Bechukotai – Sh’vi’i

Hope You Had The Tithe of Your Lime

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

(Seriously, do you have any idea how hard it is to come up with titles for 377* synopses? They won’t all be winners!)

The term “cheirem” also refers to a person who has been sentenced to death. Such a person cannot be redeemed in an attempt to save him from his fate.

Maaser (tithes) of produce belong to G-d. If a person wants to redeem his tithe, he must add 20 percent. (This refers to the second tithe – maaser sheini – which was eaten in Jerusalem, as we will see in parshas Re’eh.) Flocks and herds will be counted under a person’s staff and every tenth animal belongs to G-d. (This is called maaser beheima – animal tithe.) The owner can’t pick and choose which animals – every tenth one, that’s it. If a person tries to exchange animals, all he’ll accomplish is that both animals become consecrated.

All these laws were communicated by G-d to Moshe on Mount Sinai.


*Right now, someone is calculating that 7 aliyos x 54 parshiyos = 378, not 377. Parshas V’zos Habracha is read on Simchas Torah, rather than on Shabbos, and is only broken into six aliyos. Yes, we know that only five aliyos are read on Yom Tov, but Simchas Torah also has Chosson Torah. Yes, we know that Simchas Torah also has Chosson Bereishis, but that’s from parshas Bereishis, not from V’zos Habracha. And yes, we know that some Chumashim break V’zos Habracha into seven aliyos, but that’s not the way we read it, so it’s not the way we’re doing it (though after this explanation, maybe we should have!).

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