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Shekalim_5          Chumash

(5743) (Zohar our Parsha 108a): "In this rest of the land the servants need to be at rest".  

Zohar 108a: Rabbi Elazar commenced: "If you buy a Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve..." (Shemot 21:2) as every son of Yisrael who is circumcised possesses a holy mark, has rest on the Sabbatical Year. This Sabbatical Year is his, For the Sabbatical Year is his - to rest in it. It is referred to as a Shabbat of the land, and surely contains freedom in it. Rest is in it. Just as Shabbat is rest for all, so the Sabbatical Year is rest for all. It is rest for the spirit and body . . In this rest of the land the servants need to be at rest. This is why, "in the seventh he shall go out free." What is "free"? It means that he pays his master nothing.


1. On the verse (Lev. 25:2):

“The land shall rest a Sabbath to the L-rd”.          

That in the seventh year the “land” (ערד) must rest, and one must not do any work of the field and vineyard etc.,

The Zohar (108a) cites the verse (Ex. 21:2):

“Should you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall work for six years, (and in the seventh (year), he shall go out to freedom without charge)”

and states:

"For every person of Yisroel . . has rest on the Sabbatical Year. . In that rest of the land, the servants must be at rest.” (דכל בר ישראל . . אית לי׳ נייחא בשמיטה . . בההוא נייחא דארעא אצטריכו עבדי נייחא)

(In the “resting” (רוען) of the land, the servants must also “rest”)

“This is why it states, "in the seventh (he shall go out free) etc."

In simplicity, it appears that the Zohar learns that the plain meaning (Pshat) of,

"In the seventh he shall go out free”

is (not the seventh year from the time he became a slave, but rather) - the Sabbatical Year (Shmittah).

The question is well-known:

It is a widespread Halacha in many places in the statements of the Sages, that a slave goes free (not in the Sabbatical Year, but) “on the seventh year from his being sold (למכירה). Therefore, how can the Zohar state, “In that rest of the land, the servants must be at rest (free)”?

Moreover, it is not logical to say that the Zohar differs from all the statements of the Sages (in the revealed parts of Torah – Niglah).

2. One can understand this by prefacing that which we find regarding Mitzvot, that there is a fulfilment of a Mitzvah in a manner of Lechatchila (לכתחילה – ab initio) and there is the fulfilment of a Mitzvah (just) in a manner of Bedieved (בדיעבד - a posteriori).

As is explained in the Acharonim, the difference (between Lechatchila and Bedieved) exists even in aspects of Biblical Mitzvot (דאורייתא).

Moreover, this is not just in regard to certain details (פרטים) of the Mitzvah which are just a supplemental condition (תנאי צדדי),

For then one can understand that even when the detail is lacking, that one fulfill the Mitzvah (albeit Bedieved).

but rather that there are situations, where the detail is in the main body of the Mitzvah, yet nevertheless, this is not a condition that is indispensable and precludes its fulfillment (לעיכובא), and one fulfills the Mitzvah (Bedieved) even without this detail.

The Acharonim cite many examples for this, and the chief example is the principle (in the aspects of Kadoshim – consecrated objects) that:

“Scripture repeats (a phrase) to emphasize that this requirement is indispensable” (שנה הכתוב עליו לעכב)

3. According to this principle, many puzzling aspects (one of them which will be cited and clarified later) are also resolved.

For example (an aspect that is apropos to these days): Sefirat HaOmer:

Regarding Sefirat HaOmer the verse states,

“You shall count for yourselves, from the day after the day of ‘Shabbat’” (״וספרתם לכם ממחרת השבת)

which plainly implies the day of Shabbat.

(indeed, the Tzadokim (Sadducees) and Beitusim, (Followers of Tzadok and Baitus who rejected the authority of the Oral Torah) maintained that “Atzeret follows the day of Shabbat” meaning that one begins counting Sefirah starting from the “day after (the day of) Shabbat”)

However, the Oral Torah explains that the “day after Shabbat” means the day after Yom Tov as the Sages cite in this matter, many proofs and derivations.

Seemingly, it is puzzling:

Since Torah desires that we begin counting Sefirah after the day of Yom Tov (of Pesach) – why does it state the “day after Shabbat” (which gives room for error). Why does it not, at the very onset, state “after the day of Pesach” (and so forth)?

