Wednesday, 19th Iyar 5783/May 10, 2023
Parshas Behar Bechukosai
Revi’i when connected to Bechukosai
- Slave laws:
- Jewish slave: When your brother is sold to you as a slave do not work him with slave labor. He shall be like a hired laborer or a resident and shall stay with you until the Yovel and he is then to return to his family with his sons and to his ancestral heritage. The Jewish people are my slaves who I took out of Egypt. Do not sell them like a slave and do not work them hard. I am Hashem your G-d.
- Gentile slave: You shall buy slaves from the surrounding nations, and they shall become for you an ancestral heritage. You shall inherit them to your sons after you. They shall serve you forever.
- Jewish slave sold to gentile:
- Redeeming the slave: If a Jew becomes impoverished and is sold as a slave to a gentile, he is to be redeemed. It is a Mitzvah upon his relatives, such as his uncle or cousin or other family relative, to redeem him. If the slave himself has the means to do so, then he is to redeem himself. The price for the redemption is to be based on the amount of years remaining until the next Yovel. If many years remain until the Yovel then he is to be sold for a larger sum, if only a few years remain until the Yovel he is to be sold for a smaller sum, as one is not selling the slave himself but is hiring him for a certain sum of years.
- Hard labor: One may not allow the gentile to make the Jewish slave work laborous activity.
- Yovel: If the salve is not redeemed, he is to be set free by the Yovel year.
- The Jewish people are my slaves who I took out of Egypt.
- Idolatry, statues, and stone floors:
- One may not form idols for himself or build statues and pillars. One may not make stone floors in the land for the sake of prostration.
- Guard the Shabbos and fear the Mikdash:
- Guard my Shabbosos and revere the Mikdash, I am G-d.
- The Blessings received for obeying G-d’s commands:
- If the Jewish people follow the statutes of Hashem and observe His commands, I will bless them with the following blessings:
- Rain at the appropriate time.
- The earth will give produce.
- The trees will grow fruits.
- There will be so much abundance of produce that it will last until the next year’s harvest
- You will eat your bread to satiation [and become satiated with small amounts of food].
- You will dwell securely in your land.
- I will provide peace in the land, and you will lie without fear.
- I will remove wild animals from the land.
- A sword [of war] will not pass through your land.
- You will chase your enemies and they will fall before you.
- Five men will chase 100 enemy soldiers and 100 men will chase 10,000 enemy soldiers. Your enemies will fall before you to the sword.
- I will cause you to be fruitful and multiply and establish my covenant with you.
Tanya Middle of Chapter 49
1. Why do we recite Birchas Kerias Shema?
- Based on the above explanation, we can understand why the sages instituted for one to recite the blessings over the Shema, with two blessing said before its recital, and blessing said its recital.
- The question: Seemingly, these blessings have no connection whatsoever with the paragraphs of the Shema and hence it is not understood as to why they were established to be recited, and as to why they are called the blessings of the Shema.
2. Purpose of Shema-To love G-d unconditionally:
- The answer: The main purpose of the daily Shema recital is to fulfill the words “with all your heart and with both of your inclinations” by standing against all impediments that prevent one from properly loving G-d. This is inherent within the words of the Shema.
- “With all your heart”-wife and children: The words “with all your heart” that are said in the Shema refer to the natural love that one has for his a wife and children. This natural love may act as an impediment in one achieving love of G-d and properly serving Him. Hence, we recite in the Shema that we will give up even this natural love for the sake of serving G-d and loving Him.
- “Your soul and your money”: The words “Your soul and your money” that are said in the Shema refer to giving up one’s life and sustenance for the sake of G-d, which represents in essence giving up everything for the sake of loving G-d.
3. The meditations of Birchas Kerias Shema that help stimulate the above level of love:
- We can now understand the purpose of the blessings said before the Shema, as they are there in order to help stimulate the above level of love. As on the onset, it is most wondrous as to how a person can reach such a high level of love for G-d to give up everything on his behalf. Hence, this is accomplished by contemplating the subjects brought in the before blessings of the Shema, as we will now explain.
- The first blessing of Yotzer Or-Angels in contrast to souls: The first blessing of Yotzer Or discusses the order of the Angels within the various spiritual worlds and the fear and trepidation they have for G-d. Its purpose is to inform us of G-d’s greatness and how everything is nullified to His divine life. From this paragraph we understand that angels even of the highest level do not receive a revelation of the essence of G-dliness and that G-d is separate even from them and hence they fall in trepidation when He is revealed. In contrast, however, the Jewish people above and below receive the true revelation of G-d as the verse states that He fills all the world with his glory.
- The second blessing of Ahavas Olam: The second blessing discusses G-d’s love for the Jewish people and how he abandoned all of the celestial hosts of heaven and dwelled His divine presence specifically on the Jewish people, to the point that He is called our personal G-d. This is all due to G-d’s great love for us which causes Him to push himself above and beyond the norm.
- The words “Ahavas Olam”: The meaning of the words “Ahavas Olam-love of world” is that G-d has contracted His great infinite light of revelation in order so it be invested within a limited space which is referred to as a world. This itself was done due to G-d’s great love for the Jewish people, in order so they be able to attach to Him and be incorporated within His unity.
