- Written by Boruch Fischlewitz
- Category: Torah
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(8:2) “Behaloscha es-Ha’neros-When you light the lights.” Rashi explains the connection between this Parsha and the end of the previous one. When Aaron saw all of the donations made by the Nesiim he felt bad that neither he nor his Shevet had any part of it. This is why the Mitzvah of lighting the Menorah was directed exclusively towards him. The Ohr Hachaim asks why was it this mitzvah when there was so many others that Aharon had to perform? The Nesiim only brought their Korbaonos this one time, while Aharon and his descendants were to perform them for all time? He answers that the Mitzvah of cleaning and lighting the Menorah was even greater than bringing the Korbonos because each day it was necessary to dismantle the Menorah in order to clean it. So in effect Aharon, by reassembling the Menorah, was completing the Mishkon every day.
Another reason why this Mitzvah of lighting the Menorah was given to Aharon is because Aharon’s descendants would be there to light the Menorah once again after the defilement of the Beis Hamikdosh by the Greeks. And in the future when there would no longer be any sacrifices in the Beis Hamikdosh the lighting would continue through the Mitzvah of Chanukah.
The question arises why wasn’t Aaron included with the Nesium in the inaugural sacrifices? The answer is that these Nesium possessed a merit which hey acquired during the slavery in Mitzrayim. They were appointed in charge to ensure that the Jewish slaves would fill their daily quota of creating bricks. When that quota became impossible to fulfill due to the decree of not providing them with the needed straw, the task of these Nesium was to punish and whip them putting pressure on them to attain the goal. But these foreman had compassion on their brethren and took the blows instead. As reward they were given the privilege to partake in the inauguration sacrifices. They sacrificed their bodies for the bodies of their brethren therefore they merited to offer the sacrifice for the Mishkon. However Shevet Levi was not included in the Egyptian servitude. Thus they never paid the price that the other tribes did.
(8:2) “Behaloscha es-Ha’neros-When you light the lights.” "When you caused to rise" The Posuk says that when lighting, the flame should be placed above the wicks in order for the fire to cause the flame to rise up. The Lubavitcher Rebbe explains that this is a lesson for Kiruv. We are instructed to not only give the newly observant a taste of what religious life is about but to inspire, to ignite the fire within them.
The Ramban asks the question why would this command of lighting the Menorah equal that which was done by the Nesiim? Theirs was brought of their own free will. Out of a feeling of love for Hashem, while Aharon was commanded to do this service whether he wanted to or not? It would seem to be a greater gift for Aharon to have been able to serve Hashem the way he wanted to, without being told how. The Gemarrah in Kiddushin (32:A) writes “Gadol Hametzuveh V’oseh M’mi Sh’ayno Metzuveh V’oseh-Greater is the one who is commanded and acts than the one who is not commanded and acts.”
Why is this so? The Shem Meshmuel writes that there are two parts to every Mitzvah. There is that which is revealed and that which is hidden. The revealed part is the physical act of doing a Mitzvah. The hidden part is the intent, the thoughts behind the actions. The same is true with the physical body. There is that which is hidden, the Neshama, and that which is revealed, the body itself. When a person is engaged in performing the physical act of doing the Mitzvah he is able to affect the spiritual world. His actions create tremendous spiritual spheres that in turn can effect the physical world. How is it possible for a mere flesh and blood to make changes in the spiritual world? Because when a person does a Mitzvah he is in effect acting as a messenger of Hashem. And we have a principal that the messenger of a person is equal to the one who appointed the messenger, in this case Hashem. He therefore becomes empowered to be able to affect the spiritual world. But if a person does a notable act, one that may even be the correct thing to do, but it was not a Mitzvah, it was not commanded by Hashem, it may not affect the spiritual world. Therefore greater is the one who is commanded and acts than the one who is not commanded and acts.
There still remains two questions. One is if the other Nesiim gave their gifts of their own free will, what was preventing Aaron from doing the same? Why should he complain? He could have donated gifts as well? Second, what was so special about the lighting of the Menorah? He had several other duties in the Mishkon that he alone would perform? The Sifsei Kohen writes that since each of the Nesiim gave the exact same gift, they must have had Ruach Hakodesh. Aaron thought that this Ruach Hakodesh was withheld from him due to his participation in the Chet Ha’Eigel. But Hashem said that he would give him this special Mitzvah of lighting the Menorah. Why this Mitzvah? We see that the Torah did not phrase this Mitzvah in the usual manner. It does not say B’hadlokas- when you light, but rather Behalosecha-when you cause to rise. The fire would be brought down just close enough to cause the flame to ignite on it’s own. This lesson was meant to apply to all Mitzvos. Hashem sends down the inspiration, but it is up to the individual to make the Mitzvah come alive. Just as each gift brought by the Nesiim was identical and yet the thought behind each one differed. So too each Mitzvah must have within it the individual thought behind the Mitzvah. The Shem M’shmuel explains the difference between the Kohen and the Levi. The Kohen brings down the fire from the spiritual world to the physical world through the Korbonos. The Levi raises the physical world to the spiritual through Shira (song). Thus Aaron and his Shevet would be contributing to the Mishkon in the most special way by this Mitzvah of lighting the Menorah.
According to this, if we are only supposed to do that which we are commanded, where do we find the individualism in life? The Torah alludes to this idea in the word “Behalosecha- when you cause to rise.” Each flame had to rise on its own. Just as each gift brought by the Nesiim was identical and yet the thought behind each one differed. So too each Mitzvah must have within it the individual thought behind the Mitzvah.
Another answer as to why the Mitzvah of the Menorah was given to appease Aharon could be the following from the Benei Yisaschar. The Torah writes (8:3) “Vayaas Kain-And so it was done.” In the beginning of the Parsha it says “Vayaas Kain”. That Aharon did all he was instructed to do regarding the lighting of the Menorah. Why would I think otherwise? Why should I think he would make any changes? In Bereishis it says “Vayehe Kain” after each part of the creation was complete except by the creation of light. The reason was because Hashem hid the original light of creation for the Tzadikim in the future.
It was up to man to decide whether to choose light or not. Hashem knew the outcome and removed that original light. When Aharon lit the Menorah he took from this hidden light. He chose light over darkness. This tiny flame remained with Klal Yisroel all of the forty years in the Midbar. That’s why it says here “Vayas Kain” to complete what was missing by “Masse Bereishit”. This also explains the p'shat in Rashi who says that Aharon didn't change anything. “Vayaas Kain” means that Aharon didn't change that original light of creation.
Alternatively Aaron was to uplift the Neshamas of Benei Yisroel. Very often a person will see a righteous person perform an act of exceptional piety. He might say “that is not me, I could never do something like that.” Aaron comes to tell us we can, we can change and be more. Vayas Kain-Aaron made the word “Kain/Yes” he changed our attitude to one of “Yes I can” When Rashi comments L’hagid Shvocho Shel Aaron Shlo Shina- To tell us the praise of Aaron that he did not change. This can be read differently - To praise Aaron that the word “Lo” changed to a Yes. That I can’t became I can!
The Oznayim L'Torah writes that the center flame lit the heavenly Menorah and it required special intent. Although this Menorah was constantly traveling Aaron was always able to connect precisely with his heavenly target.
(8:19) “Metoch Benei Yisroel-From amongst the children of Israel.” In this Posuk the words “Benei Yisroel” appear five times. Rashi says that this is to show the love of Hashem for Benei Yisroel because their name is reiterated as many times as the Chamisha Chumshei Torah. What is the p'shat and why specifically here in this Posuk, which is telling us about the service of the in the Ohel Moed? The Torah just finished talking about the sacred duties and responsibilities of the Kohanim and Levium and Hashem didn't want the rest of Benei Yisroel to feel left out and feel bad that they don't have such a connection to Hashem. He therefore shows them his love for them here and compares them with the Chamishe Chumshe Torah as if to say that the Kohanim and Leviim have the “Keser Kehunah” and the “Keser Leviah.” Hashem is telling Klal Yisroel that even more than these Kasarim is the “Keser Torah” which they have and they shouldn't feel bad.
