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Shabbos Parshas Chukas-Balak

   12th Day Of Tammuz, 5746

Yechidus

15th Day Of Tammuz, 5746

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Volume 31

Shabbos Parshas Chukas-Balak
12th Day Of Tammuz, 5746
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1

The theme and content of the holiday of deliverance, Yud-Bais Tammuz, (the 12th of Tammuz) was described by the Previous Rebbe in his famous letter issued for the first anniversary celebration of his liberation (in 1928):

Not me alone did the Holy One, Blessed be He, liberate on the 12th of Tammuz, but also all those who cherish our Holy Torah, who observe mitzvos, and [even] those [who are only] called by the name "Jew."

He goes on to write:

This 12th day of the month of Tammuz is the holiday of liberation for Jews who are involved in spreading Torah ... it is appropriate to gather for farbrengens on this day and to encourage everyone to strengthen Torah and Yiddishkeit in every place [as is applicable].... The work of spreading Torah and strengthening Yiddishkeit should take on more momentum.

The Previous Rebbe concludes:

I send to the Chassidic community (may they live and prosper) a Chassidic discourse: "Ten people who sit together and occupy themselves with Torah study," etc.

It was of course, in that discourse that we were first able to understand his intentions, and take instruction on how to celebrate the holiday of liberation, how to increase the spreading of Torah, and how to study Torah in the most effective way.

Now, as with all auspicious days,

These days should be remembered and celebrated.

(Esther 9:28)

Each year, on the 12th of Tammuz we remember and relive the incidents of that troubled time, and in celebrating the liberation we rise higher in holiness and gain new strength in the work of spreading Torah and Yiddishkeit.

Yud-Bais Tammuz, in addition to being the day of his release from incarceration, is also the birthday of the Previous Rebbe, and being a time of "ascending fortune," the day itself helped to effect the liberation.

This year the aspect of his birthday adds a special emphasis to the celebration of the release. The Previous Rebbe publicized the custom of the Alter Rebbe, which he received from the Baal Shem Tov, to recite daily the psalm of Tehillim which corresponds to the person's age. This custom applies even after the passing of a tzaddik, as described by the Previous Rebbe about his father, the Rashab.

This year we enter the 107th year of the Previous Rebbe and we begin reciting Psalm 107:

Give thanks to the L-rd for He is good, for His kindness is everlasting. So shall say those redeemed by the L-rd, those whom He redeemed from the hand of the oppressor. (Tehillim 107:1-2)

The connection of this psalm to the holiday of liberation is obvious, for this psalm was sung about the four categories of people who emerge from dire straits to salvation. They must praise and thank G-d, and recount their stories for the multitudes. Among those who are required to offer thanks are,

Those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, bound in misery and chains of iron. (Ibid.:10)

One who was incarcerated must say the blessing of thanks to G-d upon release from prison. This point was reiterated by the Previous Rebbe in several discourses issued in connection with the 12th of Tammuz.

Entering the 107th year and reciting this psalm adds emphasis to the importance of thanks and praise.

The salvation of Yud-Bais Tammuz has a connection with the ultimate redemption, as do all redemptions, large and small; only moreso, since it was the liberation of a Nassi. The word "Nassi" forms an acrostic for the words "Nitzutzo Shel Ya'akov Avinu -- a spark of the soul of our father Ya'akov." It is "the soul of Yisroel Sava -- the old -- which compounded all the souls" (Iggeres HaKodesh 7).

It follows, therefore, that the liberation of the Nassi is equivalent to the liberation of all the Jewish people and all matters that exist for the sake of the Jewish people. As our sages say "the Nassi is everything" (see Rashi, Bemidbar 21:21). The Tzemach Tzedek also explained in the name of the Maharsha (commentary on Talmud) that the four who must give thanks are symbolized by the four cups of redemption which we drink on Pesach.

Being that this year Yud-Bais Tammuz occurs on Shabbos, this introduces additional aspects of joy, celebration and comfort -- relaxation from any matters which might confuse and confound -- and the ultimate delight of Shabbos which is a sampling of the delight of the future world and the ultimate redemption.

