by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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OROH V'SIMCHOH - MESHECH CHOCHMOH ON PARSHAS B'HAR 5766 BS"D
However, Yom Tov depends totally upon sanctification by the courts. They establish the beginning of each month, which in turn affects when Yom Tov takes place. Their control is so potent that even if they intentionally decide to establish the new month contrary to calculations (Rabbi Saadioh Gaon and Rabbeinu Chanan'eil) and lunar sightings (Rambam), their decisions are still final and binding, even if in the Celestial spheres it is decided otherwise. This is why we make the blessing, "M'ka'deish haShabbos v'Yisroel v'hazmanim." We do not say "m'da'deish Yisroel" before mentioning Shabbos because Shabbos needs no intervention from us to take place (gemara ibid.).
Similarly, "shmitoh" differs from "yoveil." "Shmitoh's" sanctity and laws automatically come upon us without human involvement, and that is why it is called "Shabbos laShem." However, "yoveil" is like Yom Tov in that it depends upon the actions of people. Three things must take place before "yoveil" is in force. They are the blowing of a shofar, the emancipation of slaves, and the return of inheritance properties (Rambam hilchos shmitoh v'yovlos 10:13). This is why verse 20 says, "v'kidashTEM es shnas hachamishim shonoh," - YOU shall sanctify the 50th year. This is also shown in verse 12, "yoveil hee shnas hachamishim shonoh t'h'yeh LOCHEM." We find a similar term "y'h'yeh LOCHEM" by Yom Tov (Vayikroh 23:7), indicating that it is in the hands of the courts to usher in Yom Tov and "yoveil."
Conceptually this difference between "shmitoh" and "yoveil" can be understood as follows: "Shmitoh" is a mitzvoh that is similar in theme to Shabbos. Both testify that Hashem created the world and is its owner. We therefore refrain from creative work on Shabbos and from agricultural pursuits during the "shmitoh" year. We loosen our grip as owners and masters over the world. "Yoveil" is reminiscent of the exodus from Egypt, a Yom Tov. We were freed from oppressive slavery, and likewise on Yom Kippur of the "yoveil" year we free our slaves. (Meshech Chochmoh)
Ch. 25, v.3,4: "Sheish shonim tizra .. , u'vashonoh hashviis shabbas shabbosone" - Rashi on 25:2 brings the T.K. 25:7 which says that the seventh year is for Hashem, similar to the weekly Shabbos, where it also says Shabbos shabbosone (Shmos 31:15, 35:2). It seems that the seven years of the Shmittoh cycle correspond to the seven days of the week. We find that the words "ki tov" are mentioned twice on the third day of creation. As well, on the sixth day "ki tov" is mentioned once and the expression "v'hinei tov m'ode" is also found. The MESHECH CHOCHMOH says that during the seven-year cycle we find that "maaser oni," tithing which is given to the poor, is given on the third and the sixth years. Charity is an act of "tov," kindness, corresponding to the word "tov" written twice on both the third and sixth days of creation.
Perhaps another point can be added. On the sixth day we find the expression, "tov M'ODE," exceedingly good. This might be in place since giving a tenth of one's produce on the sixth year is an exceedingly great act of kindness. Since the donour will not plant on the seventh year, he has a greater inclination to save as much as possible from the sixth year to sustain himself later. Alternatively, since there is a blessing that the sixth year will give forth produce to sustain us for three years, the tithing of the produce of the sixth year is triple the normal yearly amount, hence "tov m'ode."
Ch. 25, v. 13: "Toshuvu ish el achuzoso" - The MESHECH CHOCHMOH asks why Hashem placed Yovel and Shmitoh back to back creating a two year continuum of prohibition of almost all agricultural activities. He answers that Hashem has commanded in this verse that all fields that were an inheritance handed down from generation to generation from the times of Yehoshua which were sold, should be returned to their original owners. After the purchaser has owned the field for possibly close to five decades, he has become emotionally attached to the field, truly feeling that it will always be his. To soften the blow of having to return it gratis, Hashem has given two consecutive years during which one may have no agricultural pursuits. Thus it is not as difficult to relinquish the property during the beginning of the second year of the agricultural moratorium.