- The words “Chemla Gedola Viseira”: The meaning of the words “Chemla Gedola Viseira-a great compassion” is that G-d has allowed the Jewish people to become close to Him much more than the celestial beings due to His great compassion for us.
- The words “Uvanu Bacharta Mikol Am”: The meaning of the words “Uvanu Bacharta Mikol Am-and He has chosen us from all the nations” is that G-d has chosen our bodies of the Jewish people despite the fact that they are physical and corporeal and look similar to the bodies of the Gentile nations.
- The words “Vikeiravtanu…Lehodos”: The meaning of the words ” Vikeiravtanu…Lehodos -and He has brought us close….to give thanks” will be explained elsewhere.
- The words “Uliyachedecha”: The meaning of the words ” Uliyachedecha-to unify you” is that all the above was done by G-d in order so the Jew be incorporated within His unity, as explained above.
Rambam, Hilchos Yesodei Hatorah Chapter 6
Chapter 6: The names of G-d
Halacha 1: The prohibition against destroying the name of G-d
- Anyone who destroys [i.e. erases] one of the holy names of G-d receives biblical lashes.
Halacha 2: The seven names
- There are total of seven names of G-d under the above transgression:
- Yud Kei Vav Kei, which is the explicit name of G-d, and is also written as Adonaiy.
- Erasing one letter of these names: If one erases even one letter from the above seven names, he is liable for lashes.
Halacha 3: Letters attached to G-d’s name
- Precede the name of G-d: All letters attached to the names of G-d, which precede the name of G-d, are allowed to be erased.
- Example: For example, the Lamed of LaHashem and Beis of BeiElokim may be erased.
- Proceed the name of G-d: All letters attached to the names of G-d, which proceed the name of G-d, are prohibited from being erased just like the name of G-d itself, as the name of G-d sanctifies them. Nonetheless, one who erases these letters is not liable to receive biblical lashes although he does receive rabbinical lashes.
- Example: For example, the Chaf of Elokecha and Chem of Elokeichem may not be erased.
Halacha 4: Erasing a partial name of G-d
- If the name of G-d was only partially written, then whether or not it may be erased depends on the name.
- Elokim and Havayah: The first two letters of the names Elokim and Havayah, which spell out El and Kah, may not be erased even if they alone were written, being that these letters are a central part of the divine name.
- Shakaiy and Tzevaos: The first two letters of the names Shakaiy and Tzevaos may be erased.
Halacha 5: Erasing the nicknames of G-d
- It is permitted to erase the nicknames of G-d such as the words Chanun, and Rachum, Gadol, Gibor, Norah, Neman and Kano and Chazak.
Halacha 6: If the name of G-d is written on a vessel or one’s body
- Vessels: If the name of G-d is written on a vessel, then the vessel may not be destroyed, and one who does so is liable for lashes. This applies even by a metal or glass vessel which contains the name of G-d engraved within it, then if the vessel was melted in fire, one is liable for lashes.
- Rather, if one wants to destroy the vessel he must first cut out the area with G-d’s name.
- The body: If the name of G-d is written on one’s skin, then he may not wash it off. He may also not enter into a filthy area. He may also not stand naked in front of it. If he needs to immerse for the sake of a mitzvah, then he must first lightly bind a reed, and if not available than a cloth, onto the area of the skin that contains the divine name
Halacha 7: Destroying a part of the temple
- It is forbidden to destroy a stone from the altar or from the Heichal or Azarah, and one who does so is liable for lashes.
- Sanctified wood: One who destroys wood do that was sanctified for the temple is liable for lashes.
Halacha 8: Destroying the books of Scripture [i.e. Tanach]
- It is forbidden to destroy books of Scripture, and one who does so is liable for rabbinical lashes.
- Written by a Jewish apostate: If a Jewish apostate wrote a Torah scroll is to be burnt together with its names of G-d, as he does not believe in the holiness of the name of G-d and it was therefore not written for the sake of heaven, and therefore has no holiness. In fact, it is a mitzvah to burn it in order not to leave an everlasting memory for heretics and their actions.
- Written by Gentile: If a Gentile wrote the name of G-d, or wrote books of Scripture, it is to be placed in Geniza.
- Worn out books of Scripture: Books of Scripture which are worn-out are to be placed in Geniza.
Halacha 9: The status of the names of G-d written in various areas in Scripture
- The names by Avraham: All the names written regarding Avraham are holy.
- The names by Lot: All the names written regarding Lot are mundane.
- The names by the hills of Benjamin: All the names written regarding the hills of Benjamin are holy.
- The names by Micha: All the names written regarding Micha are mundane.
- The names by Navos: All the names written regarding Navos are holy.
- The name Shlomo: All the names of Shlomo written in Shir Hashirim are holy except for the word “Ha’alef Lecha Shlomo.”
- Malchaya: All the words Malchaya written regarding Daniel are mundane except for Ant Hu Malka Melech Malchaya.
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