Vol 35.07 - Lecha 2 Spanish French Audio Video
|Hebrew Text: Likkutei Levi Yitzchak Vol2|
1. Before the command for Mitzvat Milah, in our Parsha, as it states (Gen. 17:8ff):
“And you shall keep My covenant, . . This is My covenant, which you shall observe between Me and between you . . that every male among you be circumcised”.
It was told to Avraham Avinu the promise of:
“And I will give you and your seed after you the Land of your sojournings, the entire Land of Canaan for an everlasting possession, and I will be to them for a G-d.”
The apparent meaning of the verses here is that the inheritance of the Land depends on the Mitzvah of circumcision.
This is clearly stated in Midrash of the Sages in the section on Milah (פרשת מילה), as it states:
In addition, in Bereshit Rabbah on the verse, it states:
"If your children keep Circumcision then they will enter the Land. And if not, they will not enter the Land. . Thus, the Holy One, Blessed be He, said to Avraham Avinu, ‘I will give you and your seed after you (the Land) etc.’ on the condition that ‘you will keep My covenant’”.
This is also stated in Zohar in Parshat Va’eira:
“All those that perform the Milah will inherit the Land”. (כל מאן דאתגזר ירית ארעא)
One must understand:
The Land of Israel was already promised to Avraham Avinu in the Covenant between the Parts, as it states:
"On that day, the L-rd formed a covenant with Avram, saying, "To your seed I have given this land etc."
Therefore, why is it added in this promise that it depends on Mitzvah of Brit Milah?
Even though there is seemingly an innovation in this promise, namely that it explains that the giving of the Land is in a manner of “everlasting inheritance” (אחוזת עולם). Nevertheless, besides that which there is a need to explain why this particular detail is dependent on the fulfillment of the commandment of Mitzvat Milah, according to the plain sense, even the prior promise is also an "everlasting inheritance". For it was given in the "Covenant" and a covenant is, forever and universal, without any interruption.
2. Seemingly, one could explain that the innovation in this promise is, like the precise wording of the Midrash,
"If your children fulfill Milah, they enter the Land" (הן נכנסין לארץ״).
This means that the issue here is not about giving the Land to Israel in the form of "everlasting possession” (Ahuzat Olam).
(because this was already in the Covenant between the Parts)
Rather, it concerns the actual entering of Yisroel into the Land, which was dependent on the observance of the commandment of circumcision.
So too, one could seemingly infer from the precise wording of the aforementioned Zohar:
“All those that perform the Milah will inherit the Land”. (כל מאן דאתגזר ירית ארעא),
that this is not speaking about the inheritance of the Land for the entire Jewish people, in general. For this was accomplished in the Covenant between the Parts. Rather it is discussing the merit of each individual regarding his personal portion of the Land. Namely, that this is accomplished when he enters the Land.
However, one cannot explain so.
For in the Zohar there, it is says this regarding a clear verse (Ex 6:4):
“I also established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan”
This means that “All those that perform the Milah will inherit the Land”, namely the giving and inheritance of Eretz Yisroel is dependent and was in the merit of Milah. In other words, that the giving of the Land to the entire Jewish people (and not just the giving to those individuals who enter into the Land) is dependent upon Milah.
3. This can be understood by prefacing that which my father states in his notes on the Zohar there.
“It says: ‘and you will inherit it’ as it states in the verse (Is. 60:21) ‘they will inherit the Land’. This means actual inheritance (ירושה דוקא) for 'inheritance does not have a cessation (שירושה אין לה הפסק). For this is accomplished through Milah. Regarding Milah, once one is circumcised it has no cessation for it is impossible that there should another (condition) of not being circumcised (א״א שיהי׳ עוד בלתי נימול). For this remains with him forever, without cessation (ונשאר זה בו לעולם בלי הפסק). Therefore, taking the Land is with inheritance (for) it has no cessation” (כמו״כ מה שנוטל הארץ הוא בירושה שאין לה הפסק).
