Vol 22.14 - Kedoshim 1 Spanish French Audio Video
(5741) Explanation of Rashi (19:23) "it (Orlah) shall be blocked for you (from use) for three years".
If Orlah is an issur gavra (a prohibition directed towards the person) or issur cheftza (something inherently prohibited)
1. On the verse (Lev.19:23):
“When you come to the Land and you plant any food tree, you shall surely block its fruit (from use); it shall be blocked from you (from use) for three years, not to be eaten.”
(לוְכִי תָבֹאוּ אֶל הָאָרֶץ וּנְטַעְתֶּם כָּל עֵץ מַאֲכָל וַעֲרַלְתֶּם עָרְלָתוֹ אֶת פִּרְיוֹ שָׁלשׁ שָׁנִים יִהְיֶה לָכֶם עֲרֵלִים לֹא יֵאָכֵ)
Rashi states on the words: “it shall be blocked for you (from use) for three years”:
“From when does one start counting (this three-year period)? From the time of its planting”
The commentators learn that Rashi, with these words, means to clarify that the counting of the “three years” is not from “the time it produces fruit”, but rather from “the time of its planting”. And this is derived from the word “and you plant” (וּנְטַעְתֶּם) – “meaning to say that we count from the time of planting”.
One must understand:
1. If the entire proof that “one counts from the time of its planting” is from the word “and you plant” – Rashi should have (also) cited this word in the heading (דיבור־המתחיל)?
The question is even stronger:
The source for this commentary is from Torat Kohanim and there it indeed cites the learning (in conjunction with the homilies) of “and you plant etc.” However Rashi deviates from Torat Kohanim and cites it on the words “it shall be blocked for you for three years” and does not mention at all the word “and you plant”.
2. Without the word “and you plant” – how does one know, in the simple understanding of the verse, that this is from the time of its planting and not “three years of giving fruit” (פריו ג׳ שנים), - three years of fruit production?
(Even though that, indeed, this is the words of Torat Kohanim – however (as discussed many times) the aspect of Rashi in his commentary on Torah is not to cite the homilies of the Sages, in their own words, but to explain the simple understanding of the verse. Therefore Rashi, many times, changes (and plainly – omits) from the words of the Sages, with regard to his explanation of the verses according to the simple understanding of the verse)
2. The explanation in this is:
Rashi is bothered, plainly, by the elaboration of the verse in stating: “it shall be blocked from you for three years, not to be eaten “(שלש שנים יהי׳ לכם ערלים):
It already stated prior to this “you shall surely block its fruit” (וַעֲרַלְתֶּם עָרְלָתוֹ אֶת פִּרְיוֹ). Therefore why does the verse repeat the words “it shall be blocked from you” and does not state concisely “it shall be blocked from you for three years”?
Rashi therefore learns from this that there are two aspects in Orlah:
1. The prohibition of Orlah on the "object" (״חפצא) of (the tree and) the fruits, as it states: “you shall surely block its fruit” and in Rashi‘s words:
“Its fruit) shall be blocked and closed up from deriving benefit from it.”
2. The counting of the “three years” - which is a law on the "person" (גברא) – (as it states: "it shall be blocked from you for three years, not to be eaten".)
And this is why Rashi elaborates with the words: “From when does one start counting (מונה לו) - from the time of its planting”. There must be “his counting” (מונה לו) – the person counts the “three years”.
And since the counting is “to you” (שָׁלשׁ שָׁנִים יִהְיֶה לָכֶם), it is probable that the “three years” are counted (not from when the tree produced fruit, but) from the deed of the person- (פעולת האדם (גברא - “and you plant” – from the time that he planted the tree.
According to this there is another distinction:
Since the reason that “one counts from the time of its planting” is because the counting must be “to you”, it must follow that the three years (from the planting) are counted, not according to the tree, but according to the person (“to you”).
The difference between the two manners –
Whether we count the “three years” according to the “tree” or whether it is according to the planting of the person – is in the case when we plant a twig from a tree that is already “three years” old.
(According to this, Rashi‘s view, in his commentary on Torah – which is according to Pshat- fits with the aspect of the halacha of Torah. For the Halacha is that “one who plants, and one who grafts etc.” is obligated in Orlah.)
3. According to this one can also understand another aspect in this explanation of Rashi:
After the words “From when does one start counting - from the time of its planting”, Rashi continues – in the same heading- and states:
“One might think that if one stores away the fruit (produced in the first three years), after the first three years have elapsed, (the fruit) will become permissible. Therefore, Scripture, says, “it shall be” -the fruit shall remain in its (forbidden) status (forever). “
One must understand:
The two aspects in Rashi’s commentary:
1. “One counts from the time of its planting”
2. “One might think that if one stores away the fruit”
seemingly have no relation to each other:
“from the time of its planting” is an explanation on the words “three years” and “One might think that if one stores away” – is an explanation on the words “it shall be blocked to you”.( יהי׳ לכם ערלים).
Rashi should have split the two aspects into two separate headings (as is his style in many places). Therefore why does Rashi explanation this in one section, namely in the same heading?
The puzzlement is even greater:
Even the source for this aspect (“One might think that if one stores away”) in Rashi is from Torat Kohanim. However there, it actually does not come in conjunction to the learning “From when does one start counting”, but it is an independent learning.
