Oroh V'Simchoh

Meshech Chochmoh
on the Weekly Parsha

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 1, v. 26: "Naa'seh odom b'tzalmeinu" - Why this preface and why no "Va'yar Elokim ki tov" like everywhere else? The MESHECH CHOCHMOH says that for man Hashem gave a new aspect of free will. This is what is meant by "B'TZALMEINU," in our form, that there is free will just as Hashem has free will. This is in contradistinction to the rest of creation where it must follow set rules, i.e. a pear tree must produce blossoms and produce pears, etc. Not so man. Therefore the prelude to the creation of man of "naa'seh odom." The expression "va'yar Elokim es kol asher ossoh v'hinei tov m'ode" refers to Hashem's seeing the past, present, and future of His creation, that it did, does, and will function according to the laws of nature that Hashem has embedded into it. Man is not so, since he has free will, NOTWITHSTANDING that Hashem knows what the future holds, (as per Ramban 1:4 d.h. "va'yar" that "vayomeir" is creating and "va'yaar" is seeing that it has "kiyum," it is sustained at that level, retains that nature on a permanent basis, and is non-changing. Therefore there is no "va'yar es ho'odom asher ossoh" but rather a general "es kol asher ossoh." The Mahari"l Diskin explains how it was possible for the trees to deviate from Hashem's command to come into being as trees of fruit making fruit to their species, meaning that the taste of the wood of the tree should be the same as that of the fruit, as pointed out by Rashi, and how could they deviate? The Mahari"l Diskin answers that Hashem gave them the leeway and ability to not follow his command. The Mahara"l of Prague also deals with this problem. According to this Mahari"l Diskin trees also had free will in this one aspect. Perhaps this is what is meant by "Ki ho'odom eitz haso'deh" (Dvorim 20:19). This would also explain why there is "ki tov" mentioned twice on the second day. The other vegetation came into being as per Hashem's wishes and retained their nature invested by Hashem, hence once "ki tov." The fruit producing trees did not do this, as they deviated from Hashem's wish that the taste of their wood should be the same as the fruit, but once they came into being, they no longer were able to deviate from their nature, hence a second, and different level of "ki tov." As mentioned before, the MESHECH CHOCHMOH says that this is the intention of the word TZELEM - form, freewill. Eitz, a tree, also had some free will. A mathematical allusion to this might be that Eitz = 160 = Tzelem. How interesting that man's sin enabled by free will took place with a tree.

Ch. 1, v. 31: "V'hi'nei tov M'ODE" - We find the expression TOV throughout the days of creation. However, on the third day we find it expressed twice (1:10 and 1:12). As well, we find it twice on the sixth day (1:25 and our verse), plus the addition of the word M'ODE, found only here on the sixth day. In Vayikroh 25:3,4 the verses say regarding the shmitoh year, "Sheish shonim tizra .. , u'vashonoh hashviis Shabbas Shabbosone." Rashi on 25:2 brings the Toras Kohanim 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 shmitoh cycle correspond to the seven days of the week. As mentioned above, 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 that is given to the poor, is given on the third and the sixth years. Giving "maa'seir oni" is an act of "tov," kindness, corresponding to the word "tov" written twice on both the third and sixth days of creation. Perhaps the doubling of "tov" indicates giving "maa'seir" twice, once to the Levi, known as "maa'seir rishon," and once to the poor man. On the first, second, fourth, and fifth years there is also "maa'seir sheini," but it may be consumed by the owner himself, thus this "maa'seir" does not embody "tov."

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."


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