(9:17) “U’Lifi H’Oslos H’Onan Me’al H’Ohel V’Acharei Kain Yisu-And whenever the cloud was lifted from atop the Tent, afterwards the Children of Israel would journey.” It would seem the words “Acharei Kain” are not needed? Why did the Torah not just say when the cloud lifted they would begin to travel? The Torah wanted to make certain that we understand that Benei Yisroel journeyed only at the direct command of Hashem. Once the cloud lifted “afterwards” they awaited the command of Hashem to travel. (Ohr HaChaim)
(10:35) Upside down “nun.” Rashi says it is to show that this Posuk of “Vayhe Binso H’aron” is not in the proper place. It is written here to make a separation between one evil and another. The previous Posuk of “Vayiso Mehar Hashem” is one evil. Why is that an evil? It could be that since they had just spent an entire year at Har Sinai they were not accustomed to the physical world with its real temptations. They were eating the Munn which satisfied on a spiritual level and as long as they were in the presence of Hashem this was not a problem. As soon as they left they began to complain about the lack of meat. It wasn't the meat that they complained about but rather the lack of the physical sustenance they craved. There is a principal that whenever Kiddisha leaves it creates a vacuum that is immediately replaced by Tumeh. So as soon as they left the influence of Hashem's presence there entered Tumeh and Yetzer Hora. Thats why they wanted meat to satisfy their physical cravings. The Munn only satisfied their spiritual needs. But when they left Sinai they realized that they also had physical cravings. On the one hand they left the influence of the Shechina on the other side the evil was the “Misonnim”-they complained there was no meat. Two reasons for the Nun the correct place for this Posuk is fifty (Nun) Posukim earlier. To show this there is a Nun and it's upside down. Right side up would infer fifty Posukim later.(Netzsiv)
The Ohr Hachaim explains the Posuk differently. He says that this Posuk deals with the concept of the negative forces that entrapped the sparks of Kiddusha. The reason why Benei Yisroel had to travel to the Midbar was because that is the domain of these spiritually negative forces and other inhospitable places of the earth. They can be divided in to two categories. One is a seducer who tries to lure man into immoral and unethical behavior. The other consists of various types of destructive forces that simply attack and try to kill man. When the Posuk says “Vayehe Binso Ha’aron” it refers to the Ark journeying while the sparks of Kiddusha cleave to it. As a result of establishing contact with the Holy Ark it causes the captors to explode. This is the meaning of the use of the word “Vayehe” which usually introduces an element of sadness. In this case the sadness of the Kelipas destruction. The words “Kumah Hashem Veyafutzu Ovecha- Arise Hashem and scatter your enemies” the scattering of these “enemies” of Hashem the ones that merely want the destruction of man. “Veyanusu Mesonecha Mepanecha- Let those that hate you flee before you” are the seductive forces that attempt to make the servants of Hashem become disloyal to him. When the Ark stopped moving it meant that it had located those “sparks” and would be gathering them in. This can explain why at times they would camp for only a few days while at times the remained in one location for several years. “Uvenucha Yomar Shuvah Hashem Rivivos Alufe Yisroel- May Hashem (The Ark) bring back all the scattered sparks of Kiddusha in their tens of thousands.” The name Yisroel is equivalent to the term sanctity. This is also alluded to in the word “Aluf” which symbolizes something exalted.
R.Ari Kahn has a unique take on this issue. The Gemarrah Shabbos says that the two upside down “Nuns” were placed as a sign post that these two Posukim are in the wrong place. According to those who hold there is no chronological order to the Torah, why would there now be concern for this particular order? Also that same Gemarrah says that the type of scroll that may be saved from a burning building on Shabbos is one that has the minimum amount of letters required to be considered a scroll. This is based on these two verses that contain 85 letters. We see that these two verses are considered a book by itself. The Midrash actually claims that there are indeed seven books of the Torah. Bereishis Shemos, Vayikra Bamidbar until these verses, is four. These two verses (5), the rest of Bamidbar and Devarim. Why are these two verses considered a Sefer by themselves?
In order to understand this we must look at the context in which they appear. The Torah had been received, the Mishkan had been completed and consecrated, everything is in place for Klal Yisroel to begin marching into Eretz Yisroel. In fact they begin the march. Moshe tells his father in-law to join them. He even includes himself when saying we are going in. At this point the two parenthetical verses appear. What happens next is that the nation begins complaining. They complain about the traveling, they complain about the Munn, they complain about the lack of meat. Moshe hears the complaining and becomes literally suicidal. He says to Hashem (11:11-11:15)“Why have you afflicted your servant? Why have I not found favor in your eyes that you lay the burden of this entire people upon me? Have I conceived all this people? Have I fathered them, that you should say to me, carry them in your bosom like a nursing parent carries the suckling child, to the land You swore to their fathers? From where should I have meat to give them? For they weep to me, saying ‘Give us meat, that we may eat.’ I am not able to carry this entire nation alone, because it is too heavy for me. And if you deal thus with me, Kill me, I pray You, at once, if I have found favor in Your eyes; and let me not see my wretchedness.”
What caused this drastic turnaround in Moshe? Almost ten months earlier he was ready to give his life to save Klal Yisroel and now he prays for his own death? R.Soloveitchik explained the difference lies in two different aspects of Avodah Zora. When Klal Yisroel did the Eigel the problem was form. What form do we serve Hashem? Moshe felt that once they receive the Torah they would shift their form of worship. But now, upon seeing how the people behaved he understood that the problem was more deeply rooted. The effects of two hundred years of slavery had made deep in-roads into the people. They were not as far away from Mitzraim as he had imagined and hoped. Moshe had a premonition that neither he nor his entire generation would enter the Promised Land. For him, like so many other Jews, the Promised Land would remain just that, a promise.
But what about the two verses, the eighty-five letters that are called a complete book? The answer is they are the book that was never written. They are the first and last Posuk of the book that should have been but was not. If not for the complaints of Klal Yisroel the first verse would have been what Moshe said upon entering the land. “Vayehe Binso Ha’aron-When the Aron would travel” Moshe would say “let all of Hashem’s enemies flee.” They never would have had to raise a weapon. All of the enemies would have fled. This first verse would have contained the beginning of the redemption. The second verse represents the last verse of the book, the end of the redemption. “When the Ark rested, he would say return the Myriad of thousands of Israel.” This would be the resurrection of the dead when all the souls will return to Hashem. There was supposed to be far more information in this book. But with these two verses Hashem leaves a sign, a reminder of what could have been or what should have been and what will be in the future.
The Ma’am Loez says the two nun's hint to Naseh Venishma by Har Sinai. The two nuns are upside down to hint that now Benei Yisroel are the opposite of what they were. The Naseh Venishma was turned upside down.
(9:20) "Al Pi Hashem Yachenu v'al Pi Hashem Yisu-By the word of Hashem they camped and by the word of Hashem they travelled." At times they remained camped for extended periods of time, while other times they camped only briefly. This was to teach us that in the future there will be a very long exile. We will need to have faith through the long Diaspora. Even though Hashem may delay, we have faith that one day we will journey into the promised land.
(10:18) "V'Noso Degel Machaneh Reuvein-Then journeyed the division of the camp of Reuvein." By each of the tribes the word "Benei" precedes the name of the tribe. However the word "Benei" is notably missing when introducing the tribe Reuvein? When Rochel died Yakov moved his bed into the tent of Bilah. This upset Reuvein who felt that his mother, Leah, would feel slighted. The Torah thus records (Bereishis 35:22) "Vayelech Reuvein Vayishkav es Bilah Pilegesh Aviv Vayishma Yisroel - V'yihu Benei Yisroel Shnaim Assar-Reuvein went and lay with Bilah his fathers concubine, and Israel heard - The sons of Jacob were twelve." Although most commentators suggest that Reuvein did not actually sleep with his father's wife, rather he merely intervened with his fathers sleeping arraignments by moved his father's bed into Leah's tent. The fact that the verse ends with "The sons of Jacob were twelve." would according to many commentators seem to suggest that despite this act, Reuvein was not cast out. The sons of Jacob were twelve."
However the Malbim writes that Menashe and Ephraim were destined to be conceived from Yakov that night. His interfering with his father's sleeping arrangements caused that they were not born to Yakov, and this was considered as if he had lain with his father's wife.(Arizal)
This explains why Yakov considered Menashe and Ephraim as his own sons (48:3) because they were supposed to have been born to him. "The sons of Jacob were twelve." means they were only twelve! This is why our verse omits the word "Benei" by the tribe of Reuvein. He caused a child (Benei) to be removed, from being born. (Nireh Li)
(10:29) " Vayomer Moshe L'Chovev-Moshe spoke to his father in law Chovev" Rashi says this name was given because he loved the Torah. This is the only place in the Torah where Yisro is called Chovev. This was to show that although Yisro returned to his land, it was not because of a lack of faith. He still loved the Torah.