And he continues:
"And although Yisroel were exiled from their Land, this is not termed ‘inheritance that has no cessation’".
He answers this (why it is still called an “inheritance that has no cessation”) in two ways:
(ועוד זאת כי הרי זהו ע״י חטאים ועונות שעי״ז נמשכת הערלה וע״ד הבא על ארמית ערלתו נמשכת ואינו נראה נימול עוד ח״ו, והיינו
מה שמילה ר״ת מתנה יש לה הפסק וד״ל
This seemingly requires explanation:
From the plain interpretation of his words in the Secord Answer, it appears that it is only according to this answer, that exile is in the realm of "cessation" (“a gift has a cessation”)
Whereas according to the First Answer (that "it is only for a while and then they will return") the exile is not called a “cessation”. For since it is "only for a while", even during the exile it is their Land and under their ownership, and the inheritance of the Land has not ceased from them.
But seemingly, if so, why does he explain in the Second Answer that it is a cessation. For even Galut that results due to sins and transgression does not nullify ownership of the Land. As it states: "Because of our sins, we were exiled from our land and driven away from our soil". This means that even when we are exiled from our Land “because of our sins” it is still our Land and our soil.
(So much so that according to many opinions, even one who owns no land can write in a contract, “I deed him four cubits” for "there is no person of Yisroel who does not possess four cubits in the Land of Israel.")
Therefore, why does he maintain in the Second Answer that this is a gift that has a cessation?
Therefore, one must say that both aspects are contained in it (דתרווייהו איתנהו בה). Namely that there are two levels and modes, both in Eretz Yisroel as well as in the commandment of circumcision:
4. One can explain this according to what we find regarding circumcision.
For in addition to that which, each person of Yisroel, even one who is unable to observe the actual commandment of circumcision ("such as one whose brother who died because of his circumcision" etc.), is called “circumcised” (מהול),
Even with regard to one who extends his foreskin, we find differences of opinions.
“Anyone who breaks the covenant of Avraham Avinu and leaves his foreskin uncircumcised, or (although he was circumcised) causes it to appear extended (does not have etc.)”
In other words according to Rambam, extending the foreskin is in the category of "breaking the covenant of Avraham Avinu“.
Yet on the other hand, it states in the Talmud and also Rambam rules that: “A person who extends his foreskin is permitted to partake of Terumah even though he appears uncircumcised”
(and although he concludes “According to Rabbinic Law, however, he must be circumcised again until he appears circumcised“, many commentators of Rambam maintain that it just for the Mitzvah and that it does not preclude the eating of Terumah even according to the Rabbis).
From this it is proven that even though he appears uncircumcised (כערל), he is not actually uncircumcised and he not called an “Aral” (one who leaves his foreskin uncircumcised) which is why he is allowed to eat Terumah.
From the continuation of the Talmud’s words,
which asks from the Beraita, where it says: "he broke My covenant which includes who extends his foreskin”(המשוך)
and answers that is only
"from the Rabbis and it is merely a juxtaposition of the verse (אסמכתא בעלמא)”
it proves that Biblically, it is not in the category of “he broke My covenant”.
(According to the aforementioned in the view of Rambam, that even according to the Rabbis (מד״ס) he is not called an “Aral” and he is allowed to eat Terumah.
(And the reason that he is required to circumcise himself a second time is because he appears to be uncircumcised),
we therefore find that, even according to the Rabbis, it is not in the realm of “he broke My covenant”)
From all this, it is proven that in the covenant of Milah there are two boundaries:
5. The explanation of this is:
The covenant between G-d and Avraham differs from the "covenant" between two people.
For although the main aspect of the covenant is from G-d’s part,
meaning that due to the Creator's power, the covenant is made in the manner of "everlasting covenant",
there is also, in this, aspect on part of the created, as it states: "You shall keep my covenant.”
