"If your brother becomes poor and has to sell part of his heritage..." (Levit. 25:25)

This paragraph contains cardinal moral-ethical lessons to mankind. Kohelet alludes to this when he says: "through slothfulness the ceiling sags." (Eccl. 10:18) Our Sages in comment on this "you have made "poor" the One of whom it is said (Psalms 104:3), "Who sets the rafters of His lofts in the waters." (Tannit 7) When people who dwell in the lower parts of the universe stray from the correct path, they cause the beneficial outpourings from the upper part of the universe to cease. They thereby endanger the continuous presence of sanctity on earth. In the final analysis, the fate of the universe is determined by the conduct of the creatures who inhabit earth, i.e. "the lower world."

...the fate of the universe is determined by the conduct of the creatures who inhabit earth...

When the Torah says, "and he sells part of his heritage," this is a reference to the Holy Tabernacle, which is G‑d’s heritage. The Torah warns us that our sins may result in G‑d "selling off" His heritage, i.e. our enemies appropriating our (G‑d’s) Sanctuary.

We find an allusion to this concept in Psalms where Asaph describes the gentiles as having entered G‑d’s domain. (79:1) Midrash Tehillim comments on this verse that the redemption of G‑d’s Sanctuary is in the hands of the righteous who endeavor to be close to G‑d. G‑d has already told us this in Leviticus (10:3) when He said, "I will be sanctified by those near Me." - "They, the righteous, have to redeem what I had to sell." G‑d is perceived as calling on the righteous in their capacity as "My brothers and My friends" (compare Psalms 122:8)

Redemption will occur when the righteous succeed in awakening the hearts of their contemporaries by convincing them that it is really not in their best interest to spend their time exiled from the table of their Father in Heaven. The righteous have to convince the average Jew that what he considers success in his world is illusory if bought at the expense of forfeiting his respective eternity in a better world. In the future all Torah scholars who have failed in their efforts to convince their peers to adopt a Torah-true lifestyle, etc. will have to render an account before the highest tribunal. G‑d will hold those Torah scholars responsible for the continued disgrace suffered by the Holy Temple.


"And if a man has no redeemer…" (Ibid. 25:26)

...the Torah occasionally uses the word "Ish/Man" as a simile for G‑d...

According to Sanhedrin (93) the Torah occasionally uses the word "Ish/Man" as a simile for G‑d, such as, "G‑d is a man of war". (Exodus 15:3) The Torah's message in this verse is that in the event no Jewish leader is at hand to arouse the people to return to G‑d as penitents, this is no reason to abandon hope altogether. Rather, the Jewish people will achieve their redemption by alternative means.

Sanhedrin (98) describes both afflictions and national exile as means to bring about redemption. The expression "from the wealth of his hand he will be able to redeem himself" may be understood as similar to, "the hand of G‑d was against them," (Deut. 2:15) a reference to G‑d exacting retribution through exiling a nation under harsh conditions. Such an exile will eventually lead to redemption of the Holy Temple.

[Selected with permission from the five-volume English edition of "Ohr HaChaim: the Torah Commentary of Rabbi Chaim Ben Attar" by Eliyahu Munk.]