Chassidus explains the difference between the holiday of Pesach and the festivals of Chanukah and Purim. Pesach saw G-d's miracle emerge from the realm of the transcendental power of G-d and, therefore, the destruction of the Egyptians and the salvation of the Jewish people came at the same time. On Chanukah and Purim the salvation came from the immanent power of G-d in the world, and therefore the destruction of the enemy took place first, and on the following day the Jews could celebrate the salvation.

Yud-Bais Tammuz was similar to Chanukah and Purim and therefore the complete salvation did not occur until the 13th of Tammuz -- on the 12th the order of release was issued but the actual release took place on the 13th.

However, since,

There is nothing to which allusion cannot be found in Torah, (Ta'anis 9a)

and;

Whatever the rabbis enacted they enacted similar to Scriptural law, (Shabbos 30b)

it follows that even in a rabbinic holiday we can also find the combination of victory and celebration in one day. This is realized when Yud-Bais Tammuz occurs on Shabbos. Shabbos leaves no room for negative forces and exemplifies "delight," so that the celebration is complete on the 12th of Tammuz when it occurs on Shabbos and the farbrengen celebration of Yud-Bais Tammuz then takes place on Shabbos.

Consequently, this year there is a more intense transmission of power in all areas of spreading Torah and Yiddishkeit. First of all we rise to a higher level each year, additionally, the psalm we recite emphasizes redemption and, finally, the Shabbos further intensifies the celebration of salvation.

In discussing the dictum "Ten people who sit together and occupy themselves with Torah study" (Avos 3:6), it has been explained that in the Previous Rebbe's letter he delineated several categories of people, and in each case this adage of Avos applied -- from "those who cherish Torah," till the level of those "who are (only) called Jews."

In the case of those who cherish Torah, the "ten who study Torah" represents public Torah study in a settled and fundamental manner. They are "occupied" and "laboring" in Torah study.

The Previous Rebbe has elaborated in many of his discourses that Torah must be studied in a manner of a "Baal Esek," a businessman -- not a hired worker who does his job and leaves, but -- as one who is deeply involved and committed to his work in Torah. Just as the businessman always has his business on his mind -- he dreams about his business -- so, too, a Torah scholar must be committed heart and soul to his studies so that in his sleep he dreams Torah.

Everything this person does is permeated with Torah, he labors and strives to reveal and absorb the ultimate truth of Torah knowledge.

The broad goal of existence is for all Jews to reach this condition, from the "heads of the tribes" to the "water carriers," every individual Jew.

On the other hand, the Previous Rebbe, in his letter also referred to those who are only "called Jews" -- not yet on the abovementioned level -- but they still have a connection to Torah study.

For them the first step is unity, to create a unit of "ten," which signifies the unity of the Jewish people. This unity must also be settled and fundamental at all times. They, too, must be involved in their unity with mutual care and love so that they will not be jealous of others and eventually their unity will lead them to Torah, starting on their own level without any inhibitions or shame.

Thus, the Divine service incumbent upon us to spread Torah and Yiddishkeit, as messengers of the Previous Rebbe, must express itself on all levels, reaching out to all types of Jews, wherever they may be. This point is emphasized this year by the fact that Yud-Bais Tammuz is on Shabbos and by its connection to the portion of Chukas-Balak.

Shabbos carries the theme of "Vayechulu,"

...the heavens and the earth and all their hosts were completed; (Bereishis 2:1)

completion of the days of the previous week and bestowal of blessing on the coming days;

For the six days receive blessing from the seventh.

(Zohar II, p. 63b)

Shabbos also has an aspect of aloofness, beyond the limits of time and above the mundane world. Sunday is connected only with worldly matters, creation and existence. However, it is creation as it is infused with the creative force of the Creator -- so that all existence really recognizes its true spiritual source. Sunday was called "one day" -- the day in which "G-d was one and alone in His world." Hence, Sunday represents the goal of making the world a vessel for G-dliness -- a dwelling place in the lower worlds.

