May 28, 2016 – 20 Iyar 5776
Had a tough week and it was great to have Shabbos. Chani came in from Stern College for the summer. My anniversary is Memorial Day and this is our 36th wedding anniversary.
Serka made a great meal. I gave Serka a tennis bracelet for our anniversary. Thanks to EC for getting me the bracelet.
Woke up at 7:15 AM and studied the Torah portion. Naftoli came over at 9:30 for me to take him to Shul. Got to Shul at 10:10 AM. Regular Davening. Naftoli and my mother ate over along with Joel Bulgatz. My mother was great. We read my post from three years ago, when I went to visit Rabbi Jonathan Gross and family in Omaha, Nebraska.
Naftoli Glenner Customs in Shul:
Opened the Aron with strength.
When I called him up for an Aliyah, I walked towards the front of the Shul, away from Naftoli and with my back to him. I always do this, and he always knows that he is being called up.
Naftoli has a new custom that he says the Blessings when called up to the Torah in a whisper. All of us around the Bimah and people standing near the Bimah all bent ourselves towards Naftoli to hear his blessing and we all shouted Amen. The scene was reminiscent of an EF Hutton commercial years ago. The commercial shows an EF Hutton broker talking very softly and everyone straining to listen and the tagline is, whenever EF Hutton talks, everyone listens.
He banged the Bimah when we started Musaf.
The Shul has a chart of the Torah Blessings with Ashkenasik on one side and Sephardic on the other side. Naftoli kept turning the chart over, briefly studying each side. Naftoli was trying to figure out what was the difference between the two sides.
He wears his hat backwards with the pinches in the back. He is starting a new fashion trend.
Naftoli is probably the most recognized non-public Jew in the world. If he were to walk in Jerusalem, many people would come over to him because of his semi-celebrity status.
My Torah from this week:
Behar Chapter 25, Verses 18-30:
|You shall perform My statutes, keep My ordinances and perform them then you will live on the land securely.||יחוַעֲשִׂיתֶם אֶת חֻקֹּתַי וְאֶת מִשְׁפָּטַי תִּשְׁמְרוּ וַעֲשִׂיתֶם אֹתָם וִישַׁבְתֶּם עַל הָאָרֶץ לָבֶטַח:|
|Then you will live on the land securely: because it is through the transgression of [the laws of] Shemittah that the Israelites are exiled [from their land], as the verse says, “Then, the land will appease its Sabbaths. [All the days of desolation while you are in the land of your enemies -] the land will rest and appease its Sabbaths” (Lev. 26:34). And the seventy years of the Babylonian exile [when the land remained forcibly at rest], corresponded to the seventy years of Shemittah not observed by Israel, [and thus came to rectify and “appease” them]. [see Rashi Lev. 26:25 where the calculation is explained; Shab. 33a; and see II Chron. 36:21]||וישבתם על הארץ לבטח: שבעון שמטה ישראל גולים, שנאמר (ויקרא כו לד) אז תרצה הארץ את שבתותיה והרצת את שבתותיה, ושבעים שנה של גלות בבל, כנגד שבעים שמטות שבטלו היו:|
|19And the land will then yield its fruit and you will eat to satiety, and live upon it securely.||יט וְנָתְנָה הָאָרֶץ פִּרְיָהּ וַאֲכַלְתֶּם לָשׂבַע וִישַׁבְתֶּם לָבֶטַח עָלֶיהָ:|
|And the land will then yield [its fruit…and you will…] live upon it securely: i.e., you will have no worry about a year of drought.||ונתנה הארץ וגו‘ וישבתם לבטח עליה: שלא תדאגו משנת בצורת:|
|and you will eat to satiety: There will be a blessing in it even inside your innards.||ואכלתם לשבע: אף בתוך המעים תהא בו ברכה:|
|20And if you should say, “What will we eat in the seventh year? We will not sow, and we will not gather in our produce!”||כוְכִי תֹאמְרוּ מַה נֹּאכַל בַּשָּׁנָה הַשְּׁבִיעִת הֵן לֹא נִזְרָע וְלֹא נֶאֱסֹף אֶת תְּבוּאָתֵנוּ:|
|for three years: for part of the sixth year from Nissan [when the crop is reaped] until Rosh Hashanah, for the [entire] seventh [Shemittah] year, and for the eighth [year, namely,] for they will sow [a new crop] in Marcheshvan of the eighth year and reap [this new crop] in Nissan [while still eating of the sixth year’s crop].||לשלש השנים: למקצת הששית מניסן ועד ראש השנה, ולשביעית ולשמינית, שיזרעו בשמינית במרחשון ויקצרו בניסן:|
Rashi on Verse 18 says that keeping Shmittah will insure that the Jews are able to live in Israel and conversely, transgressing Shmittah leads to exile. It seems depressing that for 490 years the Jews did not keep Shmittah. This is from the times of Shaul until the destruction of the first temple. My guess is that after the split of the Jewish people after Shlomo Hamelech’s death, you have the Northern Kingdom of 10 tribes and the Southern Kingdom of 2 tribes . The Northern Kingdom must have stopped keeping Shmittah.
