Thursday, August 1, 2013

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Re'eh

Since there are no Rabbi Frand shiurim during the summer, I have been substituting a vort from other Rabbanim each week, rather than leaving the blog without a vort for shabbos. This week, I am attempting to repeat a vort heard from R' Eli Mansour as recorded on Same rules as usual apply - I have attempted to reproduce the 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 the maggid shiur.

In Devarim 14:22, the Torah writes A'ser T'aser which literally means give 10% of your crop. The gemara interprets the double language in the parsha as teaching that one who gives 10% to charity, will get back 10x wealth in return.

Rabbi Mansour explained that in olden times, people did not give 10% in money as there was an agrarian society. People would harvest their crops and then give 10% off the top to the Levi. Nowadays, we have certain percents which come off the top for state, federal and local taxes. But in those times, the Levi would receive 10% and the Kohain would receive a range of 1/40-1/60 of the crop. The Levi was not exempted from giving to the Kohain as he had to give terumas ma'aser. 

However, there is another ma'aser which was given - the ma'aser sheini fruit which must be brought to Jerusalem to be eaten there. The pasuk states at Devarim 14:23 that one gives the ma'aser in order that you will have fear of Hashem.

But what is the reason that giving ma'aser causes one to increase their fear of Hashem? R' Mansour first offered the answer of the Sefer HaChinuch, who explains that the City of Jerusalem is a holy city where anyone can bump into and see the Kohain Gadol or the Sanhedrin. Anyone who comes back from visiting Jerusalem has to leave with a feeling of increased Yiras Shamayim. The Mitzva of Ma'aser Sheini requires the person to stay in Jerusalem until he finishes the food that he brought. This encourages the growth of one's Yiras Shamayim.

The second answer was said in the name of Tosafos in Bava Kama which discusses Yehoshua Ben Gamla who was the first person to open a Yeshiva Day School for children whose fathers could not teach them. The first school was set up in Jerusalem. Why? Because it is written that Torah will come from Zion. Tosafos comments that this is because the student would see all of the holy acts which were being performed there. Tosafos adds that the person eating Ma'aser Sheini will also see an increase in his Yiras Shamayim as he stays in the city to finish his food.

R' Mansour closed the vort by saying that the real wealth which comes from giving Ma'aser is not the financial return. It is the Yiras Shamayim which stays with the person and is not fleeting like money. For this reason, the pasuk says that if a person gives his food for Ma'aser Sheini and then eats it in Jerusalem, he will grow in Yiras Shamayim.

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