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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 1, v. 5: "B'eiver haYarden b'eretz Moav hoi'il Moshe bei'eir es haTorah hazose" - In the trans-Jordan in the land of Moav Moshe began to clarify this Torah - Rashi says that the clarification was that Moshe translated the Torah into seventy languages. Why was it necessary to do this altogether, and why specifically at this juncture?

There are deniers of the relevance of the Torah when we are found in foreign lands and environments. They are willing to accept that the Torah was binding when the bnei Yisroel were in their own spiritual "cocoon" in the desert, and when they lived in Eretz Yisroel and had mastery over the land. However, when they are exiled and in the Diaspora they should ch"v forsake the Torah, and instead, they should acclimate to the dominant indigenous, local culture, its values, etc, etc. This is why Moshe translated the Torah into all the seventy languages, to show its relevance even when we find ourselves among people speaking foreign languages, and even if they become our tongue. As well, he did this when they were in the land of Moav, not in no man's land in the desert, in their own environment and also not yet in Eretz Yisroel. (Ksav Sofer)

Ch. 1, v. 11: "Hashem Elokei avoseichem yoseif a'leichem kochem elef p'omim" - Hashem the God of your forefathers shall increase upon you a thousand fold as you now are - Toras Kohanim on parshas Shmini says that when the Mishkon was assembled Moshe blessed the bnei Yisroel with these words of our verse. Why was the day of the assembly of the Mishkon an auspicious time to offer this specific blessing? The courtyard in front of the Mishkon was 50 cubits square (Shmos 27:18). Vayikra Rabboh 9:10 says that when the bnei Yisroel assembled in this courtyard it miraculously contained all the adult bnei Yisroel. When they prostrated themselves there was a need for four square cubits per person (see gemara Eiruvin 48a). There were 603,000 bnei Yisroel and 22,000 L'viim, a total of 625,000 people (rounded off). Each person needed 4 square cubits, a total of 2,500,000 square cubits. The Mishkon's courtyard was 50X50 cubits = 2,500 cubits. Just as the courtyard was miraculously able to contain a 1,000-fold of its normal capacity, so too, Moshe blessed the bnei Yisroel at that time to increase a thousand-fold. (Rabbi Pinchos haLevi Horowitz)

Ch. 1, v. 11: "Vivoreich es'chem kaasher di'beir lochem" - And He will bless you as He has spoken about you - Since this is a blessing to exponentially increase the bnei Yisroel's population why is the word "di'beir" used, as it connotes a harsh statement? In T'hilim 90:15,16 the verses say, "Samcheinu kimos inisonu shnos ro'inu ro'oh, Yeiro'eh el avodecho po'olecho." The verses are saying that we beseech Hashem to bring us joy at least to the level of how powerful the days of pain were. This is the intention of the word "di'beir" of our verse. "May Hashem bless you corresponding to "di'beir lochem," the amount of harshness that He has conferred upon us. (Admor of Munkatch Darkei Teshuvoh)

Ch. 1, v. 37: "Gam bi hisanaf Hashem biglalchem leimore gam atoh lo sovo shom" - Also in me has Hashem angered on account of you saying also you will not come there - Rabbi Yoseif Albo in his sefer Ho'ikrim writes that Moshe's wrongdoing by the incident of drawing water from the rock in parshas Chukas was that when the bnei Yisroel came to him and said that they had no water, he should not have responded that he would take this up with Hashem and find a resolution. Rather, he should have acted immediately on his own, resting assured that Hashem would regenerate water from the rock. Keeping them waiting and wondering was his wrongdoing.

The Meshech Chochmoh, based on his recurring theme, that Moshe had to always be on guard to not bring on supernatural happenings on his own cognizance, no matter how pressing the need, so as to avoid people's mistakenly taking him on as a god, given that he had accomplished so many great things (and he cites numerous examples for this), is very puzzled. It is obvious that here too, Moshe had to first ask Hashem.

Although by the rebellion of Korach Moshe did not confer with Hashem and on his own announced that those who sided with Korach would be swallowed up by the earth, that was a situation where there was no such fear. This is because Korach and his cohorts claimed that Moshe made up the mitzvos he told them on his own (see gemara Yerushalmi Sanhedrin chapter Kol Yisroel). They so lowered his stature that at this juncture there was no fear that they would deify him. In any case, why here would it be proper to initiate the miraculous flow of water on his own?

He answers that given that this incident with the rock took place on the heels of the Korach incident, where albeit righteously, but nevertheless, Moshe enacted a miracle on his own cognizance and without first conferring with Hashem when protecting and legitimizing in the eyes of the masses the Kohein Godol position given to his brother, it looked bad now, when the whole population had no water and he responded that he has to confer with Hashem.

It is mind-boggling that such a fine point is so grievous that it is sufficient to keep Moshe from entering EY. Nevertheless, it is because of the bnei Yisroel's outlook of comparing his reaction to Aharon's position being challenged compared to his different reaction by the water that Hashem was angered. This is "biglalchem." G-L-L is a source form for something "rolled," meaning that when we take his actions in one place and compare them to behaviour in another it seems inconsistent. Moshe is saying, "Because of your "rolling" my reaction earlier and comparing it with my reaction by the rock, Hashem became angry with me. (n.l.)

Ch. 2, v. 7: "Ki Hashem Elokecho beirach'cho b'chole maa'sei yo'decho" - Because Hashem your G-d has blessed you in all the actions of your hands - A petitioner appeared in front of Rabbi Boruch of kosov and pleaded bitterly, saying, "Dear Rebbe, I have insufficient income to feed and clothe my family even in a most minimal manner. I have over the years attempted different businesses and I constantly think and think about possibilities of increasing my income and it is all to naught. I have never had even a minimal level of success in any of my endeavours."

Rabbi Boruch quoted our verse, taking note of the words, "b'chole maa'sei yo'decho." He said that we see from these words that Hashem's blessing does not rest on the endeavours of the mind, thinking and thinking of ways to increase our income. Rather, it is our responsibility to involve our hands, to act, and Hashem will bestow His blessings upon us financially when we limit our efforts to our "hands" only.



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

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