Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Bechukosai

The following is a brief summary of a few vorts said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening. I have attempted to reproduce these vorts to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

In Vayikra 26:6, Hashem promises the Jews that if they follow His rules, He will cause the wild animals to leave their land. In so doing, the Torah uses the word "V'hishbatee" to describe the absence of the animals.

R' Frand quoted the Yalkut Shimoni who writes that there was a dispute as to what happened to the animals. R' Yehuda teaches that the animals disappeared, while R' Shimon explains that the wild animals would lose their desire to bite or harass.

R' Frand then quoted the sefer Tzafnas Pane'ach who linked the dispute to another argument involving a similar verb. In relation to the mitzva to get rid of the chametz before Pesach ("Tashbisu") R' Yehudah rules that the chametz must be burned, while the chachamim teach that any action which changes the form of chametz (such as soaking in water or pouring caustic chemicals on it) would satisfy the mitzva to destroy the chametz. We see that R' Yehuda follows his position on chametz as the V'hishbatee means that the animals were gone. Meanwhile, R' Shimon teaches that as long as the animals changed their nature and did not attack, then the promise of V'hishbatee has been fulfilled.

Another vort that R' Frand said over tonight related to the promise in Vayikra 26:13 that Hashem would break the stave of your yoke (Va'eshbor Motos Ulchem). The language of the parsha is curious when compared with the bentching wherein we thank Hashem for (in the future) destroying the yokes from our necks (Yishbor Uleinu Meyal Tsavarenu).

R' Frand quoted R' Shlomo Zalman Ullman who explained the difference by analogizing to a farmer. At the end of the planting season, the farmer may take down the temporary connectors of the yoke, but he does not break the yoke as he will need it for the following year. However, when the farmer decides that he has retired from farming, he may break the yoke as he will never need it again.

When Hashem tells the Jews in Bechukosai that He will break the stave of the yoke in exchange for the Jews following his will, it is understood that it is not a permanent end as the Jews will fall again in the future. At that time He will (Rl'ts) have need for the yoke again. However, in the time of Moshiach, the Jews will merit the destruction of the yoke, never to be enslaved again.

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