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Friday, April 14

The Weekly Shtikle - Shemini

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


However, there is another inference to be made. In most other instances, the word hotzeisi is used. It is in the past tense. Here, had the pasuk said asher he'eleisi then there would not have been such a strong implication that this mitzvah is a ma'alah 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 the gemara (Eiruvin 19a) Rav Kahana asserts that although hama'aleh is structured in the present tense, it is clearly to be understood in the past tense. But on a drush level – a nice bridge to bring the themes of Pesach right into Shabbos.]

Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka

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