by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS R'EI 5763 BS"D
Ch. 11, v. 32: "Ushmartem laasose" - And you shall guard to fulfill - Translate "ushmartem" as "and you shall eagerly await," as in "v'oviv shomar es hadovor" (Breishis 37:11). You find yourselves in the desert, where the laws that are connected with the Holy Land do not apply. However, once you have been taught these laws, you should eagerly await the opportunity to fulfill them. (Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh)
Ch. 12, v. 2,3: "A'beid t'abdun, V'nitatztem" - Demolish you shall demolish, And you shall raze - Since Eretz Yisroel is the Holy Land, the unique land where Hashem's Holy Sh'chinoh resides, why did He allow idol worshippers to promulgate in such a prolific manner in Eretz Yisroel? Perhaps Hashem did not want to give bnei Yisroel the Holy Land, a place that is replete with spirituality, on a silver platter. Rather, they should come when it is replete with spiritual contaminants, so that they would be given the opportunity to cleanse and rid it of impurities, so that they should CREATE a pure and holy environment on their own.
Ch. 12, v. 6: "Trumas yedchem" - Tithing of your hand - Rashi (Sifri) says that this refers to the bringing of "bikurim," the first ripened produce. Haksav V'hakaboloh says that "bikurim" are alluded to through the word "yedchem." Rather than translating it as "your hand," we should translate it as "your THANKS." When one brings "bikurim" there is a ritual that includes saying a few verses of thanks to Hashem for giving us this land (Dvorim 26:3-10). We find this word form meaning thanks in Yeshayohu 44:5, "V'zeh yichtov YODo laShem," and in Chabakuk 3:10, "YOD'eihu nosso."
Ch. 12, v. 14: "SHom Taa'leh Olosecho" - There you shall elevate your "oloh" offerings - The first letters of these three words create the word "teisha," nine. This alludes to the nine offerings that are placed upon the altar, "oloh, chatos, oshom, shlomim, minchoh, shemen, l'vonoh, yayin, mayim. (Baal Haturim) This seems to not be in consonance with the opinion of Rebbi in the gemara M'nochos 20b that there is an offering of wood.
Ch. 12, v. 20: "Ki s'a'veh naf'sh'cho le'echol bosor" - When your soul desires to eat flesh - The consumption of meat simply to fulfill one's physical desires is very earthy and can bring one closer to physicality and distance him from spirituality. Our verse tells us that when one's SOUL desires to eat meat, to do this for the spiritual pursuit of elevating Hashem's creations, as mineral feeds plant life, plant life feeds animal life, and animal life feeds man, then one should eat meat. (Alshich Hakodosh)
Ch. 12, v. 21: "V'zovachto .. v'ochalto bisho'recho" - And you shall slaughter .. and you may eat within your gates - The information conveyed in the previous and this verse is commonly understood as follows: When the bnei Yisroel were in the desert they were only permitted to eat meat of a sacrifice and only in the prescribed sanctified area. There was no opportunity to eat secular "chulin" meat. Our verses tell us that upon entry to Eretz Yisroel, after proper ritual slaughtering, secular "chulin" meat may be consumed and it may be eaten anywhere.
However, the Rambam hilchos shechitoh 4:14,15 writes that when the bnei Yisroel were in the desert they did not have the command to ritually slaughter secular meat. They had the choice of either ritually slaughtering or ripping through the animal's throat. If they were willing to kill the animal by ripping its throat, they did not consecrate it and were allowed to eat it in any area, just as gentiles do. If they wanted to specifically ritually slaughter it, "shechitoh," then they had to consecrate the animal as a "shlomim" sacrifice, and comply with all the stringencies of processing and consuming a hallowed sacrifice.
Upon entry to Eretz Yisroel there was no longer permission to kill an animal even for secular consumption, except by ritual slaughtering.
Ch. 13, v. 7: "Ki y'sis'cho ochicho ven i'mecho" - If your brother the son of your mother will attempt to proselytize you - Why does the verse only mention a maternal brother? Perhaps the verse alludes to the attempt to make you believe in "immaculate deception," and the words "ven i'mecho" are the words of the proselytizer. He claims that there was a son of only a mother. (Yalkut P'ninim)
Ch. 13, v. 7: "Asher lo yodato atoh vaavosecho" - That neither you nor your father knew - A most common counterclaim to adopting a new religion is that one's forbearers did not believe in it. Our verse forewarns that this will be countered by the proselytizer, with his saying, "asher lo yodato atoh vaavosecho," it is only because they were not aware of its existence. Nevertheless, "Lo soveh lo v'lo sishma eilov" (verse 9). (Haksav V'hakaboloh)
Ch. 13, v. 8: "Miktzei ho'oretz v'ad k'tzei ho'oretz" - From one end of the earth to the other end of the earth - In a vein similar to the previous offering, the attempted proselytizer might claim that his religion is true by virtue that it has become so popular that it has spread from one end of the earth to the other (like Coca Cola). Once again, "Lo soveh lo v'lo sishma eilov." (GR"A)
Ch. 14, v. 1: "Bonim a'tem laShem Elokeichem lo sisgode'du" - You are sons to Hashem your G-d do not gouge your flesh - The gemara Y'vomos 13b derives from "lo sisgode'du" that it is prohibited to create factions of discord and acrimony, "agudos agudos." How does this interpretation of these words follow "Bonim a'tem laShem Elokeichem"?
Hashem prides Himself and publicly announces in this verse that we are his children (see Pirkei Ovos 3:14). If one's son behaves in a most unbecoming manner to the point that it would bring shame upon his parents, they distance themselves from him and surely don't announce that he is their son. Since Hashem has publicly proclaimed that we are His sons it is most important that we do not behave in a manner that brings discord. Other shortcomings can be kept under wraps, but conflicts always end up in the public domain. (Adaptation of the words of Yalkut Yehudoh)
Ch. 14, v. 1: "Lo'meis" - For a dead person - The concept of not creating groups that fight with each other is very appropriately placed by the death of a person because, unfortunately, upon the death of a relative there is very often severe fighting over the inheritance. Likewise, upon the death of a communal leader there is fighting over who will succeed him. (Likutei Bosor Likutei)
Ch. 14, v. 1: "Bein eineichem" - Between your eyes - The gemara M'nochos 37b derives from these words that the proper place for the placement of head tefillin in not literally between one's eyes, but rather, above one's hairline aligned with the space between one's eyes. It is most appropriate that the law of placement of tefillin is derived from the verse dealing with not gouging one's flesh as an act of mourning. The Torah says that one is prohibited from displaying extreme mourning, as even the death of a close relative does not leave a person alone in this world, because we are children of Hashem, "Bonim a'tem laShem Elokeichem." The most conscious act that we do to show that Hashem is with us is in donning tefillin upon our heads. "Sheim Hashem nikro o'lecho" (Dvorim 28:10) refers to the head tefillin (gemara M'nochos 35b, M.R. Shir Hashirim 7:6). (Nirreh li)
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