CHAMISHOH MI YODEI'A - FIVE QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON PARSHAS KI SOVO 5773 - BS"D
1) Ch. 26, v. 2: "Mei'reishis" - From the first - Rashi (gemara M'nochos 84b) says that one only brings "bikurim" from the first-ripened produce of the seven species. This is the list of species mentioned in parshas Eikev, 8:8. Rashi here goes on to clarify the technical meaning of the words "zeis shemen" and "d'vash" in Eikev. This seems to be out of place here and should have been clarified there.
2) Ch. 26, v. 2: "V'samto ba'tenne" - And you shall place it into a basket - The mishnoh Bikurim 3:8 says that each person according to his financial ability brought a basket to beautify the mitzvoh. The wealthy man brought the "bikurim" in a gold or silver basket, while them poor man brought it in a wicker basket. The Sifri says that our verse teaches us that it is a requirement to bring the first-ripened produce in a basket.
We know that every mitzvoh is to be enhanced and beautified, as per the verse "Zeh Keili v'anveihu" (Shmos 15:2), which the gmera Shabbos 133b interprets to mean that we should enhance every mitzvoh. If so, why does the Torah spell it out here, since this has to be done anyway?
3) Ch. 26, v. 13: "Lo ovarti mimitzvosecho" - I have not transgressed any of Your precepts - Why is there a requirement to make a verbal confession specifically when bringing the required tithing, "maa'seir," to the Beis Hamikdosh?
4) Ch. 27, v. 12: "Eilu yaamdu l'vo'reich es ho'om" - These will stand to bless the nation - By the curse the verse does not say "to curse" - "l'ka'leil," but rather, "al hakloloh," in a passive sense. Why the difference?
5) Ch. 29, v. 5: "Lechem lo achaltem v'yayin v'sheichor lo sh'si'sem l'maan teidu ki ani Hashem Elokeichem" - Bread you have not eaten and wine you have not drunk so that you should know that I am your G-d - Did the bnei Yisroel have absolutely no bread or wine in the desert? We see that Nodov and Avihu, the sons of Aharon drank wine, as mentioned in parshas Shmini (also see Dvorim 2:28,29).
In his commentary on Nechemioh 10:36 Rashi writes that the bringing of "bikurim" from other fruit species in a Rabbinic decree. The Chasam Sofer on Sh.O. O.Ch. #197 writes that he has found no source for a Rabbinic requirement to bring "bikurim" from any other species.
The Chizkuni has a novel understanding of Rashi. He says that his intention is that one need not bring a complete fruit. It is sufficient to bring a piece of the first-ripened fruit. This is quite puzzling, as Rashi clearly states that his intention is to exclude produce not of the seven species.
Perhaps it is because the purpose of this exercise is to implant a true feeling of appreciation into the heart of the farmer, who himself went through a spring and summer of back-breaking work to come to the point of having ripened produce ready for consumption. It is only natural to take credit for this. Bringing "bikurim" and stating the prescribed verses should "do the job" of bringing the farmer to grasp that his "silent Partner" is Hashem. However, even this might not be enough for many people since they themselves put in so much effort. Requiring them to also enhance and beautify the mitzvoh will surely bring them to say "Zeh Keili v'anveihu," I realize the presence of Hashem's involvement in these first-ripened fruits. (Nirreh li)
Since we are relying on the integrity of the farmer, as no one can claim with certainty that he has not brought a full 1/10th of his produce, the Torah requires that he make this statement. It surely takes a lot of audacity to come to the holiest place on earth and make a public proclamation that he has not transgressed any aspect of bringing the tithe. (Abarbanel)
This seems to only explain this section of "viduy" of our verse, but not the rest.
This is because the blessing is brought in an active manner, i.e. Hashem sends the blessing. The negative response to sins is not an active response from Hashem, as per the verse, "Mipi Elyon lo seitzei horo'ose" (Eichoh 3:38). Negative happenings come about through Hashem's removing His protective powers, "hester ponim." (Kli Yokor)
The Ramban tackles this problem and answers that there was not enough bread or wine to sustain them. Their main sustenance came from the manna, heaven-sent. This is the continuum of our verse.
Perhaps we can explain this verse in another manner. We find that after the battles with the four kings, whom Avrohom vanquished, he met with Malki Tzedek the king of Salem. Malki Tzedek offered Avrohom bread and wine (Breishis 14:18). This was a gesture of unity with Avrohom, showing that he was pleased that Avrohom was the victor, and not the vanquished. This is an opening of creating an alliance with a king.
The next verse relates that we conquered Sichon and Og. Our verse says that we did not have bread, nor wine offered by any kings in the region, as did Avrohom. There is no hope of creating an alliance with any of the surrounding nations. Therefore you should realize, "l'maan teidu," that "ki ani Hashem Elokeichem." You have only Me upon Whom to rely. (Nirreh li)
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