Book 3: Leviticus


Chapter 25 - Rashi

Verse 1: On Mount Sinai.

What has the matter of the Sabbatical year [to do]1 with Mount Sinai?2 Were not all the mitzvos said at Sinai? Rather, [this come to teach that] just as shemittoh its general rules, details,3 and specifications4 were said at Sinai,5 so [too] all of them (the mitzvos) [including] their general rules and specifications.6 were said at Sinai, So is it taught in Toras Kohanim.7 And it seems to me that such is its explanation: Since we do not find that land shemittoh was repeated at the Plains of Moab in Sefer Devorim,8 we have learned that its general rules and its details--- all of them---were said at Sinai. And the verse comes [to] teach [us] here that every utterance which was prophetically said to Moshe,9 that all of them were from Sinai--- their general rules and their specifications--- and they were repeated at the Plains of Moab.

Verse 2: A Shabbos for Ad-noy,

for G-d's sake,10 as it was said regarding the Shabbos of creation11

Verse 4: Shall be [a Shabbos of rest] for the land,

for the fields and vineyards.12

You shall not prune.

[That is,] that they cut off its branches;13 and its Targum is: "you shall not cut off, and similar to it is "as thorns cut off,"14 "it is burnt with fire, it is cut down."15

Verse 5: Crops which grew on their own,

even if you did not sow [them],16 [but they] sprouted from the seed which falls on it [=the land] at the time of reaping, and that is called {Hebrew Ref} .17

You shall not reap,

[in order] to retain it with the rest of the harvest,18 but it should be ownerless---free to all.

Your untended vines,

which you have kept secluded and from which you have kept people away, and you have not declared ownerless.19

You shall not gather---

those you may not gather, but from [that which is] ownerless, [you may gather].

Verse 6: The land's Shabbos[-year] shall be etc.

Even though I forbade it for you, I did not forbid it for eating or deriving benefit, but [rather] that you shall not treat it as an owner [does], but all shall be equal in it,20 you and your hired hand and your resident sojourner.

The land's Shabbos for you...for food.

From that which has been "rested" [=declared ownerless] you may eat, [but] you may not eat from that which is kept.21

For you, your servant and your maidservant.

Since it is said, "and let the needy among your people eat it,"22 perhaps they [=the crops] should be forbidden to be eaten by the wealthy? The verse says: "for you, your servant and your maidservant"--- behold, the owners, the slaves and maidservants [are all] mentioned here.23

For your hired hand and your resident sojourner---

even the non-Jews.24

Verse 7: [Also] for your domesticated animals and for the [wild] beasts.

If a [wild] beast may eat, certainly a domesticated animal, since your are obligated to feed it.25 Why does the verse say: "and for your domesticated animals"? It compares a domesticated animal to a [wild] beast: As long as a beast can eat from the field,26 [you may] feed your domesticated animal from [produce stored] in the house; [when the produce] is gone from the field,27 put at an end (that stored) for your domesticated animal [removing it] from the house.28

Verse 8: Sabbatical years,

seven sabbatical-periods of years.29 Perhaps he shall declare30 seven consecutive years [as] sabbatical years,31 and declare32 the jubilee after them? The verse says:

Seven years seven times---

say: each shemittoh [comes] in its time.33

And it shall be for you the days of the seven [sabbaths of years], etc.

[This verse] tells you that even if you did not declare34 sabbatical years,35 declare the jubilee at the end of forty-nine years. And the plain sense of the verse is: Let the count of sabbatical cycles36 add up to the number forty-nine.37

Verse 9: You shall make a proclamation,38

an expression [similar to that of] "they proclaimed throughout the encampment,"39 an expression of "proclaiming."40

On Yom Kippur,

since it is said, "on Yom Kippur," do I not know that it is on the tenth of the month?41 If so, why was it said,

On the tenth day of the seventh month

? Rather, to tell you [that] blowing [the shofor] on the tenth of the month supersedes the Shabbos in all your land, [but] the blowing [of the shofor] of Rosh Hashanah does not supersede the Shabbos in all your land,42 but [only] at the Beis Din alone.43

Verse 10: You shall sanctify,

when [the jubilee'] begins44 they sanctify it in Beis Din, and say: "The year is sanctified."45

And proclaim freedom

to slaves, whether [one whose ear has been] pierced46 or whether [one who] has not completed six years [of servitude], since he was sold.47 R. Yehudoh said: What [does the] expression deror [mean]? As one [=a free man] who dwells at an inn, etc.48 who may dwell wherever he wishes, and is not under the control of others.49

It shall be a jubilee.