(11:4) “V’Hosafsuf Asher B’Kirbo His’avu Taivoh-And the collection [of nationalities] among them began to have strong cravings.” At this point the Torah mentions how the Eruv Rav influenced Klal Yisroel first by mentioning the foods they used to eat in Egypt, and then complaining about the Munn. Until ultimately they complained about the intimate relations that now were forbidden to them. As it says in Posuk (11:10) “Vayishma Moshe es-Ha’am Bocheh L’mishpchosav-And Moshe heard the people weep according to their families.” Rashi explains that “according to their families” means concerning their intimate relationships. Moshe responds by complaining to Hashem saying (11:11) “Why have you dealt poorly with me?” (11:12) “Have I given birth to these people?” (11:13)”From where do I have meat to give to this entire people?” (11:14) “I alone can no longer carry this entire people.” Hashem responds by saying that Moshe should gather 70 elders to which he would transfer some of the spirit that was upon Moshe. What is going on here? Hashem’s response does not seem to address the question? And how were these elders going to help this situation?
The people were complaining despite all of the miracles performed for them. This exhibited a tremendous lack of gratitude on their part. Where did this come from? The Chinuch! The lack of gratitude was a lack in Chinuch this is why Hashem told Moshe to gather 70 elders. They would be the ones to educate the people. We find today that America, going through the protests and riots, stems from a similar lack of Chinuch. There is a lack of appreciation for what this country has provided its people. This lack of gratitude is a lack in how a generation was educated.
The Ramban explains that the Munn was given in the merit of Moshe. This was the food of angels. It was spiritual food. It was given physical form only for the purpose of Klal Yisroel. But at this point Klal Yisroel had just left from the spiritual high of being in the presence of Har Sinai for an entire year. This was a tremendous let down from an extremely lofty level. When the Posuk says (11:4) “V’Hosafsuf Asher B’Kirbo His’avu Tavoh-And the collection [of nationalities] among them began to have strong cravings.” It means they began to crave cravings. The food we eat has an effect on us. Certain foods bring along certain characteristics with them that are intrinsic to the animals they came from. Animals follow their instinct, their nature. They don’t use their Daas to act. Therefore by eating them Hashem we gain some of their nature. The Torah restricts certain animals because of the negative nature that they give off when eaten. This is why they wanted to eat meat. So what Moshe was saying here is “where will I get meat from?” When he was on Har Sinai he did not need to eat. He was on a level far above all of this. That is why the Munn fell in Moshe's Zechus. He was totally removed from the physicality of ordinary eating. He said “How can I give them meat?” because he could not be the vehicle for this physicality. Hashem therefore said to assemble the 70 elders. They would become the vehicle to bring the physicality of the food to the nation.
(11:5) “Es Ha’Kishuim V’es H’Avatichim-The cucumbers and Melons.” Rashi says that the Munn did not have the taste of the items listed because it was harmful for nursing mothers. The question is, why did Hashem not allow the taste of these items in the Munn without the harmful side affects? Because had a mother been able to have every flavor in her Munn she would not be giving up anything in bringing up her child. Hashem did not want them to lose touch with the concept of what it means to sacrifice for a child even in the desert.
(11:10) "Vayishma Moshe es Ha'am Bocheh L'Mishpachosom- Moshe heard the nation weeping in their family groups." The Kol Torah writes that the physical desire for relations with close relatives was extremely powerful in ancient times. It was not until Zachariyah that the Sages were permitted to reduce this basic instinct.
The question then is why here? These commands were given earlier at HarSinai? The Oznayim L' Torah writes that this demonstrates the powerful influence of a Holy place. It was only after leaving Har Sinai that such complaints could arise.
(11:17) "V'Otzalti Min Haruach Asher Olehoh-I will take some of the spirit that is upon you." After Moshe complains to Hashem that he cannot carry this nation of complainers any longer, Hashem replies that he will share some of Moshe's spirit with the 70 Elders. Why did Hashem not just give the Elders power on their own, why take it from Moshe? The answer is that Hashem wanted to show Moshe that he had the power within him all along.
(11:19) “Lo Yom Echod Tochlun, V’Lo Yomoyim, V’Lo Chmisha Yomim, V’Lo Asara Yomim, V’Lo Esrim Yom- Not for one day shall you eat, not two days, not five days, not ten days, not twenty days.” For a Torah that is known to have no extra letters contained in it, these words seem quite redundant? Why go through so many examples of days when merely saying “One Month” would have sufficed?
This response explains the nature of their sin. The complaint was that they “desired desire” The origin of desire is in the power of sight. We see something we imagine what it would be like and we act upon it. They could have had the Munn taste like meat. But it would never look like meat. A key ingredient to the desire of something is in how it appears to you. How the food is presented adds to the enjoyment of it. Our mission is to elevate the physical for a spiritual purpose. To use the Yetzer Horah for Kiddusha. This was missing from their request.
The Baalei Tosfes write that when the Posuk enumerates the amount of days, it should be cumulative. The Torah is telling us all the days of the year that meat should be eaten - on Yom Tov and Shabbos! To elevate it. If we add one plus two plus five plus ten plus twenty plus the 29 day month gives us a total of 67 days. The total number of Shabbosim and Yom Tovim for the year. Rather than requesting meat for their base desires, these are the days that meat should be eaten.
(12:1) "Vatidabaer Miriam V'Aharon B'Moshe al Odos H'Isha-And Miriam and Aharon spoke against Moshe because of the Cushite woman." (12:3) "V'Ho'Ish Moshe Anav M'Ode- Now the man Moshe was very humble." After Miriam and Aharon spoke negatively towards Moshe we find that the Torah proclaims him to be most humble. This would not seem to be the proper response to their accusations towards him? The Kol Torah explains that Moshe had just gone through one of the darkest periods of his life. He was depressed over the constant complaints of Yisrael to the point that he asked Hashem to end his life. Then he hears Eldad and Maidad's prophecy that he would not lead the nation into the promised land. He approaches his brother and sister for comfort only to hear them speak against him. But the Torah tells us that all of this did not change who Moshe was. He remained the most humble of men.
(12:13) “Kel Na Refah Na La”-In the Gemarra Brachos it says we learn from this posuk that if someone is asking for a cure for his friend he doesn't have to mention his name because Miriam's name wasn't mentioned here. Our Rabbis ask, if this were true then we shouldn't have to Daven because Hashem knows our thoughts. Therefore you must at least allude to the name. In this Posuk “Refah Na” is in Gematria Miriam Yocheved (Miriam and her mother). You don't have to say the name explicitly a Remez” is enough
- Written by Boruch Fischlewitz
- Category: Torah
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The Parsha begins with the words “ Im Bechukosaye Teilech. If you will go in my ways.” We read this portion of the Torah every year before Matan Torah. This is in order to put the curses that are contained in this weeks parsha behind us before the new year. In fact they are read twice. Once before Rosh Hashana and once before Matan Torah. The question is what is the connection of these curses to Matan Torah?
We know that whenever a person sins he creates a Malach Rah, a bad Angel, that causes bad things to occur to him. Every time something bad happens to a person it's for a reason. Even the smallest thing such as pulling the wrong coin out of one’s pocket is a form of punishment for some transgression, or if a person were to stub his toe. All of these things are considered paying off the debts of sin. Except in the case where a person says all of these things are just happening by accident. They are not part of any master plan but just plain bad luck. If a person doesn't attribute these happenings to Hashem then Hashem say's I will leave you to your random luck. I won't play a hand in your fate. Then any misfortunes that occur are not removed as payment for the debt of his sins. This is born out by the verse (26:21) "V'Im Teilchu Imi Keri-If you will behave with me casually." The word "Keri" has the same numerical value as the words "Derech HaTeva. (She'ris Yisroel)
This is why we read from this portion prior to Matan Torah. We want the curses to come in the meaning full way. So that they can reduce our debts and we can enter the New Year with a fresh beginning.
(26:5) “V’achaltem Lachmacha L’Sova-You will eat your bread and be saisfied.” Rashi says that the blessing will be inside of you. Whatever amount you have will satisfy you. However the verse before says that Hashem will bless your crops to be abundant. If there is abundant food why do we need the blessing of “V’achaltem Lachmacha L’Sova-You will eat your bread and be saisfied.”? There is an additional blessing here. There are times when a person can have abundance and still not be satisfied. The blessing here is two fold. There will be plenty and you will be satisfied.
(26:13) “V’ani Hashem Asher Hotzaisi M’Eretz Mitzrayim-I am Hashem who took you out of Egypt.” Why not proclaim the G-d who created the world? The previous verse mentions that Hashem will walk with us and we will be His people. What is the connection here? How can we reach such a level as to walk along side of Hashem? Because Hashem took us out of Mitzrayim, out from being mere slaves.
“V’Olech Eschem Komimyus-And you will walk upright.”You will be able to go into Eretz Yisroel not horizontal as in a box. But rather upright.