However, according to the aforementioned, one can explain this, by prefacing:

Just as there is a difference between “Lechatchila” and “Bedieved” from the perspective of the person,

(Namely, that when the person lacks fulfilling a detail (that is not indispensable/ שאינו מעכב) he fulfills the Mitzvah, Bedieved),

so too, there is (sometimes) a difference due to the Mitzvah itself. Namely, that in certain conditions, the Mitzvah is more complete. Moreover, there is a condition where the Mitzvah, from the very onset, is ordained in such a manner that, in that condition, one does not fulfill the Mitzvah with completeness – for it lacks certain details.

One of the simplest examples of this is that during the time that the Beit HaMikdash existed, Yom Tov comprised the offering of Korbanot.

(The communal Yom Tov offering, and for the individual, the Pilgrimage Burnt Offering and Festival peace offering (עולות ראי׳ ושלמי חגיגה).

Nevertheless, when the Temple was destroyed, Yom Tov was still, Biblically, in effect, albeit without the Korbanot.

(Similarly, when the Beit HaMikdash existed – whoever did not own land – was exempt from the thrice-yearly mandated pilgrimage to the Temple (עלי׳ לרגל).

(And therefore, also exempt from the aforementioned individual Korbanot),

even though Yom Tov was still Biblically in effect).

As is understood, the Korbanot of Yom Tov (and similarly – the aspect of the festival pilgrimage) are not a supplemental aspect of Yom Tov. Moreover, one could say that the Korbanot are not a result (מסובב) of the Yom Tov, but are a critical part (albeit an addition) to the completeness in the aspect of the Yom Tov itself.

Nevertheless, when there is a condition, where (according to Torah) one cannot offer the Korbanot, Yom Tov and the holiness of Yom Tov etc. are still, Biblically, in effect.

Moreover, one finds that there are Mitzvot, which were, from the very onset, given in a manner that the Mitzvah contains two time periods:

  • In one time, it is complete, in all its particulars.
  • In the other time, it is not complete.

For example – Yom tov and its Intermediate Days (Chol HaMo’ed):

Chol HaMo’ed is a part of Yom Tov, it is included in the aspect of “festivals for joy” (Moadim L'simcha), and one is obligated to rejoice as mandated by Torah.

Nevertheless, it does not approach the level of Yom Tov itself. This is why it is a festive-day (יו״ט־טאג) with consummate completeness, in all details.

4. Similarly, can it be understood, with regard to the Mitzvah of Sefirah:

The reason that the Torah states,

“You shall count for yourselves, from the day after the day of ‘Shabbat’”,

even though the Mitzvah of Sefirah is to count from the ‘day after Yom Tov’, is because in a calendar-cycle where Yom Tov occurs on the day of Shabbat,

and one begins to count Sefirah (also) from the day after (the day of) Shabbat –

this represents, according to the statements of the Sages, a greater completeness in the aspect of Sefirah (as will be explained in Par. 5, at length).

In other words, the Mitzvah of Sefirah was, from the very onset, given in two manners:

  • The essential Mitzvah of Sefirah

(Which precludes even after the fact - Bedieved, (מעכב בדיעבד) and must be fulfilled in every Sefirah occurrence, whatever yearly cycle it is)

which is to count “from the day after Yom Tov”.

  • The calendar-cycle

(When Pesach occurs on the day of Shabbat)

where the Mitzvah of Sefirah is more complete.

Therefore, the reason that it states in the Torah, the “day after Shabbat”, is because this is the fulfillment of the Mitzvah with consummate completeness (בכל שלימותה).

5. The proof and reasoning for this can be understood from a puzzling Midrash on the verse:

“You shall count for yourselves, from the day after the day of Shabbat”.

The Midrash states,

“It states, ‘Seven weeks shall they be complete/Tmimot’ (תמימות). When are they complete? When the priestly watches (Mishmarot) of Yeshua and Shechaniah are not among them”.

The commentators explain that this means during the time when the counting of Sefirah begins, literally after the day of Shabbat, i.e. Sunday.

The Midrash gives a sign to remember the calendar-cycle when Pesach occurs on Shabbat – namely when the priestly watches (Mishmarot) of “Yeshua and Shechaniah” did not perform any service in the Temple between Pesach and Atzeret (Shavuot).

When one begins to count Sefirah on Motzai Shabbat (as it states, “from the day after Shabbat”, literally) –

“Then they are complete weeks just like the Six Days of Creation. . Yet when Yeshua and Shechaniah serve . . they are not complete”.

