Sunday, 16th Iyar 5783/May 7, 2023
Parshas Behar Bechukosai
- The Mitzvah of Shemitah:
- Resting the land from planting: Hashem told Moshe on Har Sinai to tell the Jewish people that when they arrive to the promised land, they are to sow the land for six years and are to rest the land on the seventh year. One may not sow the land on the seventh year, as it is a year of rest for G-d.
- Not to harvest for personal use: In the seventh year one may not harvest the field. The produce of the field shall be food for you, your slaves, and for all who reside with you. It shall also be available for all the animals in your land. [The produce of the fields is to be considered ownerless and allowed to be taken by all people during this year.]
- Mitzvah of Yovel:
- Counting the years: One is to count seven sets of seven years for a total of 49 years. On the 50th year, on Yom Kippur, the Shofar is to be blown throughout all your lands.
- Freeing the slaves: The 50th year is to be sanctified and is to be proclaimed a year of freedom. All lands are to return to their original owner and all slaves are to be set free during this year to return to their homes.
- This 50th year is called Yovel.
- Not to sow or harvest: In the fiftieth year one may not sow or harvest the field. The produce of the field shall be food for you.
- Business ethics:
- Ona’h: One may not overcharge or underpay another person in a sale without their knowledge.
- Selling land: The price that the land is to be sold for is to be based on the amount of years remaining until the next Yovel. If many years remain until the Yovel then it is to be sold for a larger sum, if only a few years remain until the Yovel it is to be sold for a smaller sum, as one is not selling the land itself but is leasing it for a certain sum of years.
- Not to offend another Jew:
- One may not verbally harass or offend another Jew using words.
Tanya Middle of Chapter 48
1. A practical application in our world of the above two modes of Divine light:
- A parable for the above [two modes of G-dliness, Soveiv and Mimalei] can be found in this world.
- The limited light within creation: Although this world is filled with G-d’s glory, which is G-d’s infinite light, as the verse states “Do I not fill the heavens and earth, Says G-d”. Nevertheless, this level of infinite G-dliness does not invest itself inside the world in a conscious and revealed manner, and rather only a minute and minuscule ray of Divine vitality enters into the world, and thus create [very limited and outwardly lifeless creations such as] inanimate and vegetation [which show no sign of life, or a very minimal sign of life].
- The infinite light within creation: As with the infinite light that is there, it remains inside the creations on an encompassing level which triggers no effect or interaction with the creation itself. This is accomplished through the infinite light not allowing any more than a mere glimmer to become revealed and conscious to the creation, while the remaining light retains a concealed and hidden state.
- Now, every Divine light which remains in a concealed state is called “Makif” or encompassing from above, as the concealed worlds are higher than the revealed worlds.
2. A second parable-Thinking of a rock:
- This matter can be even further understood through the following parable.
- Imagination has no effect: A person imagines within his mind some image he saw or is currently seeing. Although the entire body of the image, in all its dimensions, is being entirely projected and viewed in his mind due to having seen it, or due to currently seeing it, nevertheless, the object is merely encompassed by his mind [and not actually penetrated by it, and hence he has no actual effect on the object he is imagining in his mind].
- G-d’s imagination effects creation: Now, in this parable the person does not actually encompass the physical object as it is merely in his imagination, however, Hashem of whom His thoughts are unlike ours, when He thinks and knows all the creations in His mind, He encompasses the creations from head to toe, and inside out, in actuality [and nonetheless, it does not internally effect the object, just like in the parable, as it is found in an encompassing state].
Rambam, Hilchos Yesodei Hatorah Chapter 4
Chapter 4: Maaseh Bereishis-The wisdom & science behind creation [partial summary]
Halacha 1: All creations are made up of the four elements
- The four elements: There are four fundamental elements of creation which are: fire, wind, water, and earth
- All earthly creations are made up of these four elements. This includes man, animals, birds, insects, fish, plant, metal and precious stones, all rocks and mountains and earth. They are all made up of a combination of the above four elements.
- The elements themselves: An exception to the above are the four elements themselves which are not made up of any other element other than themselves.
- Golem and Tzura-matter and form: All earthly creations contain both matter and form, and it is the matter of every creation that is made up of a combination of the above four elements.
Halacha 2: The nature of the four elements and the result of their combinations
- Fire and wind-upwards: The nature of fire and wind is to ascend upwards from the earth to the sky.
- Water and earth-downwards: The nature of water and earth is to descend from the sky onto earth.
- The midpoint of the universe is its lowest point: The center of the sky is its lowest point [as the universe expands from every direction and hence its middle point is the bottom point from each direction].
- Nature is not by choice: The nature of all these elements are not consciously or willfully decided by them, and it is rather an embedded nature of which they have no choice in.
- Fire: Fire is the lightest of the four elements and has the nature of being hot and dry.
- Wind: Wind is both hot and wet. Wind is lighter than water and therefore hovers over it.
- Water: Water is both cold and wet. Water is lighter than earth and therefore floats on top of it.
- Earth: Earth is both dry and cold and is the heaviest of all the elements.
- The combination of the elements create the various different creations: Being that every creation is made up of these four elements of fire, wind, water, and earth, it is the combination of these four elements that is responsible for the different creations.
- The elements change through their combination: When the elements are combined with each other, they just change from their natural state, and hence the combined elements do not contain any actual fire, water, wind, or earth.
- The nature of all creations: Being that all creations contain the four elements within them to different degrees, therefore, they all contain different degrees of heat versus coldness, and moisture versus dryness, even though they all contain some level of each. Hence, when we witness a creation containing more of one aspect over the other, it is a sign that there stronger and more abundant element is from that aspect.
- Animals contain more of the element of fire: For example, animals derive more from the element of fire, and therefore are more hot-blooded.
- Stones contain more of the element of earth: Stones contain more of the element of earth, and are therefore very dry.
- Stronger element of water: Those creations that are more moist contain a stronger element of water.
Halacha 3: The eventual disintegration of the four elements
- Every creation that is made of the four elements will eventually decompose and have its elements return to their main root and source in the four elements. This applies even towards gold and hard rock, which will eventually decompose.
- The time span of disintegration: Every creation has a different time span for its disintegration of its elements with some taking a mere few years and others taking many years.
- What happens to the decomposed elements: The four elements which made up the creation upon decomposition return to their elements. For example, the element of fire found within creation returns to the main element of fire when the creation decomposes and so on and so forth with all the elements.
Halacha 4: Man returning to earth
- Although Scripture teaches us that upon his death man will return to earth, which is only one of the four elements, in truth all four elements that he is composed of will return to their corresponding element.
- Man is mainly composed of the element of earth: The reason for this depiction of Scripture is because man is mainly composed of the element of earth, and hence most of his existence will return to the element of earth.
- A gradual decomposition: Upon the decomposition of creations, the elements do not immediately return to their main element, but rather evolved into other entities, and those entities evolve into other entities, until eventually they return to their main element.
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