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Parshat Behar

PARSHA ON PARADE IS DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY
OF MY DEAR FATHER AND REBBI:
HARAV HAGAON RAV YESHAYA SHIMANOWITZ Z'TZL ,
ROSH YESHIVA
IN
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.

AND

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

You too can dedicate a Parsha or any other section of Torah Tots in honor or in memory of someone close to you.
For further info, click here.

PARSHA
FACTS

NUMBER OF MITZVOT: 24
7 MITZVOT ASEH (POSITIVE COMMANDMENT)
17 MITZVOT LO TAASEH (NEGATIVE COMMANDMENT - PROHIBITION)

NUMBER OF PESUKIM (SENTENCES): 57

NUMBER OF WORDS: 737

NUMBER OF LETTERS: 2817

HAFTORA: (Additional portion, from Prophets, which is read after the Parsha)
AFTER PARSHAT BECHUKOTAI

Yirmiyahu / Jeremiah 16:19 - 17:14

Shabbat Mevarchim Chodesh Sivan which falls on Friday, May 26, 2017.
This week we study Chapter 5 of Pirkei Avot - "Ethics of the Fathers"

יום ירושלים Yom Yerushalayim is Wednesday, May 24, 2017.


פרשת בהר
GIVE
THE
LAND
A
BREAK
You've heard of "Shabbat";

Well, Shmita is Shabbat for Eretz Yisroel. Every seventh year we are forbidden to work the earth in Eretz Yisroel.

"Shmita" means to let go. When farmers "let go" of the land for the Shmita year they show trust that Hashem will take care of their livelihoods. It also reminds farmers that Hashem, not the land, feeds their families.


TAKE
THE
YEAR
OFF

Shmita VacationOn Rosh Hashana of the seventh year, the Shmita year begins. For an entire year, farmers do not plant, sow, plow or work the ground. The only work he can do is to water plants enough to keep them alive.

Now, there are still trees and plants that grow on their own. But before Jewish farmers get any ideas, this produce is free for all. Fruit that grows during Shmita year cannot be sold. Anyone who wants to do some pitching in, is welcome. As a matter of fact, the owner of an orchard has to leave the gates unlocked. A farmer is only allowed to collect what he needs for that day from the orchard.

Since this fruit is holy, you can't just dump the peels and core. You have to let them return to the soil naturally. Vegetables, on the other hand, have a different din (law) altogether. Simply put, you can't eat them. That's because vegetables don't usually grow on their own. Hashem doesn't want a few dishonest people to plant vegetables and claim they grew on their own.


LENDER
MENDER

At the end of the Shmita year all loans are forgiven. This Mitzvah applies to Jews in and out of the Eretz Yisroel.

FIFTY
YEAR
FINESSE

YoveilThe Jewish calendar runs on a fifty year cycle. The fiftieth year is called "Yovel". Yovel is a time for a new beginning. First, on Yom Kippur of Yovel, Bait Din blows a Shofar which is mimicked all over Eretz Yisroel, announcing that all Jewish servants are now free! Whether he's been serving for a day or he has an earring to show his loyalty, he is sent home on Yom Kippur of Yovel.

Yovel time is also a signal for all the land in Eretz Yisroel to revert back to their original owners.

When the Bnei Yisroel first entered Eretz Yisroel, each family got a portion of land. For fifty years that land can be leased or sold from one owner to another, but every owner knows that in the fiftieth year the land goes back to the original owner.

Selling a house is a different story, however.

If the house is in a city that was walled in the time of Yehoshua, (When Joshua originally conquered the land of Eretz Yisroel), the seller has a year to change his mind and buy the house back before he loses his options and the new owner gets to keep the property forever.

If the house is in a non-walled city, the house is treated as land and may be redeemed anytime and reverts back to their original owners at Yovel.

The only exception to the rule is a house belonging to a Levi. The Leviyim settled in 48 cities throughout Eretz Yisroel. If a Levi sells his house in one of those cities, it is returned to him during Yovel.

