Illuminations #118, Iyar 5777, Parshat B’har-Bechukoitai

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Illuminations #118, Iyar 5777, Parshat B’har-Bechukoitai


Torah Gems

​We read in this week’s parasha, ”And if you go with me ‘keri’ and refuse to listen to me, I will then add another blow upon you.” Rashi explains that the word ‘keri’ comes from the root of ‘mikreh,’ which means ‘casually.’ This implies that the tochachah comes as a result of a person being casual in serving Hashem, sometimes performing the mitzvos while being lax at other times.
The Rambam in the beginning of Hilchos Taanis explains the word “keri’ in a different light. He states that ​there is a commandment to cry to Hashem over any trouble that befalls Klal Yisroel. However, if rather than beseeching Hashem we atttribute the happenings to natural occurrences, then Hashem will bring more calamities. In regard to this the Torah states, “If you behave with me ‘keri’ and refuse to heed me I will add further blows.” The Rambam explains the word ‘keri’ over here to mean ‘chance.’ When Hashem brings affliction upon us, the intent is to wake us up and for us to do teshuva. If instead we attribute what has happened to ‘chance,’ the punishment for this is more terrible punishments.
There is another context in which the word ‘keri’ is used . This is in regards to spiritual impurity. According to Rashi this would tell us that spiritual impurity is the manifestation of a person being casual in his avodas Hashem. The Rambam would add that failing to notice Hashem’s hand in running the world also leads to spiritual impurity.
If we would like to merit Hashem’s brachos and not chas v’shalom his klallos, we must take care to perfom Hashem’s mitzvos with much zeal and alacrity and always look for the ‘messages’ Hashem sends us.

Parsha Pearls

“You must not lend your money with interest…I am Hashem your G-d who took you out of Mitzrayim.” In explaining the connection to the issur of ribbis and Yetzias Mitzrayim, Rashi quotes the Gemarah in Bava Metzia that says, “When I took you out of Mitzrayim I distinguished between those who were firstborns and those that weren’t. I also know he who lends money to a Jew with interest claiming that it is the money of a non-Jew and therefore permitted.”
Similarly in regards to the mitzva of Techeiles, the Torah once again says, “I am Hashem who took you out of Mitzrayim.” Rashi comments: “Just like I distinguished between the firstborns and non firstborns, so too will I identify those who wear tzizis appearing to be Techeiles but are really just dyed blue and is not true Techeiles.”
Also when the Torah warns us to keep accurate scales in commerce, the Torah states, “I am Hashem who took you out of Mitzrayim.” Once again Rashi explains: ” Just like I distinguished between the firstborns and non firstborns, so too can I be trusted to exact punishment on he who stores his weights in salt to cheat people.”
Rav Schwab explains that we see that Hashem’s identity as the one who took us out of Mitzrayim is intrinsically connected to his characteristic of emes. This is because the fulfillment of Hashem’s promise to the avos of taking us out of Mitzrayim was to counteract sheker and to teach the importance of truth to the world. This was seen most clearly by Hashem differentiating between the microscopic cells that became a firstborn and those that didn’t.
This is also seen by the fact that when Hashem first revealed himself to Moshe, he said that He only appeared to the avos in the name of Shakai and not in the name of Hashem. Rashi explains this to mean that they only received His promises but did not see their fulfillment. The purpose of the Exodus was to show Hashem’s fulfillment of his promise-the middah of emes.

Glimpses of Greatness

Rav Elyashiv once related that he first realized the greatness of Rav Moshe Feinstien in 1956 when Rav Aharon Kotler visited Eretz Yisroel. Rav Elyashiv, who by that time was among the leading poskim, was anticipating Rav Aharon’s arrival so he could discuss with him a difficult and sensitive halachic case. Upon hearing the question, Rav Aharon surprised Rav Elyashiv by saying there is only one person in the world who can answer this question. Rav Aharon immediately placed an expensive overseas call to Rav Moshe and remained on the phone discussing the question with him for 45 minues.

Halacha Weekly

Q. Is There A Mitzvah Of Going Up To Israel  (Aliyah) With The Intent of Returning Abroad? [2-3-p. 42]

A. Shiltei Giborim (Shavuot 8a, R. Yehoshua Boaz Ben Shimon Baruch Z”L) writes: “There is no mitzvah of going up (Aliyah) to the Land of Israel on the condition of returning…[the mitzvah] is specifically to dwell there[in the Land].”  Maharit (2 Yoreh Deah  28, R. Yosef Trani Z”L) holds, “There is no mitzvah of Aliyah in order to leave the Land [at a later time],   rather [the mitzvah is] specifically to settle in the land permanently.” NishmatKal Chai (1-3, R. Chaim Pelagi  Z”L) and others hold that because the essential mitzvah is to dwell permanently there, if he is unable to do so because it causes trouble to his family, or because of security concerns, or concerns of livelihood,  then there is no benefit in his going up to the land because he cannot actually dwell there permanently .

However, Chelkat Yaaikov (1-81, R. Mordechai Yaakov Breish, Z”L) writes that there is a mitzvah to ascend to the land of Israel even if it is his intent to return. He brings the Rambam(Melachim  5) that all that walk four amot (in the Land) are promised they are Children of the World to Come even if they are not buried there.  Mishneh Halachot  (3-189, R. MenasheKlein Z”L) writes likewise that ascending to The Land of Israel  is a mitzvah even if one intends to return. And Yechave Daat(3-81, R. Ovadiah Yosef Z’L) adds that likewise the opposite is true; there is no prohibition in leaving the Land of Israel with the intent of returning again to the Land of Israel.