CHAMISHOH MI YODEI'A - FIVE QUESTIONS ON THE WEEKLY SEDRAH - PARSHAS B'CHUKOSAI 5771 - BS"D
1) Ch. 26, v. 3: "Im b'chukosai tei'leichu" - If you will go in My statutes - The Toras Kohanim says that "walking" in my statutes means toiling in the study of Torah, similar to the command Hashem gave to Avrohom, "Kum his'ha'leich bo'oretz l'orkoh ulrochboh" (Breishis 13:17). What is the comparison of Avrohom's "walking" the length and breadth of the land to "walking" in Hashem's statutes?
2) Ch. 26, v. 9: "Vahakimosi es brisi itchem" - And I will establish My covenant with you - Rashi writes, "bris chadoshoh," - a NEW covenant - as you have nullified the first one. The new one will never be negated. Is Rashi actually saying that the original covenant is no longer in force?
3) Ch. 26, v. 40,41: "V'hisvadu es avo'nom …… b'maalom asher mo'alu vi v'af asher holchu imi b'keri, Af ani eileich imom b'keri" - And they will confess their sin …… in their inequity that they have misbehaved against Me and also that they have to Me with happenstance, I will also respond in kind and act with happenstance - Since these people are confessing their sin, why does Hashem respond so negatively?
4) Ch. 26, v. 42: "V'zocharti brisi Yaakov" - And I will remember My covenant with Yaakov - This verse, one of comfort, seems totally out of place in the middle of this lengthy admonishment.
5) Ch. 27, v. 5: "V'im mi'ben cho'meish shonim v'ad ben esrim shonoh" - If he is between five and twenty years old - A) From the ages of twenty to sixty years (verses 3 and 4), and from one month to five years (verse 6), the ratio of redemption of male to female is 5 to 3. Above the age of 60 (verse 7) the gap closes, with a 3 to 2 ratio. Why? B) The ratio between male and female between the ages of 5 years and 20 years, is a 2 to 1 ratio. Why is a male so highly assessed during these years?
The Rambam in his commentary on the mishnoh B.B. 1:1 writes that although walking through a property does not constitute an act of acquiring ownership, this is only the case when one attempts to become an owner. However, if one is indeed an owner, such as when the property is an inheritance, just that it is to be divided with other heirs, walking the borders to delineate what is one's portion is an acceptable act of binding ownership. We can thus understand the Toras Kohanim to be saying that since the Torah is our inheritance, and there is an allotment for each person, "v'sein chelkeinu b'Soro'secho" (Pirkei Ovos 5:25), our "walking" is a binding act of acquiring the Torah. The Toras Kohanim explains that "walking" means toiling in the study of Torah. (The Ragotchover Gaon in a personal letter)
The Mahari"k interprets Rashi to not ch"v mean that there is an annulment of the first covenant and there will be a replacement, as the original covenant is permanent. Rather the stress is on "vahakimosi." Hashem promised a fulfillment of the good brought about through proper behaviour. However, through improper acts there was an abrogation of the bond, hence Hashem rescinded His promise of bringing the blessings to fruition. What is NEW is the re-establishment of the fulfillment of good, and this Hashem promises will never be repealed.
It is because the confession is only verbal. Even while they are verbally contrite they are holding onto their sins, "b'maalom asher mo'alu vi," WITH their inequity. They are "toveil v'sheretz b'yodo." (Toldos Yitzchok)
It is not a consolation. Quite to the contrary, it is a strong indictment. If one is the son of an evil person and likewise behaves improperly, there is a somewhat mollifying claim, that he did not have a good role model from whom to learn. Our verse says that Hashem will also remember that we are descendants of the holy Patriarchs, Yaakov, Yitzchok, and Avrohom, and nevertheless behaved improperly. This is quite an indictment. (Shalo"h Hakodosh)
A) This is explained by the gemara Arochin 19a, "An old man is not very useful, while an old woman brings blessing into the home" (she is helpful around the home). This is expanded upon by the Chizkuni. He says that between the ages of 20 and 60, when men and women have strength, the man is trained to do work that is physically taxing, while the woman learns to do some skilled work that is not so physically demanding. During the "golden years" of declining physical strength, the man is totally not suited for work in which he was trained, while a woman, although somewhat weaker, can continue in a limited manner to do her work.
B) The mishnoh in Pirkei Ovos 5:25 says that between the ages of 5 years and 20 years a male enters Torah study on different levels and at age 18 he should enter into marriage. Because of all these momentous spiritual milestones he is assessed at an even higher rate during this period. It is only when he reaches the age of 20, when he is a "ben esrim lirdofe," he must pursue a livelihood, that he is knocked down a notch and is back at the 5 to 3 ratio. (Rabbi Dovid Mordechai Zilber shlit"a)
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