This year is separate from the other years in being given a special name for it alone, and what is its name? Its name is "jubilee," referring to the blowing of the shofor.50

Each man shall return to his ancestral land,

[because] the fields return to their [original] owners.51

And each man shall return to his family,

to include one who[se ear has been] pierced.52

Verse 11: A jubilee, the year of the fiftieth year.

What does the verse mean? Since it is said, "And you shall sanctify [the fiftieth year], etc.53 as it is [stated] in Rosh Hashanah54 and Toras Kohanim.55

The [grapes of] its untended vineyard,

the grapes which have been kept [by you], but you may gather from those that have been declared ownerless. Just as this is said in regard to the sabbatical year, so it is said in regard to the jubilee. The result is that two holy years are next to one another, the forty-ninth year [is] the sabbatical year, and the fiftieth year is the jubilee.56

Verse 12: It shall be holy to you---

its sanctity attaches its worth as Temple property [does].57 Perhaps it becomes common food?58 The verse says:

"It shall be"---

it [retains] its [essential character].59

[Whatever is] in the field, you may eat [of its produce].

By means of [crops] in the field you eat from the [produce stored] in the house, for if [the crops] of the field have ended for the beast, you have to remove [crops stored] from the house. Just as it was said in regard to the seventh [year],60 so is it said regarding jubilee.61

Verse 13: Each man shall return to his ancestral land.

Was it not already said: "Each man shall return to his ancestral land"?62 Rather, this [comes] to include one who sells his field and his son arises and redeems it, that it returns to his father in the jubilee.63

Verse 14: If you sell, etc.

Its meaning is according to its plain sense.64 There is also a midrashic exposition: From where [do we know] that when you sell, [you should] sell to your fellow-Jew?65 The verse says:

When you sell anything--- sell to your neighbor.

And from where [do we know] that if you come to buy, [you should] buy from your fellow Jew?66 The verse says:

Or purchase---from your neighbor.67

Do not cheat---

this refers to cheating68 in monetary matters.69

Verse 15: According to the number of years after the jubilee you shall purchase.

This is its plain sense, to explain the verse properly: It comes to forbid cheating: when you sell or buy land, you must know how many years there are until the jubilee, and according to the years [remaining] and the crops which the field is fit to yield,70 the seller should sell and the buyer---buy. For [the buyer] is destined to return it to him (the seller) in the jubilee year. And if there are [only] a few years [remaining], and this one sells it for a high price, the result is that71 the buyer has been cheated; [but] if there are many years [remaining], and he consumes many crops from it, behold, the seller is cheated. Therefore, [the buyer] must buy it according to the time [remaining before the jubilee], and this is what is said, "According to the number of produce years, he shall sell it to you"--- according to the number of years of crops72 which it is to remain in the possession of the buyer, you should sell it to him. And our Rabbis expounded from here73 that one who sells his field may not redeem it in less than two years,74 [in order] that it should remain two years--- from date to date---in the possession of the buyer.75 Even if there are three crops in those two years, as, for example, if he sold it to him while [the grain] was standing [in the field]. And [the word] "years" does not depart from its plain meaning,76 [for the verse means] to say, the number of years of crops and not of drought.77 And the minimum of "years"---is two.78

Verse 16: You shall increase its purchase price,

sell it at a high price.79

You shall decrease its purchase price,

lessen its price.

Verse 17: You shall not cheat one another.

