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18 Elul 5773/August 24, 2013
Yeshiva University Torah miTzion Beit Midrash Zichron DovYeshiva University Torah miTzion Beit Midrash Zichron DovYeshiva University Torah miTzion Beit Midrash Zichron Dov
Toronto TorahToronto TorahToronto Torah
Parshat Ki Tavo
Vol. 5 Num. 1
mitzvah occurs in the period in whichnew fruits begin to grow, a time whenthe farmer feels a strong sense of singularity and uniqueness
new crops,a new year. The potential is stillunrealized, and anything might happen.At this time it is important to remindthe farmer that what seems to him asnew is nonetheless also a ring in theongoing chain of Jewish history. Thefocus here is on the need to connect tothe events that brought us to where weare now. Perhaps that is also the reasonwhy the reading must be recited inHebrew, even if the farmer does notunderstand what he says; the message,that the story is broader than the newbeginning you see, is stillcommunicated. Tithes, on the other hand, and the
viduy maaser 
reading in particular,come at a very different time for thefarmer. The fruits have already beencarried from the field to the barn andcounted. The farmer knows exactly what was achieved and what was not,and the feeling is a feeling of an end;the fruits that have not grown will notgrow anymore, and there is no point inhoping for more. At that point in timethe farmer begins to be more carefulwith his spending, as there is a finalnumber in his ledger.Here, the Torah interferes and obligatesthe farmer to raise his head and lookabout at his surroundings
the Leviteswho will receive the
maaser rishon 
tithe,the poor and weak who will receive the
maaser ani 
tithe, and even his ownspiritual needs, which will be fed withthe
maaser sheni 
tithe in Jerusalem. The focus here is not on the past, andwhich fruits are visible to the eye, butthe faith in a vision of the future paidfor by the tithes. This might alsoaccount for our permission to changethe language of 
viduy maaser 
; eachperson's vision of the future might be alittle different, and must be expressed inhis own language. Thus, the message rising from the juxtaposition of these two mitzvot is of adual nature; the pair emphasizes theneed to realize from whence we came,with
mikra bikkurim 
, as well as to knowwhere we are going with
viduy maaser 
.In the language of Rabbi Yosef DovSoloveitchik (Kol Dodi Dofek), we mustkeep before us both the covenant of fateand the covenant of destiny, and notlose sight of either one. This message, I believe, is particularly important as we approach RoshHashanah and Yom Kippur. Just as the Torah balanced the experience of enjoying new fruits by connecting it tothe past, so Rosh Hashanah, the day of fresh beginnings, is connected tomemories and judgment. Just as the Torah connected the season-endingtithes with the future, so Yom Kippur,the closing day of Judgment, is also aday of liberation, marking ourpurification for a better future.
Tithes and Bikkurim: Fate and Destiny
Rabbi Baruch Weintraub
!To sponsor an issue of Toronto Torah, please call 647-234-7299 or email info@torontotorah.com.
Our parshah opens with two mitzvotwhich have a strong similarity in theirstructure:
 The bringing of the
[firstfruits] and the recitation of a
mikra bikkurim 
reading whenbringing them.
 The proper disposition of 
[tithes] and the
viduy maaser 
statement one must say afterdisposing of all of his tithes. The act of speaking incorporated inboth of these mitzvot may seem, atfirst glance, identical. However, as weturn our attention to the relevanthalachic details we discover certainincompatibilities. One example mightbe found in a mishnah (Sotah 7:1),where it is ruled that while the
viduy maaser 
statement may be recited inany language,
mikra bikkurim 
must berecited in Hebrew. This is not the only distinction; whenwe look into the content of thesereadings, we see a radical difference. The text of 
mikra bikkurim 
, well-knownto us from the Haggadah, is mainly focused on the past, telling the story of the Jewish people dating back toYaakov, and perhaps even Avraham.On the other hand,
viduy maaser 
isfocused on the present, how the tithewas handled, and the hope to receiveG-d's future blessing as reward forproper tithing. Perhaps we mightsharpen our understanding of the twomitzvot themselves, and so come tounderstand the differences betweentheir readings.
are brought at a particular,well-defined time of the year. This
We are grateful toContinental Press 905-660-0311
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several ways to resolve his comment with present-day reality.] The mitzvah applies specifically to domestic speciesof beast, but commentators note analogous laws prohibitingcutting down fruit trees and requiring that we send away amother bird before taking the eggs.Slaughter of an animal and her young is prohibited even if the two acts of 
are performed by different people. Therefore, one who sells an animal for
, and whothen sells her young to someone who is likely to slaughter it,must inform the purchaser that this could be a problem.Classically, such warnings were issued at four times duringthe year, when people traditionally prepared meat dishes forfeasts: Erev Rosh haShanah, Hoshana Rabbah, ErevPesach, and Erev Shavuot. (Chullin 83a) This mitzvah remains relevant even in a time when there isno Beit haMikdash, and it applies for men and women alike.
