Oroh V'Simchoh

Meshech Chochmoh
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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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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 Yoveil 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 answers 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.


See also Sedrah Selections, Chasidic Insights and Chamisha Mi Yodei'a

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