Here80 [the verse] forbids annoying others with words, that he should not annoy his fellow-Jew,81 not offer advice which is not appropriate to him [but] is in accordance with the plan and [for the] benefit of the advisor. And if you say: "Who knows if I had evil intentions?" For that reason it is said:

You shall fear your G-d---

He Who knows [men's] thoughts, He knows!82 [Regarding] anything which is a matter of conscience,83 known only to the person involved,84 it is said85: "You shall fear your G-d."86

Verse 18: You will then live in the land in security.

For, by the sin of [neglecting] the sabbatical year Israel is exiled,87 as it is said, "The land will then be appeased for its Shabbosos... and be appeased for its Shabbosos."88 The seventy years of the Babylonian exile correspond [as punishment] for seventy sabbatical years which they abolished.89

Verse 19: The land will give forth, etc. and you will live securely on it.

You need not worry about a drought year.90

And eat your fill,

there will be blessing even within your stomach.91

Verse 20: Nor gathered [our produce]

into the house.92

Our produce,

such as wine, fruit from trees, and crops which grow on their own.93

Verse 21: For three years,

for part of the sixth, from Nisan until Rosh Hashanah94 and the seventh and eighth [years], since they would sow in the eighth during Marcheshvon, and harvest in [the following] Nisan.95

Verse 22: Until the ninth year,

until the festival of Sukkos of the ninth [year], which is the season of bringing the crop of the eighth [year] into the house. [That is,] since [during] all the days of summer [the crops] were in the fields in the granaries,96 and Tishrei is the season of gathering into the house. At times, [the crops] would have to last four years--- the sixth before the sabbatical year,97 [which is] the seventh,98 during which they refrain from working the land for two consecutive years, the seventh and the jubilee year.99 [However,] this verse100 was said regarding all other sabbatical cycles.101

Verse 23: The land shall not be sold---

to place a prohibition regarding the [buyer's refusal to] return the fields to their [original] owners during the jubilee--- [in order that] the buyer102 should not withhold it.103

In perpetuity,

for cutting off [ownership from the original owner],104 in a sale which severs [the field] forever.

For the land is Mine.

Do not begrudge it,105 for it is not yours.106

Verse 24: In all your ancestral lands,

[this comes] to include houses [and] a Hebrew slave; and this matter is explained in [Tractate] Kiddushin, in the first chapter.107 And according to its plain meaning, [this verse is placed] adjacent to the following section, [in order to introduce the law that] one who sells his landed property may redeem it after two years--- either he or his relative108--- and the buyer may not impede [it].

Verse 25: If your brother becomes impoverished and sells.

[This] teaches [us] that a person is not permitted to sell his field except under the pressure of poverty.109

Some of his ancestral land---

and not all of it;110 [this verse] teaches [us] proper behavior: that he should leave over some of his field for himself.

And redeems that which his brother sold---

and the buyer cannot impede [it].111

Verse 26: [Or] if the man has no redeemer.

Is there a person in Israel who has no redeemers? Rather, [the verse means that he has no] redeemer who can112 redeem the sale.113

Verse 27: He shall calculate the number of years,

[that is:] "How many years are there until the jubilee?" "So many and so many." "And for how much have I sold it to you?" "So much and so much." "You would have had to return it [to me] at the jubilee; the result is [that you actually] bought a number of crops at a set price for each year. You have consumed it for three years or four [years]; deduct that amount114 from the purchase-price,115 and take the rest [as your redemption]."116 [And this is the meaning of]

and return the remainder (excess)

of the purchase price over [the value of] the crops117 he consumed, and give them to the buyer.

To the man to whom he had sold it,

this [original] seller who comes to redeem it.118

Verse 28: Enough to retrieve [the land] to himself---

from here [we learn] that he may not redeem it by halves.119

Until the jubilee year,

that it not enter into that year at all,120 for the jubilee releases from its beginning.121

Verse 29: A residential home within a walled city,

a house that is within a city surrounded by a wall from the days of Yehoshua bin Nun.122

The time allotted for its redemption shall be.