(26:31) “V’Lo Areyach B’Reiach Nichoach-I will not savor the fragrance of your sweet odors.” This phrase “Reiach Nichoach” is found frequently in the Torah. It is explained by Rashi to mean that Hashem is pleased that He commands and Yisrael follows. But if there is no temple and no sacrifices being brought, of course Hashem will not savor their sweet smells? The Ohr Hachaim explains this to mean that Hashem will not even be pleased with the good deeds of the Jewish people at that time.
(26:40) "V'Hisvadu es Avonom ...B'Maalom Asher Mo'alu Bi Vaf Asher Holchu Imi Keri-You will confess your sins...for the unfaithfulness with which they betrayed me and also for walking contrary to me." What is the difference between being unfaithful and walking contrary to Hashem? In Posuk 43 it gives two reasons for the curses. Shmita and not learning Torah. Perhaps this is referring to these two sins. Waking contrary to Hashem is not learning Torah as in the beginning of this Parsha "I'm Bechukosai Teylechu." Shmitah refers to being unfaithful, not believing that Hashem will provide during the Shmita year.
(26:42) “V’zocharty es Bris Yakov V’af es Brisi Yitzchok V’af es Brisi Avraham Ezkor V’Haaretz Ezkor- I will remember my covenant with Yakov and also my covenant with Yitzchok and also my covenant with Avraham I will remember, and I will remember the land.” There are several difficulties that present themselves with this posuk. 1. Why are the Avos mentioned in reverse order? 2. Why is the land mentioned? 3. Why is there no mention of remembrance by Yizchok? And why is Yakov’s name spelled full with the “Vav”?
The Ramban develops a theme that the two Tochachot refer to two different time periods. The first, in this Parsha, refers to the destruction of the first Beis Hamikdosh. The second in Parshas KiSavo, predicts the conditions of the destruction of the second Beis Hamikdosh. The Ramban proves this theme by bringing many examples from the Posukim in the Tochacha. For example “Az Tirtzeh Ha’aretz es Shabsoseha-Then the land shall make up for it’s Shabosos” (26:34) in the first Tochacha refers to the Golus Bavel, the seventy years of Golus between the first and second Temples paralleled the seventy Shmita years that were not kept during the first Beis Hamikdosh. By contrast, in the second Tochacha it states “V’hefitzcha Hashem B’chol H’Amim Miktzei H’aretz V’ad K’tzei H’aretz- Hashem will scatter you among all the peoples from one end of the Earth to the other end of the Earth” (28:64) This occurred when Titus took captives from Eretz Yisroel and spread them across many countries. He took the younger captives and left their parents weeping as it says. “Bonecha U’binosecha Nosnim L’am Acher V’einechah R’ous Vein Lel Yodechah-Your sons and daughters shall be given to another people, your eyes shall see and your hands will be powerless.” (28:32)
If we take the Ramban’s theme a step further we can suggest that there is a third Tochacha, which Rashi states was the harshest curse of them all. (31:18) “V’anochi Haster Aster Ponai-I will surely hide my face.” This is what Moshe Rabbeinu said, near the end of the Torah, before giving over the leadership to Yehoshua. The most often asked question about the Shoah was “How could Hashem let such unimaginable suffering befall his people?” In other words how could Hashem hide his face, as it were, from his people?
If we now look at the Posuk, the order of the Avos makes sense. Each covenant refers to the three periods we discussed and in that order. Yakov represents the Midah of Emes. The first Beis Hamikdosh was destroyed because of Avodah Zorah, false Gods which is the opposite of truth. The second Beis Hamikdosh was destroyed because of groundless hatred.
Yitzchok’s Midah was Gevura-strength. That generation had individual strength but they channeled it only towards themselves like Essav who took that Midah of strength and used it to conquer anyone who stood in his path. This could be why the punishment of the second Beis Hamikdosh, was carried out by the descendants of Essav namely Rome.
Avraham had the Midah of Chessed. He was able to spread that Chessed to his surrounding nations without himself becoming assimilated. The European Jewry experienced tremendous freedoms to express their Yiddishkeit, but unlike Avraham, many who became involved with the building of their host nations became assimilated.
This then explains the order of the Avos in this Posuk. But with regard to the mentioning of the land perhaps we can say that as we see today, the entire world is involved with the Mid-East. This tiny piece of land is the basis of conflict around the world. The fact that Klal Yisroel is connected to the land and will never again give it up, could be what the end of the posuk is referring to. “V’Haaretz Ezkor- I will remember the land.” I will remember the sacrifice that Klal Yisroel makes to keep the land and perhaps through this the redemption will come.
We now are left with two questions. Why the “vav” in Yakov’s name? And why is there no mention of remembering by Yitzchok? Rashi explains both of these questions as follows. Yitzchok needs no remembering because his ashes from the Akeidah remain gathered before Hashem constantly. Secondly this is one of five places that Yakov took the letter “Vav” from Eliyahu Hanavi's name as collateral in order to insure the eventual redemption of his descendants. The question remains though regarding Yitzchok as to why? Why was this act of the Akeidah different than so many acts of Kiddush Hashem that are recorded in the Torah? So different that it remains a constant reminder before Hashem? Was not Avraham’s self sacrifice at Ur Kasdim as great? The image of Yakov is said to be on the very throne of Hashem. Is that not enough of a reminder?
The Maharal answers that Yitzchok so negated his physical existence that his soul actually left his body. He became the first case of Techiyas Hamaisim in the Torah. Yitzchok, was the first Jew born of two Jewish parents, was the paradigm of all future Jews to follow. All of his R’mach Avarim were given over to the service of Hashem. This possibility of reincarnation had to be instilled into Klal Yisroel from the start.
According to what we have said, that Yakov’s name is spelled with a “Vav” to insure the eventual redemption of his descendants. We may suggest that this Posuk hints to when that eventual redemption will take place. “V’zocharty es Bris Yakov-- I will remember my covenant with Yakov.” When will He remember? The Goan of Vilna writes that for every Posuk in the Torah there is a corresponding year in history. The world as we know it is predicted to remain for six thousand years. However there aren’t six thousand Posukim in the Torah. There are only 5846 according to the Bible Scholar. What does this mean? We have a principal that says Acharis K'Reishis-The last is like the first. Just as the first redemption, Yetzias Mitzraim was shortened, (Originally we were destined to serve in Egypt for 400 years but we were redeemed after 210 years) so too the final redemption will be shortened. If we calculate the Gematria of this Posuk (26:42) “V’zocharty es Bris Yakov V’af es Brisi Yitzchok V’af es Brisi Avraham Ezkor V’Haaretz Ezkor” it equals 5288. What is missing to bring Moshiach is the Zechira of Yitzchok’s Mesiras Nefesh. The difference between 5846 (the amount of Posukim in the Torah) and 5288 (the Gematria of this Posuk) is 558 which equals Kol Ramach H’avarim –All 248 limbs. This represents the essence of who Yitzchak was. His willingness to sacrifice himself totally to Hashem. The willingness of Klal Yisroel to sacrifice their entire being, that Mesiras Nefesh is what is needed to bring the final Geula.
(26:45) “Vzocharty Lochem Bris Reshonim Asher Hotzaisi Osom M’Ertez Mitzrayim L’Aynei H’Goyim Lihiyos Lochem L’Elokim- And I will remember for them the covenant of the First ones, those who I have taken out of Egypt before the eyes of the nations to be G-d unto them.” This verse needs expounding. Who is the remembering connected to? Rashi says it is the Tribes. But the Posuk says “who I have taken out of Mitzrayim”? The twelve tribes never left there, but rather died there. It can’t mean Bnei Yisroel because that is who is being spoken to? This occurs before the sin of the spies and the decree of death for that generation!
The Meshech Chochma writes that it refers to the bones of the tribes that were taken out of Egypt as a reminder that we belong in Eretz Yisroel. We should not think that Hashem will allow us to assimilate totally. Whenever we came close to assimilation, Hashem would cause us to be exiled. The Meshech Chochma wrote that Berlin is not Jerusalem and thus predicted the Holocaust.
(27:29) “Kol Cheirem Asher Yecheram Min Ho’Adam Lo Yipodeh Mos Yumos-None devoted of men which shall be doomed to death shall be redeemed but shall surely be put to death.” The story of Chanukah took place in the year 3597 from creation. There is a tradition that for every year in history there is a corresponding verse in the Torah. This verse is the 3597th verse in the Torah. The subject is Erichin which loosely translated means values. If a person wishes to donate the value of someone to the Temple how much does he pay? It would seem that this verse has little to do with Chanukah? But if we look at the first reference to this miracle we find that in the second verse in the Torah it states (Bereishis 1:2) “V’hoaretz Hayisa Sohu V’vohu V’choshech al Pnei Sehom-The earth was in a state of confusion and there was darkness on the face of the abyss.” The darkness that this verse speaks of refers to the exile of Greece. It is called darkness because the Greeks wished to cut off any claim the Jewish people might have to spirituality. They believed in the wisdom of man. They even allowed the Jews to have Torah as long as it was not connected to a spiritual source.