Consequently, when the 12th and 13th of Tammuz occur on Shabbos and Sunday we realize that the teachings of the Previous Rebbe direct us to be involved in both these aspects of Divine service, to be aloof from the mundane world, and at the same time to be involved in the corporeal world, so that it will be infused with G-dliness. As we are in the period of the close of the golus we must combine these two avenues of Divine service. The attainment of the "ten who study Torah" in an aloof fashion must meld with the ten utterances by which the world was created.

In the Torah portion of Chukas-Balak we find two seemingly opposing themes:

"Chukas," represents the engraving of Torah in our souls -- just as engraved letters are one and the same with the rock in which they are engraved, while written letters are ink on parchment. This symbolizes the absolute state of Torah study and service of G-d as one essence -- the Jew and the Torah are one entity. This is the loftiest form of Divine service.

Conversely, Balak has the same root as the word bolka (Yeshayahu 24:1), "to make waste." It is not even connected to Torah as ink on parchment, rather, completely separated from Torah!

When Yud-Bais Tammuz falls on the Shabbos of Chukas-Balak it teaches us that we must reach out not only to those who stand in a state of Chukas -- one entity with Torah -- but also to those who are seemingly cut-off from Torah. We must also convert them to "Ten who sit and occupy themselves with Torah," and bring them to the "Chukas HaTorah."

The continuum of the 12th of Tammuz into the 13th in the realm of time allows a degree of separation -- but the unity of the two portions Chukas and Balak as one Torah portion indicates the absolute unity of the previously opposing states of Jews.

In analyzing why a portion of the Torah should be named Balak -- who was a gentile king and enemy of the Jews -- Chassidus explains that eventually Rus the Moavite descended from Balak and so, too, Dovid HaMelech. If so, Balak represents the ultimate conversion of evil to good and bitterness to sweetness.

Our lesson is clear:

When a Jew makes a just accounting of his personal situation he sees that on the one hand he is a child of G-d, as precious as an only son born to aged parents. And on the other hand he knows that he has failings, he is not living up to his role as son of the King of kings, the Holy One, blessed Be He. This might bring him to a despondent feeling and it will be difficult to be joyous. Let him therefore take a lesson from Balak who was wise and had a prophetic vision that his seed would be associated with the chain of the family of Dovid -- how much more so a Jew, who is truly part of the great chain -- and whose soul is bound up in the soul of Moshiach.

This will add encouragement and strength in the Divine service of spreading Torah and Yiddishkeit. When you meet a Jew who can only be referred to as a "Jew" -- externally he is still on the lowest rung -- just above being cut off -- remember, this lowliness is only superficial -- it must be converted to the good, so that even the external powers will take on the power of Chukas HaTorah -- his true essence. The Yechidah (essence) of a Jewish soul is the spark of Moshiach, which is connected to the essence of the general soul of the Jewish people.

From this analysis we glean that with the empowerment of this Yud-Bais Tammuz we must increase all activities of disseminating Torah and Yiddishkeit in our role as agents of the previous Rebbe, the Nassi of our generation, whose liberation we celebrate now. All this must be done with greater strength and intensity.

The action should be emphasized, and wherever there may be messengers of the Previous Rebbe they must realize that the responsibility rests upon them to establish new "Chabad Houses" as soon as possible.

In addition to all the activities on behalf of Torah and Yiddishkeit which are already being done all over the world, including existing institutions of Torah, schools, yeshivos and other organizations of charity and good works, there should also be a Chabad House in each locality which will serve as a center for all the activities. Wherever possible this should also include facilities for providing meals and a place to lodge.

Experience has shown that wherever there is a Chabad House all the other activities are much more successful and greatly enhanced.

As we spoke of the "Ten who sit together and occupy themselves with Torah" -- it is clear that in a Chabad Center all activities will be more substantial, settled and organized, for a "house" is a permanent residence and all activities will be more permanent and settled. With this you will also fulfill G-d's wish for a dwelling place in the lower worlds.