Although the Torah clearly places animals at humandisposal and permits consumption of meat, several mitzvotare associated with concern for preservation of these animalspecies. One example is the mitzvah of 
oto v'et b'no 
, whichrequires us to avoid slaughtering
a mother animal and her young on the same day. [The biblical text is actually wordedin the masculine, referring to a male animal and its malechild, but the Talmud understands it to refer specifically toa mother, and its young of either gender.]As the Sefer haChinuch explains, this mitzvah reminds usthat HaShem is watching the species, and wants theseanimals preserved: "Among the roots of this mitzvah is thata person will recognize that G-d supervises all types of livingthings as species, and with His supervision they endureforever, for His supervision over entities is what causes theircontinued existence." [The Sefer haChinuch then continuesto claim that the extinction of an entire species is impossiblebecause it would thwart the Divine will; one could suggest
613 Mitzvot: 294
An Eco-Mitzvah?
Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner
Haftorah: Yeshayah 60
Rabbi Baruch Weintraub
What is the message of our haftorah?
Like the other haftarot of the sevenweeks of consolation, our haftorahpledges redemption and comfort. (Seelast week's Haftorah article forbackground on these haftarot.)In the verses of our haftorah, G-dpromises the Jewish people that evenas darkness will cover the land andenvelop the nations, the nation of Israelwill be illuminated by Divine light.(Yeshayah 60:1-2) Those who hadoppressed the Jewish nation will beforced to acknowledge Divinesupremacy. (60:3) The victory will be sototal that those who reject the nation of Israel will meet destruction. (60:12) Theconsolation for our physical suffering isits reversal; in place of abandonment,hatred and shame, we will becomemighty. (60:15) The haftorah concludeswith a promise that the future Templewill never be destroyed, and that onceits time comes, G-d will hasten itsconstruction. (60:22)
Is that it?
 This message of consolation issurprising, though. Other prophecies of redemption describe a marvelous worldthat contrasts sharply with our own
aworld of global unity, conversion of aheart of stone to a heart of flesh, andknowledge of G-d filling the land. Incontrast, our haftorah speaks of adifferent sort of autonomy and empire.Indeed, the talmudic sage Shemuelsaid, "There is no difference betweenthis world and the days of Mashiach,other than tyranny." (Berachot 34b)However, this prophecy is lacking, andit arouses a certain unease. Is this thesum of redemption? Did we suffermillennia of martyrdom just in order torest easily?Indeed, Rabbi Yochanan raises thisquestion in the Talmud (RoshhaShanah 23a), asking, "It isprophesied, 'To replace copper I willbring gold; to replace iron I will bringsilver; to replace wood I will bringcopper; to replace stone I will bringiron.' But what will be brought toreplace Rabbi Akiva and hiscolleagues?"
Chatam Sofer and Rav YehudahAmital
Rabbi Yochanan's question echoes inthe powerful challenge of the ChatamSofer (Torat Moshe, Parshat Shoftim),"Perhaps we would already have been
suited for redemption… for peacebetween ourselves and the nations…
as existed in the second BeithaMikdash. But there is no desire forthis. Perhaps we would compromiseand accept such a redemption in orderto be redeemed, but our holy ancestorswould not accept anything short of complete redemption." After all of thepain the nation of Israel has endured,simple nullification of tyranny isinsufficient. To this, my mentor Rav YehudahAmital zt"l responded in a YomhaAtzmaut address, "It is clear thatthe Chatam Sofer's claim that wereject an incomplete redemption wassilenced in the years of the Holocaust."Rav Amital continued to explain the joy which reigned in Israel upon theDeclaration of Independence despitefear and war, saying, "The Jewish
did not forget the sacrifices, the
casualties and the terror… Despite the
strong emphasis Judaism places uponthe value of life, the fall of individualscould not overshadow the present joy of national salvation."It appears that this is the centralmessage of our haftorah's consolation.Perhaps this prophecy does notdescribe the most completeredemption; perhaps the mostcomplete redemption cannot bedescribed by a member of this world atall. But this is the greatest consolationG-d could offer the nation of Israel. The national return to the land of Israel like doves returning to theirdovecotes (60:8), the knowledge thatour sun will no longer set and ourmoon will no longer be gathered in(60:20) and that elderly men andwomen will sit in the streets of Yerushalayim (Zecharyah 8:4)
noneof this is more significant than a landfilled with knowledge of G-d. But asconsolation for refugees of the sword,this provides greater comfort.