This is exactly what the verse in Vayikra is speaking about. The Value that the verse refers to is not what that person would be worth if sold as a commodity. But rather what is the intrinsic value of a person’s soul. If a person has had a sentence of death decreed upon him, if he has become cut off from the living community, then his life has no value. This is the true message of Chanukah. The Greeks were not seeking to destroy the Jews physically. There lives were not at risk. How then could they risk their lives to go against the Greek empire? The answer is that without a connection to the spiritual world life has no value. This is why this verse comes out in the year of the miracle of Chanukah.
Interestingly if you take the second verse in the Torah that speaks of the four exiles you find that the numerical value of the entire verse is 3597. The exact year of the Chanukah miracle.
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(25:1) “Vayidabaer Hashem el-Moshe Behar Sinai-Hashem spoke to Moshe on Har Sinai.” Rashi asks why is this din of Shmita mentioned as coming from Sinai, weren't all the Mitzvos from Sinai? He answers that just as here the details were given, so too all the Mitzvos that were given at Sinai even if the details weren't mentioned they were given at Sinai. But there is another reason for it's being mentioned. At Sinai Benei Yisroel reached a level so great that they would not have needed to worry about earthly pursuits. This too was what the Shmita year meant. If they keep the Mitzvos, then in the year of Shmita they won’t need to worry about food. It was this Mitzvah that encompassed the idea of totally relying on Hashem. Of leaving one’s means of sustenance entirely in the hands of his own Emunah. This is also why the Posuk refers to the Shmitah year as Shabbos L’Hashem. In so doing the Torah likens it to the weekly Shabbos. Just as Shabbos is a day that should be devoted to Hashem through prayer, Torah study and refraining from empty pursuits, so too the Shabbos year should not be a time of idleness and emptiness, but spiritual growth.
We need a weekly Shabbos to remind us of our purpose in going through the six work days. But we also need a Shabbos of years to absorb the Emunah into our bones. The Shmita year resembles the earth before the sin.. Just as the earth before the sin produced food without labor. So too the Shmita years produces without labor.
The word Shmita has the numerical value of 364. If you calculate the number of Shabbosim there are in 7 years (52 x 7) it equals 364. But since the solar year has 52 weeks plus one day, it comes out that every seven years there is one extra Shabbos? This could be why by Yovel the Posuk says Shabbos Shabbosom an extra Shabbos.
The Amida of the week days contain the same eighteen blessings for all three daily prayers. Shacharis, Mincha and Maariv. The same is true with regards to the Amida of Yom Tov. However Shabbos is the exception. Each of the Shabbos prayers are different. The evening prayer corresponds to the original Shabbos of creation. A perfect time void of sin. The Morning prayer is a reminder of the giving of the Torah at Sinai, where Klal Yisroel attained the level of Adom before the sin. The afternoon prayer corresponds to the future Shabbos, when Moshiach will herald in the new world order.
There are three types of Shabbosim. The first is the weekly Shabbos we have that represents the end of physical creation. The second is Shmita it is the Shabbos that happens every seven years. This is the Shabbos that is embedded in history. It represents the end of time when Hashem will be able to rest from the labor of moving history to its destination. Just as the weekly Shabbos is a time to reflect on our goal in life, so too the Shmita is reminiscent of our ultimate goal in Messianic times. The Yovel is the third Shabbos. It comes every fifty years and presents the Shabbos as the contact point between creation and Hashem, when all of mankind will once again unite with the creator. It is the Shabbos of the higher world, the realm of eight which is beyond our natural world of seven..
The first Mishneh in Avos says “Moshe Kibel Torah M’Sinai-Moshe received the Torah from Sinai.” The question is didn’t Moshe receive the Torah on Sinai. What is the meaning of “from Sinai”? The Nesivos Sholom answers that Sinai here does not refer to the mountain but rather the experience. The heavens opened wide and the entire nation experienced Hashem in a way that was never again repeated. The sages teach that they had such absolute clarity of faith that they 'saw' the words of Hashem. They had no doubts about Hashem’s existence. This is what the Mishneh is teaching. Moshe received the Torah from Sinai Of course the Torah was received from Hashem. But the level of Emunah that was reached through the experience at Sinai served as the conduit through which the Torah could and would flow down to us all.
(25:2) “Veshavsah Ha’aretz Shabbos L’Hashem- The land shall observe a Shabbos rest for Hashem.” Rashi says for the name of Hashem, just as it was stated by the Shabbos of Bereishis. What does this mean? What is the connection to the Shabbos of Bereishis? We know that the first Shabbos was not commanded to anyone. It was a Shabbos to Hashem. The purpose of the creation of the physical world was for the spiritual, represented by Shabbos. The Ramban writes that the comparison between Shemitah and Shabbos is that both bear testimony to Hashem’s creation of the universe in six days and His rest on the seventh. The years of the Shimitah cycle allude to the six thousand years of this world’s existence climaxed by the seventh millennium, which will be a period of Moshiach, of peace and tranquility. If Shmita relates to Shabbos and the six days of the week relate to the 6,000 years the world is destined to exist, what then is Yovel related to?
Rabeinu Bachya writes that seven times seven years refers to the ultimate Yovel after 49,000 years which is the lifespan of the universe. This concept in turn could incorporate the concept discussed at length by the Ohr Hachaim in which the author is at pains to prove that our universe is not the first of these seven cycles but is already the fifth such cycle, previous cycles having contained lower forms of life only, including prehistoric man.
(25:2) "Ki Sovo el H’aretz Asher Ani Nosain Lochem V’Shovsah H’aretz Shabbos L’Hashem-When you enter the land that I will give to you, then the land will keep a Shabbos to Hashem" Why is the first year upon entering the land, a Shabbos year? The Shmita year mirrors the earth before the first sin. Produce came without effort. This is the ideal, to take us back to Adom before the sin. An entire year was needed to drive home the message that everything comes from Hashem. After spending forty years of having all of their physical needs provided for them by Hashem, Klal Yisroel knew that upon entering the land they would be required to come back to reality. Perhaps this is the reason for the Shabbos year at the start. To highlight that this is the goal.
The words “V’Shavtah Ha’artez Shabbos L’Hashem” equal “Vayishbos B’Yom Ha’Shevii M’Kol Melachto.” (1767)
(25:9) “Vehavartah Shofar Teruah B’chodesh Hashevi B’asser Lachodesh B’Yom Hakipurim-And you shall sound the shofar in the seventh month on the tenth day on Yom Kippur.” The posuk is telling us that we must blow shofar to herald in the Yovel year. The question is why wait until the tenth? Why isn’t it counted from the first of the month, from Rosh Hashana? The Midrash says that this was done in order for the slaves to prepare themselves for freedom. From Rosh Hashana on they no longer worked but they were not yet free. They would sit at their masters table and eat from their food until Yom Kippur. This has a dual effect in that it also softens the blow for the master who goes through the hardship of relinquishing his slave.
The Maharal explains that just like Yom Kippur returns things to their original state, so too does Yovel. When a person sins he falls under the rule of the Yetzer Horah and is no longer under the domain of Hashem. The Yetzer Horah rules over the physical body. So by going through a Yom Kippur, where a person negates the physical to the extent that he is compared to an angel, he returns to Hashem and is now able to accept freedom.
(25:19) "V'ochaltem L'sova-You shall eat your fill." Rashi says that the blessings will be in the stomach, such that a person will be satisfied with less. The Kasav Sofer asks why should the blessing be to be satisfied with less? Why shouldn't there be plenty of food for everyone? He answers that people who become accustomed to excessive amounts of everything, whether food, money or luxuries, can never really feel secure. Having become dependent on more than enough they will feel deprived with anything less. Therefore the blessing is that people will not gorge themselves to excess but still be satisfied.
The Soforno distinguishes between one who trusts in Hashem, who does not question, "what will we eat in the seventh year?" and he who questions. The one who does not question will indeed, have less produce, however, it's nutritional value will far exceed that of a regular year. He will have less, but he will require less. Less will be more. The believer whose belief is not as strong will ask the question and will receive a Heavenly response in the way of a greater yield in the sixth year. His crops will be plentiful, enough to last him through the following year. Nonetheless, these crops will be of normal quality, un-enhanced by Heavenly intervention.