In those cities where Chabad Houses already exist there is certainly room for expansion -- build a second story, etc.

At the close of Shabbos all those who will make the resolution to carry forth this project will be entitled to take a share of the "Le'Chayim" of this Farbrengen in order to return home and gather others and motivate them to share in laying the groundwork for this important undertaking.

May G-d grant that the good resolutions will generate the good merit and, of course, the action. It is appropriate to speak of this on Shabbos afternoon, the time associated with Ya'akov who used the term "house," which refers to the Third Bais Hamikdosh, the eternal house, which is the inheritance of Ya'akov, to whom it was said, "and spread out to the west and the east, the north and the south."

We also will read the portion of Pinchas (at Minchah) of whom it is said "Pinchas is Eliyahu" (Targum), who will inform us of the redemption.

So may it be, that we merit the true and complete redemption through our righteous Moshiach -- with our youth and our elders, our sons and daughters -- "a great company shall return" (Yermiyahu 31:7), and "May our eyes behold Your return to Tziyon in mercy" (Siddur).

Then all the negative aspects of the three weeks will be nullified as the Rambam writes:

All the fast days mentioned above are destined to be abolished in the time of Moshiach; indeed they are destined to be turned into festive days, days of rejoicing and gladness in accordance with the verse: "Thus says the L-rd of Hosts: the fast of the fourth month and the fast of the fifth month ... shall become times of joy and gladness and cheerful feasts to the house of Yehudah" (Zechariah 8:19). (Laws of Fast Days 5:19)

When we increase the work of spreading Yiddishkeit and Torah with Ahavas Yisroel and Jewish unity, we make the proper preparation for this promise, which is why the Rambam concludes with the verse: Therefore, love the truth and peace (Ibid.).

2

In the portion of Chukas the Torah tells us that the Jewish people came to Mount Hor and Rashi explains:

Mount Hor (the mount of the mount) -- This was a mount on top of a mount like a small apple on top of a large apple. Although the cloud went before them and leveled the mountains, yet three of them remained: Mount Sinai for the giving of the Torah, Mount Hor for Aharon's burial place and Mount Nevo for Moshe's burial place.

(Rashi, Bemidbar 20:22)

The question was raised, why does Rashi wait until the portion of Chukas to tell us that Mount Sinai was not leveled -- the five-year-old Chumash student has had contact with Mount Sinai since Chumash Shemos, surely he has wondered about Mount Sinai, why wait for Chukas?

In discussing this question the point has been raised that it was previously discussed and an answer appears in the transcriptions of that earlier sicha (Chukas 5737). However, upon perusal of that transcript I found that the answer recorded there is incorrect and it is surprising that no one has realized and commented on this.

The gist of the answer recorded there is that Mount Sinai was a small mountain and not difficult to traverse, therefore it may not have been leveled by the cloud. Mount Hor, which was a "mount on a mount," was a very high mountain and impossible to climb, therefore it should have been made level by the cloud. For this reason Rashi explains that it was spared to become the burial place of Aharon, and while Rashi deals with Mount Hor he also adds that there were two other mountains (Sinai and Nevo) which were not leveled for other specific reasons.

This version makes no sense. Despite the fact that Mount Sinai was a smaller mountain than Mount Hor, it was still a mountain and was still difficult to climb over, and since the purpose of the cloud of glory was to level the ground and make it easy to travel -- Mount Sinai should have been flattened like all the other mountains. If in fact for some reasons it was not leveled, Rashi had to tell the five-year-old Chumash student the reason it remained as an exception.

Another Rashi needs our attention.

On the verse:

The people realized that Aharon had died,

(Bemidbar 20:29)

Rashi here explains:

I say that he who translates these words ("ki gava") by "because he had died," is in error, unless he also translates the word "vayiru" as "they were seen (exposed)." For our rabbis state that this word "ki" is used here in a sense of "because" only in accordance with what R. Abuhu said. For R. Abuhu said read not here "they saw" but "they were seen." It is to this sense of the verb that the meaning of "because" is applicable to the word "ki," since that gives the reason for what precedes it: why were they seen? Because, behold, Aharon had died and the clouds disappeared.

