Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Behar-Bechukosai

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Our Parshah, Behar-Bechukosai, tells us that[1] “Hashem spoke to Moshe on Mount Sinai, saying.” This introduces the laws of the Sabbatical Year. Upon entering the Land of Israel, Hashem commanded us to work the land for six years. During the seventh year, the land would rest. We would not plow, plant or harvest. Whatever crops did grow on their own were considered ownerless; whoever wanted could eat them.

Rashi explains why the Torah tells us that Hashem gave us this Mitzvah at Mount Sinai. He asks, “What is the connection between Shemittah and Mount Sinai? Hashem gave us all commandments at Sinai! However, Hashem taught the general principles and details of Shemittah at Sinai. The same is true of all Mitzvos. Hashem gave us all Mitzvos, both their general principles and their details, at Sinai.”

“Hashem taught the general principles and details of all Mitzvos at Sinai,” is the opinion of Rabbi Akiva. Rabbi Yishmoel disagrees with him and says that “Hashem taught the general principles at Sinai. He taught the details at the Ohel Moed[2].”

Throughout the forty-nine years that the Jews traveled in the wilderness, Hashem appeared to Moshe in the Mishkan, at the Ohel Moed – the Tent of Meeting, and continued to teach him Torah. According to Rabbi Akiva, Moshe had already received to complete Torah at Sinai. According to Rabbi Yishmoel, he only received the general principle at Sinai. Throughout the years in the desert, he was taught all of the details.

Their differing positions in this matter may be related to the difference between them in their Divine service. Rabbi Yishmoel was a Kohen; he was sanctified to Hashem from birth. Hence, his service of Hashem was that of a Tzaddik. For a Tzaddik, it is enough to accept upon himself self-sacrifice for Hashem, which is the foundation of his service, at the beginning of the day (Sinai). That enables him to serve Hashem in an orderly manner throughout the day (the forty years of wandering).

Conversely, Rabbi Akiva was a descendant of converts. His G-dly service paralleled that of a Baal Teshuvah. He needed to exercise self-sacrifice throughout the entire day (the whole forty years).

May we all merit to bring Moshiach now as a result of our service of Hashem!

I wish one and all a Good Shabbos! May we all receive the Torah with joy and internalize it within ourselves!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 17, Page 283

מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש

The Soldiers of Tzivos Hashem Chaim and Aiden Oded שיחיו Morris
Rabbi & Mrs. Menachem M. and Chaya Mushka שיחיו Morris

חיילי “צבאות השם” חיים ועדן עודד שיחיו מאריס
נדפס ע”י הוריהם
הרה”ת ר’ מנחם מענדל וזוגתו מרת חי’ מושקא שיחיו מאריס


[1]. Our Parshah, Vayikroh 25, 1.

[2]. See the Talmud, Zevochim 115.

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