(Note: for then each week of Sefirah will start on Sunday and end on Shabbat, like when the world was created)

This is puzzling:

The obligation (aspect) of “completeness” (Tmimot/ תמימות), pertains every year, in every calendar-cycle

(Which is why if someone forgot to count, he may not make a blessing on Sefirah HaOmer, the following evenings)

Therefore, why does the Midrash say that the aspect of “completeness/Tmimot” is specifically when Pesach occurs on Shabbat?


Seemingly, this gives room to the view of the Beitusim, G-d forbid, who maintained that Sefirah always begins “after the day of Shabbat”.

The explanation of this is:

When the weeks are,

“Complete weeks just like the Six Days of Creation”,

Then they are consummately “Tmimot”. However, this very completeness is not preclusive after the fact (מעכב בדיעבד)

The preclusion of “Tmimot” is (when the counting is not) forty-nine days.

However, the completeness in the aspect of “Tmimot” is when they are,

“Complete weeks just like the Six Days of Creation” (when Pesach falls on Shabbat).

6. If these words are true – namely that Torah (sometimes) speaks, regarding a Mitzvah, how it is complete in all its particulars (even though not all of them are preclusive Bedieved) – this also gives a reasoning to a puzzling aspect regarding the conclusion of Sefirat HaOmer – Shavuot:

Concerning the occurrence of Shavuot, the Sages state:

“Shavuot sometimes occurs on the fifth of Sivan, sometimes on the sixth of Sivan, and sometimes on the seventh“.

This means that Shavuot must not always occur (during the time that we sanctify the month according to the sight of the moon) on the day that our Torah was given (Matan Torah) which was on the sixth (or the seventh) of Sivan).

The puzzlement in this is well-known:

We find that the Sages connected the day of Shavuot with the day of Matan Torah, as it states in the Talmud Yerushalmi that the reason that it does not state in the verse, regarding the Korbanot of Atzeret, the expression “Sin” (חטא) (as it states regarding the Korbanot of all the other Yomim Tovim ) is

“Since you accepted upon yourselves the yoke of Torah, I consider it as if you have never sinned in all your days”.

This means that Atzeret is connected with (the day of) receiving the Torah.

The explanation of this is:

The essence of the Mitzvah of Sefirat HaOmer is – the preparation to the receiving of the Torah. This is as it states in the Rishonim (in the name of the Midrash) that due to the great yearning and anticipation (דערווארטונג און תשוקה) of the Yidden to receive the Torah , they (when going out of Egypt ) counted – how many days they drew nearer to receiving the Torah.

The forty-nine days of Sefirah are the preparation to Matan Torah (the fiftieth day).

(In the words of Chassidut: through the counting of the forty-nine days which correspond to the forty-nine gates of understanding (מ״ט שערי בינה), one prepares oneself for the fiftieth day – the fiftieth gate (שער הנו״ן) – which is the very aspect of Matan Torah).

Therefore, it comes out that, even though the aspect of Sefirah was established in a manner that the fiftieth day does not need to re-occur on the day of receiving the Torah –

it can occur before the receiving of the Torah –

nevertheless, when Atzeret (the fiftieth day) does indeed occur on the day of receiving of the Torah, it is (not just an occurrence, a coincidence, but rather) a completeness in Atzeret itself

(the completeness of the fiftieth day is – when this is the day of “you accepted upon yourselves the yoke of Torah” – Matan Torah).

Since the completeness of Atzeret is when it occurs on the day of receiving the Torah, then (as the Talmud Yerushalmi states), it does not state in the written Torah, regarding Atzeret, the word “sin”.

7. Just as this applies to one, and the same, Mitzvah, similarly this applies to two separate Mitzvot that have the same context. Namely, that in one Mitzvah, the essence of the Mitzvah is complete, whereas with the other Mitzvah, it is not complete.

For example: Remembering the exodus from Egypt, which is comprised of two (separate) Mitzvot:

  • The obligation to recount the going out of Egypt on the night of the fifteenth of Nisan.
  • The obligation to remember the going out of Egypt throughout the entire year.

Even though both Mitzvot have the same theme – remembering the exodus from Egypt. Nevertheless, there are many differences in the fulfillment of the Mitzvah. The remembering, throughout the entire year, is not with all the details and not in an emphatic manner, like the obligation of remembering Yetziat Mitzrayim on the night of Pesach.

