By Rabbi Avrohom Sebrow
Many times in the course of divrei Torah and conversation, the Hebrew word “k’vyachol” is used. I conducted an unscientific study and concluded that people generally understand the word to convey that the statement referenced is merely allegorical. When people ascribe human attributes to Hashem, they add in the word “k’vyachol.” However, those that learn the daf came across the word this week, and Rashi offers two precise explanations that differ from the simple definition of allegorical.
There is an argument (Yoma 3b) regarding how we are to understand the pesukim in the Torah when Moshe is told by Hashem “kach lecha.” Rebbe Yoshiya understands the directive to mean that Moshe Rabbeinu should use his own funds to purchase whatever items were mentioned in the pasuk. Therefore, when Moshe Rabbeinu was told to take the spices that are used for the ketores, he was to purchase them from his own funds. The Rashash explains that generally the spices are purchased from communal funds, but the ketores used during the inauguration of the Mishkan was paid for by Moshe Rabbeinu.
Rebbe Yonason disagrees and says that even the spices used for the ketores during the Mishkan’s inauguration had to be purchased with communal funds. The use of the phrase “kach lecha” was meant to convey a message. “K’vayachol, I want yours more than theirs.” Rashi’s first explanation of the word “k’vyachol” is that the word means “if it were possible.” Hashem told Moshe “If it were possible for the funds for the ketores to come from an individual, I would prefer that they come from you instead of from Klal Yisrael.” However, it is not possible since the funds for the ketores have to come from communal sources. It is interesting to note that according to this understanding, the word “k’vyachol” was said by Hashem. According to Rashi’s first pshat, the word “k’vyachol” means if it were possible and may have many possible usages.
The second explanation mentioned in Rashi is that the Gemara is mentioning the word “k’vyachol” as an introduction to the quote that is about to be ascribed to Hashem. Hashem was conveying that He was upset at Klal Yisrael on account of their aveiros and therefore preferred Moshe Rabbeinu’s funds to theirs. The Gemara adds the word “k’vyachol” to convey the message that we are able to say this only because this is what the Torah says. On our own, we would never want to utter such a derogatory statement about Klal Yisrael, but we are able to say it, k’vyachol, because that is what is said in the Torah. Tosfos Rabbeinu Peretz says that the word “k’vyachol” is actually a synthesis of two terms. “K’v” and “yachol.” The numerical value of the Hebrew term “KV” is 22. On account of the Torah which is written with 22 letters, we are able, yachol, to say the statement. In a similar vein, Tosfos Shantz says that the word “k’vayachol” is an abbreviation of the words “kasuv baTorah yachol lomrah,” “since it is stated in the Torah we are able to say it.”
The Maharsha offers another explanation of the Gemara. He seems to follow Rashi’s first explanation. Hashem told Moshe k’vayachol that he prefers his funds to Klal Yisrael’s. The “fallacy” is that all funds really belong to Hashem anyway. Hashem was intimating that if anyone would merit to actually have ownership of their own funds it would be Moshe Rabbeinu. To connect this idea to the masechta we just completed, it is worth noting that the Rashba holds that when someone gives his machatzis hashekel during the times of the Beis HaMikdash he does not make a berachah. This is due to the fact that he isn’t actually giving anything. The funds belong to Hashem regardless.
The daf yomi just finished masechta Shekalim (Yerushalmi) and proceeded to Yoma. Although in the Vilna Shas, Rosh Hashanah precedes Yoma, Rabbi David Feder said that in the Slavuta Shas, Yoma comes after Shekalim. The founder of the daf yomi, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Chochmei Lublin, HaRav Meir Shapiro, zt’l, was a cousin of the Slavuta/Zhitomir printing press owners. Therefore he followed their order. Further, the mishnayos also have Rosh Hashanah later, and this accords with the Rambam and Rav Sherira Gaon, who explain that Rosh Hashanah is not before Yoma. v
Rabbi Avrohom Sebrow leads a daf yomi chaburah at Eitz Chayim of Dogwood Park in West Hempstead and is a rebbi at Mesivta Kesser Yisroel of Willowbrook. He can be contacted at ASebrow@gmail.com.