Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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1) Ch. 12, v. 11: "V'chole mivchar nidreichem" - The Sifri 12:19 says that the word "v'chole" comes to include that even the first-born sacrifice, "b'chor," should also be "choice." Since a "b'chor" is the first-born, how is it possible to offer that which is choice?

2) Ch. 12, v. 18: "V'hachasidoh" - And the bird called chasidoh - The gemara Chulin 63a explains that the appellation "chasidoh" is appropriate for this bird because it does kindness with its friends. It shares its food with them. The question is raised: "If it displays this positive trait, why indeed is it a non-kosher species?" The well-known answer is that it only shares with its "friends," and not with a wider range of birds. This is in actuality a negative trait. This concept seems to run contrary to the gemara Yerushalmi B.M. 3:5, "Mice are wicked. It is not sufficient for them to eat, but they also call others to eat with them." We see that sharing with all others is a negative trait.

3) 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 while the consumer is ritually pure himself. 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. Was there permission granted to consume "chulin" meat in the desert, contrary to the above?

4) Ch. 14, v. 1: "Bonim a'tem laShem Elokeichem" - You are children of Hashem your G-d - How is this a cogent reason for not displaying one's mourning through scraping his skin or ripping out his hair?

5) Ch. 15, v. 7: "Ki yi'h'yeh v'cho evyon" - If there will be within you a destitute person - The word "v'cho" seems superfluous.



1) The Holy Admor of Gur, Rabbi Avrohom Mordechai, in Rosh Gulas Ari'eil answers that this is possible if a lamb gave birth the first time to twin males in a manner that was impossible to know which was born first. The law is that only one is treated as the first-born. The verse tells us that we must choose the better of the two.

2) Alternatively, he offers that "shelo y'vi'eim shelo min hamuvchar" does not refer to choosing an inferior animal, but rather, refers to the MANNER in which the first-born is brought to the Kohein. The gemara B'choros 26b says that the owner must raise a sheep or goat for thirty days and a bovine for fifty days before offering them to the Kohein. Thus bringing them in a "muvchar" manner means to fatten them before offering them to the Kohein.


The difference is that the "chasidoh" shares honestly gotten food, and by limiting its distribution to only its friends it displays a negative trait. Mice steal people's food. By calling others to also partake, more is stolen. (Ma'yonoh Shel Torah)


The Rambam hilchos sh'chitoh 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, "bossor n'chiroh." 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, "sh'chitoh," 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.


1) Because you are Hashem's children you should not damage yourselves or your appearance, as this is not befitting for the King's children. (Rashi)

2) You should not over react because you are always left with your Father in Heaven. Likewise you should not do this because of the loss of the deceased. He is likewise Hashem's child and will receive his reward in the world-to-come. (Sforno)

3) You should not over react because your loss is only temporary. This is like mourning over the descent of the sun below the horizon. It will shine again. Similarly, the souls of the departed are collected by Hashem, and will shine again. (Ramban, Kli Yokor, Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh)


1) The reason there is a destitute person is within you. It is because you need the merit of supplying him with his needs, as per the gemara B. B. 10a. (Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh)

2) The poor man is Moshiach, as per the verse "Oni v'rocheiv al chamore" (Zecharioh 9:9). He is WITHIN you, i.e. it is your fault that he is not able to herald in the "days of Moshiach." (Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh)

3) Do not think that you are donating YOUR money. His money is in your safekeeping, "v'cho." (Ohel Yaakov)

4) Poverty is like a turning wheel. That which on top one moment, is on the bottom a moment later. Do not harden your heart, because poverty is within you, it could well be your lot. (Nirreh li)



See also Sedrah Selections, Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha and Chasidic Insights

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