Thursday, September 3, 2015

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Ki Savo

The following is a brief summary of some of a thought said over by R' Frand on the parsha. 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. 

Towards the end of the first aliyah in Parshas Ki Savo, the Torah discusses the pronouncement made by the farmer who has finished making his ma'aser distributions (Devarim 26:12-15). The mefarshim refer to this statement as the Vidui Ma'aser.

R' Frand observed that the term Vidui Ma'aser is strange because there is no vidui (confession) which is being made. In general, the Vidui refers to a confession of sins much like we will make during the Aseres Yimei Teshuva in Selichos, culminating with the recitation of the Vidui (Ashamnu & Al Cheit) which is recited in the Shemoneh Esreh on Yom Kippur.

The farmer does not confess to committing any sin and the language of the Vidui Ma'aser is more of a declaration of positive acts performed by the farmer in that he declares that he has no more product left in the house and that he gave the requisite gifts to the Levi as well as the poor and he has not neglected any of the rules.

So why is this called Vidui Ma'aser?

R' Frand answered by quoting the Seforno who explains that prior to the sin in the midbar, the bechorim had the task of being both Kohain and Levi. But for the sin, the farmer would have a built in recipient for the gifts, but is reminded that the Bechor is not holy and has been supplanted by the Levi.

R' Frand closed the vort by explaining that the message that this is a Vidui is a message to us. We may consider ourselves holy and pious, but there are sins which have not been expiated and for which we must think long and hard about our actions. R' Frand talked about yeshivos in Europe where the fear of Chodesh Elul was obvious on the faces of the boys and the mood in the schools. We are no longer on that level, but should be aware of the wrongs we have committed and the need for teshuva.

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