(25:38) “Losase Lochem es-Eretz Canaan L’hiyos Lochem L’elokim-To give you the land and to be your G-d.” Rashi comments that whoever lives in Israel, Hashem is his G-d and whoever leaves Eretz Yisroel is likened to an Idol worshipper. One can only be fully Jewish in Israel and one who leaves loses part of his Jewish identity. (Oznayim L’Torah)
(25:30) “B’Iyar Asher Lo Chomah-In a city that has a wall.” Rashi writes that the word Lo is read with a “Vav” but is written with an Aleph. This would mean that the Torah writes “no wall” but it means “there is a wall.” What is the meaning of this? Why would the Torah write it one way but mean the opposite? To understand this we must first understand what the walled cities were. When Yehoshua entered Eretz Yisroel he sanctified all those cities that were walled at the time. This miracle represented the fact that no human effort could stand in the way of the will of Hashem. On the other hand those walls built by the Jews contained no Kiddusha because they represented the lack of faith placed in Hashem’s ability to protect them. So it comes out that the walls built by the gentiles, Lo spelled with an aleph, are viewed by the Torah as “Lo Chomah” no wall.. When read with a Vav meaning a wall built by the Jews, it is saying Lo-to him Chomah- a wall. In other words this wall was built for him (Lo) for his security which is a lack of/ Emunah in Hashem. The selling of a house referred to here is not your typical sale where someone wishes to move up to a nicer home. Anyone who sold an ancestral dwelling did so only under the pressure of financial concerns. This follows after the warnings of a person who sells himself as a slave. Any home sold of the walled cities that were sanctified by Yehoshua could be redeemed in the first year only. After that they were lost and would not return to its original owner even at Yovel.
The Parsha goes on to speak about the need to support the poor. When a person gives charity he gets more than he gives. He gives a small material amount but receives an inestimable wealth of spiritual merits. In Pirkei Avos it says there are ten things that were created each stronger than the next-1.rock, 2.iron, 3.fire, 4.water, 5.clouds, 6.wind, 7.the body, 8.fear, 9.death, 10.tzedaka, which is stronger than all of the rest. The Maharal asks “why is Tzedaka stronger than the other things listed?” He explains that the first nine are naturally strong, whereas Tzedaka's strength is not a physical one. It bears the Kiddusha of a Mitzvah. Therefore it can even overpower death, which is bound by the confines of nature.
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(21:1) “Vayomer Hashem el Moshe Dabaer el Hakohanim Benei Aharon-Hashem said to Moshe, speak to the Kohanim the son’s of Aharon.” Why does the Torah need to mention that they were the son’s of Aharon? Who else would be called Kohanim? Rav Yonasan Eyebeshutz answers that Moshe had the status of a Kohen at this time but since he was not a descendant of Aaron, he was not instructed to avoid becoming Tameh. Pinchas was able to kill Zimri even though he was a descendant of Aharon because he was not yet a Kohen. Based on this interpretation the Posuk reads; speak to the kohanim- this excludes Pinchas, the sons of Aharon- this excludes Moshe. Rav Yonasan goes on to explain that precisely because Moshe was able to become Tameh by killing Zimri he was faulted by Hashem for not doing so. Instead Pinchas killed Zimri since he too was able to become he did not become Tameh, so too, no one would ever become Tameh for him.
(21:1) “Vayomer Hashem el Moshe Dabaer el Hakohanim Benei Aharon-Hashem said to Moshe, speak to the Kohanim the son’s of Aharon.” The Kohanim are exalted above the rest of Yisroel. This the Posuk reads "Speak to the Kohanim," tell them they are the sons of Aharon and must continue to conduct themselves accordingly.
(21:1) “V’amarta Aleyhem L’Nefesh Lo Yitamoh B’amov-Tell them, each of you shall not contaminate yourselves to the soul of a corpse among his people.” Why is the Torah using the word “Nefesh” to describe the contaminate? Is it not the corpse that contains the contamination?
The Baal H’Akeida writes that the concept of Tumas Mase is derived from the power of the sparks of the Neshama that are not able to separate themselves from the physical body, after they had been joined and connected to it, having become one with the Guf. Therefore if the soul would be able to detach itself completely there would not be any spiritual contamination or Tumas Mase. This is the meaning of the usage of the words “L’Nefesh Lo Yitamoh” the prohibition the Torah refers to is of the Nefesh. That it is through the soul connection that remains in the body that produces this Tumeh.
The Ohr Hachaim writes that the reason the term "Nefesh" is used is to teach us that even a small amount of blood can render a Kohen Tamei for the Nefesh is in the blood.
(21:2) “Ki Im L’Shearoh H’koreiv Aylav-Except for the relative who is closest to him.” The verse goes on to list these relatives. Mother, Father, Son , Daughter and unmarried sister. Oddly missing is a wife? Rashi explains “Ayin Shearoh Elah Ishto-There is no closer relative than a wife.” The Gematria of the word Shearoh is equal to Zivug min H’Shomayim.(507)
Man’s relationship with his relatives is based on the past. They all came from the same root. However his relationship with his wife is based on the future. The future is always more precious than the past, for that which has already happened no longer exists. No one can bring it back or improve on it. Yet we still have a chance to improve the future. (Oznayim L'Torah)
(21:6) "Kol Ish Asher Bo Mume Mzerah Aharon Hakohen lo Yigash L'Hakriv-Any man from the sons of Aharon the Kohen who has a physical defect shall not come close to perform the service"
The Kli Yakar writes that every defect is the result of sin. They were able the look at the defect and know what sin caused it. However a defect from birth was also restricted in order not to embarrass those barred from service.
(21:17) "Lechem Elokav-Food of G-d." What is meant by this expression "Food of G-d"?
When Yisroel stood at Mount Sinai they had reached a pinnacle in history. They had overcome the original sin. Not since the dawn of creation had man ever attained such closeness to the Creator. The purpose of bringing sacrifices to the Creator of the world is in order to reconnect to Him. The word Korbon is from the word Korov/close. The sacrifices are called the "Food of G-d" because just as food connects the physical body to the spiritual soul, so too the sacrifices reconnect Klal Yisroel with Hashem. Lechem Elokav is equal to 130 the same as the word Sulam-Ladder which connects the upper and lower.
(22:28) “Oso V’es Binoh Lo Sishchatu B’Yom Echad-You may not slaughter it and its offspring in one day.” If one person kills the mother animal and another the offspring on the same day, both are culpable. There is an amazing link between the individual Jew and the rest of the nation. The Jewish people share one soul. In the eyes of heaven, all the Jewish people bear responsibility for each other. Here we find the slaughtering of the parent animal by one individual had an effect on the collective soul of the nation including every individual Jew. (Oznayim L’Torah)
(23:3) “Sheyshes Yomim Tai’Aseh Melacha-For six days work shall be done” This chapter is devoted to the Yomim Tovim. The commentaries ask why it begins with Shabbos, and in particular with the six days of work? Rashi explains that this is to teach us that whoever observes Yom Tov is considered as if he observed Shabbos.
The Gerer Rebbe answers the question in a different way. We know that if a person touches something Tameh he becomes Tameh. Depending on the different degrees of Tumeh that the person touches is the degree of Tumeh he incurs. But what if it were reversed? What if he touches Kiddusha? There is a Gemarrah in Zevachim (87a) that says whoever touches the holy objects of the Mishkon becomes holy and is capable of spreading that holiness. If we look for the source of Kiddusha in the world, we find that at the six days of creation the first mention of Kiddusha is with regard to Shabbos.(Bereishis 2:3) “Vayivorech Elokim es-Yom Hasheve Vayikadesh Oso-Hashem blessed the seventh day and sanctified it.” Shabbos is the source of Kiddusha in the world. By keeping Shabbos a person is able to spread that Kiddusha into the rest of creation. Through this the Sanhedrin was able to establish the times when Yom Tov would occur. As such, Shabbos acts like the sacred objects in the Mikdosh; whatever touches it becomes holy and is able to spread that holiness. This concept can be seen in the wording of the following excerpt from the Yom Tov prayers. Mikadesh Ha’Shabbos Yisroel V’Hazmanim-He sanctifies Shabbos, Israel and the festivals. First comes Shabbos then Israel and then the festivals. Shabbos is the source of Kiddusha which comes without any input by man. It is then transferred to Yisroel which were given the ability to elevate the mundane.