I have seen written similar reasoning for the law (gemara R.H. 8b, Rambam hilchos Shmitoh v'Yovel 10:14) that when releasing slaves in the Yovel year, the slaves are freed from work on Rosh Hashonoh and only go free ten days later on Yom Kippur after the sounding of the shofar. In the interim the responsibility to feed and house them still rests upon the master although they do not work for him. This ruling similarly softens the hardship of relinquishing a slave.
Ch. 25, v. 35,36: "Geir v'soshov ......, al tikach mei'ito neshech" - The MESHECH CHOCHMOH says that the Torah mentions a Geir here to tell us that even if one gave an interest bearing loan to a non-Jew, if that non-Jew has converted to Judaism, "al tikach mei'ito neshech," it is still forbidden to ask for interest payments.
Ch. 25, v. 49: "O hisigoh yodo v'nigol" - If a relative may redeem him, isn't it obvious that he can redeem himself? The MESHECH CHOCHMOH amswers that it is necessary to mention his redeeming himself in relation to the ruling in the words immediately after "o hisigoh yodo v'nigol." The following verse states, "V'chishav im koneihu," that he should make an accurate calculation with his purchaser, so as to not underpay. Not only does this apply when a relative redeems him, but even when he redeems himself, and feels very hardpressed to extricate himself from being a slave, he should still not take advantage of his purchaser, and should make sure to pay his full redemption value.
OROH V'SIMCHOH - MESHECH CHOCHMOH ON PARSHAS B'CHUKOSAI
Ch. 26, v. 21: "V'im teilchu imi keri" - The gemara Shabbos 118b says that one who recites Hallel daily is considered a blasphemer. On the other hand, the gemara Brochos 4b one who recites the chapter of "T'hiloh l'Dovid" (T'hilim #145, commonly known as "Ashrei") thrice daily is assured that he has a place in the world-to-come. Is one not praiseworthy for saying Hallel daily, extolling the great open miracles that Hashem has wrought? The MESHECH CHOCHMOH explains that Hallel stresses the open miracles that Hashem wrought. We recite it only on the anniversary of special occasions. By reciting it daily we give credence to the concept that miracles are worthwhile praising daily, and that nature is relegated to a lower rung, to the level of "keri," happenstance. However, this is not so, as nature itself is also a miracle wrought by Hashem, just that our senses are dulled by its constant occurrence (See responsa Chacham Zvi #18 regarding the gematria taught by Rabbi Dovid Nieto that "Elokim = teva.") The praises in Ashrei are of Hashem acting within the rules of nature, sustaining all creatures, etc. For praising Hashem daily for His "miracles within nature" one is indeed assured that he has a place in the world-to-come.
Ch. 27, v. 4: "V'IM n'keivoh HEE v'hoyoh er'k'cho shloshim shekel" - Why does the Torah write HEE here and not HU by the male in the previous verse? This might teach us that if she is pregnant we only calculate her and not the fetus, hence HEE. Even if she later gives birth to a male, the evaluation is calculated at the time of the oath. The male she is carrying is under the age of a month, as he is not yet born. The Rabbis in the gemara Arochin 5a say that one who makes an oath to give the Mikdosh the value of a person who is under thirty days of age does not have to give anything. The word HEE is used by the woman who is between the ages of twenty and sixty years and not by any other ages, as those are the vast majority of the years in which a woman bears children. As well there could be another indication that these words teach us that a pregnant woman has the same evaluation as one who is not pregnant from the word V'IM. If we read this word vowelized with a "tzei'rei" it is read V'EIM, - and a mother. Since this is not relevant to a man the word HU is not used.
We find the word V'IM here by the woman who is between the ages of twenty and sixty years and not by the male of the same age. As well the word V'IM is used by the male over the age of sixty years and not by the female. This can be explained as follows: The gemara B.B. 119b says that a woman who marries under the age of twenty can bear children until the age of sixty. Tosfos on the gemara K'subos 23b d.h. "misoh sh'chichoh" writes that men live to an older age than woman on average because of the incidence of death during childbirth. However, women who live past their childbearing years outlive men. The word V'IM, - and if, indicates a situation that is not all that common. In relation to men between the ages of twenty and sixty years, women are less common, hence V'IM. Once above the age of sixty years, men are less common, hence "V'IM mi'ben shishim shonoh." The MESHECH CHOCHMOH has not explained why we also find the word V'IM by the five to twenty year old male in verse 5 and by the month old to five year old male in verse six.
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