(Rashi, Ibid.)

It then follows that the Canaanite heard and attacked the Jews. They heard that Aharon had died and they heard that the protective clouds had disappeared.

Here, too, a question was raised. Normally, Rashi does not cite the name of the author of a Talmudic dictum -- for it is not pertinent to the plain meaning of the verse. It is only when some additional question remains in the mind of a sharper student that Rashi includes the author's name as a hint to a deeper meaning which may be reached by studying the opinions of this sage in other places which may also throw light on this case.

If so, why does Rashi mention R. Abuhu in this case? And why does Rashi mention R. Abuhu twice?

In answer to the first question.

The first time Mount Sinai is mentioned in Torah it is called the "Mountain of G-d" (Shemos 3:1). There Rashi explains that it was so named in reference to what would happen there in the future; that G-d would descend on the mountain.

No wonder then that Mount Sinai was not flattened -- it was the holy "Mountain of G-d" and it had to stand high. Should it be difficult to cross or get around -- so what -- the Jews were quite happy to suffer that inconvenience for G-d's mountain. At this point it was not necessary to explain why it was not flattened -- the reason was quite obvious, it was G-d's mountain.

Later, however, when Rashi explained that Mount Hor was not flattened because it was to be the mountain tomb of Aharon, he also mentioned that two other mountains were not affected by the clouds: Sinai, for the Torah; Nevo, for Moshe's burial; and Hor for Aharon.

Here, Rashi stresses "Mount Sinai for the Torah," to indicate that as a "Mountain of G-d" it was really not necessary to remain a mountain -- for the Shechinah does not require its place to be high. But the mountain had to be lofty for the honor of the Torah.

In the verse dealing with Aharon's death, where Rashi brings the saying of R. Abuhu, it appears that we may be unsatisfied with the teaching "do not read they saw but they were seen," because when we use this approach we are going away from the plain meaning of the verse. So Rashi tells us to look at R. Abuhu, the author of the explanation. The Talmud relates:

R. Abuhu commended R. Safra to the Minim (dissenters) as a learned man, and he was thus exempted from paying taxes for 13 years. One day on coming across him, they said to him, "It is written: 'You only have I known from all families of the earth; therefore I will visit upon you all your iniquities,' if one is in anger does one vent it on one's friend?" But he was silent and could give them no answer; so they wound a scarf around his neck and tortured him. When R. Abuhu came and found him in that state he said to them "Why do you torture him?" Said they, "Have you not told us that he is a great man? He cannot explain to us the meaning of this verse!" Said he, "I may have told you in Tannaic teaching; did I tell you in Scripture?" "How is it then that you know it?" they contended. "We" he replied, "who are frequently with you set ourselves the task of studying it thoroughly, but others do not study it as carefully." Said they, "Will you tell us the meaning?" etc. (Avodah Zorah 4a)

The Gemara further relates:

R. Abuhu and R. Chiya bar Abba once came to a place; R. Abuhu expounded Aggadah and R. Chiya expounded legal law. All the people left R. Chiya bar Abba and went to hear R. Abuhu, so that the former was upset. R. Abuhu said to him, "I will give you a parable... to two men, one of whom was selling precious stones and the other various kinds of small ware. To whom will the people hurry? Is it not to the seller of the small ware?"

(Sotah 40a)

We see that R. Abuhu placed great emphasis on studying the verses of the Torah, so that he was able to satisfy even those who limited themselves only to Scriptural study. We also see that he was well versed in Aggadah. If so, when R. Abuhu explains a verse it must be the plain meaning and when he uses an Aggadic interpretation it is only an Aggadah which will reconcile the plain meaning.

As to why the name R. Abuhu is mentioned twice. In fact in the amended versions of Rashi R. Abuhu's name appears only once!

