SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS R'EI 5764 BS"D
Ch. 12, v. 16: "Rak hadom lo socheilu" - But the blood you shall not consume
- A person who thought of himself as a self educated scholar spoke
disparagingly of Rabbinic authorities, claiming that they are overpaid and their skill in
answering halachic queries is no great skill, as even he, a working man has
studied Shulchan Oruch. "All one needs to know is where in Shulchan Oruch to
find the subject matter and the rest is self evident," he claimed. Rabbi Chaim
Brisker was once present when this man spouted his opinion. Rabbi Chaim asked
him if he would be willing to answer a seemingly simple question. He agreed.
The contents of a pot of kosher cooked meat were mixed with the contents of a
pot of cooked meat that belonged to a gentile. The mixture was discarded
before it was determined if the non-kosher contents were a 60th of the total
mixture or less. Is the formerly kosher pot kosher or not? The person answered that
since it was known that the kosher part was surely the majority and the
non-kosher the minority, and both items were meat, giving the mixture a status of
"min b'mino," both items of the same type, where on a Torah level the mixture
would be permitted, and only by Rabbinical decree are 60 parts kosher required,
since the meat was discarded it is but a doubt on a Rabbinical level, and we
should therefore be lenient, "so'feik d'Rabonon l'kula" (see Y.D. #98).
Rabbi Chaim said, "But the gentile surely didn't salt the meat to extract its
blood. Blood and meat are not considered the same species, so it is not "min
b'mino," and therefore the mixture has a Torah level restriction. When in
doubt with a Torah level prohibition we are stringent."
"Oh, of course, Rabbi! How could I have overlooked this point? I am mistaken
and the pot is prohibited."
Rabbi Chaim then said, "But we are discussing COOKED meat. The blood likewise
was cooked. Cooked blood is only prohibited on a Rabbinical level, so we are
back to a "so'feik d'Rabonon" and the pot should be permitted."
"How could I be so stupid! I have twice overlooked factors that you have
mentioned. Anyone can make a mistake or two."
Rabbi Chaim continued. "Even if cooked blood does not have a Torah
prohibition, but the blood itself is part of the animal and as such is 'n'veiloh,' again
a Torah level restriction."
By this point the self appointed halacha authority was red in the face and
had to admit he again overlooked a salient point that made all the difference.
"Have you forgotten that Tosfos on the gemara P'sochim 22 d.h. 'v'ha'rei'
says that blood of an animal that is a 'n'veiloh' is not considered 'n'veiloh'
itself, as the 'n'veiloh' status of the animal only begins after its death? If
so, it has the simple status of blood only, with no accompanying prohibition.
Since it was cooked we are again back to a "so'feik d'Rabonon.'"
"Yes, Rabbi, I forgot that as well. We are definitely back to a 'so'feik
d'Rabonon' and the pot is kosher."
"You have not taken into consideration that before the animal was dead it
surely had the status of 't'reifoh' after being dealt a deathblow before dying.
If so, the blood that was absorbed in the flesh of the 'treifoh' which flowed
out of the non-kosher meat has the status of 'yotzei min ho'osur' (see gemara
B'choros 6a), an object that is drawn from a prohibited item, which is
prohibited just as the item from which it was drawn. This gives the non-kosher blood
the status of 'treifoh.' Blood and meat are not one species, so we have 'min
b'she'eino mino,' which has a Torah restriction. We need a definite 60 of kosher
to negate the non-kosher. Since the mixture was spilled and we cannot
determine the ratio we must rule stringently." Hopefully, the self appointed
authority finally realized that giving a proper halachic ruling is not child's play.
