ANSWERS TO REVIEW QUESTIONS
prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem
Previous dafBerachos 32
(a) The Pesukim "va'Asher ha'Rei'osi" "Hinei ka'Chomer" and "va'Hasirosi es
Leiv ha'Even" (which refer to the past, the present and the future
respectively), all teach us that Hashem has control over the Yeitzer ha'Ra
and that, should He so wish, He has the ability to remove it from us.
Without these Pesukim, comments the Gemara, we would not have a leg to
stand on (since the blame for our sins would be entirely on *our*
shoulders. These Pesukim teach us that Hashem has taken some of the blame
(b) With the words "ve'Di Zahav", Moshe was indicating that the sin of the
Golden Calf was due (at least in part) to Hashem having given Yisrael too
(c) It can be compared to a father who bathed his son and anointed him,
feeding him and giving him to drink, before hanging a purse full of money
around his neck and placing him outside a brothel. Does he really expect
him not to sin?
(d) After describing the wealth that awaited Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael, the
Torah warns "ve'Ram Levavecha ve'Shachachta" - indicating that too much
wealth (especially when it is easily come by) can easily result in vanity
and forgetting Hashem.
(e) Hashem actually conceded that it was because He gave them too much
silver ("ve'Kesef Hirbeisi Lahem"), that they were able to use their gold
for the Golden Calf ("ve'Zahav Asu la'Ba'al").
(a) When Hashem told Moshe to descend from Har Sinai, because the people
had sinned, and he was no longer worthy of such greatness, he lost heart,
and was unable to argue in Yisrael's defense.
So Hashem said to him "Heref Mimeni ve'Ashmidem" (*if* you leave Me alone,
I shall destroy them), insinuating that if Moshe interceded on their
behalf, then He would *not* destroy them. Moshe took the hint. He
immediately began to pray on behalf of Yisrael.
(b) This can be compared to a King who was beating his son mercilessly. His
friend stood by, afraid to interfere, until the King said to his son "If
not for my good friend here, I would kill you. The friend, realizing that
everything depended on him, immediately began to plead with the King to
have mercy on his son.
(c) Amazing as it may sound, the Gemara explains "ve'Ata Hanichah Li" etc.,
to mean that if Moshe will leave go of Hashem's coat (Kevayachol), then He
will destroy them. So Moshe continued to hold on, until Hashem promised him
that he would pardon them.
(d) Moshe argued that if a chair of *three* legs (the merits of the three
forefathers - on which Yisrael had stood until now) was not secure before
Hashem's anger, how could one expect a chair of *one* leg (*his* own
merits, on which Hashem wanted to start building now) to stand secure. And
besides, how would he ever be able to face the Avos, who would accuse him
of failing to pray on behalf of their children, because he placed his own
honor before their's ?
(a) If "va'Yechal Moshe" is from the same root as "Lo Yacheil Devaro" (from
which Chazal derive, that although a person can not annul his own vows,
others (Beis Din) can, it will mean that Moshe succeeded in getting Hashem
to annul the vow that He had taken to destroy Klal Yisrael.
(b) Moshe asked Hashem, that if He were not willing to forgive Yisrael,
then He should blot him out from the 'Book of Life'. So we see that Moshe
was willing to give up his life on behalf of Yisrael - in that case,
"va'Yechal Moshe" will mean that Moshe gave up his life (from the word
'Chalal', a corpse).
(c) "va'Yechal" could also stem from the Lashon of 'Chulin', meaning that
Moshe argued with Hashem that it was profane for Hashem to destroy Yisrael
(since it would result in a profanation of Hashem's Holy Name - as the
Gemara will conclude).
And it could stem from the word 'Achilu', meaning 'trembling', which
teaches us the extent of Moshe's prayer - that he prayed until he was
seized by a fit of trembling.
(a) By "Asher Nishba'ati Lahem *Bach*", Moshe meant to say, that when
Hashem had sworn to the Avos to increase their children (and not destroy
them) Hashem had not just sworn by something profane, which would render
His oath profane, allowing it to be broken. No! Hashem had sworn to the
Avos by His own Holy Name, so that the oath was sacrosanct.
Moshe described how he pleaded with Hashem to allow him to enter Eretz
Yisrael, which indeed he did; but not before he had said "Ata Hachilaso
le'Har'os es Avdecha es Godlecha" etc., from which we learn that praising
Hashem is an integral part of Tefilah.
(b) When Moshe had said "ve'Chol ha'Aretz Asher Amarti" etc., he was
referring to his first appearance to Klal Yisrael as Hashem's messenger in
Egypt. He had then told them, in Hashem's Name, that he would take them out
of Egypt and bring them to Eretz Yisrael. Now Hashem was telling him that
He was about to destroy them. What would he say to them?
(c) The female connotation of "Yecholes" teaches us that Moshe argued how
the nations of the world would accuse Hashem of being weak like a woman,
and that He was unable to take on the Kena'anim.
(d) Moshe argued that, granted, Hashem had proved His total superiority
over the Egyptians, but *they* were only *one* nation. The nations of the
world would say that Hashem could take on the Egyptians, but that the
thirty-one kings of Cana'an were too much for Him (ke'Vayachol).
