Torah Teaser – Parshat Bechukotai Questions & Answers – June 03 2116-5776

The Fear Of War In the Brachos, the Torah promises us that when we keep the Torah and Mitzvos, “V’Cherev Lo Sa’avor B’Artzichem; No sword will pass through your land.” (Bichukosai 26:6) Rashi says, “Even a friendly army will not travel through Eretz Yisrael to fight someone else.” What is so terrible with giving a right of passage through our land? Isn’t that what we requested of the nations surrounding Eretz Yisrael when we were in the Midbar? Rav Yehonoson Eibushitz explains that even a friendly army is quite threatening looking. The sight of them would keep us on the path of Torah and mitzvos, lest we face an enemy like the one we see. Then. we would do mitzvos out of Yirah or fear rather than Ahava or love. Hashem promises us that He will let us serve Him with love, peacefully, without tainting our minds with frightful visions and lowering our level of avoda from ahava to yirah.
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A Fiery Time To Promise Right after the brutal words of the Tochacha the Torah begins (Bichukosai 27:2), “Ish Ki Yafli Neder; A person who makes a promise to tzedaka.” What is the connection between the two?
Rav Shmuel Aharon Yudelevitz answers with a Tosfos in Chulin (2b). “The Gemara says that a person should not make a promise even to give tzedaka, since the punishment of not keeping one’s word is so great, it is better to avoid it altogether.”
Tosfos asks that we see by Yaakov Avinu that on his way to Lavan’s house he promised that if Hashem protects him and returns him safely to Eretz Yisrael he will bring a Korban. Tosfos answers that the Medrash learns from this that if someone is in a Eis Tzara, he should take on something even with a promise.
“This,” says Rav Shmuel Aharon, “is seen in our pasukim. The times when the Tochacha ravages Klal Yisrael are the greatest Eis Tzara we face.”
” During those times,” says the Torah, “Ish Ki Yafli Neder; That is a good time to take on a promise.”
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The Way The Memory Works At the end of the Tochacha, Hashem says (Bichukosai 26:42), “V’Zacharti Es Brisi Yaakov V’Af Es Brisi Yitzchok V’Af Es Brisi Avrohom; Hashem remembers the promise to the Avos HaKedoshim,” and salvages the remnants of the Tochacha. All the Meforshim starting with Rashi ask, “Why does Hashem remember the Avos in reverse order starting with Yaakov instead of Avrohom?” Many beautiful answers have been given.
Rav Chaim Kanievsky, howeve, takes a very simplistic approach. “When it comes to memory, a person remembers recent memories better than the older ones. Therefore, Hashem remembers Yaakov first and then Yitzchok and then finally Avrohom.”
“Of course,” says Rav Chaim, “Hashem doesn’t need to remember. The reason why the Torah chooses to write it in the way people remember, can be explained by all the Drashos of Chazal.”
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A Good Night’s Sleep “V’Nasati Sholom BaAretz UShichavtem V’ein Macharid;I will give peace in the land and you will sleep and not tremble.” Is that the best reason for peace? The Maharal Tzintz brings the Gemara in Brachos (55) that says that Dovid HaMelech never had a good dream at night during his entire reign. The reason is that he was constantly fighting wars. Even though he was victorious, the mere fact that he was constantly engaged in warfare did not let him have a peaceful dream.
Hashem promises us that if we keep the mitzvos, we will live in an era of true peace. War fare will not be on anyone’s mind, and we will all sleep peacefully.
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Add Up The Numbers “Viradfu Mikem Chamisha Meah U’Meah Mikem Rivava Yirdofu; Five of you will chase 100, and 100 will chase 10,000.” Rashi asks, “Can this possibly be the calculation? 5 chasing 100 is a ratio of 1 to 20; therefore, it should follow that 100 should chase 2000 not 10,000?” Rashi answers, “The more people who follow the Torah, the greater the miracle they create, so the ratio increases to greater than 1 to 20.”
Reb Yehoshua Leib Diskin offers a different explanation. “The pasuk does not say, ‘U’Meah Rivava Yirdofu.’ Rather, ‘U’Meah Mikem Rivava Yirdofu.’ What does this extra word, Mikem, teach us?” He explains, “The pasuk began stating that 5 will chase 100. The pasuk then continues, ‘U’Meah Mikem,’ and 100 times Mikem — of you — which is the number mentioned earlier in the pasuk — 5 will chase 10,000. 100 of you (5) mean 100×5 which is 500. 500 will chase 10,000. This is the same ratio stated by 5 will chase 100 – a ratio of 1 to 20.”
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The Same Girl You Married At the end of the tochacha (Bichukosai 26:45) Hashem offers us solace and tells us that he will not forget the “Bris Rishonim Asher Hotzeisi Oisam Mei’Eretz Mitzrayim”. What good does remembering Yetzias Mitzrayim do when Hashem is angry that we have not kept the mitzvos? On the contrary, Hashem should be more angry at our behavior considering what He has done for us.
Rav Levi Yitzchok answers with a Mashal: If a person marries a girl because she is wealthy, and then he later finds out that it is all a show and her family is penniless, he is rightfully angry. However, if he marries a girl who is known by all to be poor,
then he can no longer hold that against her.
So, too, after punishing us for our lack of diligence in Mitzvos, Hashem remembers where we came from. We became
Hashem’s chosen nation when we left Mitzrayim. True, we became the Am Segula and were given the Torah creating great
expectations from Hashem. However, at our marriage we were a rogue nation and completely empty and bereft of mitzvos.
“Therefore,”Hashem says, “I cannot be angry. This is the girl I agreed to marry.”

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