Let us read Verse 19 with Rashi and understand how Rashi explains the verse.
And the land will then yield its fruit and you will eat to satiety, even if you eat a little portion, there will be a blessing and you will be satisfied with eating just a little (Just like the Mun, which was an Omer for everyone), and as a result of having to only eat little portions to feel satiated, you will live securely in the land of Israel, enough crops will be stored that even in a year of drought you will have food and feel secure. The crops of previous years will be able to cover times of drought. Verse 20 go on to say that if one questions, how will we eat during the Shmittah year, God says, don’t worry, I will send a blessing so that the crop of the sixth year will be a bumper crop. Rashi seems to believe the Verse 20 is an inquiry and not a challenge.
The Sforno (1475-1550) offers a different explanation. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obadiah_ben_Jacob_Sforno
Verse 19 according to Sforno would be read as follows:
And the land will yield its fruit, and you will eat a little and be satisfied, so that during the Shmittah year when you do not plant, you will be secure, and not have to rely on purchases or charity from other countries to survive during Shmittah. Verse 20 is a challenge and is referring to people of lesser faith who will question God and ask how we will survive. To these people God answers that in year six you will have a bumper crop.
The Sefer Siach Sarfei Kodesh brings the following Vort on Verse 20:
Harav Austrover who heard from the Chidusshei Harim who said in the name of Reb Zuisha to explain verse 20. If the Jews did not ask, what we will eat in the seventh year, there would be plenty of produce, and satiety in the seventh year. Even without any commandment from God to bless the land to produce extra food, there will be plenty of food. However, if people ask, what will we eat? God must “command my blessing etc. The Chedusshei Harim concluded that the world says that Reb Zusha was not a Torah Scholar. But in truth this is not true, we see from this Torah Vort that he was a Goan – a Torah Scholar.
Why did this prove that Reb Zusha was a Torah scholar. On the surface, this is Drush, anyone can say it. However, the RIM is saying that Reb Zusha was not saying Drush but was explaining the words of the Chumash like the Sforno. This is why the RIM said Reb Zusha was a Torah scholar.
What difference does in make which type of blessing. To answer this I have to thank Dr. Jerry Noble.
Dr. Jerry Noble gave me a set of Malbim (1809 – 1879) that was owned by my wife’s grandfather, Rabbi Leibish Noble TZL, 1895-1965+-. The Malbim is old and yellowed but it’s Torah is fresh, vibrant, and relevant. I opened the holy Malbim that Rabbi Leibush Noble touched. The Malbim on Verse 20 explains the two types of blessings; eating a little and being satisfied,and bumper crops. Having a normal crop and having it last longer because of the blessing allows for a normal crop without the extra work, less worry of spoilage, easier to safeguard, and not having your enemies see you are very prosperous. However, the second blessing of bumper crops brings worry and problems along with the extra work. Http//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malbim
1916: Eitz Chaim hires a second teacher, Reb Leibish Noble. The school expands to two classes and has thirty students. Classes were held for four hours each day after a regular public school day, on Sundays, and during the summer
I also opened up the Meschech Chochma, Rabbi Meir Simcha of Dvinsk, 1843-1926, and he says a beautiful explanation on Verse 20, see the attachment.
See the pages from the Gutnick Bible.
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Happy Memorial Day weekend