Thoughts from Kollel KLAL


The passuk states concerning one who brings his son to the Molech idolatry: “עם הארץ ירגמוהו באבן, the people of the land shall pelt him with the stone.” Also, it states “ואם העלם יעלימו עם הארץ, and if the people of the land will indeed look away.” Rashi explains that עם הארץ means a nation which the world was created for. This teaches that bais din is supposed to kill him, and if they don’t have the power, strength, or ability to kill him, the people of the land need to assist the bais din and kill him. Onkelos translates the words עם הארץ in both pessukim as “the nation Bais Yisrael.” What does “the nation Bais Yisrael” mean? And why does Onkelos translate differently than the literal meaning?

The Ramban answers that when one person sins, he affects all of k’nesses Yisrael. This is what the Midrash and Gemara bring; whoever takes pleasure from this world without a beracha is as though he steals from his father and his mother. Stealing from his father refers to Hashem, and stealing from his mother refers to k’nesses Yisrael. Rashi explains he steals from Hashem the beracha that he is obligated to make to Him. Or, as the Maharsha explains, he literally steals the food from Hashem as it did not yet become his. This is as the Gemara brings a contradiction, one passuk states “לה’ הארץ ומלאה, to Hashem belongs the world and its fullness.” Another passuk states “השמים שמים לה’ והארץ נתן לבני אדם, the heavens belong to Hashem and He gave the land to people.” The Gemara answers, it depends, before the beracha it belongs to Hashem, whereas after the beracha it belongs to us. If so, since he did not make a beracha, he stole the food that he ate from Hashem, as it did not yet become his. He also steals from Yisrael because when one sins the fruits are struck. The Maharsha brings from the Mishnah, from the time that the Bais HaMikdosh was destroyed, dew did not fall anymore for beracha and the taste was taken away from fruits. The berachos that we make bring down an abundance from above on the fruits. When one does not make a beracha on a particular type of fruit, he causes Hashem to not cause dew to descend on that specific type of fruit. Everyone becomes affected by stealing a beracha.

The Ramban continues, also, he is a partner to be destructive. The reason is because Hashem wants people to make berachos with His name, which in turn will bring existence and sustenance into the world. If not, Hashem will leave and he will take away His Shechinah from Yisrael. Says the Ramban, if this will happen when people do not make berachos, this will certainly happen with one who serves Molech idolatry since it is an abominable act.

The Gemara brings that converts are difficult for Yisrael as leprosy. Rashi explains the reason is because they are not experts with the mitzvos and they sin, therefore they bring troubles upon Yisrael. We see that when people do aveiros it pollutes people and the world, and affects them.

The passuk does not state “באבן ירגמו אותו, with the stone they shall pelt him” as it states in other places. Rather, it specifically mentions the word עם הארץ, “עם הארץ ירגמוהו באבן, the nation shall pelt him with stone,” The Ramban says, Onkelos translates עם הארץ as the nation Bais Yisrael since “הארץ – the land” hints to all of Eretz Yisrael. All of Yisrael wherever they are will be harmed by his sin. The outcome of his sin is not limited to the place where the person worshiped the Molech idolatry, rather it affects all over. Since all of Yisrael are harmed by his sin, as he caused the Shechinah to be removed from Yisrael, therefore everyone is supposed to come first to stone him in order to remove the bad.

Since good is always more than bad, if a sin can affect everything for bad, a mitzvah will certainly affect everything for good. May we realize that our actions are so powerful that they can influence and chas v’shalom contaminate people and the world.

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