Since it was said regarding a field, that he could redeem it after two years [from its date of sale] and onward--- whenever he wants, but within the first two years he cannot redeem it,123 it was necessary to specify regarding this [=houses] that [the law] is reversed,124 that if he wants to redeem during the first year, he may redeem it, [but] after that125 he may not redeem it.126

The time allotted for its redemption shall be

[referring to] the house.127


the days of a full year are called "days," and so too: "Let the girl abide with us a year."128

Verse 30: The house shall perpetuity,

leaving the control of the seller and remaining under the control of the buyer.130

That is surrounded by a wall---

we read [the word lo'131 as if it were written lo], "to it."132 Our Rabbis, may their memory be for a blessing, said: Even though it has none now, since it had one previously,133 [this rule applies]. And [the word] ir, "city," is feminine, and it was [really] necessary to write loh "to it,"134 but since it was necessary to write lo', ["not,] in the text,135 it was arranged as lo, "to him," in the Scribal Tradition, [as] a play on words.136

It is not released by the jubilee.

Said R. Safra: If the jubilee occured during that year,137 it shall not go out [of the buyer's possession].138

Verse 31: The houses of open cities,

as its Targum, "open cities," [i.e.,] open cities without a wall, and many [such cities] are [mentioned] in the Book of Yehoshua, "the cities and their open villages,"139 "in their open villages and their fortified strongholds."140

Shall be considered as a field of the land.

Behold, they are like fields, [which are] redeemable until the jubilee, and return141 to their [former] owners at the jubilee if they were not redeemed [before the jubilee].142

It shall have a redemption---

immediately, if he [so] wishes,143 and in this [respect] its (a house's) privilege [of redemption] is greater than [that of] fields, for fields cannot be redeemed until two years [have passed from the time of sale].144

And it is released by the jubilee,

without cost.145

Verse 32: The cities of the Levites,

[the] forty-eight cities which were given to them.146

Eternal right of redemption.

He may redeem immediately, even before two years,147 if they148 sold one of their fields149 [which] were given to them150 within two thousand amohs around their cities.151 Or if they sold a house in a walled city, they may redeem them forever, and it is not irredeemably [in the possession of the buyer] at the end of year.152

Verse 33: If anyone redeems from the Levites,

[that is,]153 if one buys154 a house or a city155 from them, that sale of a house or city156 goes out in jubilee,157 and returns to the Levite who sold it. and it is not irredeemably [in the possession of the buyer] as are other houses in an Israelite158 walled city. This "redemption"159 is an expression of "selling."160 Another interpretation:161 Since it is said: "The Levites shall have an eternal right of redemption," perhaps the verse speaks only of an Israelite who buys a house in the Levitic cities, but a Levite who buys from a[nother] Levite, [the sale] should be irredeemable?162 The verse says: "If anyone redeems from the Levites"--- even one (=a Levite) who redeems (=buys) from a Levite [the seller has the right] of eternal redemption.163

Then the house...shall be released,

behold, this is another mitzvoh (=halochoh), [that is,] if he does not redeem it, it goes out in the jubilee [but] is not irredeemable at the end of a year, as is the house of an Israelite.164

For the houses of the Levitic cities are [considered] their ancestral lands.

They did not have the inheritance of fields and vineyards, but only cities in which to dwell and their pasturelands, therefore, they (these cities) are for them in place of fields, and they have [a rule] of redemption like fields,165 so that their inheritance should not be removed from them.166

Verse 34: The fields at the outskirts of their cities may not be sold---

a sale by the Temple-treasurer, for if a Levite dedicated his field167 and did not redeem it, and the Temple-treasurer sold it, it does not go out to the kohanim168 during the jubilee,169 as it is said regarding [the field of] an Israelite,170 "and if he sells the field to another person, it shall no longer be redeemable."171 But a Levite may redeem it forever.

Verse 35: You must support him.

