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Friday, April 5

The Weekly Shtikle - Shemini

    At the end of the parsha, summarizing the commandments relating to forbidden foods, the pasuk (11:45) says "Ki ani HaShem hamaale eschem..." Rashi comments that in all other instances it says hotzeisi but here it says hama'ale and quotes from Tana d'Bei Eliyahu that the term ma'ale implies that this mitzvah itself is a ma'ala, a virtue in and of itself, for which B'nei Yisrael merited exodus from Egypt. The obvious inference is from the change of terminology from yetzia to aliyah.

    However, perhaps there is another inference to be made. In most other instances, the word hotzeisi is used. It is in past tense. Here, had the pasuk said asher he'eliesi then there would not have been such a strong implication that this mitzvah is a ma'ala but only that HaShem took us out and therefore we should keep it. Now that it is written in the present tense, it implies that with this mitzvah HaShem brings us up to a higher level and it is a virtue for us. The Midrash is clearly not making this inference but it may still be used to arrive at the same conclusion. [Nevertheless, it should be noted that in a gemara that was recently learned as part of the Daf Yomi cycle (Eiruvin 19a) Rav Kahana asserts that although hama'ale is structured in the present tense, it is clearly to be understood in the past tense.]

Have a good Shabbos.

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