Therefore why does Rashi deviate from Torat Kohanim and combine the two learnings together?
4. According to the aforementioned (Par. 2) it is understood, plainly:
Since the verse emphasizes “it shall be blocked to you” (יהי׳ לכם ערלים) – that this is a law upon the “person” (as aforementioned) – one could mean that it is not just in conjunction to the particular aspect of “three years”
(Namely, that the counting must be “to you”, as aforementioned)
but that the entire prohibition of Orlah is just “to you” – a prohibition on the person.
(And the words ““it shall be blocked to you” are not an addition to the words “you shall surely block its fruit” (וַעֲרַלְתֶּם עָרְלָתוֹ אֶת פִּרְיוֹ)
(and a law just in the counting of the three years) –
but rather that they are the explanation and translation of the words ““you shall surely block its fruit” – that it means just that “it shall be blocked to you” – a prohibition on the person.)
And if we accept that the prohibition of Orlah is not incumbent upon the fruits themselves
(but rather that it is just a prohibition on the person not to eat the fruits for the first three years) –
there is room to say that after the “three years”, there is no prohibition of Orlah, not even on the fruits which grew during the three years of Orlah.
We would have learned that Orlah is a prohibition on the person it shall be blocked to you””) which is time dependent (“three years”). This is similar to the prohibition of eating Chometz on Pesach etc., that for a specified time, a person may not eat it. Therefore “if one stores away the fruit (produced in the first three years), after the first three years have elapsed”, the fruit will become permissible (since the time of its prohibition has already elapsed).
Therefore we learn from the word “it shall be blocked to you” (יהי׳ לכם ערלים) – that “it shall be” –means that the fruit “shall remain in its (forbidden) status (forever). (יהיה, בהוייתו יהא) “ -the prohibition of Orlah remains standing on the fruits, even after the three years.
5. One could say that the inner reason (טעם פנימי) for the difference between the prohibitions on the person versus the prohibitions on the objects –is dependent on the source of the vitality of the thing that is prohibited.
The fruits of Orlah are a prohibition on the object (as aforementioned at length) - since their vitality is from the Three Impure Klipot (as the Alter Rebbe explains in Tanya).
This however requires additional understanding:
Since the tree itself is something that is permissible, and the fruits derive their vitality from the tree – how can it be that the tree itself is a permissible thing – yet the fruits that come from the tree – are a prohibited object (חפצא של איסור)?
If the fruits of the tree would always have been prohibited, one could explain that - the actual part of the vitality (חלק החיות) of the tree from which the fruits draw their vitality is from the Three Impure Klipot.
However, since after the three years the fruits are permitted after three years, it comes out that, even that portion (of the vitality) of the tree is not from the Three Impure Klipot – therefore how are the fruits a prohibition on the object (איסור חפצא)?
6. One could understand this by prefacing an explanation in the words of the Alter Rebbe in Tanya concerning “forbidden vegetation, such as Orlah and a mixture of grain seeds in a vineyard (Kelai HaKerem)” that:
“The existence and vitality (קיום וחיות) (of all forbidden vegetation) is from the Three Impure Klipot”
The Rebbe Rashab points out that “regarding Orlah and Kelai HaKerem – the Alter Rebbe did not state the words: ‘and the existence of their bodies’” (קיום גופם״) - which is not like what he states previously regarding “the souls of all living creatures that are unclean and forbidden to be eaten“, for there the Alter Rebbe states (not just that their “souls” (נפשות), but) also that the “existence of their bodies” (קיום גופם) is from the Three Impure Klipot – and he explains: “for their bodies (of Orlah etc.) are pure etc.”
This seemingly is not understood:
The fruits of Orlah are prohibited forever. Therefore the “existence of their bodies”, of the fruits are form the Three Impure Klipot. And if the fruits draw from the tree which is a permissible thing – then even the vitality of the fruits are from (and because) of the tree?
The explanation in this is:
The difference between the “existence of their bodies” and “The existence and vitality” (קיום וחיות) is:
The body and physicality of a being is created just once, and afterwards one just maintains (מקיים) the previously created being. Therefore there is no aspect of change in it, from one time to the next, from it itself (that it should change the place from where it receives – “the existence of their bodies”)
Whereas contrary to this, the vitality of the plant and the mineral (צומח ודומם), is, as is the order of things, newly rejuvenated (as it stated in many places regarding the explanation of the words: “He, in His goodness, every day continuously renews the work of creation” (המחדש בטובו בכל יום תמיד מעשה בראשית) that “every day” there is drawn down a new vitality). Therefore there can be a change in the vitality.
And this is also the explanation in the prohibition of Orlah:
The body and physicality of the tree which is a pure thing – remains pure, for in this, there can be no change (compared to how it was previously).
However the vitality and power with which the tree produces fruit and how they draw (their vitality from the tree), in the course of the three years of Orlah, is a vitality from the Three Impure Klipot – and because of this – the fruits become a prohibition of the object (איסור חפצא) (and are prohibited forever)
However afterwards, a new vitality is drawn down and infused into the tree, in which, not only do the fruits (in the fourth year) become pure and permitted, but on the contrary – they become “holy, a praise to the L-rd.”
mSichas Acharon Shel Pesach and Shabbat Parshat Kedoshim 5737
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