The Torah warns that we must be careful to charge properly when selling property in Eretz Yisroel. A land owner must calculate according to how many years are left to Yovel, and set a price accordingly.

As an added bonus, the Torah also reminds us to be fair in all business, land deals or selling goods.


KEEP
THE
FAITH

ShmitaYovel may be a sweet deal for land owners and servants but farmers get a double dose of "keep the faith". You see, the forty-ninth year is a Shmita year and the fiftieth year is a Shmita-like year. That means for two years, farmers can't work the fields. That's quite a feat, but then again, there is the promise Hashem makes to those who keep the laws of Shmita... ...If you let the land rest I'll grant you three brachot. When the Torah gets tough, Hashem's got a Bracha in mind... actually three.

First, there is the abundance clause, The year before Shmita will be a real heaping harvest. Enough to last for two years plus, as a bonus, it'll even cover the eighth year!

Second, the appetite clause, All stomachs will practically shrink! Hashem promises that even if you only eat a little, you'll be satisfied. Great for dieters!

Third, the protective clause, If you keep Shmita and Yovel, Hashem will control the borders, and enemies will stay away. On the other hand, the warning attached to it is, if you blow it, enemies will push Klal Yisroel into Galut (exile).


WATCH
YOUR
WORDS

Now the Torah goes back into the "Love your neighbor" mode with a new command not to hurt a fellow Jew with mean or misleading words. This time it's the Ger (convert) and Ba'al Teshuva (one who once wasn't religious) that take center stage. These two groups are singled out because both the Ger and the Ba'al Teshuva have made a break with their past.

Hashem wants us to be sensitive to people who may be embarrassed or feel sensitive about something that makes them not the same as others. If mixed up Mechel adds up 5 and 5 and says it's 55, let it go! Don't remind him about the silly comment the next day.


TAKING
AN
INTEREST
IN
INTEREST

The Torah teaches that it's a Mitzvah to loan money to people in need, on the condition, of course, that the person is not a no good bum who will stiff you.

But here's the catch, you've got to loan out the money before the person becomes poor so he can avoid asking for Tzedakah (charity).

When you loan out money, Hashem forbids a Jew to take any interest from another Jew. This is called "Ribit".

Ribit is a concept with many hats.

If you say "I'll give you five bucks and you give me ten back, that's Ribit.

If you lend out five bucks and get back five bucks and a pickle, that pickle is Ribit.

Even a "Thank You" can be called Ribit.

Ribit makes lending money a tough Mitzvah, but when it's done right this Mitzvah is a real deed for all parties involved.


STATE
SALE

In the old days a poor Jew would sell himself as a servant to earn a little nest egg of money. The pay was good and the master treated him well (the Torah made sure of that) so it made sense. The problem is that a Jew might get the idea to work in a Non-Jewish household. That's forbidden. But, knowing human nature especially when it's a desperate situation, The Torah sets up a Mitzvah just in case.

If a person becomes a servant in a non-Jewish household, it's a Mitzvah for his family to redeem him as fast as possible. If they can't come up with the cash, it's a Mitzvah for any Jew to redeem him. In the worst case, the Bait Din forces the non-Jewish master to release him during Yovel.

The Torah is afraid that if a Jew serves in a non-Jewish home he will be exposed to idols.


SIDE
STEP
THE
STONES

Idol-worshippers has some strange ways in the old days! Imagine building stone floors to fall on and pillars of stone to pray to. Hashem commands us not to build pillars nor to kneel down on a stone floor while davening. The only stones a Jew can kneel on are the stones on the floor of the Bait Hamikdash.

Go on to the next Parsha as we wrap up Vayikra with the winnings and warnings about being a Jew in Eretz Yisroel in our in the next exciting episode of:

Parsha on Parade

Midrash Maven
See the Midrash Mavin on Behar


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