PARSHA ON PARADE IS DEDICATED TO
OF MY DEAR FATHER AND REBBI:
HARAV HAGAON RAV YESHAYA SHIMANOWITZ Z'TZL ,
YESHIVAS RABAINU YAAKOV YOSEF
(RABBI JACOB JOSEPH YESHIVA - RJJ)
IN NYC FOR OVER 23 YEARS.
NIFTAR ON 20 ADAR 5758 - MARCH 18, 1998.
MAY HE BE A MAYLITZ YOSHER FOR ALL OF KLAL YISROEL.
MY DEAR MOTHER
REBITZEN BRACHA ETEL SHIMANOWITZ A'H
WHO DEVOTED HER ENTIRE LIFE TO MY FATHER AND HIS TORAH,
NIFTERA ON 21 TEVET 5770 - WED EVE. JANUARY 6, 2010.
MAY SHE BE A MAYLITZA YOSHER FOR ALL OF KLAL YISROEL
Menachim Z. Shimanowitz
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NUMBER OF MITZVOT: 6
3 MITZVOT ASEH (POSITIVE COMMANDMENT)
3 MITZVOT LO TAASEH (NEGATIVE COMMANDMENT - PROHIBITION)
NUMBER OF PESUKIM (SENTENCES): 122
NUMBER OF WORDS: 1747
NUMBER OF LETTERS: 6811
HAFTORA: (Additional portion, from Prophets, which is read after the Parsha)
Yeshayahu / Isaiah 60:1- 22 קומי
This is the sixth of seven Haftorot,
- the שבע דנחמתא - the Seven Haftorot of Consolation, that precede Rosh HaShana).
This week we study Chapters 3 & 4 of Pirkei Avot - "Ethics of the Fathers"
פרשת כי תבוא
In our last episode it was Mitzvah madness - three examples of “Tza’ar Ba’alei Chayim (cruelty to animals),” marriage, birth, divorce, tzitzit and more. As our Parsha opens, Moshe is tying together loose ends on the Mitzvot. After this final word on first fruits, Moshe will switch modes.
springtime pulls in, the farmer’s job is to watch his crops to make
sure that all his work in the field, planting and sowing, is yielding
results on schedule. You know how it is when you plant a tomato
seed in the backyard and wait eagerly for the first tomato to sprout.
Well, imagine digging up a backyard of hundreds of acres and spending
weeks toiling in the heat to plow the earth with only a plow pulled
by an ox (no tractors in those days!).
When that first
fruit sprouts, you’re jumping for joy! So here’s what Hashem
has in mind: When the farmer sees that first fruit, he runs back
to the house, grabs a string and ties it around that fruit or
stalk, and declares. "This is Bikurim."
only applies to the seven famous fruits of Eretz
Yisroel as mentioned in Parshat Eikev (Devarim 8:8):
- dates and
and does not apply
during a Shmita year, when the land rests.
The first of any
or all of these famous seven Minim (species), must be
marked and brought to Yerushalayim. This is called “Bikurim.”
Bikurim are a gift for Hashem and is presented
to Hashem as you'd give a present to your friend, in
a nice basket. The best time to bring Bikurim is between
Shavuot and Sukkot (but you can still bring
Bikurim until Chanukah if need be.)
In the time of
the Bait Hamikdash, when this Mitzvah was in
full swing, Bikurim was a big event that involved the
whole family and friends in a pompous procession. Out in front,
an ox preceeded the group. Its horns were covered with gold and
it wore an olive wreath around its neck. This ox will later be
a Korban Shlamim.
As you would approach the city of Yerushalayim, you’d
be greeted by crowds of people from the city and the music of
flutes. On Har Habayit (the Temple Mount), as you approach
the Bait Hamikdash, you place your basket of first fruits
on your shoulder and enter the Azara, the courtyard of
the Bait Hamikdash. A Kohain hooks up with you
there for the final ritual.
places his hands underneath the basket while you hold the rim.
Then, together, you wave the basket in four directions. This
is called “tenufa,” - to show that it belongs to Hashem.
Then the basket was placed in front of the Mizbayach
(Altar) and you recite the verses in Parshat Ki Tavo (Devarim
26:3, 5-10) which remind us that Yaakov arrived in Mitzrayim
with only seventy people who multiplied. The Egyptians were prevented
by Hashem from destroying these Bnei Yisroel.
In the end, Hashem took Bnei Yisroel out of
Mitzrayim and returned them to Eretz Yisroel.
To thank Hashem, we present these Bikurim.
The first fruits
are then eaten by the Kohain, who has no land and is
dedicated to the service of Hashem. This is Hashem's
gift to the Kohain.
The farmer stayed
at least overnight in Yerushalayim, absorbing the kedusha
(holiness) of Yerushalayim and the Bait Hamikdash
before returning home.
| For a farmer, the seven year
Shmita cycle is filled with lots of Ma’aser moments.
There’s Teruma for the Kohain, Ma’aser Rishon for the Levi, Ma’aser Sheini which the farmer himself eats in Yerushalayim, and Ma’aser Ani for the poor (in the third and sixth year of the cycle). A farmer has to keep track of all of these portions that he gives away.
Once every three years, during the fourth and seventh years
of the Shmita cycle, the farmer goes through his books
to make sure he has fulfilled his obligations of Ma’aser.