The reason of the matter is understood simply:

  • The time of Yetziat Mitzrayim (literally) is on the night of the fifteenth day of Nisan. Therefore, the remembering of Yetziat Mitzrayim on this night is in a manner of (consummate) completeness.
  • Whereas (the obligation) of the remembering of Yetziat Mitzrayim throughout the whole year is only a result (תוצאה) of (the obligation of) the night of Pesach:

Since the aspect of Yetziat Mitzrayim is a “constant act” (פעולה נמשכת), there is an obligation of remembering Yetziat Mitzrayim throughout the entire year. Therefore, it is understood that this remembering does not contain (such) a completeness like the remembering of the night of Pesach.

8. A semblance of an example of the aforementioned (not in the aspect of a Mitzvah) – is found in a Mishnah, which, at first glance, appears to be extremely puzzling:

The Mishnah (Shekalim 5:1) states:

“These are the supervisors who were in the Temple:” (אלו הן הממונין שהיו במקדש)

The Mishnah then lists the names of the supervisors, and for which service and aspect in the Temple, each one was appointed. (“Yochanan the son of Pinchas oversaw the seals etc.”).

(The commentators cite two explanations for this:

  1. It comes to list the proper ones of each generation
  2. Those who were in that generation listed what was in his generation.

This is seemingly puzzling:

What difference does it make, to list in the Mishnah (whose aspect is Halacha) the names of the appointees in the earlier generations (or like the wording of the Talmud) “what happened, happened” (מאי דהוה הוה)?

 However, one can understand this according to the explanation of R’ Ovadiah Bartenura, that:

“These are the names of the first supervisors that were appointed for these positions. Therefore, those who came after them were called by their (same) names”.

Why did they call those who came after them, “by their (same) names”?

One could say the explanation of this is:

Every name reflects the property and nature of the person. As the Sages state:

“R’ Meir would analyze names” (and discern one’s nature from his name).

In our case:

The reason that they chose those people to be the supervisors over certain aspects of the Mikdash, is because those aspects in the Mikdash require people who have these very qualities, and who are alluded to by “analyzing their name”, in their name. Therefore, in every generation, when a new supervisor must be appointed, for this aspect – one must seek a person who is fitting to have this name.

 However, from this itself, that the supervisors who followed had a different name,

(Only, that after they were appointed, were they called “according to the name” of the original appointees),

it is understood that, for them, it was just a “semblance” of these very qualities. However, they did not possess the completeness of the supervisors who originally were called by these names.

9. As has been previously mentioned, regarding the remembering of Yetziat Mitzrayim, the same applies to the explanation in the words of the Zohar regarding the Sabbatical Year (שנה השביעית):

There is a ‘Sabbatical Year’ of Klal Yisroel, the year of Shmittah - and there is a ‘Sabbatical Year’ of an individual – the seventh year from one’s being sold as a slave.

Since both are an aspect of “Seventh/Shvi’it” (שביעית), it is understood that both have a commonality. Especially in our case, where the individual is a part of Klal Yisroel.

The difference between them is:

  • In the Sabbatical Year of receiving the Torah, the theme of “a Sabbath to the L-rd”, is with completeness. Therefore, it involves all the Halachot of Shmittah.
  • Whereas in the Sabbatical Year of the individual – it is just a “semblance” of “a Sabbath to the L-rd” of Shmittah Year. Therefore, this is just reflected in his “going out to freedom without charge”.

This is what the Zohar is saying with,

"In that rest of the land, the servants must be at rest”.

A slave must go out to freedom on the seventh year of his being sold. For he is a part of the whole (Klal), and he has (a “part” of) “that rest of the land” in his seventh year of being sold. A semblance of the Shvi’it of Klal Yisroel (which effects the “rest of the land”).

According to all this, there is an innovation (yet one must examine and consult the sefarim):

When the seventh year of the slave being sold occurs in the Shmittah Year, the Shmittah (“the rest of the land”) effects that his being freed (“the rest of the servant”) should be in (the epitome of) completeness. However, one must examine what the ramification of this is, and here is not the place to do so.

According to this, it fits nicely why the Zohar states, in a plain manner (באופן סתמי),

“In that rest of the land, the servants must be at rest”,

from which it implies that the Zohar is speaking regarding the actual Sabbatical Year. For the Zohar cites this case of

“and in the seventh (year), he shall go out to freedom without charge”

as he is with completeness.

(Similar to the aforementioned (Par. 4) that Torah states,

“You shall count for yourselves, from the day after the day of Shabbat”,

since this is the case when the Mitzvah of Sefirah is complete).

This is when “the seventh year of (the slave) his being sold” is in a Shmittah Year – “that rest of the land”.

MSichas Yud-Alef Nisan (and the following farbrengen) 5740, Shavuot 5741


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