 There are several kinds of hatred: Somehate others for harming themfinancially, or striking them, orembarrassing them, or giving them abad reputation. For all of these andsimilar cases, one should not hate hispeer in silence, as the wicked are said tohave done (Shemuel II 13:22),"Avshalom did not speak with Amnon,bad or good, for Avshalom hatedAmnon." Rather, he is obligated toinform him, saying, "Why did you dothis to me?" As Vayikra 19:17 says,"Instruct your peer." If he then requestsforgiveness, one must forgive. The
forgiver may not be cruel… And even
should he not request forgiveness, onemay not hate him, but only deal withhim with love. In the end, he will cometo correct that which he had corrupted. There is an evil which is pointlesshatred; this destroyed the Second Temple. Hatred resulting from jealousis even worse; one should take pains todistance himself from these. Some hatea person for not acting generously toward him, or not giving him a desiredgift, or not lending when he was in need;it would be appropriate to distance one'sself from all of these, and all similarstates. One should lovingly accept thatwhich the Creator decrees, and not rely 
on others…
 Also, a craftsman who hates hiscompetitors
this is all futile and agreat evil, for he should think that noone can profit more than the Creatordecrees for him. And the worst andharshest type of hatred is that of peoplewho hate those who instruct them andrebuke them, to show them the straightpath, as Amos 5:10 says, "They hate theinstructor at the gate." And there is aneven worse hatred: People who hatethose who perform good deeds andpursue righteousness, as Psalms 38:21
says, "They hate me, in return for my pursuit of goodness."…
 A wise man [Mivchar Peninim 40] said: If you wish your peer to hate you, criticizehim continually. If you wish him to love you, criticize him only on rare occasion. Thus Proverbs 25:17 says, "Make your foot rare from your friend's home, lest he besated with you and hate you." And you must know that when one hates others,they will also hate him, and one who elevates hatred in his heart will bring evilupon himself.
Torah and Translation
Levels of Hatred
Orchot Tzaddikim: Shaar haSinah
Translated by Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner
The “Orchot Tzaddikim”
Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner
Visit us at www.torontotorah.com
 The name of the author of Orchot Tzaddikim ("Paths of the Righteous") isunknown to us, but he did explain hisintent in writing this book of ethicalinstruction. In the Preface, he declared,"This book of traits was written andsealed with the ring of wisdom, to teachman wisdom, for this book to be a tool inthe hand of each individual to repair,internally, his traits and deeds. Thecraftsman armed with a tool cancomplete his task; without his tool in hishand, he can do nothing."Our anonymous writer subscribed to the
tabula rasa 
approach touted by Rambam, Aristotle and members of theMuslim schools of philosophy. In thepreface, he wrote, "Man, at first, withouta teacher, acts as a beast, but his heartis as a slate, prepared for writing upon. If the slate is in the hand of a fool, heinscribes it with futilities, and it is of nomore use. However, if a sage writes uponit the order of his affairs, needs andobligations, then from the slate he willsupport his children, and achieve greatbenefit." The author intended his work toprovide the education for that blankslate.Orchot Tzaddikim is divided intochapters focusing on individual traits,like Joy, Memory, Alacrity and Silence;the chapters operate in pairs, presentingoppositions like Mercy and Cruelty, andAnger and Appeasement. Each trait ispraised for its positives, with warningspresented for its pitfalls. Nothing iswithout value, and no pursuit is perfectfor all situations. The author's esteem for his own work isnot self-praise; the great majority of thematerial in the book's 28 chapters isdrawn from popular medieval works,including Rabbi Shlomo Ibn Gabirol's
Tikkun Midot haNefesh 
(Repair of the Traits of the Spirit), the Rambam'swritings, the anonymous text
Mivchar HaPninim 
, Rabbeinu Yonah's
Shaarei Teshuvah 
and Rabbeinu Bahya's
Chovot haLevavot 
.It is assumed that Orchot Tzaddikim waswritten in the 15
century. The firstknown printing of Orchot Tzaddikim wasactually an incomplete Yiddishtranslation, published in 1542 in Isny,located in what has since becomeGermany. Some forty years later, theHebrew manuscript was published inPrague. Today the text is available on-line athttp://www.daat.ac.il/daat/mahshevt/orhot/shaar-2.htm. 
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