These are the two details (mentioned above) in Brit Milah:
In other words, in the matter of forming the covenant and connecting with the Holy One, blessed be He, there are two details:
For in the revealing of this covenant it is possible to have cessation. That is why the Roshei Teivot of the word “Milah” is “gift” – one that has a cessation. Therefore, it is possible that the action of the person can harm this, and that one who extends his foreskin is called "breaking the covenant of Avraham Avinu".
One could say that, although, in general, these two matters were given in the Covenant of Avraham, that, in more detail, this is the difference between the covenant as it is before Matan Torah, versus the way it is after the Matan Torah. For at that time we were commanded “on the eighth day you shall be circumcised”.
As Maimonides precisely states:
"And pay attention to this great principle. . that whatever we distance (ourselves from) or do today, we do not do so, save that it is G-d’s commandment through Moshe Rabbeinu, peace be upon him, not because the Almighty said this to the prophets before him (Moshe) . . We do not circumcise ourselves because Avraham Avinu circumcised himself and his family, but because G-d commanded us through Moshe Rabbeinu, to circumcise ourselves".
For the covenant as it was before Matan Torah,
since it was the nullification of the “decree” of “the “’upper worlds’ not descending to the 'lower worlds'” (Elyonim lo yordu l'Tachtonim) (As it states in the well-known Midrashim),
was primarily and visibly the covenant on the part of the created being - on the part of Avraham Avinu.
Whereas, the covenant as it is after Matan Torah, is mainly as it is from G-d‘s part.
This is similar to the general difference between the Mitzvot that followed Matan Torah versus the Mitzvot that the Patriarchs fulfilled before the Torah was given.
As the Sages state:
“All the Mitzvot which the Patriarchs fulfilled before You, were vaporous (ריחות), whereas to us may be applied the verse: ‘Your name is like flowing oil etc.”
(כל המצות שעשו לפניך האבות ריחות היו,אבל אנו שמן תורק שמך
There are two things regarding “vapor/odor” (ריח):
This is why the Mitzvot that the Patriarchs performed are compared to “vapor” for:
From this, it is also understood with regard to the Mitzvah of Milah.
For although there was a commandment for this, meaning (even) the giving of power from Above. Nevertheless, since this was before the annulment of the decree of the “’upper worlds’ not descending to the 'lower worlds' (Elyonim lo yordu l'Tachtonim), its fulfillment, before Matan Torah, did not poseess the same strength (תוקף) as that of the Mitzvot that were fulfilled after Matan Torah. For those Mitzvot were commanded to us through the statement: "I am the L-rd your G-d" – “I who I am” (״אנכי ה׳ אלקיך״, ״אנכי׳ מי שאנכי״).
6. According to this, one can explain the two expressions that we find in the Midrashim regarding Brit Milah:
It is necessary to examine this:
Since Avraham Avinu "does not allow a Jewish person who is circumcised to descend into it (Gehinom)" and "Yisroel who are circumcised do not descend into Gehinom", why do those who "excessively sinned" (and so forth) descend to Gehinom?
It is also necessary to understand the difference between the two Midrashim.
Therefore, one must say that their deeds caused that the name “circumcised” was removed from them.
However, in this there are two manners:
With regard to "heretics and wicked people of Yisroel" (), however, who are like apostates () G-d forbid. Regarding them, there is room to say that they are like an actual “Aral”
(Moreover, from the words of the Midrash, it is understood that they, too, are not in the realm of an actual "Aral”,
(Which is why the angel does not bring a foreskin and make them into an actual “Aral”, but rather just extends their foreskin. For in Halacha this is not in the category of actually violating the covenant).
but (that they descend into Gehinom) “in order that the heretics and the wicked of Yisroel not say: ‘since we are circumcised, we will not descend into Gehinom”. In other words, this is only to nullify their words and condonation (והוראת היתר) to these people to continue with the acts of heresy and wickedness).
7. According to this, one could also explain the inheritance of Eretz Yisroel:
The Land of Israel was given to the Jewish people in the Eternal Covenant of the Holy One, blessed be He, to Avraham Avinu. It is simple that, in this, cessation, in any possible way, is not applicable. For it always belongs to Yisroel. It is in their ownership.
