This Shabbat is Israel we will be reading Torah portion Be’Har.
In this Torah portion there is a verse that calls to help other people:
וכי ימוך אחיך ומטה ידו עמך והחזקת בו, גר ותושב וחי עמך
“And if your brother shall become poor, and his means fail with you, you shall uphold him: as a stranger and a settler he shall live with you.” (Leviticus 25:35)
Rabbi Moshe ben Chaim Alshich comments on this verse:
In this Torah portion most of the verses are written in the plural form.
But this verse appears in the singular form.
“And if your brother shall become poor… you shall uphold him”
In English both singular and plural “you” are expressed by the same word.
In Hebrew the singular “you” is:
ATA – אתה for masculine.
AT – את for feminine.
Consequently, the conjugation of verbs combined with the respective pronoun differs accordingly.
It is not written “you (pl.) shall uphold him – והחזקתם,”
but rather “you (sing.) shall uphold him – והחזקת.”
The reason it is in the singular form, because many times when a person needs help, the people around, who are able to help may think:
“Well, there are many others who can help this person. I don’t need to worry about it. Someone else will help him“
Therefore, the Torah wants to tell us explicitly:
Everyone personally needs to help a poor person, as if he were the only one capable of doing so.
להחזיק – “Lehakh’zik” – Uphold/hold, has the root חזק
חזק – “Khazak” – strong
מחזיק מפתחות – “Makhzik Maftekhot” – key holder
חוזק – “Khozek” – strength
חזקה – “Khezkah” – power (exponent in numbers)
שתיים בחזקת 6 – “sh’tayim be’khezkat shesh” (as per below)
אחזקה – “Akhzakah” – maintenance
Yoel & Orly
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