In the Torah, the day of the month that we celebrate Shavous is not mentioned; it depends entirely on the counting of Yisroel. We count 49 days, then the 50th day is the Chag. There is no set time to learn Torah as by other Mitzvos for the Torah is “Above time”. With regard to the study of Torah it says “Vihigisa Bo Yomam Volayla-That you should occupy yourself with it day and night.” The day is before the night. This is not the order of Bereishis which says “Vayehe Erev Vayehe Boker” the night is mentioned before the day. This shows us that the Torah is not bound by time and it is above the time that was created. So the time of the giving of the Torah is not listed as a certain day of the month like the other holidays because the days of the month are times and the Torah which is “Above Time” is given on the “50th day” because the number 50 is “Above Time”. Succos and Pesach are for seven days but Shevuous is one day to show us that Torah is “Above Time”. For if Shevuous would be seven days there would be a set time for learning Torah. Accordingly Shevous can fall out on any day of the week.
(23:11) "Mimochoras H'Shabbos-On the day after Pesach" Why is Pesach referred to as Shabbos? The Oznayim L'Torah writes that because we were on the 49th level of Tumeh, We were undeserving of redemption. So too, Shabbos arrives as a gift, undeserving with or without our participation. Hashem himself needed to take us out of Mitzrayim. This created a closeness to Him that was like Yom Shekulo Shabbos.
(23:15) “U’Sefartem Lochem M’mochros H’Shabbos-You shall count for yourselves from the day after Shabbos.”Hashem had raised them to the lofty levels of angels. He then returned to His heavenly abode leaving man to fall from this high level. Now that they had experienced “a day that was entirely Shabbos” they began to yearn for that closeness again. (Oznayim L'Torah)
Many commentators have struggled to explain why the word Shabbos in this verse is really referring to the first day of Pesach? In Bereishis on the eve of the first Shabbos Hashem intended for man to obey His first command and enter Shabbos in a pure and holy state. This would have been the completion and perfection of all of creation. However Man failed and creation was thrown into a downward spiral. Through Hashem’s Chesed Man was allowed to remain in Gan Eden for Shabbos. The work to rebuild the relationship would thus begin on the eighth day, the day following that first Shabbos - M’Mochros H’Shabbos.
(23:28) "B'etzem Hayom Hazeh-On this very day" Why is this phrase repeated here with regard to Yom Kippur? We might have thought that the forgiving of sin can only be accomplished when there is a temple standing. The Torah therefore tells us B'etzem Hayom Hazeh it is the essence of the day itself with or without the temple.(R.Bechaya)
(23:28) “L’Chapear Aleichem-To provide you atonement.” The Baal H’Rokeach writes that the word Kapora is written 24 times in the Parshas of Acharei and Emore. This corresponds to the 24 prohibitions of Arayos in Acharei and the 24 hours in the day. Plus, he adds, the 24 times the word “Ochel” is found in Bereishis from the time Hashem commanded Adom to eat from all of the trees in the garden (Lochem Yihiyeh L’Ochloh), until Hashem expels man from the garden lest he eat from the “Tree of life” (V’ochel V’chai L’Olam)
What is the connection of all of these? Both of these Parshios deal with the Kohanim, the priests. They represent the apex of man. The Torah prescribes that they represent all mankind in the service of the Temple. They are to be holy and thus abstain from any illicit behavior (Arayos). They are to correct the original sin which robbed mankind of time. Where he once was to live for ever, he now was reduced to being subject to time. Plus the 24 times the word Ochel is mentioned, with regard to the sin of eating the forbidden fruit, is countered by the 24 times the word Kapora is written.
(23:39) “Ach B’Chamishe Assur Yom-But on the fifteenth day.”The Torah has just finished speaking of the festival of Succos and has summarized the section with the two verses (37-38). Yes in this verse it once again begins to speak of a festival of seven days. Why does the Torah add this second passage about the festival of Succos? Although this section adds the additional Mitzvos of the Four Species and the details of the Mitzvah of the Succah, all these things could have been included in the first section? Why does the Torah seemingly end the section on Succos and then begin a new section on the same topic? And why does the second section begin with the word “Ach” which is meant to exclude something? What is being excluded?
There are two reasons for the festival of Succos:
1- It is the continuation of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. In case Israel have been sentenced to exile, they exile themselves by leaving their homes into a Succah. The first section completes the atonement of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. Therefore the Torah uses the terminology, “On the fifteenth of “this” month ie. the month of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. That is why there is no mention of joy in the first section. It is the continuation of the Days of Awe.
2- However Succos has a secondary purpose, namely when you gather in your crops. We need to thank Hashem for all the good He as given us. The second reason - rejoicing and thanksgiving - is the opposite of the first reason - voluntary, symbolic exile to atone for a possible verdict of real exile. For this reason the second section begins with the word “Ach” as an expression of the festivals alternate purpose, excluding the first reason and transforming the festival from sighing to rejoicing.
(23:29-30) "V'Nichrisah M'Ameha..V'Chol Ha'Nefesh Asher Taseh Kol-Melacha B'Etzem H'yom H'zeh V'Havaditi. Es HaNefesh HaHu Mikerev Amoh-Any soul who will do work on this very day, I will destroy that soul from among its people." The Soforno writes that from the two expressions of dealing with someone who transgresses Yom Kippur, there are two types of punishments. For someone who eats the punishment may be Koros- spiritually cut off. He may just be a glutton. However one who works on Yom Kippur shows contempt for Hashem's wishes.
(23:40) "Pri Eitz Hadar-The fruit of a tree of splendor." These words have the same numerical value as the word Esroigim. The verse could have said "Pri Hadar" but includes the word Eitz. This teaches us that the tree and the fruit have the same taste.
(23:42) “Ba’Sucos Taishvu Shivas Yomim Kol-Hoezrach B’Yisroel-You shall dwell in the Sukos seven days, every native born Israelite”. What is the term “Kol-Hoezrach” meant to teach us?
We don’t find this term by any of the other Moadim mentioned here. The Kli Yakar writes that it has to do with the fact that Sukkos is a time of gathering in the crops. A time when a person can tend to forget Hashem, feeling that he has a full storehouse. This is the time when he needs the lesson of Sukkos. It is the lesson of leaving the protection of his home to dwell in the protection of Hashem. Since the land belonged only to those native born Israelites the Posuk says “Kol-Hoezrach”.
But perhaps we can offer a different explanation. In Posuk thirty three, (23:33) the Torah begins to teach the Mitzvah of Sukkos through Posuk 36 at which point the Torah concludes with “Ayleh Moadei Hashem-These are the appointed times of Hashem”. Referring to all of the Moadim listed in this Parsha beginning with 23:1. In 21:39 the Torah returns to Sukkos saying “Ach B’chamishe Asa Yom speaking here of the Sukkos of Achris Hayomim. In the future all the nations of the world will come to Yerushalayim to bring sacrifices on Sukkos. Any nation that will not be present will not have rain. But what the Posuk is hinting at here is that the real mitzvah of Sukkah will only be for the Jews. Because we know that after Hashem’s revelation in the Messianic age, all the nations of the world will complain that had they received the Torah they too would have kept the Mitzvos. So at that time Hashem will give the Mitzvah of Sukkah to them. But they will not be able to carry it out. This is why the word “Kol-Hoezrach” is used in the second mentioning of Sukkos. Only the natural born Jews will truly be connected to the Mitzvah of Sukkos.
The Zohar has a different take on this. The repetition and the mentioning of “Kol-Hoezrach” is meant to include the Ushpizin that come each night. That is why the future tense is used. “In Succos you shall dwell” -will dwell in the future.
(24:10) “Vayetze Ben Eisha Yisraelis Vehu Ben Eish Mitzri-The son of an Israelite woman went out, and he was the son of an Egyptian man.” The Torah here tells us that they did not know what to do with this man who cursed Hashem using the Shem Hamiforesh. And that they put him under guard until they could hear from Hashem what was to be done with him. Later it says that Hashem told Moshe to take the man outside and stone him. In between the Torah tells us the laws concerning one who curses Hashem. Then in Posuk (24:23) “Vayotziu es Hamikalel el Mechutz Lamachaneh -U’Benei Yisroel Asu Kasher Tzivah Hashem es Moshe-They took the blasphemer outside the camp-and Benei Yisroel did as Hashem commanded Moshe.” It would seem that Benei Yisroel did the job that was commanded to Moshe. Why did Moshe need to ask Hashem what to do? We know that a person who curses his parents is stoned, how much more so if he curses Hashem? Why did Benei Yisroel need to do the job instead of Moshe? Plus why was it necessary for the Torah to tell us that Benei Yisroel did as Hashem commanded Moshe?
