פ’ בהר בחוקתי תשע”ז
Volume 18, Issue 8
INSIGHTS from the SEDRA
Insights from the Sedra is a project of the Scholar’s Kollel of Great Neck. It aims to provide several questions and answers about the Sedra, culled from various commentaries, including the following: Baal Haturim, Darash Moshe, Vedebarta Bam by Rabbi Moshe Bogomilsky, Torah Treasures by Dov Furer, Wellsprings of Torah by Alexander Friedman, and Kol Dodi by Rabbi Dovid Feinstein, Great Torah Lights by Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Goodman, Something To Say by Dov Wasserman, The Vilna Gaon, and Growth Through Torah by Zelig Pliskin.
ושבתה הארץ שבת לה’
“The land shall observe a Shabbat rest for G-d.” (25:2)
QUESTION: The word “Shabbat” is superfluous. It could have said “Veshabta ha’aretz laHashem” – “The land shall observe a rest for Hashem”?
ANSWER: The solar calendar contains approximately 365 days, which equal 52 weeks plus one day. Since in every period of seven days there is a Shabbat, during the entire year there are at least 52 Shabbatot with one extra Shabbat every seven years. When the farmer uses his land, in reality it is working continuously every day of the week and not resting on Shabbat. In a period of six years the land works a total 312 Shabbatot.
Therefore, the Torah designatesthe seventh year as shmittah, so that the 312 days plus the 52 Shabbat days of the seventh year, and the one additional Shabbat which accumulated over the seven year period, the land will rest totally and observe Shabbat to Hashem for 365 days. (Mateh Moshe)
The mitzvah of Shemittah was given to grant Klal Yisrael the opportunity to learn Torah. Throughout the other six years, they work their vineyards and their fields. In the seventh year, they put aside all of their worries of providing sustenance and learn Torah. They have full bitachon that Hashem will provide for them. (Megaleh Amukos)
ושבתם איש אל אחזתו
“And men shall return to their holdings…” (25:10)
Chidushei HaRim points out that the Torah uses the term אחוזה – holdings – rather than the simpler – בית – house – or אדמה – land – because it is natural for man to become more attached to his home and land than to any of his other physical possessions.
The Talmud (Pesachim 8b) rules that if one possesses no land, he is freed from the obligation to ascend to the Beit HaMikdash during the three Pilgrimage Festivals. Sifsei Tzaddik explains that the pilgrimages to Jerusalem helped man detach himself from his overdependence on material possessions. By leaving his home and traveling to Jerusalem, he was able to cut himself off from his material essence and thereby cleave to his spiritual. For this goal to be realized, it was necessary that he actually do something – e.g., leave his home and/or his business pursuits. One who owned no land – the singular possession upon which man places his greatest trust – would not need to take action; his lack of physical possessions would allow him to intellectually achieve the level of cleaving to G-d and there would be no reason to obligate him to actually undertake the pilgrimage. (Parsha Anthology)
כי יובל היא קדש תהיה לכם
“It is Yovel, it shall be sanctified for you…” (25:12)
Meshech Chochmah asks why it was necessary to extend the planting and harvesting prohibitions of the shemittah into the yovel. He explains that it is exceedingly difficult for a person to return land to its original owner after he has worked and developed it. His effort can easily lead him to consider the field truly his. The Torah therefore saw fit to sanctify the land during the yovel year and prohibit man from planting or harvesting, rendering whatever produce grows as ownerless so that it may be taken by anyone. Understanding that the produce is not his, it becomes easier for the person to see himself as a temporary tenant and return the field to its original owner. (Meshech Chochmah)
איש כי יפלא נדר בערכך נפשת לה’
“If a man articulates a vow to G-d regarding the valuation of living beings…” (27:2)
QUESTION: Why does the parsha of human valuations (arachin) follow the tochachah – the listing of calamities which will happen to the Jewish people for not observing Torah and mitzvot.
ANSWER: One who reads through the tochachah, may, G-d forbid, become very disillusioned. He may conclude that Jews who transgress and aggravate Hashem are indeed worthless and valueless. To negate such a thought, the Torah put the parsha of arachin immediately after the tochachah, to accentuate that regardless of a Jew’s behavior, he always has value in Hashem’s eyes. (Rav Meir Shapira of Lublin)
Rav Meir Premishlaner zt”l would say:
“When two people draw up a partnership agreement, the only thing that needs to be written is this: א, ב, ג, ד. Deep within these four letters lies the secret to a successful relationship. If they will conduct themselves with אמונה (א) – integrity and trust, it will lead to ברכה (ב) – bountiful blessing and success. But if the partners will go about their business with גניבה (ג) – deceit and unethical practices, it will surely lead to דלות (ד) – poverty! (Torah Tavlin)
This week’s publication is sponsored in Shellie & Steve Zuckerman in honor of the Bar Mitzvah of their grandson, Ethan, son of Heidi and Glenn Zuckerman. For future sponsorship opportunities please call Steve Zuckerman at 516 652 5266 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or Rabbi Lichter at email@example.com. Sponsorships in memory of or in honor of someone are $50.00 per issue.