Apt Misfits? by Danny Shlian


Parashat Emor discusses the Mo’adim of the Jewish calendar.  In this section, there are two Pesukim that do not appear to fit with the Mo’adim. The first appears at the outset of the section: “Sheshet Yamim Te’aseh Melachah UVaYom HaShevi’i Shabbat Shabbaton Mikra Kodesh Kol Melachah Lo Ta’asu; Shabbat Hi LaHashem BeChol Moshevoteichem,” “For six days labor shall be done, and the seventh day is a day of complete rest, a holy convocation, you shall not do any work; it is a Shabbat for Hashem in all of your dwellings” (VaYikra 23:3). The second appears in the middle: “UVeKutzrechem Et Ketzir Artzechem Lo Techaleh Pe’at Sadecha BeKutzrecha VeLeket Ketzirecha Lo Telaket; LeAni VeLaGer Ta’azov Otam Ani Hashem Elokeichem,” “When you reap the harvest of your land, do not completely remove the corners of your field as you reap, and do not gather the gleanings of your harvest; leave them for the poor and the convert, I am Hashem, your God” (23:22).

Rashi explains that the Torah discusses Shabbat in Parashat HaMo’adim because one who violates a Melachah on a Mo’ed is considered to have violated a Melachah on Shabbat, and one who keeps the Halachot of the Mo’ed is considered to have kept the Halachot of Shabbat. Why are the Shabbat and the Mo’ed so inherently related?

        Rav Moshe Feinstein, in his sefer Darash Moshe, explains that Shabbat and Mo’adim each represent different, but essential, parts of Emunah.  The source of Shabbat is in Parashat BeReishit, where Hashem rested from creating the world.  Our Shabbat commemorates this resting.  Mo’adim are celebrated because of the miracles that Hashem has done for our nation to sustain it.  Thus, Shabbat represents the belief that Hashem created the world, while Mo’adim represent the belief that Hashem continues to run the world. Both parts of Emunah are absolutely essential to believe in Hashem and to observe the Torah.  If one does not believe that Hashem runs the world, he will have no reason to observe His Mitzvot, and if one does not believe that Hashem created the world, he will not believe that Hashem runs it. This explanation shows why Shabbat and Mo’adim are so closely correlated; it is impossible to have one without the other.

        In a similar vein, Rav Moshe explains the placement of Leket, a form of Tzedakah, in the middle of the section of the Mo’adim.  Since Mo’adim represent the belief that Hashem continues to govern the world, Tzedakah is our insufficient way of paying Him back for all of His miracles that allow Am Yisrael to flourish.

        Rashi offers another answer as to why the Halachah of Leket is placed in Parashat HaMo’adim.  He explains that one who observes the Halachot of gifts to the poor is considered to have built the Beit HaMikdash and offered the Korbanot of the Mo’adim there. Why is Tzedakah so related to the Beit HaMikdash?

        Rav Moshe quotes a Pasuk from Yeshayah (1:27) to answer this question: “Tzion BeMishpat Tipadeh VeShaveha BiTzedakah,” “Tzion will be redeemed through justice, and those who return to it with Tzedakah [literally, righteousness].” The Beit HaMikdash will be rebuilt with Tzedakah. It is with this message in mind that the Torah placed the Halachah of Leket in Parashat HaMo’adim. In the merit of our Tzedakah, may we, too, merit to bring Korbanot on the Mo’adim in the Beit HaMikdash.

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