Do not allow him to decline [socially and financially] and fall [altogether],172 [so that] it will be difficult to restore him173 [to his original position], but strengthen him from the time of his weakness.174 To what may this be compared? To a burden on a donkey: while it is still on the donkey, one [person] may grab hold of it and hold up [the load]; [but if] it (=the donkey) falls to the ground, five cannot raise it (=the load) up.175

The proselyte and the sojourner,

even176 if he is a proselyte or [a non-Jewish] sojourner.177 And what is a "sojourner"? Whoever accepts upon himself [the obligation] not to worship idols, and he [may] eat neveilos carcasses.178

Verse 36: Interest or usury.

The Rabbis equated the two [terms]; [why then does the verse use both? So that one who gives or takes interest] violates two prohibitions.179

And you shall fear your G-d.

Because a person's desire is attracted to [the idea of] usury, it is difficult to separate him from it;180 for he persuades himself that it is permissible because of his money181 which is idle in his (=the borrower's) possession.182 [Therefore] it was necessary to say "you shall fear your G-d." Or [he may try to circumvent the prohibition] by pretending [that] the money183 is a non-Jew's in order to lend them to a Jew with interest,184 behold, this matter is given over to a man's heart and thought,185 and it was therefore necessary to say "You shall fear your G-d."186

Verse 38: Who brought you out.

And [there] I distinguished between a first-born and one who was not first-born, so [too] I know and will exact punishment from one who lends money187 to an Israelite with interest and claims188 that they are a non-Jew's. Another interpretation:189 Since I took you out of the land of Egypt--- in order that you accept My mitzvos upon yourselves, even if they are difficult190 for you.191

To give you the land of Canaan,

as a reward for accepting192 My mitzvos.

To be a G-d for you.

For whoever dwells in the land of Israel--- I am a G-d for him;193 [but] whoever departs from it,194 is as one who worships idols.195

Verse 39: Work him like a slave.


Demeaning work through which he is recognized as a slave197--- that he not carry his [the master's] clothes after him to the bathhouse, [or] that he not put on his shoes for him.198

Verse 40: Like a hired hand or resident [worker],

agricultural work and skilled work.199 Treat him like other hired hands.200

Until the jubilee year.

If the jubilee [year] occured before the six years [of his servitude], the jubilee frees him.201

Verse 41: He and his children with him.

Said R. Shimon: If he was sold, who sold his children? Rather, from here [we learn] that this master is obligated to feed202 his (=the slave's) children.203

To his ancestral estate,204

to the honor[ed estate] of his ancestors,205 and [other people] may not mock him for this.206



Verse 42: For they are My servants---

[and] My decree208 has precedence.209

They shall not be sold [in the market] as slaves---

by public announcement: "Here is a slave for sale!" And they must not stand him on the auction block.210

Verse 43: You must not rule over him to crush him,

unnecessary labor, in order to torment him.211 Do not say to him: "Warm this glass for me," while not needing it; "Hoe beneath this vine until I come."212 Perhaps you think213 that there is no one who can tell whether [the work] is necessary or not, and I will tell him (the slave) that it is necessary?214 Behold, this thing is given over to his (the master's) heart, and therefore it is said: "and you shall fear [your G-d]."215

Verse 44: Your slaves and maidservants that you shall possess.

If you say: "If so,216 by whom shall I be served?217 I may not rule over my [Jewish] slaves, I may not take possession of [slaves from] the nations, for behold, you have warned me,218 'You shall not allow any soul to live [among the Seven Nations],'219 then who shall serve me?"220

From the nations---

they will be slaves for you.221

That surround you,

[but] not [those]222 which are within the boundaries of your land, for about those I have [already] said: "You shall not allow any soul to live."223

Verse 45: From the children of the sojourners,

who have come from around you to marry wives224 in your land,225 and [if] they have children, the child follows the father['s national identity], and is not [included] in the prohibition "you shall not allow to live."226 However, you are allowed to buy him as a slave.227

You may purchase [slaves].

Them you may buy.

Verse 46: You shall will them as inheritance to your children.

Hold them as possession for your children's needs after you. It is not possible to explain [the phrase to mean]: "Leave them as an inheritance for your children," for if so, it should have written: "and you shall leave them as an inheritance for your children."228 [The word] {Hebrew Ref} is like {Hebrew Ref} , ["you shall hold on to them]."