3

In the chapter of Avos which we study this Shabbos we find a mishnah (19) that has a connection to the Torah portion of this week:

Whoever possesses the following three characteristics is of the disciples of Avraham our father; and the three opposite characteristics, is of the disciples of the wicked Bilaam. The disciples of our father Avraham possess a good eye, a humble spirit and a meek soul. The disciples of the wicked Bilaam possess an evil eye, an arrogant spirit, and a greedy soul. What is the difference between the disciples of Avraham our father and the disciples of the wicked Bilaam? The disciples of Avraham our father eat in this world and inherit the World to Come, as it is stated: "To cause those who love Me to inherit an everlasting possession, and I will fill their storehouses" (Mishlei 8:21). But the disciples of the wicked Bilaam inherit Gehinom and descend into the nethermost pit, as it is stated: "And You, O G-d, will bring them down to the nethermost pit; bloodthirsty and treacherous men shall not live out half their days; but I will trust in You" (Tehillim 55:29). (Avos 5:19)

This mishnah strikes us as being a bit strange. In the first chapter of Avos the mishnah (12) advised us to emulate Aharon's ways: "Love peace, pursue peace" etc. The Mishnaic style is short and to the point. Here too the mishnah should have been terse, it could have said, "Be a disciple of Avraham, have a good eye, humble spirit, etc." Why all the details and comparisons: "three characteristics" and then the listing of the traits -- then to speak of reward and punishment, it all seems redundant. Finally, the closing words of the mishnah quotes the last words of Psalm 55. But that was said by Dovid about himself, "but I will trust in You." Why does the Mishnah include these words when it is speaking of the evil disciples of the wicked Bilaam!?

A careful analysis of these two mishnahs will reveal a very clear distinction between the mishnah dealing with Aharon and this mishnah.

The mishnah speaking of Aharon's qualities states: "Be of the disciples of Aharon, loving peace and pursuing peace in bringing them near to the Torah." In this adage you have a clear directive to go out and do something. On the other hand, the good eye, humble spirit and meek soul deals with attitudes and character traits -- passive qualities.

For this reason the Mishnah which urges us to action must be short and to the point: love your fellow Jew and go out and help him, bring him near to Torah. No need for long-winded sermons! The Torah already taught us, "Love your neighbor as yourself," certainly in Avos, which deals with matters of greater piety, we must surely get out and do something. This is very clear.

Now, when we discuss something more abstract such as character traits, it may seem to us that they are not so important, therefore the author of the mishnah felt it necessary to go into great detail to elaborate on the principles involved. His intention is to emphasize that these characteristics are also vitally important.

This idea is analogous to the words of Rambam in the Laws of Teshuvah:

Do not say that one need only repent of sinful deeds.... Just as a man needs to repent of these sins involving acts, so he needs to investigate and repent of any evil dispositions that he may have ... they are graver than sinful acts. (Laws of Teshuvah 7:3)

So we see that in the case of attitudes and traits there might be a presumption that they are not so important, therefore the Rambam makes special mention of them.

Now let us see just how this mishnah teaches us those noble character traits.

The mishnah begins, "Whoever possesses the following three characteristics ... good eye, humble spirit and meek soul... he is a disciple of Avraham our father." Having these traits, even if they do not bring to any action, is enough to put someone in the category of Avraham's disciples. Conversely -- the opposite traits, even without action, place you in Bilaam's camp!

Then the mishnah goes on to speak of reward in this world and in the World to Come. Again this is not for doing good deeds but only for having good traits! Usually we assume that reward is given for good action, here it is promised only for the good attitudes. And Bilaam's disciples are punished for their evil attitudes.

The Mishnah brings references from the verse in Tehillim -- "And You, O G-d, will bring them down to the nethermost pit bloodthirsty and treacherous men." This is a clear reference to Bilaam who was deceitfully treacherous, using curses and incantations to try to harm the Jewish people -- and he in turn was cut down by the sword (treachery embodied in a reversal of roles).

Because the Tanna is dealing with such treacherous and forceful negative traits, he closes the mishnah with the words and "I will trust in You," to show that we are not afraid of the possible negative results from the traits of Bilaam.

