Rabbi Reisman – Parshas Bechukosai 5782
1 – Topic – A Machshava for Shvauos
As we prepare simultaneously for Shabbos Parshas Bechukosai and for the Chag Hashavuos which is almost upon us. Let me start with a Machshava for Shvauos. In the Kol Rom (Moadim, Mamarei Shevuos, Maimar Daled, Page Mem Hei) Rav Moshe asks a Kasha. He asks why is it that Mattan Torah was in Chutz L’aretz? Mattan Torah was on Har Sinai which is not part of Eretz Yisrael. We know that HKB”H is Mashreh Shechinaso primarily in Eretz Yisrael. As a matter of fact, once Klal Yisrael entered Eretz Yisrael no one could become a Navi unless he started in Eretz Yisrael. Here there was Nevua for 600,000 people that was Chal Davka in Chutz L’aretz. Halo Davar Hu! Why is Mattan Torah in Chutz L’aretz?
Not only that, but we find two other M’ain of Kabbalas Hatorah. We find Mishna Torah where Moshe Rabbeinu gets together with Klal Yisrael and reviews the Torah, and then we find Kimu V’kiblu the new Kabbalas Hatorah and all of this is Davka in Chutz L’aretz. Halo Davar Hu! Everything with Kabbalas Hatorah in Chutz L’aretz. It needs an explanation.
Rav Moshe brings from the Mechilta who asks why was it in Chutz L’aretz? (שלא ליתן פתחון פה לאומות העולם לומר לפי שנתנה בארצו לפיכך לא קבלנו). Not to give a Pischon Peh to the nations to say since Mattan Torah was in Eretz Yisrael we weren’t Mekabeil.
Rav Moshe says that it is very difficult to say that that reason is enough of a reason. Because Shelo Yomru Goyim, therefore, Klal Yisrael should have a loss that they shouldn’t be in Eretz Yisrael. It must be that there is some depth, some Omeik to what this Medrash is saying.
Rav Moshe answers with a very Yesodosdika idea, a very important theme. Rav Moshe says we know that Eretz Yisrael is Gevoah Mikol Ho’aratzos, it is Kadosh Mikol Ho’aratzos. Eretz Yisrael is the primary spot on this world, a place that is K’negged facing the opening, sort of the portal from Olam Hazeh to the spiritual world. Anywhere else in the world is not Eretz Yisrael. HKB”H is telling us that through Koach HaTorah a person could make any place in the world have the Maila, the benefit of Eretz Yisrael. One of the nations of the world would say we are not Mekabeil the Torah, that doesn’t mean we are not Mekabeil the Torah because it was given in Eretz Yisrael. It means to say that we can’t be Mekabeil the Torah because we don’t live in Eretz Yisrael. The Torah is for Eretz Yisrael.
The answer is no. The Torah is for everyone, however, in a place that is the primary suitable place for the resting of the Shechina, that is Eretz Yisrael. But anywhere in Chutz L’aretz where you sit and learn, sitting and learning raises that place to have the benefit of Eretz Yisrael, a place where the Shechina is Sheruya.
We know that Rav Yochanan said (Ed. Note: Berachos 8a (Similar theme in Megillah 29a)) (לְמַעַן יִרְבּוּ יְמֵיכֶם וִימֵי בְנֵיכֶם עַל הָאֲדָמָה). Arichas Yamim is Eretz Yisrael. He said in Bavel the places where people sit and learn that is also Eretz Yisrael.
With this Rav Moshe explains a puzzling Rashi (מורא לעובדי כוכבים) and Tosafos (הר שיצאה ממנו הוראה לישראל) in Taanis 16a where they refer to Har Hamoriah and Har Sinai somehow as the same place. (המוריה זה סיני) Tosafos says. It is funny, it is strange as Har Hamoriah is the Makom of the Akeida and Har Sinai is the Makom of Kabbalas Hatorah. But it has a dimension of sameness and that is that Har Sinai when the Torah is given, has the same Koach of Hashro’as Hashechina and that is the way it has been for generations. Wherever we sit and learn it raises the place to a Maila of Har Sinai.
