פ’ בהר- בחוקתי – תשע”ה
Volume 8, Issue 9
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.
ועשיתם את חקתי…וישבתם על הארץ לבטח…ואכלתם לשבע וישבתם לבטח עליה
“And you shall keep My decrees…and you will live securely in the land…and you will eat until you are satisfied and you will live securely in the land.” (25:18-19)
QUESTION: What is the meaning of the redundant use of the phrase “you will live securely in the land”?
ANSWER: The threat to the security of the Jewish nation stems from one of two sources. It may be rooted in hatred of the Jewish religion or it may be spawned by envy of Jewish wealth and status. This dual nature of anti-Semitism is indicated by the repetition of the abovementioned phrase. The Torah says, “You shall keep My decrees.” That is to say, if you observe the Torah, Hashem will protect you from religious hatred and intolerance. “Then you will eat until you are satisfied,” indicates that Hashem will guard you from other people who begrudge your bounty. (Meshech Chochmah)
וכי תאמרו מה נאכל בשנה השביעית…וצויתי את ברכתי לכם
“If you will say: ‘What will we eat in the seventh year…’ I will ordain My blessing for you.” (25:20-21)
QUESTION: The Tzor Hamor asks why G-d sends this blessing upon us only when we ask, “What will we eat?”
ANSWER: A person who is wealthy and complacent typically cannot feel the distress of the poor. G-d therefore gave the commandment of shmittah, a year in which one is forbidden to sow, to harvest, or to reap. In observing shmittah, wealthy people, too, will feel what it’s like not to have everything they want. They, too, will have to turn to G-d and ask, “What will we eat?” This need will arouse in them sympathy for the lot of the poor and an understanding of the need to help our brothers. Because of the concern shown by the wealthy, G-d says, “I will ordain My blessing.” G-d’s blessing will be sent in their merit of the sympathy. A true empathy for the sorrow and needs of others is highly developed in a tzaddik. (Something to Say)
וכי ימוך אחיך עמך
“And if your brother becomes impoverished with you.” (25:39)
The previous verses are in the plural form, but when the Torah refers to aiding the poor, it switches to the singular. The Alshich explains the reason for this. When someone needs help, people tend to shift the responsibility to others, claiming that the needy person has a closer relative or a wealthier friend who ought to come to his assistance. The Torah therefore addresses each of us here in the singular, telling us that every individual has to feel the responsibility and the sacred obligation of helping the poor. (Something to Say)
אם בחקתי תלכו ואת מצותי תשמרו ועשיתם אתם
“If you will follow My decrees and observe My commandments and perform them…” (26:3)
Hashem promises that if we follow His commands, we will merit geulah. The Chasam Sofer explains – אם בחקתי תלכו ואת מצותי תשמרו – if one follows Hashem’s commands, then ועשיתם אתם, he will do it all properly. Hashem gives a guarantee that one who acts l’shem shamayim will not come to sin, even by accident.
אם is the roshei teivos of Aharon and Moshe, Esther and Mordechai, and Eliyahu and Mashiach. They were all go’alim (redeemers). Before the tochacha (rebuke), the yeshuah (salvation), was already prepared. If we follow the path of G-d, we will merit seeing the geulah sheleimah, bim’heirah b’yameinu, amen. (Parsha Pshetl)
וספרת לך שבי שבתות שנים שבע שנים שבע פעמים
“You shall count for yourself seven shabbosos of years, seven years seven times.” (25:8)
What does the verse mean that you should count for “yourself”? By occupying ourselves with Torah and ruchniyus (spirituality), we make the years ours. However, if we waste our time on frivolous matters, we will not have anything to show for our years. Instead of counting days, we need to make the days count. (Kli Yakar)
ונתתי שלום בארץ
“And I will place peace in the land.” (26:6)
Rashi states: “If there is no peace, there is nothing.” There are many people who would really feel satisfied with what they themselves already have. But because they see that others have more, they feel envious that someone else has what they do not. They actually feel pain when they see that someone else has what they do not. But when a person feels sincere love for someone else, he is not envious of that person and it does not bother him if that person has more than him. Therefore the only way for people to really experience a total blessing with what the Almighty has given them is for there to be true peace among people. This is the peace in which people feel love for one another and are happy for their good fortune.
The only way one will be able to enjoy what one has is to master the attitude of feeling good for the good fortune of others. Envy prevents you from living life to its fullest. The more joy one feels for others, the more qualitative life one can live. (Growth Through Torah)
לבלתי עשות את כל מצותי להפרכם את בריתי
“So as not to perform all My commandments, to annul My covenant.” (26:15)
Sforno explains that “not performing all My commandments” means performing only those which find favor in our eyes.
Although Torah study obligates us to investigate the mitzvoth, to ask why, and to search for the answers, when it comes to performing mitzvot, we must act because they are the will of Hashem. A king’s command must be fulfilled regardless of whether one understands or not. One who hinges mitzvah performance on his ability to understand does not submit himself to Hashem’s will, but rather to his own. Such an attitude leads “to annulling My covenant,” eventually denying belief in Hashem Himself. (Pirkei Torah – Rabbi Gifter)
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