We know that this son of an Egyptian man was born from the only illicit union that occurred during the entire servitude in Egypt. While Moshe was in Mitzraim he came across an Egyptian beating a Jew. He understood what had transpired. The Egyptian posed as this man and had slept with his wife. Now that the Jew had become aware of this incident the Egyptian was beating him. Moshe it says looked “Ko V’Ko” he looked into the future to see if any converts would come from him. After ascertaining that no one was to come from him, he killed him using the Shem Hamiforesh. In our parsha this Jew who cursed was the son of that union. That’s why the Posuk tells us his father was an Egyptian. When he was told that he could not pitch his tent in his fathers Shevet he went to the Beis Din who ruled that he had no right to pitch tent there since his father was not a Jew. At which point he found out that Moshe was the one who killed his real father using the Shem Hamiforesh. He therefore went out from the Beis Din and cursed Hashem. Moshe did not want to be the one who pronounced sentence on this Jew. It would come out that he killed the father and the son, for when he looked into the future to see if anyone would come out of this Egyptian he did see someone. This Jew! So by killing him himself he was assuring that what he had previously done held up. This is why it says that they asked Hashem what to do with him. This is also why it was Benei Yisroel and not Moshe that took him out to be stoned.
They used to lift and show the Lechem Haponim to the Oleh Regel and say to them this shows Hashem's love for you, the bread is taken away as fresh as it is set down.
Why is it that they were shown this particular miracle of the bread that would stay fresh the whole week?
The answer to this question is the same answer to the question of why did the Munn fall each day and not just once a year? Because like a king that loves his son, Hashem loves Benei Yisroel so much that he wanted them to come out each day to meet with him. The proof is that if the bread could stay fresh and warm a whole week later, then the Munn too could have remained fresh all year long. The Lechem Haponim was shown to the nation as a symbol of Hashem's love for his people.
- Written by Boruch Fischlewitz
- Category: Torah
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(19:1) “Dabaer el-Kol Adas Benei Yisroel V’omartoh Aleihem Kedoshim Tiyhu Ki Kodesh Ani Hashem-Speak to the entire congregation of the Children of Israel and say to them be holy for I Hashem am holy.” The Parsha begins with a very general statement to be holy, then goes on to specific Mitzvos that seem to parallel the Ten Commandments. How are we expected to be like Hashem who is holy?
The words Kedoshim Tiyhu imply a certain separation. Hashem has given us an instruction manual towards this goal. It is the Torah and the Mitzvos contained therein. Through the actions of performing these Mitzvos we are able to take the physical world and elevate it to a level that is G-D like. As we say when we make a blessing “Asher Kidishanu B’Mitzvosav-As we are sanctified through your commandments.” There are 248 positive commandments corresponding to the 248 limbs of the body. When performing these positive commandments we activate the Kiddusha that Hashem invested in them. Thus we become holy.
(19:3) “Ish Imo V’Aviv Tirou V’Es Shabsosai Tishmaru-Every man; Your mother and father shall you revere and my Sabbaths shall you observe.” From the juxtaposition of these two commandments- to revere parents and to observe Shabbos- the Sages derive that if a parent commands a child to desecrate the Shabbos the order must not be obeyed.
The Zohar writes that the connection between these two commandments is that when one introduces a Torah Chidush on Shabbos he honors his parents. What does this mean? On Shabbos we are given a Neshama Yeserah-An extra soul. When that soul returns upon the conclusion of the Shabbos, it is asked what new Torah concept it introduced during that week? This becomes a tremendous merit for the parents residing in the upper world.
(19:23) "Ki Sovo el Ha’aretz Unitatem KolEitz Maichal…Sholosh Shanim Yihiyeh Lochem Areilim-When you come to the land you will plant food bearing trees.…For three years it shall be closed off to you” The history of the world also began with the planting of trees at the time of creation. However the Mitzvah to plant trees upon entering the land is not written in the usual way. It would normally have included the words "the land that I will give you" this indicates that it applies to any land even outside of Eretz Yisroel. The Kol Torah writes that this Mitzvah was given to Benei Yisroel to wean them from selfishness. People given great prosperity are tempted to use it for themselves. By prohibiting the use of their produce for three years they will learn how to detach from the physical and realize that everything comes from Hashem.
Acharei Mos-Kedoshim are usually read together. This implies that after death there will be Kiddusha. We learn this from the Korban Shelamim. The Shelamim may be eaten for a day a night and another day. This is a Chidush for most sacrifices can only be eaten for a day and a night. The Chasam Sofer explains that one of the basic differences between Klal Yisroel and all the other nations is in how they view this world. From the time of the flood, where the descendants of Noach were told that the cycle of day and night will not cease, day is mentioned before night. For them day represents this world and is the priority. For them that’s all there is. Night represents darkness and death to them there is nothing more and is thus secondary.
Torah view is that this world is compared to night and that the real existence is in the world to come. The Shelamim teaches us that there is a time after death, another day, a day of Techiyas Hamaisim. This world was created for us to serve Hashem. The reward for which will be given in Olam Habo. But there is another time when the body and soul will be reunited to once again serve Hashem. For the soul without the body cannot grow and cannot serve Hashem. This will be an eternal world which Hashem will bring and is hinted here in the Shelamim which means whole.
This Parsha goes on to discuss many Mitzvos. One of which is the din of not judging a person until you have been in his shoes. The Midrash says about this that it means “Dan Likav Zechus”. The Baal Shem Tov says that you “will be” in that person’s shoes. He brings the story of Dovid Hamelech with Batsheva, that had an appearance of wrong doing and Hashem sent a Navi to him who told him a story about a poor person who had only one sheep which he took in just like a member of his family. The rich person one day had a guest over and instead of taking from his own stock took this poor persons only sheep. When Dovid heard this he was furious and said that person should pay for what he did. At this point the Navi told him this rich person is you. You have 18 wives yet you took Batsheva from this man who had only one wife. Dovid admitted his wrong and did Teshuva. The point is Hashem tests a person to see how he reacts to certain events and that is how he is judged. He is shown a similar thing in a different light to see how he reacts. Will he be understanding or show no mercy. However he reacts thats how he is treated. So a person shouldn't judge someone because he is in the other persons shoes.
Hashem told Moshe to warn Benei Yisroel not to do like the Mitzrim and not to be like the Caananites. One is where they have been the other is where they are headed. Why are these mentioned here? The Torah wanted to emphasize that these Halochos of morality, which the Torah commands, are for all the generations. The Torah does not minimize the enormous power of these human tendencies. But by bringing in Benei Yisroel's origins it shows that these can be overcome. A person’s surroundings are no more conducive to sin than the one’s found in either Egypt or Caanan.
(20:22) "Ushomatem es Kol Chukosay ...Vlo Soky Eschem Ho'Aretz-You shall Guard all my my decrees..so that the land will not disgorge you." This verse, which speaks about the expulsion of Benei Yisroel from the land of Israel for disobeying the word of Hashem, is the 3338th verse in the Torah. The Gra writes that every year in history has a corresponding verse in the Torah. When you look at that verse you find you can find a correlation to events that affected Klal Yisroel. This verse corresponds to the year 3338 which is the year of the destruction of the first temple and the subsequent exile of Klal Yisroel from the land for the very sins which it warns against.
Moshe Emes V'Toroso Emes.
Acharei Mos the man whose time had come
- Written by Boruch Fischlewitz
- Category: Torah
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(16:21) “V’Shelach Beyad Ish Iti Hamidbarah-And send it with the designated man to the desert.” Rashi says that this man was appointed before Yom Kippur. The Chizkuni say that “Ish Iti” means the man whose time has come. That the person who was selected would die during the course of that year. But although he knew that his life would end after his mission, he did not hesitate to perform it. On the contrary he was eager to be apart of Klal Yisroel’s atonement for all of their sins. The question is why did it have to be through someone whose time had come? To answer this we must first understand how this process of atonement worked. Chazal explain that every time a person sins, a bad angel is created. If that person does teshuvah this destructive angel departs from him, but stands aside waiting to see if the person repeats the sin. If the person does sin again, the angel returns to him to join forces with the new destructive angel created by the second offense. They then unite in their acts of sabotage and accusations.
If the person does not repeat the sin, the bad angel stays away until Yom Kippur. On that day, when the Kohen Gadol says Viduy for Benei Yisroel, all of their bad angels surround him, both the angels of the “willful sins” and the angels that were waiting on the sidelines. So when he emerges from the Holy of Holies he is on a higher level than even the ministering angels. He then commands all of the bad angels to go onto the head of the he-goat, and they obey. This animal contains so much negativity that it is not even permitted to be sacrificed on the altar. Rather it had to be taken away to the desert. The concentration of negative was such that the only person other than the Kohen Gadol that was able to stand in such an environment was a person whose time had come, someone who had nothing to lose, who could not be sabotaged by an accusing angel.
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