(e) Hashem responded with "Salachti" (I have forgiven) "ki'Devarecha"
(Because the nations of the world will say that I can't stand up to the
Kena'anim, *just like you said*.)
(a) Moshe Rabeinu had many good deeds, yet they did not suffice to grant
even part of his request - to cross the Jordan River and to see Eretz
Yisrael. It is only after he had Davened to Hashem for both of these, that
Hashem stopped him from continuing, inferring that one of these two
requests had been granted - that he would indeed see the land that was so
dear to him, and that, if he were allowed to continue, the other request -
to cross the Jordan River - would be granted, too.
(b) Fasting is more effective than charity, because charity is performed
with one's money, fasting, with one's body - it is a more personalized form
of Avodas Hashem.
(c) We see from "Lamah Li Rov Zivcheichem" that their Korbanos were
ineffective. So why does Yeshayah need to continue "u've'Farischem
Kapeichem, A'alim Eini Mikem" to say that their prayers would meet with no
success either? If, as it would appear, sacrifices are of greater value
than prayer, then this would be quite superfluous? Unless the opposite is
true, that prayer is of more value than sacrifices, in which case the Navi
needs to add that not only will their sacrifices be ineffective, but their
prayers will be ineffective too.
(d) We learn from "Yedeichem Damim Milei'u" that a Kohen who has killed
someone (even inadvertently) is disqualified from Duchening (even if he has
(a) The gates of tears never close!
(b) The clouds are symbolical of the Heavens being metaphorically clouded
over, so that the prayers fail to penetrate, as is hinted in Eichah
"Sakosah ve'Anan Lach mei'Avor Tefilah".
(c) Yechezkel was instructed to hold up a frying-pan between himself and
Yerushalayim, to symbolize an iron barrier that, from the time of the
destruction of the Beis Hamikdash, would divide between Hashem and Yisrael
(whose Tefilos go up to Hashem via Yerushalayim).
(a) Rebbi Yochanan, who says that someone who Davens a long Tefilah, will
only end up with a heart-ache, also adds the words 'u'me'Ayein Bah',
meaning that after Davening a long Tefilah, one thinks about how
wonderfully he Davened, and then awaits Hashem's positive response.
Moshe Davened long without any expectations ('like a poor man who comes
begging for alms').
(b) The only antidote to this is Torah-study, as the Pasuk writes in
Mishlei "ve'Eitz Chayim Ta'avah Ba'ah".
(c) We learn from the repetition of "Kavei el Hashem", that someone, whose
Tefilos have not been answered, should Daven again - maybe they will be
answered next time.
(a) "Azavani Hashem" refers to Hashem taking other nations over and above
us - like a man takes another wife over and above his first one.
"va'Hashem Shecheichani" means that, on top of that, He has forgotten us
(our good deeds).
(b) 'How can I forget you', answered Hashem, 'when I created numerous
legions of Angels and myriad's of stars just to serve you. I can no sooner
forget you, than a woman can forget her baby! Nor have I forgotten the
various sacrifices which you brought before Me in the desert'.
1. Since You do not forget, perhaps You have also not forgotten the deed of
the Golden Calf'?' Yisrael asked Hashem.
To which Hashem replied that the Golden Calf is long forgotten ("Gam
*Eileh* - the Golden Calf, about which it is written "*Eileh* Elohecha
2. 'So if You *do* forget', Yisrael asked Hashem further, 'Perhaps You have
also forgotten Matan-Torah, when Yisrael accepted the Torah?'
'va'*Anochi* Lo Eshkacheich' - the "*Anochi* Hashem Elokecha" I have not
forgotten', Hashem replied.
(a) We learn from "Ashrei Yoshvei Veisecha", and then "Od Yehalelucha
Sela", that one waits ("Yosheiv" in this context means to wait - like in
the Pasuk in Devarim - "va'Eishev ba'Har") for a while before Davening the
(b) And "Ach Tzadikim Yodu li'Shemecha", and then "Yeishvu Yesharim es
Panecha" that after one has Davened, one should wait a while before
(c) 'Ani le'Dodi, ve'Dodi Li' applies in all areas, but above all, to the
area of Tefilah. Hashem always responds to the way we treat Him. So if the
early Chasidim spent their time praying fervently to Hashem, He made up for
their lost time. They retained their Torah after learning it just once,
without the need for constant revision. And, due to Hashem's Divine
assistance, all their financial undertakings were successful beyond all
(a) One does not interrupt the Amidah to reply to a Jewish King, who
submits himself to the same G-d as the One to whom one is praying. But if
one is greeted by a non-Jewish king, who probably considers himself
superior to Hashem, one may (and should - unless one is a Chasid) reply
without any qualms.
(b) One interrupts the Amidah (to reply to a non-Jewish king or to any
person who poses a threat to one's safety) only when necessary. If however,
one is holding near the end of the Amidah when one sees him approaching,
then it is preferable to finish the Amidah quickly, in order to avoid the
need to interrupt.
(c) That Chasid (Rebbi Yehudah b'Rebbi Ilai or Rebbi Yehudah ben Bava) got
the prince to admit that, if he were standing before a human king, he would
not (for fear of being put to death) interrupt, to return the greeting of a
friend. At which, the Chasid pointed that, if that were true of a human
king, then how much more so of the King of Kings.