy, it is noticed by all. This person runs the risk of having people being jealous of him and of suffering from an "ayin hora." However if he becomes wealthy bit by bit, it is not as noticed and he less likely has these problems. The opposite is true when a person who was wealthy becomes destitute. If this happens slowly, less people take notice of it and the situation does not elicit empathy or sympathy. It is less likely that his acquaintances will have mercy upon him and come to his aid. If however, he has a very sudden downfall in his financial situation, since this is noticed by his friends, they will more likely come to his aid.

The curse in our verse is portraying the worst scenario. The foreign nations among you will become wealthy slowly and not be subject to jealousy or the evil eye. You will become poor and downtrodden bit by bit, thus not eliciting mercy. The Chasam Sofer was m'cha'vein to the words of the Alshich Hakodosh.

Rabbi Dr. Ezriel Hildesheimer explains the difference as follows: The basic nature of a physical object is to be subject to gravity. Even if a force is used which propels it upwards, this is only a bit by bit change. For example, a stone is thrown upwards. Even though for a while it will fly upwards, it will shortly slow down and come crashing to the earth quickly, subject to the laws of gravity.

The bnei Yisroel are a spiritual people, rooted in the upper spheres. When they behave properly they are "rok l'maloh," totally above, as is their nature. When they act in an earthy manner and sin, against their nature they are drawn downwards, bit by bit, "matoh motoh." On the other hand, the pagan nations living among the bnei Yisroel had a very sinful earthy nature. Even when the opportunity arises for them to be elevated above the bnei Yisroel, it is like a rock being propelled upwards, which only ascends bit by bit against the force of gravity. Hence their ascent is expressed as "maloh moloh."

Ch. 27, v. 63: "V'hoyoh kaasher sos" - Would you like to know when Moshiach will come? See the Daas Z'keinim or the Baalei Tosfos on this verse to see the answer.


The Bnei Yisoschor (Elul, ma'amar 1, #22) says that the month of Elul always has twenty-nine days. There are five days in Elul when we do not say "tachanun," Rosh Chodesh and the four Shabbosos. That leaves twenty-four days on which tachanun is said. There are twenty-four hours in each day, giving us a total of 576 hours. 576 equals "tiku," tof, kuf, ayin,vov. This is a hint to blowing shofar daily throughout the month. (We do, however, blow the shofar on Rosh Chodesh as well, since the Pirkei D'Rebbi Eliezer, Ch.46 says that on Rosh Chodesh Elul, which was the day that Moshe ascended to the heavens to beseech Hashem for forgiveness, a shofar was sounded. An adjustment might be to count Rosh Chodesh, but not count erev Rosh Hashono which has no tachanun from shacharis onward.)

The Yismach Moshe brings a Beis Yosef, O. CH. #422, who says in the name of the "Gaonim" that the reason for reciting Hallel every Rosh Chodesh is because we find in T'hilim 150 the expression "hallel" twelve times, indicating the recital of Hallel at the beginning of each of the twelve months (save Tishrei). This is the reason we double the last verse, "Kol han'shomo t'hallel," for the extra month of Adar II. The Yismach Moshe says that since Nisson is the first month of the year (Shmos 12:2), the sixth month is Elul. The sixth expression of hallel in this chapter is "Hal'luhu b'seika SHOFAR," indicating the custom to sound the shofar throughout this month.


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