Ch. 12, v. 19: "Pen taazove es haLevi kol yo'mecho" - Lest you forsake the
Levite all your days - What is the intention of "all your days"? The next verse
discusses when Hashem will broaden our borders. This refers to the time when
we will receive our inheritance promised to Avrohom of the lands of Keini,
Knizi, and Kadmoni. There is an opinion that Levites will receive a land portion
there among the rest of the tribes (see gemara B.B. 56a, Mishneh L'melech at
the end of hilchos shmitoh v'yoviel). Since we give Levites tithes because they
service the Mikdosh and are in turn given no large land portions, we might
think that in the days of the coming of Moshiach, when the Levites will also own
land parcels, we will no longer be required to give them tithes. The words
"kol yo'mecho" negate this line of thinking. (Meshech Chochmoh)
Ch. 14, v. 21: "La'geir asher bisho'recho titnenoh vaacholoh" - To the
inhabitant who is within your gates shall you give it and he shall eat it - Why does
the verse say that he shall eat it? Isn't this obvious? A ben Yisroel is
prohibited from doing commerce with "n'veiloh." However, if he happens to own
"n'veiloh," for example he owns an abattoir and inevitably there will be
"n'veilos" among the animals slaughtered, he may sell them. He is not only permitted to
sell to a gentile, but also to another ben Yisroel who will eventually sell
them to a gentile. However, if one has sold or given the "n'veiloh" to a
gentile, a ben Yisroel may no longer buy it from him, even with the intention of
selling it to another gentile (see Y.D. #117). This is why the verse says
"vaacholoh." Once it has become the property of a gentile, he should eat it, and a
ben Yisroel may not buy it from him. (Meshech Chochmoh)
Ch. 15, v. 8: "Ki foso'ach tiftach es yodcho" - Rather you shall surely open
your hand - The mishnoh Pei'oh 8:8 says that if a person has less than 200
"zuz" he is considered a poor man who may receive alms. Is there a Torah source
for this threshold? In the parsha of "arochin," donating the value of a person
to the Mikdosh, the Torah gives set sums for the payments. A poor person pays
a reduced amount. The verse says "V'im moch hu mei'erkecho" (Vayikra 27:8), -
if he is too poor for the value. The amount just mentioned as the payment is
50 "slo'im," which equal 200 "zuz." If he has less than this amount he is
called a "moch," a poor person. (Meshech Chochmoh)
There is a mathematical allusion to the 200 "zuz" threshold. The word
"tzedokoh" has the numerical value of 199. If one has 199 "zuz" or less he may
Ch. 15, v. 8: "Ki foso'ach tiftach es yodcho lo v'haa'veit taavi'tenu dei
mach'soro" - Rather you shall surely open your hand and you should lend him for
that which he lacks - These words discuss two situations. The first is where a
person seeks alms because he lacks basic food. The Torah says that you shall
surely open your hand and give with no restrictions and no delays in giving.
"V'haa'veit" is the Torah's response to one who asks for a loan for other items
he lacks, "dei mach'soro." In this situation you may investigate and ask for
surety (hence the term/word source "ovote," collateral) before giving him help.
Ch. 15, v. 18: "Lo yiksheh v'ei'necho b'sha'leichacho oso chofshi" - Do not
find it difficult in your eyes when you send him away free - This verse seems
out of place, as it is again discussing the six year slave of verse 12. Verse
15 softens the blow of sending him away gratis and also giving him a bonus. Our
verse is another reason for accepting the requirement to send him away gratis
magnanimously. Why do verses 16 and 17 interrupt with the laws of a slave who
stays on until "yoveil," a double departure, changing which slave is under
discussion and interrupting the reasons for graciously sending away the slave?
Any help would be appreciated.
Ch. 15, v. 18: "Lo yiksheh v'ei'necho b'sha'leichacho oso chofshi .. avodcho
sheish shonim" - Do not find it difficult in your eyes when you send him away
free .. he has served you for six years - The master owned this slave for a
maximum of six years only. When sending away an indentured slave who might have
worked for his master as for as long as 49 years (Vayikra 25:10,13) the Torah
does not commensurate with the owner or comfort him by stating that the
servant did what was required of him and that we were likewise slaves in Egypt and
were freed (verses 15 and 18). It would seem that there is a greater need to
mention these concepts there.
Possibly, we can answer this with the insight of the Meshech Chochmoh. He
says that to lessen the impact of setting a slave free on Yom Kippur of the
"yoveil" year and receiving no compensation, the Torah gives a transition period.
>From Rosh Hashonoh of "yoveil" until the blowing of the shofar on Yom Kippur,
which is when the servant actually leaves, he has no responsibility to work and
must still be given room and board by the master gratis (gemara R.H. 10a).
This makes it relatively easy for the master to let go with no pep-talk. (Nirreh
Ch. 16, v. 15: "V'hoyiso ach so'mei'ach" - And you should only be joyous -
Another interpretation: And only you will be joyous, to the exclusion of the 70
nations. They have been very happy during the 7 days of Sukos, as during Sukos
70 offerings were brought for their well-being. On Shmini Atzerres a single
offering is brought, and only for the bnei Yisroel. Therefore, only you will be
joyous on this day. (Meshech Chochmoh)
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