Illuminations #128, Elul 5777, Parshat Ki Tavo

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Illuminations #128, Elul 5777, Parshat Ki Tavo

Torah Gems

The simichut-juxtiposition of seemingly unrelated parshiot in the Torah is often explained by Rashi or other meforshim  as a hint to a deeper message. Indeed we have a rule that consecutive pesukim or parshiot in the Torah are always related to each other in some way. As such, one may wonder what the connection is between the mitzvah of bikkurim which opens this week’s parshaand the attack of Amalek which ended off the parsha last week. Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv zt”l explains as follows: When we went out of Mitzrayim we were at the pinnacle of our love and devotion to Hashem; we had just experienced the amazing and miraculous events of the exodus from Egypt and we were full of excitement and enthusiasm to travel into the desert to serve Hashem and receive his Torah. We were excited, we were passionate, we were unstoppable! But then came Amalek and attacked us- Karcha Baderech, he “happened” upon us on the way, but Karcha badereh can also be explained to mean he “cooled us off” on the way, meaning he ruined our excitement. He destroyed our enthusiasm. He stole our passion. At the moment when our commitment was strong and sure, he wanted to take that away from us. So how do we get that back? How do we reclaim that level of passion and devotion that we once had? The way we can do this is through the mitzvah of bikkurim. After toiling for many months we are excited when we finally see the fruits of our labor blossoming and growing, soon ready to be harvested and enjoyed. Specifically those fruits which bring us that great excitement and enjoyment are the ones that we are commanded to bring as a gift to the Kohen in the Beit Hamikdash. This serves as a lesson and a reminder that all the goodness that we have comes from Hashem. As we present this gift to the Kohen we make a declaration in which we recall our history of bitter suffering and miraculous salvation. When we recall our past and the mighty miracles that Hashem performed for us, we are restoring Hashem’s glory and our love and devotion for Him. We are recapturing that which Amalek stole from us when he cooled us off in the desert.

Parsha Pearls

When teaching us about the mitzvah of bikkurim the Torah says, “You shall take from the first fruits of the land-mireshis kol pri ha’adamah.” Mahara”m Ben Chaviv asks why the Torah says pri ha’adamah,  it should say pri ha’etz, after all, these fruits grow on trees. He answers that the fruits are designated to be brought as a bikkurim gift when they first emerge from the blossom and at that stage the brachah on them would be ha’adamah because they aren’t yet ready to be eaten.  Alternatively, he explains that the Torah refers to them as pri ha’adama because bikkurim is also brought from wheat which is pri ha’adamahChida”h explains that the Torah calls the fruit “pri ha’adamah”  because when one would bring the bikkurim fruits he would state “hiney heveti et reishit pri ha’adamah asher natatah li Hashem,” Behold I have brought the first fruits of the land which Hashem has given me. By referring to them as “fruits of the land” his statement has a dual meaning, he is thanking Hashem for the fruit that the land has given forth, and he is also giving thanks for the great gift of land itself which Hashem has given to us and our fathers.

Glimpses of Greatness

This weeks Parsha tells us of the importance of serving Hashem with joy. A man once travelled to Radin and went to visit the Chafetz Chaim on Erev Shabbat. When he entered the Chafetz Chaim’s simple home he found the Chafetz Chaim dancing joyously around the table. The man imagined that the Chafetz Chaim must be very happy about the holy day of Shabbat that was soon approaching. The Chafetz Chaim explained, “I am overjoyed because I merited to fulfill the mitzvah of biyomo titen secharo-pay a worker his wages on the same day, when I payed the wagon driver who drove me home today.”

Halacha Weekly

Can one receive letters and Packages on Shabbat? 2-7-167

Mishneh Berurah (307-56) writes that the acharonim agree that there is no issue of Muktzeh in general regarding something which comes from outside the Shabbat boundaries because muktzeh does not apply.  It is not prohibited as muktzeh since another Jew can benefit from it (Simon 515). It is not muktzeh even to one that causes it to be brought inside the Shabbat boundaries for his sake, [but he] is prohibited from benefiting from it; see  Rav Poalim (Ben Ish Chai, Orech chaim 4-34, -1).

Mishneh Berurah writes further that one should be stringent regarding letters treated in the manner that merchants would treat them. In particular, when merchants place a business letter in a hidden place in order that it will not be lost, the letter becomes muktzeh and is prohibited to carry. It appears to me that today many letters come in the mail that are muktzeh, pertaining to business or containing money, etc. Therefore, it is prohibited to bring letters inside the home on Shabbat for this reason.