Torah Teaser – Parshat Bhar-Bechukosei Questions & Answers – May 19 2117-5777

Yovel, The Year Of The Traveler & The Free Food What does the word Yovel mean? Rav Itzele Volozhin says that Yovel means to be on the move. Anything that is not resting, and goes from place to place, is in a state of Yovel. “The reason why the fiftieth year is called Yovel,” he explains, “is because there is a mass return of displaced people after two generations of moving. The original owners of all sold properties come to lay claim their estate, and slaves finally return home.” “This,” says Rav Itzele, “explains the connection between Yovel and the fields being hefker for all to eat from. With the mass migration of people, how can they all possibly take enough food for the journey? Therefore, the Torah says that travelers are free to stop in any field and take what they need to refresh themselves and continue on their journey.”
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When You Are Out of Words Life Is Over Rav Chaim Vital says that every person is alotted a certain amount of spoken words in his lifetime. Once he reaches his limit, he must die. Those who speak too much will die early, while those who choose their words carefully will live a full life. The Elef HaMagen (Michaber of Peleh Yoetz) says that there is a remez from the pasuk (Behar 15:16), “Lfi Rov HaShanim Tarbeh Miknaso U’Lfi Mi’ot HaShanim Tam’it Miknaso Ki Mispar Tvuos Hu Mocher Lach.” Literally this refers to the price you pay for a field, and it means according to the number of the years you should increase the price thereof, and according to the fewness of the years, you should diminish the price of it; for it is the number of crops he sells. However,B’Derech Drush, the Elef HaMagen says that it can be read as follows: Lfi, the words of your mouth. Rov HaShanim, can bring you long life. When, Tarbeh Miknaso, your words contain a wealth of Torah and Mitzvos. U’Lfi, and because of the words of your mouth. Mi’ot HaShanim, your days will be numbered. Tam’it Miknaso if your Torah is minimal and your idle chatter is abundant. Ki Mispar, because a finite number. Tvuos, which is short for Teivos V’Osisos, words and letters. Hu Mocher Lach, Hashem grants you in this world. Use them wisely and use them sparingly!
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Money Is Thicker Than Blood “Al Sonu Ish Es Achiv”, one shall not cheat his brother (Behar 25:14). “V’Lo Sonu Ish Es Amiso”, one shall not harass his friend (Behar 25:17). Why concerning cheating does the Torah say “brother”, but concerning “Ona’as Devarim” – harassing with words, does it say your friend? The Shelah HaKodesh answers, people tend to harass other Jews with hurtful words, but refrain from doing so to their own brother (family). That is why it says, “V’Lo Sonu Ish Es Amiso” – Do not harass your friend. However, when it comes to cheating, one will even cheat his own flesh and blood. That is why the Torah must warn -“Al Sonu Ish Es Achiv” – Don’t cheat your brother.
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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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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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