CHAMISHOH MI YODEI'A - FIVE QUESTIONS ON THE WEEKLY SEDRAH - PARSHAS B'CHUKOSAI 5768 - BS"D
1) Ch. 26, v. 3: "Im b'chukosai teileichu" - Rashi quotes the Toras Kohanim 26:2 that says that these words teach us that we must toil in Torah study. The Toras Kohanim first says that one might think that this verse refers to the fulfillment of mitzvos, but that is taught by the words "v'es mitzvosai tish'm'ru." Rabbi Ovadioh of Bartenura explains that at first one might think that the fulfillment of the mitzvos is a concept that fits into the words "im b'chukosei teileichu" more readily, since "teileichu - you shall walk," is what is often required to do mitzvos, as not all opportunities are at hand. Learning and toiling in Torah study is more readily done without walking somewhere, since one can toil in Torah at home. If so, why indeed did the Torah express toiling in Torah study as WALKING in my statutes?
2) Ch. 26, v. 4: "GishmeiCHEM" - Why doesn't the verse say "g'shomim" rather than "gishmeiCHEM?"
3) Ch. 26, v. 4: "V'nosnoh ho'oretz y'vuloh" - And the land will give forth its produce - What is the word source of "y'vuloh?"
4) Ch. 26, v. 31: "Vahashimosi es mik'd'sheichem v'lo oriach b'rei'ach nichochachem" - And I will lay waste your sanctuaries and I will not smell the pleasant aroma of your fragrances - Once the Sanctuary is destroyed there is no offering of incense. If so, why is it necessary to add that Hashem will not smell the aroma of the incense?
5) Ch. 26, v. 42: "V'ho'oretz ezkore" - And I will remember the land - After Hashem's stating that He will remember His bond with our Patriarchs, how does the remembrance of the land add to the mitigation of our sins?
1) Perhaps this comes to teach us that one might feel that toiling in Torah is only required when one is in comfortable familiar surroundings, when he does not have to WALK any great distance. If however, circumstances bring a person to leave his home and community, he might not as readily be able to delve into the study of Torah with a clear mind. The Torah therefore tells us that even when "teileichu," when you must be in foreign surroundings, you must still diligently toil in Torah study.
2) The gemara Nidoh 30b says that during a child's nine month gestation period he is taught the complete Torah. Just prior to birth an angel hits him on his mouth and causes him to forget all the Torah that he was taught. Rabbi Chaim haLevi Soloveitchik asks, "If one is supposed to engage himself in continuous Torah study throughout his life, for what purpose is he born if he already has knowledge of the complete Torah?" He answers that the Torah study during the pre-birth period is lacking TOILING in Torah study as it was spoon-fed to him. Perhaps this concept is alluded to in the words "Im b'chukosei teileichu," - which the Toras Kohanim interprets as TOILING in Torah. If "teileichu," if you see that you are WALKING on the face of the earth, meaning that you realize that you were born, and you raise the question, "Why was I born and not left in a state of knowledge of the complete Torah," the answer is, so that you may toil in Torah study.
3) The Holy Admor of Modzitz answers the question raised by Rabbi Chaim haLevi Soloveitchik by simply saying that by being placed onto this physical world we are presented with the opportunity and responsibility to FULFILL the mitzvos, not just study them. With this answer he explains the words of Rabbi Yochonon in the Medrash Tanchuma parshas Ki Sovo #4, who says that one who studies Torah but does not have the intention of fulfilling the mitzvos, it would have been preferable if he would have died in his mother's womb. Since one has learned the complete Torah in his mother's womb, what purpose is there for him to be born if he only learns the Torah but does not plan to fulfill the mitzvos?
Possibly answers 2 and 3 are alluded to in our verse - "Im b'chukosei teileichu," - which the Toras Kohanim interprets as TOILING in Torah, and the next words of the verse, "u'mitzvosai tish'm'ru," - and you will guard my mitzvos.
The B'eir Yoseif answers with the words of the Medrash Vayikra Rabboh 27:1. A story is related there of a king from Africa visiting Alexander of Macedonia. The African king asked many questions of Alexander in the vein of gathering information about the justice system of Macedonia. The African king quickly realized that there was no true justice and basically Alexander usurped what he could for the government, a.k.a. himself.
Feeling that the people of Macedonia were very unworthy for having such an unjust system, he blurted out, "Does it ever rain in this country?" Alexander promptly responded in the affirmative. The African king retorted, "The rain must come in the merit of the animals that reside here, as the people don't merit it."
The medrash goes on to say that this is a correct concept, as is stated in T'hilim 145:9, "V'rachamov al kol maasov - Hashem's mercy is upon all his creations (even animals)," and even if the people don't deserve rainfall, it may come so that the animals shouldn't suffer, as is also stated in T'hilim 36:7, "Odom u'v'heimoh soshia Hashem - You, Hashem bring salvation to man and to animals," to be interpreted as "through the merit of the animals You bring salvation to man."
The blessing of our verse tells us that when we follow Hashem's dictates He will deliver YOUR rains, rains that will come in the merit of the people and not in the merit of animals, in a timely manner.
1) From the word "boloh," to wither and rot - Produce only comes about when the seed withers and decomposes. All matter on this world is not permanent, and this is why the world is called "teiveil." (Haksav V'hakaboloh)
2) From the word "hovoloh," carried, transported - The earth carries its nutrients into produce. (N'tzi"v)
3) From the word "bolol," mixed, a mixture - Agricultural produce is the result of a mixture of powers, the seed or plant, the nutrients of the earth, moisture, and the warmth of the sun. (Nirreh li)
The gemara Yoma 39b relates that Rabbi Yehoshua ben Korchoh said that he met an elderly person who told him that when he was in Shiloh, a distance from Yerusholayim and many years after the Beis Hamikdosh was destroyed, he smelled the residual fragrance of the Mikdosh incense. Residual aroma also has a positive affect spiritually. Our verse tells us that if there is ch"v severe sinning the residual fragrance of the daily incense, which exists even well after the Beis Hamikdosh was destroyed, will not have a calming
effect upon Hashem. (Mahari"l Diskin)
1) The earth did not follow Hashem's dictate to produce trees whose wood would have a similar flavour to their fruit. Thus the earth had the nature of non-compliance with Hashem's wishes. The same earth gave forth mankind. It passed on to mankind the nature of not totally complying with Hashem's wishes, thus lessening man's guilt. (Rabbi Yehoshua of Apt in Oheiv Yisroel)
2) Eretz Yisroel was blessed 14 times in the Torah as a land that flows milk and honey. This abundance of physical blessing lends towards one's sinning, "Va'yishman Yeshurun va'yivot shomanto oviso kosiso" (Dvorim 32:15). (Ksav Sofer)
3) Rashi explains that the mention of the covenant with each of our Patriarchs means that if the merit of one doesn't suffice, then we add the merit of the next. If the merit of all three is insufficient, then as a last resort, Hashem remembers the land, i.e. even if there is not sufficient merit in all that was mentioned earlier in this verse, Hashem calculates the merit of the Holy Land. It did no wrong to deserve being left desolate of the bnei Yisroel. In this merit alone they will be brought back. (Kli Yokor)
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