With this Vort perhaps we can understand the Minhag of thousands of years that Klal Yisrael learns all night Shavuos. The Minhag goes back at least 2,000 years that Yidden have learned all night Shavuos by night. It adds a dimension to Shacharis. Normally Shacharis in Chutz L’aretz is a regular Shacharis in Chutz L’aretz. When you sit and learn before Shacharis you are Maila this place in Chutz L’aretz to have that Maila of Eretz Yisrael just like Har Sinai. Then the Shacharis which is the Makom of the place that you were learned all night, that becomes raised to a Shacharis in Eretz Yisrael or the equivalent in Eretz Yisrael, a Shacharis on Har Sinai.
This Minhag that goes back a very long time definitely many centuries, is a Minhag that today people are lazy to keep. We live in a weak generation. The Chofetz Chaim said our generation is too weak to be Gozeir Taanis, to have fast days. When I read that I understand and I am Mekabeil that we don’t fast Stam Azoi to do Teshuva. What does it mean that we are weak, we are physically much stronger than other generations. We are well fed.
The answer is that emotionally we are not so strong. It is hard for us to fast, it is hard for us to stay up all night. Everything is hard, everything is difficult. Half the Chosson and Kallahs ask if on the day of their Chasunah they have to fast. It used to be that a Chosson and Kallah were eager to fast on their Chasunah day because it is a day that has an extra special meaning.
We have to be Mechazeik ourselves and find the strength and the Koach to do the things that we have to do and not to be lazy. Shavuos by night is a night when of all nights of the year to give ourselves this very special Chizuk.
2 – Topic – A Thought on the end of the Parsha
I would like to talk about the end of the Parsha. The last Posuk 27:34 (אֵלֶּה הַמִּצְוֺת) which Chazal Darshun that (שאין נביא רשאי לחדש דבר מעתה).That after Moshe Rabbeinu no Navi has a right to be Mechadeish new Mitzvos. Whatever Yehoshua did needs explanation but that is the Gizairas Hakasuv. (אֵלֶּה הַמִּצְוֺת שאין נביא רשאי לחדש דבר מעתה). It is fascinating that the last Posuk in Vayikra and the last Posuk in Bamidbar 36:13 is (אֵלֶּה הַמִּצְוֺת) and Chazal Darshun and this seems to be a Tumul by the Achronim as to whether they are Darshuning the Posuk in Vayikra or the Posuk in Bamidbar.
I once asked Rav Moshe Shapiro Zatzal (אֵלֶּה הַמִּצְוֺת) is the Posuk in Vayikra or the Posuk in Bamidbar? If I recall correctly he said Muz Zain the last Posuk in Vayikra and not the last Posuk in Bamidbar. Why Muz Zain, I am not sure. Maybe because at the end of Bamidbar it would be a normal Posuk and we wouldn’t have to Darshun it at the end of the Torah. At the end of Vayikra it is a Drasha. I am not sure why. But at any rate, (אֵלֶּה הַמִּצְוֺת שאין נביא רשאי לחדש דבר מעתה) and that is how Bechukosai ends.
Then we say Chazak Chazak V’nischazeik. Again Klal Yisrael is doing this for hundreds of years. Your father did, your Zeide did it and his father and Zeide before him. They all said Chazak Chazak V’nischazeik. It has become something of a nursery rhyme Rachmana Litzlon. The children have rhymes for it. It has somehow become meaningless. How you say it is fine, it doesn’t mean anything. No!
There is a reason why we say Chazak Chazak V’nischazeik. Because when we finish one of the Seforim of the Torah we have to be Mechazeik ourselves. We have to stop and pause and say look we are traveling from Simchas Torah to Rosh Hashana, Chazak Chazak V’nischazeik. We did another milestone. This is the third Sefer that is finished. Chazak Chazak V’nischazeik. So when you say it in Shul, say it with meaning, say it with feeling, say it with thought. Chazak Chazak V’nischazeik.
Have in mind Chazak, let us be strong. We should have the Koach to stay up all night on Shavuos, stay up late learning. To do what we need to do in our Avodas Hashem. Not to be soft people who we unfortunately are with Yeridas Hadoros. It is a fact that it is more difficult. It is not Rishus, it is a fact. Still we can do better. So everybody Chazak Chazak V’nischazeik. Be strong and strengthen everybody around you and we will all become stronger in our Avodas Hashem as we march B’ezras Hashem towards Kabbalas Hatorah Kulanu Yachad. A Gutten Shabbos to one and all!