If he finds that he missed a Ma’aser, he’s got the opportunity
now to do the Mitzvah.
On the last day of Pesach during the fourth and seventh years, the farmer says a special “Viduy,” the “Viduy Ma’aser.” It may be recited anywhere, but it is preferable to recite it at the Bait Hamikdash in Yerushalayim. In this prayer the farmer declares to Hashem that he has separated all his Ma’asrot correctly. The farmer asks Hashem to fulfill his end of the bargain and bless the Bnei Yisroel with rain and an abundance of produce.
PART II -
is commanded to set up twelve giant stones in the plains of Moav.
Each stone was plastered and engraved with the entire Torah
in 70 languages. (They must've been mighty big stones, or
else it was just another miracle). These stones are to remind this
generation of Bnei Yisroel entering the land that they
must keep the Torah. If the Bnei Yisroel neglect
the Torah, they will not be allowed to keep the land.
Hashem also commands
the next leader of Bnei Yisroel, Yehoshua, to set up
12 stones on the spot where the Bnei Yisroel cross the
Jordan River into Eretz Yisroel.
Additionally, when Hashem
splits the Jordan River, 12 stones are to be removed from the
river and carried to Har Eival, a mountain in the center
of Eretz Yisroel. There, Yehoshua would construct a Mizbayach
(altar) with these stones. The entire Torah would then
be engraved in these stones and Korbanot (sacrifices)
would be offered in a one shot deal. Then the stones would
be brought back and placed at Gilgal, the first stop in Eretz
Yisroel. The location of these stones were known until the
time of the Talmud.
day that Bnei Yisroel enters Eretz Yisroel, they
will march straight out to Shechem. In Shechem there are two mountains,
Har Gerizim and Har Eival. The tribes of Shimon,
Levi, Yehuda, Yissachar, Yosef and Binyamin stand on Har Gerizim,
the Bracha mountain. The tribes of Reuven, Gad, Asher,
Zevulun, Dan, Naftali stand on Har Eival, the Klalah
mountain. The Kohanim and Zekainim (elders) of
the Leviyim will stand in the valley between the mountains
in a circle around the Aron (Ark).
There are eleven blessings and eleven curses that will be called out by the Zekainim. Every time a Bracha is recited, the Zekainim face Har Gerizim. They face Har Aival when a curse is called out. Blessing or curse, all Bnei Yisroel will call out “Amen.”
These blessings and curses talk about specific Mitzvot in the Torah, which are usually transgressed in secret, and cannot be punished by a Beth Din.
Here are some;
"Blessed is the man who does not make graven images in secret; cursed is the one who does.“
“Blessed is the man who is not disrespectful to his father and mother (behind their backs); cursed is the one who is."
“Blessed is the man who does not secretly move his neighbor's boundary (to steal his land); cursed is the one who does.“
“Blessed is the man who does not mislead a blind person (giving an ignorant person bad advice); cursed is the one who does.“
“Blessed is the man who does not pervert the judgement of a gair (convert), orphan or a widow; cursed is the one who does.“
“Blessed is the man who does not kill a man secretly (by speaking Lashon Hara about him); cursed is the one who does.“
“Blessed is the man who does not take a bribe to kill an innocent man; cursed is the one who does.“
In addition to the eleven, Moshe added an all inclusive;
"Blessed is the man who upholds all the words of this Torah; cursed is the one who does not.“
In a way, this presentation is like a Matan Torah, a new giving and acceptance of the Torah in the new land, since the generation present did not experience the giving of the Torah.
Moshe is really worried that once he is gone the Bnei Yisroel will drop Mitzvot of the Torah out of convenience. So Moshe decides to load up the nation with a set of Brachot and Klalot of his own. He talks about city folks who are blessed for the Mitzvot of Sukkah, Mezuzah and building a fence around a roof; he talks about farmers who are blessed for leaving corners of the field, fallen stalks and forgotten bundles for the poor. Those who keep these Mitzvot will be blessed with victories over their enemies, rain in the right time and a healthy economy.|
Of course, if the Bnei Yisroel abandon Hashem’s Mitzvot, they’re in for the flip-side, the Klalah! Hashem will curse their children, herds and produce. There will be disease and famine. If the Bnei Yisroel don’t serve Hashem with joy and gladness, Hashem will pulverize them, destroying their produce, drying out the land, sending foreign enemies to defeat them and take them captive. Moshe does not want to see this come true, but he does want to leave them with a clear-cut message that will sink in.
THE NEW DEAL
With all the brachot and klalot, Moshe calls all of Bnei Yisroel together, including the women and children. It is time to make a new treaty between Bnei Yisroel and Hashem. Just one thing that Bnei Yisroel needs to know: when the Bnei Yisroel were taken out of Mitzrayim, they were like a group of children. If a child does something wrong, you punish him but you hold back because you know he’s immature and doesn’t always understand the grander scheme of things. Now, 40 years later, the Bnei Yisroel are all grown up. They can grasp the greatness of Hashem, what He can do, and how serious He takes His Mitzvot. Anyone who transgresses a Mitzvah now will be punished to the full extent of the law.
Tune in next week when the treaty gets Bnei Yisroel moving in the direction of the Mitzvot in our next exciting episode of:
the Midrash Maven on Ki Tavo
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