Thursday, September 14, 2017

Thursday's Rosh Hashana Tidbits

The following is a brief summary of some of thoughts said over by R' Frand on Rosh Hashanah 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.

R' Frand did not speak on Parshios Netzavim - Vayelech this week and instead said a vort which was linked to the moadim as mentioned in Parshas Emor. In Vayikra 23, the Torah recites laws related to the various festivals, starting with Pesach and continuing to the Omer and Shavuous and then to Rosh Hashanah followed by Sukkos and Shemini Atzeres. But in between the laws of Shavuous and Rosh Hashanah, the Torah interjects the law of Peah in Vayikra 23:22.

R' Frand next quoted the gemara in Rosh Hashanah 32 which asks --from where do we know that we are to say Malchios in Mussaf of Rosh Hashanah? The gemara answers by quoting the end of 23:22 which states that Peah should be given because I am Hashem your G-d and immediately thereafter 23:23 states in the Seventh Month on the First Day...

R' Frand observed that this connection appears to be a bit tenuous. Why is this the source for saying Malchios?

R' Frand also quoted the gemara which asks why Peah appears smack in the middle of the chagim, for which Rashi explains that anyone who sets aside Peah, it is equivalent to building a Beis Hamikdash and offering the sacrifices for the holidays therein. 

But there are many mitzvos in the Torah, so why is this the mitzva which generates such a reward?

R' Frand answered that the mitzva of Peah is different than any other form of tzedakah. In general when a person gives charity they have a sense of accomplishment and a feeling that they are benefiting someone else which can add to the ego. The person looks at the recipient and feels pride that he is helping the person with the gift that he chose to give. Even when the charity is a matanah b'seser - a charitable donation where both the donor and recipient are not aware of each other's identity, there is still a feeling of pride for giving the donation.

However, when one leaves the corner of his field as Peah, the person does not actively give any donation. Instead, the poor man comes on the property and takes the crop from that corner. The donor does not feel that he is giving anything of his own and is forced to admit that this portion of the field does not belong to him. 

R' Frand observed that there is a difference between one who fails to give maaser ani and one who does not give Peah. A person who fails to give a required donation to the poor is labelled someone who steals from the poor. But one who does not set aside the corner of the field as Peah is simply a thief.

R' Frand told a story he heard from R' Avraham Ozbant (sp) who is the Rosh Yeshiva of Telshe in Riverdale, NY.  He said that when the yeshiva first opened, the Rav would pay his rebbeim twice a month and often had issues making payroll. Baruch Hashem he had a group of donors who would lend the yeshiva money when needed to make payroll.

But one week all of the donors had legitimate excuses and could not help the yeshiva. The Rabbi was torturing himself and did not have a settled mind in order to learn. The night before the payroll was to be paid, he put his arms up in the air and said to Hashem --this is not my yeshiva, its Yours. I have done all I can to raise the funds to make payroll, now I need Your help.

He returned to the Beis Medrash with a clear mind and began to learn, knowing that he had done all that he could. After Ma'ariv that night he was approached by a stranger who asked if the Rabbi could speak with him. Yes, the Rabbi replied, but I need this to brief as I want to continue my learning. The man gave the Rabbi an envelope with a $20,000 check inside.

Peah tells us that the world is Hashem's and that the section of the land to be harvested by the poor man does not belong to the landowner. This is why the Peah law appears in the middle of the holidays and the mitzva has a comparison to building the Beis Hamikdash and offering the Rosh Hashanah sacrifices. Because by accepting the obligation to give Peah a person crowns Hashem as king by recognizing that He is in control of the world.

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