Parshas Behar Bechukosai 5777
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May 19, 2017
Volume 13 Issue 21
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Dvar Torah

All For The Boss
  By Rabbi Yisroel Schwartz 

"Speak to the Children of Israel and say to them: 'When you come into the land that I give you, the land shall observe a Shabbos rest for Hashem.'"
(VAYIKRA 25:2).

On the words "a Shabbos rest for Hashem," Rashi comments that it means a rest for the honor of Hashem. Rav Yeruchom Levovits, the legendary mashgiach of the Mirrer Yeshiva, expounds on the words of Rashi. He cites Raavad who explains why G-d gave us an abundance of mitzvos. Since G-d gave man the power and ability to rule his own life and make his own decisions, one is liable to think that he is his own boss and has no one to answer to. Therefore, Hashem provided us with many mitzvos, enabling us to remember G-d in every facet of our daily lives.

The Raavad illustrates this with the constant reminders a farmer confronts while working on his farmland. At the initial stage of seeding, he must refrain from sowing his field with kilayim (two different types of seeds). When harvesting the crop, the farmer has to leave some standing stalks for poor people (peah). If he forgot some bundles while collecting the produce, he must also leave those bundles for the poor (shikcha). Before the farmer stores his crop, he must tithe it properly (maaser). As he is baking bread, he must separate challah and give it to the kohen. Finally, before he takes a bite from his delicious home-baked bread, he is required to recite the proper brachah, realizing that this bread ultimately came from Hashem.

Similarly, in our contemporary lives, we do not wear clothes with shaatnez (wool and linen together), we affix mezuzos on all our doorposts, and we refrain from eating non-kosher food. When we fulfill the mitzvos, we are actively reminding ourselves that there is a G-d above us. Particularly in the year of shmitta, we put everything aside and even the most large-scale farmers rest by submitting themselves to G-d's will. Especially during shmitta, we are inundated with opportunities to acknowledge that everything is from Hashem. When Rashi states that fulfilling the mitzvah of shmitta is honoring G-d, we are not only respecting and revering Hashem, but we are recognizing that our success is directly due to His benevolence.

Dvar Halacha
Laws of Milchigs on Shavuos
By  Rabbi Yochanan Eskenazi

The Rama [494:3] writes that many places have the custom to eat milchig on the first day of Shavuos. There are numerous reasons for the reason for this minhag. The Rama explains on Pesach night we have two cooked foods as a remembrance for the two sacrifices that were brought on Pesach [korban Pesach and korban Chagiga]. Likewise, on Shavuos we eat milchig food and then fleishig food, which would require two separate breads [1 milchig and 1 fleishig- see Shulchan Aruch YD 89] on one's table, which represents the mizbayach. This provides a remembrance to the two loaves of bread that were brought on Shavuos. The Magen Avraham [494:6] writes that according to the Zohar the seven weeks of sefiras ha'omer correspond to the seven clean days a niddah counts to purify herself. The Gemara [Bechoros 6b] teaches that a mother's milk originates from her blood. Therefore, after reaching a level of purity, after sefiras ha'omer, we eat milchig which shows that the impure days have passed. The Mishneh Berurah [494:12] offers an additional explanation. At the time that the Torah was given, upon returning from Har Sinai they there was no food. Practically, milchig food was easier to prepare than fleishigs, because after they received the Torah and were taught the various halachos, in order to eat fleishig they had to make sure they had a kosher knife, clean out the blood and forbidden fats, salt the meat, and cook it in new pots.

Practically, there are differences between the three mentioned reasons. According to the Rama and the Mishneh Berurah, one should have milchig specifically during the day meal, since that is when the two breads were brought and also when the people came back from Har Sinai. However, according to the Zohar one may eat milchig even by the night meal since the seven weeks of sefiras ha'omer have passed. Additionally, according to the Mishneh Berurah and Magen Avraham one can have an exclusively milchig meal. However, according to the Rama one is supposed to have one meal that consists of both milchig and fleishig (Koveitz Halachos 11:ftnt. 15).

The common custom is not to have one meal that is partly milchig and partly fleishig (Igros Moshe OC 1:160). Perhaps the reason is, some people are careful never to have milchig and fleishig in the same meal [even in a permissible way- i.e. of eating the milchig first and washing hands and mouth out in between]. Additionally, there is a concern that people may mistakenly eat the fleishig first (Igros Moshe OC 1:160).

Many people have a milchig meal on the 1st night of Shavuos [even though as mentioned according to both the Rama and Mishneh Berurah one should specifically have one on the 1st day]. Perhaps the reason is either because practically it is easier to stay up learning on Shavuos night after having a lighter [dairy] meal (Koveitz Halachos 11:ftnt. 15). It also is more practical to be able drink coffee with milk to assist one to stay up (Rabbi Biberfeld, shlit"a). Another reason is that according to many Poskim there is no mitzvah me'deoraisa on Yom Tov night of "V'samachta b'chagecha" (and you should rejoice on your holidays) [Devarim 16:14] which includes eating meat and drinking wine by the Yom Tov meals (see Rambam Hil' Yom Tov 6:19). Therefore, many specifically eat milchig at night, thus not violating this halacha (Shaar Hatziyon 546:15).

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