אם בחוקותי תלכו
If you walk in my statutes (Leviticus 26:3)
Rashi, quoting the Sifra, comments:
You should study the Torah laboriously (שתהיו עמלים בתורה).
Rashi used the word "עמלים," because of the verse (Numbers 19:14) "when a man dies in a tent" (אדם כי ימות באוהל), from which the Sages deduced that the Torah can be perpetuated only by one who exhausts himself in studying it (שממית את עצמו עליה, literally: kills himself over it), as the tanna says (Avot 6:3): "to study the Torah laboriously (ובתורה אתה עמל). One's laborious study of the Torah is called exhaustion because by studying the Torah one exhausts his physical desires in order to become holy unto the Eternal, to the Torah, and to the mission of his life. This is implied by the first part of the above mentioned Mishnah: "you shall eat bread with salt and to live a life of hardship" (פת במלח תאכל וחיי צער תחי') and only then does it say "to study the Torah laboriously." Moreover, the word "הליכה" (walking) is used in reference to death as it is written (Genesis 25:32) "הנה אנכי הולך למות" (I am about to die). Also in connection with David, the Scripture says (1 Kings 2:2): "אנכי הולך בדרך כל הארץ" (I am about to go the way of all the earth). So since here it is written: "אם בחוקותי תלכו" (If you walk in my statutes), the Sages interpreted the verse to mean if you study the Torah laboriously to the point of exhaustion.
ונתתי שלום בארץ ושכבתם ואין מחריד
And I will give peace in the land and you will dwell and none will make you tremble (Leviticus 26:10)
Our master explained that sometimes a person may be at peace with his enemy, because he is constantly on alert with his sword drawn ready for battle, so that his foe is afraid to approach to wage war against him. Such a situation may be called peace, because no evil shall befall him and no scourge will come near his tent. However, this is a conflicted peace, because his soul will find no rest owing to the constant fear that an attacker may come upon him. Better than this is the peace that results when one dwells together with his neighbors who love him as if they were his brothers. Then he need fear no evil, and he will dwell quietly and serenely and prosperously in his home. This is the promise of the Scripture in saying: "And I will give peace in the land" (ונתתי שלום בארץ). A peace such that you will rest securely and "none will make you tremble" (ואין מחריד) because there is peace all around you.
In this way we can also understand the words of Rashi on the passage "and I will give peace in the land."
Perhaps you will say, "Well there is food and there is drink: but if there is no peace, then all this is nothing." The Scripture therefore states after all these promises "I will give peace in the land."
And the question is obvious: Why would they think that there would not be peace? But we may say that the peace that is being referred to is peace with their enemies from without. In that case, they would indeed have reason to fear that after they have come into a desirable land and into houses filled with every good thing, the surrounding nations would be envious of them and would want to take their land from them. They would then have to remain constantly on alert lest their enemies invade their land like an overflowing river. That is why the Scripture promises them that no one will desire their land and they will dwell upon it securely and no one will cause them to tremble.
ורדפו מכם חמשה מאה ומאה מכם רבבה ירדופו
And five of you will pursue one hundred and a hundred of you will pursue ten thousand (Leviticus 26:8)
But is this the right proportion? Surely it should have stated only "and a hundred of you shall pursue two thousand (and not ten thousand)?
And there have been many who have asked why Rashi was so verbose here saying "surely it should have stated only" (והלא לא היה צריח לאמר אלה), all of which seems unnecessary. And the gaon, R. Moshe Harif explained that the word "רבבה" (ten thousand) could also be interpreted to mean a large number (not necessarily ten thousand). Rashi was therefore asking if, on the one hand, "רבבה" means ten thousand, is this the right proportion? And if, on the other hand, "רבבה" means some unspecified large number, why did the Scripture not in fact say "two thousand"?
Our master explained that this answer is still not adequate, for why should the Scripture have said "two thousand"? Would we have been incapable calculating this ourselves? So we must interpret Rashi's words as follows. If "רבבה" is just an unspecified large number, and the Scripture expected that we ourselves would arrive at the calculation of two thousand by ourselves, then the Scripture ought to have remained silent. For we ourselves could calculate the ratio of five to one hundred. And should we say that the Scripture wished to reduce our need to make such calculations, then the Scripture should have written two thousand explicitly. That is how we must interpret the verbosity of Rashi according to the understanding of the Gaon R. Moshe Harif. However, the text of the Torat Kohanim does not in fact contain the words "והלא לא היה צריח לאמר אלה."