Points to Ponder

Behar-Bechukosai 5778

At Har Sinai (25:1) – Rashi notes that the reason why we mention the location is to let us know that the rules were given at Sinai. Rav Schachter Shlita often quoted the Chazon Ish (Orach Chaim) explains that this is really a Machlokes. The Torah identifies three aspects of giving of the Torah – at Sinai, in Ohel Moed and in Arvos Moav. Why different locations? Half of the Tannaim explain that the original giving came without all details – hence it was repeated in Ohel Moed, and where it was extra even there – there was a third giving in Arvos Moav. Rabbi Akiva disagrees and explains that every time, all three versions were exactly the same. Rashi quotes this opinion here.


Do not aggrieve your friend (25:14) – Twice in the Parsha we find the command against Onaah. Once it is in reference to business and the other is a general Klal (25:17) which refers to shaming another person or speaking about him improperly. Rav Avigdor Nebenzahl Shlita pointed out that the common denominator in the two commands is that the Torah is telling us not to be a source of aggravation to our fellow man. Instead, we are told, B’Tzedek Tishpot Amisecha – to judge favorably. Rav Nebenzahl added that the best thing of course is not to judge at all - there's a judge in Heaven. If, however you need to judge such as checking out for a shidduch then it may be in order, but the best thing is not to judge at all.

And within your brothers, the house of Israel do not overwork your fellow man (25:46) – Rabbeinu Yonah notes that this even applies to one’s fellow man – not just in regard to slaves. It seems as if one’s fellow Jew does not want to engage in a Chessed but will do so out of embarrassment, it can lead to a violation of Lo Sirdeh Bo B’Perech. How far does this Issur go? Rav Nissim Karelitz Shlita points out that asking one’s children to do too much (without a purpose – not for Chinuch) can lead to such a violation. Rav Don Segel Shlita adds that if one does so at home, he is guilty of Lo Sirdeh Bo B’Perech in addition to Achzariyos. One needs to consider the seriousness of “putting on” our fellow Jews unnecessarily.

For Bnei Yisrael are Slaves unto me, they are my servants (25:55) – It sounds like we are Hashem’s Avadim in regard to our requirement to be Ameilim B’Torah. Why must EVERY Jew be Ameil B’Torah? Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel ztl. explained that according to the Beis HaLevi when we were at Har Sinai we were Mishubadim B’Guf to Aveinu She’Bashomayim. A Sibbud HaGuf means that all of our strengths must be utilized for the master. If that is the case, we cannot suffice with a partial effort on the master’s tasks for us – we must be Ameilim.

You should keep my Shabbos and fear my Mikdash (26:2) – Why is this Possuk repeated after it appeared the first time in Parshas Kedoshim? Rav Moshe Feinstein ztl. noted that the Torah is telling us that Yirah for the Mikdash and Shabbos are really descriptions of Yirah for Hashem. The repetition reminds ius that our Yirah needs to be this strong even after Churban HaBayis. Rav Bernard Weinberger ztl. preferred to note that Shabbos and Mikdash are really references to Shmittah and Yovel here.

If you walk in my Chukim…I shall walk within your camp and I will be a God to you and you, a nation to me (26:3-12) – Rav Asher Weiss Shlita explained that there is a Middah K’negged Midda aspect of following Hashem in the manner of Halicha. Utilzing Sforno’s commentary here, Rav Asher Shlita explained that if our goal in life is merely to do the Mitzva, we lose out on the experience that comes with Mitzva observance. We lost the chance to walk with Hashem in every step. The reward for finding Hashem in every experience is that He will be found there with the same impact that He is experienced in the Beis HaMikdash. That means that when we serve Hashem in that manner – we are granted the responsibilities and spiritual preparedness of the Kohein – who impact the world by bringing His kedusha within it.

And I will turn onto you and make you fruitful…and my spirit shall not reject you (26:11) – Chovos HaLevavos learns that these Berachos refer to benefits in the world of the ultimate truth. How does Lo Sigal Nafshee let that happen? Rav Mattisyahu Solomon Shlita explains that the goal of the spiritual sojourn with Hashem refers to the fact that we will be close to Him but the newness of the relationship will not give way to complacency. We will have the same interest in the long term that we have in the immediate moment – the same attraction and the same love.

Haftorah: Blessed is the man who trusts in Hashem, and Hashem will be his security (Yirmiyahu 17:8) – In regard to both the cursed and the blessed here, there is a double repetition (Arur V’Sam, Baruch V’Haya). Why? Malbim suggests that it is possible that one may have Bitachon but also uses some man help in bringing out his Bitachon. Still, he adds, that the curse rests only on one who trusts in man and also makes flesh his strength, and the blessing resides only on one who not only trusts in Hashem, but also Hashem is his security in a direct way. All those in the middle hang in the balance between the "accursed" and the "blessed." Rav Avrohom Rivlin Shlita added that there is a symbiotic relationship between Hashem and the person who has Bitachon. Such a person realizes that Hashem speaks to him through the trials and travails of his life. In other words, when there is "Return to Me," there is also, "I will return to you." When there is "Open for Me an opening," there is also "I will open for you." The notion, "In the manner that a person acts, in that same way he is dealt with," also applies to the trait of trust. The blessing of the person "who trusts in Hashem" is that "Hashem will be his security," and this is the greatest blessing!