However, just as in the actual giving of the Land, we find three ways of dividing it (for tribes and families):
(Note: There are two Hebrew words for an inheritance: nachalah and yerushah.
It is explained in another place, at length that these three aspects correspond to the three aspects of “inheritance”, “sale” and “gift” (). For they are also (the source of) these three things that were given to Avraham Avinu (to the Jewish people in general).
The difference between these three aspects, simply, is that
One could say that the reason for this is that inheritance is not a gift to another, but rather as the verse (in Tehillim) says “Instead of your forefathers will be your sons“. For the heir stands in place of the inheritor, for he is the one bequeathing. Therefore, automatically, he has the ownership of the property of the inheritor (and inheritance does not possess the condition of transfer of ownership) (אין בירושה משום שינוי רשות).
Similar to these three aspects (and more sublimely) it is also with regard to Eretz Yisroel, as it states:
"On that day, the L-d formed a covenant with Avram, saying, "To your seed I have given this land”.
This covenant was in connection with the forming of the Covenant between the Parts, as it states (Gen. 15: 13):
“You shall surely know that your seed will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and they will enslave them and oppress them, for four hundred years . . And the fourth generation will return here”.
This is a sort of "debt" (חוב) that Bnei Yisroel were required to repay for the inheritance of the Land.
In the words of Rashi, cited in many places:
This is a “note of obligation” (שטר חוב) of the decree: “that your seed will be strangers” which was put upon the descendants of Isaac.
(Which is why it states “and he (Esau) went to another Land, because of his brother Jacob”. He said “I will get out of here. I have no share, neither in the gift of this Land that was given to him, nor in the payment of the debt.”)
However, at the Brit Milah, the Holy One, Blessed be He, added:
"And I will give you and your seed after you the land of your sojournings, the entire land of Canaan for an everlasting possession, and I will be to them for a G-d.”,
which is not dependent or connected with the deed and action of the person.
However, in this there are two manners:
Both are related to the Mitzvah of Milah. As is also emphasized in the verses of the Parsha.
"And I will give My covenant between Me and between you"
(Which is as Rashi explains: "A covenant of love and the covenant of the Land, to give it to you as a heritage through (your fulfillment of) this commandment” as aforementioned)
After the command for Milah: “walk before Me and be perfect” was given.
"And I will give you and your seed after you the Land of your sojournings, the entire Land of Canaan for an everlasting possession".
"And G-d said to Avraham, ‘And you shall keep My covenant, you and your seed after you . . This is My covenant, which you shall observe . .every male among you be circumcised”
One could say that with this, it alludes to the two aspects of the giving the Land, namely in the form of a gift and in a manner of inheritance:
These are the two details in Eretz Yisroel, corresponding to the two boundaries in Milah.
Therefore, this matter is alluded to in the Roshei Teivot of the letters (אותיות) of (the word) "Milah": "a gift has a cessation"(מתנה יש לה הפסק ). For the letters indicate the revelation of the thing, “letter/Ot” from the expression “the morning comes”.
This is what my father answers in the First Answer:
"This is only for a period of time and afterward they will return."
This means that there is not aspect of cessation, but, on the contrary, it expresses and depicts this thing itself. Namely, that even in a condition where there is lacking in the visible connection of Bnei Yisroel (to G-d) which is why Yisroel was exiled for a period, it does not detract from them in their covenant and attachment, and they know even then, that afterward they will return.
Just as in Egypt, that in the merit of circumcision and the blood of Passover, “I redeemed you from Egypt”. So too will it also be in the Future. For "In their merit you will be redeemed, in the end”. “G-d redeems them in the merit of Milah” and soon, mamosh, Yisroel, who are called an “inheritance” (נחלה) will come to the Land that is an everlasting inheritance (נחלת עולם) for Bnei Yisroel. With the coming of our righteous Moshiach immediately (בעגלא דידן).
Msichas Shabbat Parshat Va’eira, 5740
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