4

In today's Rambam section of Mishneh Torah the Rambam writes:

If, having purchased produce from someone who is not trustworthy in regard to tithes, one neglects to tithe it and is overtaken by the Shabbos or by a festival, when he may not tithe, he should ask the seller whether the produce has been tithed, and if the seller says: "It has been tithed," he may eat of it on that Shabbos on the basis of the seller's statement.

Similarly, if some other untrustworthy person says to the purchaser, "This produce has been tithed," the latter may eat of it on that Shabbos on the basis of that statement, even if he has other produce of that same species that has been regularized, because the awe of the Shabbos lies upon all unlearned persons, and they are not likely to transgress (during Shabbos). (Laws of Tithes 12:1)

In Talmud Yerushalmi the statement is slightly different:

The awe of Shabbos is upon him and he tells the truth.

(Yerushalmi, Demai ch. 4)

Evidently the Rambam holds that the fear of Shabbos not only affects the truthfulness of the unlearned, but also enhances his general observance of Torah.

The Rambam continues in the next halachah:

Even though one may eat of such produce on the Shabbos on the basis of an unlearned person's statement, one may not eat of it after nightfall of the Shabbos day, until he has set aside the tithe due from doubtfully tithed produce for everything, what he had eaten during the Shabbos as well as what still remains, because the sages' leniency in trusting the unlearned person extends only to what is needed for that Shabbos. (Rambam, Ibid.:2)

This seems quite paradoxical! If we trust the unlearned person and eat the produce on Shabbos, then the produce is considered to have been tithed, if so, why may we not eat the remaining produce after Shabbos?

It also appears from the Rambam's words that after Shabbos we must separate tithe for what we ate and will eat only if some of that produce remains. If, on the other hand, we ate it completely, then it is not necessary to give any tithe for what we ate on Shabbos. Why so?!

To properly understand the Rambam's ruling we must first study this case as it is ruled in Talmud Yerushalmi; there we will find two views:

  1. "In honor of Shabbos the sages ruled leniently." Yet, the question must be put to the unlearned person, to show that when we buy produce from them we are concerned whether it was tithed.

  2. "The fear of Shabbos is upon him and he tells the truth." Nevertheless when Shabbos ends we must actually tithe the produce because we are afraid that maybe there is one unlearned Jew who is not in awe of Shabbos and did not tell the truth. In this case we would say that on Shabbos itself we do not consider the very rare possibility of one who lies -- and we eat the produce based on his statement -- after Shabbos, however, we must worry even about this one.

It follows that the Rambam took both of these views into consideration and combined them. The "awe of Shabbos" and the "honor of Shabbos."

Consequently he rules: eat of the produce only on Shabbos for in addition to the rule of "awe of Shabbos" we also consider the "honor of Shabbos" and we do not think of the rare individual who may not feel the "awe of Shabbos." However, when Shabbos ends we no longer have the "honor of Shabbos" and so we must consider even the most remote possibility. The result: If some of that produce remains you must separate tithe, and since we are tithing the leftovers we roll over the onus also on that which was already used and separate additional tithe to cover what was eaten.

May G-d grant that in the merit of studying the laws of tithes we will be able to fulfill the mitzvah of tithes with the coming of our righteous Moshiach and the ultimate redemption.

As we find in the case of studying the laws of the Bais Hamikdosh the Midrash says: that by studying the laws of the Temple G-d considers it as if we had built the Bais Hamikdosh. And through that we merit to actually build it.

It would also be appropriate now to remind everyone of the custom of studying the laws of the Bais Hamikdosh during the "three weeks" from the 17th of Tammuz through Tisha B'Av. This weakens the destruction and the golus, and brings the ultimate rebuilding of the Bais Hamikdosh, may it come speedily -- and even sooner may Eliyahu come, the heralder of good tidings.

The voice of the herald brings good tidings and proclaims. (Siddur)

Then these days will be converted to joy and happiness and holidays, speedily and truly in our times; with joy and glad hearts.


  Rabbinic AppointmentsEve Of The 15th Day Of Tammuz, 5746  
  
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