Man over his brother.

[This seemingly redundant phrase229 comes] to include a prince over his people, and a king over his servants,230 that he should not rule over them to crush them.231

Verse 47: If a foreigner or sojourner acquires means.

A foreigner who is a sojourner, as its Targum: "an uncircumcised sojourner,"232 and the end [of the verse] proves [Targum's interpretation]: "And he is sold to a foreign sojourner."233

If a foreigner or sojourner acquires means.

What234 caused him to become wealthy? His connection with you.235

While your brother becomes impoverished by him.

What236 caused him to become impoverished? His connection with him [=the sojourner], through which he learned from his actions.237

Foreign family.238

This is the non-Jew239 [himself], and when it says "the offspring [of a foreign family],"240 this [refers] to one sold to idol worship241 itself,242 to be its servitor, not to [worship] the idol itself, but to hew wood and draw water [which are used for worship.243]

Verse 48: Redemption shall be his

,244 immediately.245 Do not leave him [in this servitude] to sink246 [into idolatrous ways].247

Verse 50: Until the jubilee year.

Since essentially he did not buy him [for any purpose] but to serve him until the jubilee, since he will [in any case] go out in the jubilee, as it is stated below: "He goes out in the jubilee year."248 The verse speaks of a non-Jew who is in your power,249 but nevertheless you must not approach him deviously because this would be a desecration of G-d's Name.250 Instead, when he comes to be redeemed, let him calculate [the amount] carefully. According to amount for251 each year let the non-Jew deduct from the [redemption] money: If there had been twenty years from the [time] he was sold until the jubilee, and he bought him for twenty maneh, the result is252 that the non-Jew purchased a year's work for a maneh. If he (the slave) remeained with him for five years, and [now] comes to be redeemed, he should deduct five maneh and the slave should give him fifteen maneh, and this is:

His purchase price shall be [proportional] to the number of years,253 at the rate of the days of a hired hand it shall be with him

--- he shall calculate the amount for254 each and every year, as though he was hired to him for a maneh a year, and he will deduct for him [the amount he had worked off].

Verse 51: And if there are yet many years---

until the jubilee.


as I have explained.255

Verse 53: He shall not rule over him to crush him before your eyes,

that is to say: while you look on.256

Verse 54: If he is not redeemed through these means---

he is redeemed through these,257 [but] he is not redeemed through [the passage of] six [years].258

He, along with his children,

the non-Jew is required to feed259 his children.260

Verse 55: For, Bnei Yisroel are My servants---

My decree261 has precedence.262

I am Ad-noy, your G-d.

Whoever enslaves them below,263 it is as though he enslaves them above.264

Chapter 26 - Rashi

Verse 1: You shall not make idols for yourselves.

[This is] directed against one who is sold to a non-Jew, that he not say "since my master commits sexual crimes, I will do like him [will do the same], since my master worships idols, I will do like him, since my master profanes the Shabbos, I will do like him;265" therefore these verses266 are stated. And these {Hebrew Ref} are also said in order: At first he warned [him] regarding the seventh year, and if he coveted money and was suspected of [trading in] the seventh year, his end will be to sell his moveable property. And that is why [verse 14] was placed adjacent: "When you sell to your neighbor"--- (what is written regarding this? "Or purchase from your neighbor"267 ---something which is acquired from hand to hand268) ---if he does not repent, his end will be to sell his estate.269 [If] he [still] does not repent, in the end he sells his house;270 [if] he does not repent [at this point], in the end he will borrow at interest271--- all these last are worse than the first. [If] he has still not repented, in the end he sells himself;272 [if] he does not repent, not only will he sell himself to a Jew, but even to a non-Jew.273

And a prostration stone,

[an expression denoting] covering, as [in the verse] "I will cover [you] with My hand."274 [This means] they cover the ground with a stone floor.275

Upon which to prostrate oneself,

even to Heaven,276 because [prostration involves] the spreading out of hands and feet, and the Torah forbade doing so outside the Temple.277

Verse 2: I am Ad-noy,

faithful to give reward.278

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