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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 1, v. 1: "Ei'leh hadvorim asher di'beir Moshe el kol Yisroel" - These are the words that Moshe spoke to all of Yisroel - Moshe chastised them for the sin of the golden calf, Korach, baal p'ore, spies, complaining against the manna, etc. Not everyone was guilty of each of these misbehaviours. Had he directed his words of admonition about each incident directly at the sinners, they would have been very embarrassed, as this was done in a public setting, and in turn it would not have been very effective. Instead, he mentioned all these misdemeanours to the whole nation, "asher di'beir Moshe el KOL Yisroel," and they each hit its mark. (M'leches Mach'she'ves)

Ch. 1, v. 1: "VaChatzeiros v'Di Zohov" - Rashi says that "Chatzeiros" refers to the incident with Korach, and "Di Zohov" to the golden calf. Commentators ask that these two happenings took place in reverse order of how they are mentioned in our verse. The medrash on our verse says that these words are elucidated by the verse, "Ei'leh ossosi v'hecherashti dimiso he'yos e'h'yeh chomocho ochichacho v'e'ercho l'ei'necho" (T'hilim 51:21). The medrash, cited by Rashi, says that when the bnei Yisroel sinned with the golden calf Moshe attempted to find an excuse for their action by saying that since the command of "Onochi Hashem Elokecho" was said in the singular, they might have mistakenly thought that since only Moshe ascended the mountain, this command was directed at him only. However, when some sinned by Korach, the claim was that the whole nation is holy and does not need Moshe as its leader, since they all heard, "Onochi Hashem Elokecho." Thus the sin of the golden calf, although chronologically earlier, only came to life after the Korach fiasco.

This is the intention of the medrash, which cited the verse from T'hilim. "Ei'leh ossiso," you have transgressed "Eileh elohecho Yisroel," "hechrashti," I have remained silent because eof Moshe's explanation that the command was misunderstood to apply only to him. But then, "Dimiso he'yos e'h'yeh chomocho," when you sinned by equating yourselves to Moshe, the "Ochichacho," I will reprove you (this means a rebuke by virtue of showing a person his wrongdoing based on his own contradictory behaviour, see Beis haLevi at the beginning of parshas Va'yigash), "V'e'ercho l'ei'necho," I will evaluate you to your own eyes, i.e. you have yourselves stated that "Onochi" was directed to you and not only to Moshe. (Rabbi Zalman Margolios n Pninim Y'korim)

Once on the subject of "Onochi" and "Lo yi'h'yeh" being heard directly by the whole nation, and the rest of the Torah from Moshe, we have an understanding of the precision of the text of many common blessings we recite. They include, "Boruch atoh Hashem Elokeinu asher kidshonu b'mitzvosov " There is a change from direct address, ATOH, to third person, "asher kidshOnu," and not "kidashTOnu." The gemara Makos 23b says that we heard "Onochi" and "LO yi'h'yeh" directly from Hashem, and the remaining 611 mitzvos through Moshe. This is alluded to in, "Torah tzivoh lonu Moshe." The word Torah has the numeric value of 611. Since the commands to believe in Hashem and in no one else were heard directly from Hashem, likewise in our blessings we direct the words "Hashem Elokeinu" to Hashem, direct address. When it comes to mentioning the sanctification brought about by fulfilling the remaining 611 mitzvos, which were heard from Moshe, we express them in third person. (Imrei Shmuel)

Ch. 1, v. 11: "Vivo'reich es'chem kaasher di'beir lochem" - And He will bless you as He has spoken about you - Since our verse is discussing a blessing why is it expressed as "di'beir," an expression of harshness, rather than "omar," a soft expression (see Medrash Tanchuma 936:13) of having said that He would bless you? King Dovid beseeched Hashem, "Samcheinu kimos inisonu shnos ro'inu ro'oh" (T'hilim 90:15). May Hashem bring us joy to the extent that He has brought pain upon us, even years that we have seen what seemed to us as bad. Similarly here, the verse is saying that Hashem will bless us "kaasher DI'BEIR," at least to an equivalent of where He spoke harshly. (Darchei S'shuvoh)

Ch. 1, v. 37: "Gam bee hisanaf Hashem biglalchem leimore gam atoh lo sovo shom" - Also in me has Hashem angered by virtue of you saying also you will not come there - Moshe is telling the bnei Yisroel that Hashem became angry with him because of their sin by the incident of the spies. This is very puzzling, as we do not find this being the case. The gemara M'nochos 41a says that Hashem does not punish for the lack of fulfillment of a positive precept (with the exception of not partaking of the Korban Pesach and not having oneself circumcised). However, if one did not fulfill a positive mitzvoh at a time that Hashem is angered with the masses, then even the flaw of not doing a positive mitzvoh can be punished. Technically, Hashem's command to Moshe by the drawing forth water from/by the rock was a positive command, "Speak to the stone." Moshe did not comply, and hit it instead. He only was guilty of not doing a positive command, as hitting or not hitting it wasn't mentioned by Hashem. If so, why should he receive a punishment? The answer is that from the time of the incident with the spies until now Hashem was angry with the bnei Yisroel, as explained by Rashi on Dvorim 2:17. Our verse is now well understood. Hashem was angry with me even for not doing a positive command because of your creating an "eis rugza," a time of anger by sinning by the incident of the spies. (Tal'lei Oros)

Ch. 2, v. 7: "Ki Hashem Elokecho beirach'cho b'chol maa'sei yo'decho" - Because Hashem your G-d has blessed you in all the works of your hands - We can translate the prefix Beis of the word "B'chol" as "through." Through the actions of your hands a blessing will flow. When the Alter of Kelem became quite ill he asked that the righteous people of the generation pray for his well-being. He also asked that the local pharmacist likewise pray for him. Members of his family were puzzled by this request. He responded that even though the pharmacist was a working man just as many others, and that he plied his trade with the simple goal of bringing in an income, nevertheless, he had very great merits by helping to bring about healing and pain relief for many, many people. (Ish L'rei'eihu)

Another form of blessing that comes about as a result of a person's actions is his giving charity. Medrash Shochar Tov on T'hilim 65 says that he who bestows kindness upon another receives the merit that Hashem hearkens to his prayers. Based on this medrash the Chid"o explains the words in Breishis 32:10, "Kotonti mikol hachasodim hatzi'leini noh miyad ochi miyad Eisov." Since I have become smaller, i.e. my income has decreased, because of all the kindness I have done by giving charity, I rely on You to have my prayers answered. Therefore, Hashem, please save me from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Eisov."


Yeshayohu Ch. 1, v. 27: "Tzion b'mishpot tipo'deh v'sho'vehoh bitzdokoh" - "Tzion b'mishpot tipo'deh" has the numerical value of 1,076, exactly that of "Talmud Yerushalmi." "V'sho'vehoh bitzdokoh" has the numeric value of 524, exactly that of "Talmud Bavli." (Rabbi Yoseif Chaim Sonnenfeld)



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha, Chasidic Insights and Chamisha Mi Yodei'a

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