The Parsha Dual Dichotomy 5776 - Part 2
Part 1 explained that the weekly parsha right now is not the same one outside of Israel as it is in Eretz Yisrael. This is due to the fact that in this year the 8th day of Pesach fell out on Shabbat. On that Shabbat/Yom Tov everyone outside of Israel read the Yom Tov reading of “Aser Te’Asser” from Parshat Re’eh, whereas in Eretz Yisrael we read Parshat Shemini, the next parsha in the regular cycle, since Pesach had already ended us in Israel. Our question was: Why do we wait so long for the whole world to be realigned — more than three months later?
Not really a new question. Several early Acharonim, including the Mahari”t, Rav Yosef Tirani, addressed this exact issue almost 500 years ago.
The Tur, when codifying the halachah, offered special codes to help us remember the proper order of the parshiyot as they relate to the various Yamim Tovim. In a leap year like ours, one of the codes is “Manu V’Atzru”, referring to Bamidbar being directly prior to Shavuot. This code directly affects our situation.
This is becauseTosafot in Megillah (31b)states that since Parshat Bechukotai contains tochacha (rebuke), there must be a noticeable “buffer week” between its reading and Shavuot. The reason for this is that we pray that a year and its curses should end, in order to usher in a new year with its blessings. This makes sense for Shavuot, as the gemara in Rosh Hashana (16a) tells us that it is Rosh Hashana for “peirot ha’ilan” — tree fruits. Therefore, Parshat Bamidbar must be the stand-alone “buffer week” before Shavuot in order to emphasize that we are getting Bechukotai (i.e., the rebuke) in just before Shavuot.
Accordingly, the Mahari”t explains, if the Diaspora would catch up to Eretz Yisrael before Shavuot, then Parshat Nasso would be read on Shabbat erev Shavuot, as it will be in Eretz Yisrael, and then all of Klal Yisrael will miss the “buffer week” from the tochacha of Bechukotai. Therefore, he explains, it is more important and preferable that at least the Diaspora be able to follow this rule than it is that they catch up to Eretz Yisrael.
So it turns out that the issue it is not why Eretz Yisrael doesn’t simply slow down for the Diaspora, but rather that the Diaspora will not speed up to catch up to Eretz Yisrael. This “buffer zone” preference answers for Acharei Mot/Kedoshim and for Behar/Bechukotai.
However, there is still the subject of not catching up by Chukat/Balak.Severalsefarimexplain that this is due to the importance Parshat Pinchas — that it should be read specifically during the Three Weeks, the period when we commemorate the destructions of our Batei Mikdash.