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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 7, v. 14: “Lo y’h’yeh v’cho okor vaakoroh” – There will not be within you a non-reproductive man or woman – The Mahari”l Diskin translates the prefix letter Vov of “Vaakoroh” as AND, “There will not be within you a non-reproductive man AND woman.” A non-reproductive man will not marry a non-reproductive woman. However, if only one of the marriage partners has this problem it can be alleviated through prayer, as “t’filoh osoh machatzeh,” prayer accomplishes half (see Rashi on our parsha 9:20). Would a non-reproductive man marry a non-reproductive woman even prayer would not help. It would seem that the Mahari”l Diskin would have to admit that the prayers of our Patriarchs and Matriarchs went beyond this restriction.

Ch. 7, v. 15: “Kol choli v’chol madvei” – Any sickness or any painful disorder of – The GR”A explains that “choli” is a sickness that is not focused on any specific organ of the body, just a general sickness that forces a person to bed. “Madveh” is a sickness that causes pain in a specific organ or area, while the rest of the body feels well.

Ch. 7, v. 15: “Lo y’simom boch unsonom b’chol so’necho” – He will not place them in you and He will give them to your enemies – These words seem to indicate that disease must be given to someone, and Hashem tells us that when we fulfill our responsibilities we will avoid these sicknesses. However, why does the verse mention that they will be given to others? The Abarbanel says a startling “chidush.” The world would be overburdened by the need to supply sustenance to an endless number of people. It is therefore necessary to have plagues and other catastrophes to wipe out large numbers of people so that the earth’s resources can support the needs of a smaller population. If this is so, why didn’t Hashem either create a world that produces even more resources, or set up a system where reproduction would not be as prolific, rather than having people born only to die in a plague or the like?

Ch. 7, v. 20: “V’gam es hatziroh” – And also the hornet – This is the common translation of “tziroh.” However, the Ibn Ezra says that the root form for this word is “tzoraas” and it is a disease.

Ch. 7, v. 25: “P’si’lei eloheihem” – Their forms of deities – The word form PSL has two meanings, a form, “pesel,” and disqualified, “posul.” When a deity is formed you are required to destroy it, “tis’r’fun bo’aish,” and you may not benefit from its materials, “lo sachmode kesef v’zohov.” When a gentile negates his deity, “posul,” then “v’lokachto loch.” (Rabbeinu Bachyei)

Ch. 7, v. 25: “Pen tivokeish bo” – Lest you stumble through it – If you take gold and silver that was used as a deity or even from its adornments, you might have success when you invest it, etc., and there is the fear that you might attribute your success to the false deity. (Sforno)

Ch. 7, v. 26: “V’lo sovi to’eivoh el bei’secho v’hoyiso cheirem komohu” – And you shall not bring an abomination into your home as you will become devastation as it is – Not only will the gold or silver of idols and their accoutrements not bring you success, but they will even bring destruction to your other possessions. (Sforno)

Ch. 8, v. 1: “Kol hamitzvoh asher onochi m’tzavcho ha’yom tish’m’run laasose l’maan tich’yun urvi’sem uvo’sem virishtem es ho’oretz” – Every precept which I today command shall you guard to fulfill so that you may live and multiply and come and inherit the land – This is a tall order, to fulfill all of Hashem’s mitzvos. However, the reward stated in this verse is likewise major, encompassing the three main matters for which a person strives, life, children, and sustenance, “bni chayi umzoni.” “L’maan tichyun” = life, “urvi’sem” = children, “virishtem es ho’oretz” = sustenance. (Rabbi Chaim Vi’tal in Eitz Hadaas Tov)

Ch. 8, v. 1: “Asher onochi m’tzavCHO …… l’maan tich’yUN” – Which I command you (singular) …… so that you (plural) may live – Why the change from singular to plural? This is in keeping with the dictum, “one person’s meritorious act can bring merit to both himself and the whole world.” (gemara Kidushin 40b) (Kli Yokor)

Ch. 8, v. 3: “Lo al ha’lechem l’vado yichyeh ho’odom ki al kol motzo fi Hashem yichyeh ho’odom” – A person does not live on bread alone rather on all that exudes from Hashem’s mouth does a person live – The purpose of life is not to just eat bread, but rather to fulfill the mitzvos that Hashem has commanded us. (Rabbi Chaim Vi’tal in Eitz Hadaas Tov, Chofetz Chaim)

Ch. 8, v. 4: “Simlos’cho lo volsoh mei’o’lecho” – Your clothing has not rotted from upon you – Understand “mei’o’lecho,” – from upon you – as referring to the sweat which is upon your body. (Kli Yokor)

Why indeed did their clothes not rot from the sweat? Either it was an outright miracle, as a garment disintegrates even if left on a pole for 40 years (Ramban), or manna did not produce sweat (Ibn Ezra).

Ch. 8, v. 5: “Hashem Elokecho m’yasre’ko” – Hashem your G-d causes you suffering – This refers to the suffering of the lack of hospitability in the desert and of having a steady diet of manna. The accomplishment of this was so that they would fully appreciate their accommodations in Eretz Yisroel. (Ramban)

Alternatively, the accomplishment was to build up their trust in Hashem once they see that they survived all the difficulties only through Hashem’s intervention. (Rabbeinu Bachyei)

Ch. 8, v. 9: “Eretz asher lo v’miskeinus tochal boh lechem” – A land in which you will not eat bread with poverty – Translate “v’miskeinus” as “with cunning,” as in “ish miskein chochom” (Ko’heles 8:15). Cunning will not bring you success in finding sustenance. The conduit for bread in Eretz Yisroel is simply trust in Hashem. (Degel Macha’neh Efrayim)

Ch. 8, v. 9: “Lo sech’sar kole boh” – You will lack nothing in it – Fulfill Hashem’s mitzvos and the land will produce absolutely everything you want. (Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh)

There will be no need to import Heinz ketchup.

Alternatively, the verse does not say that the land lacks nothing, rather that YOU will lack nothing. This is in keeping with the insight of Rabbi Nachamon of Breslov in Likutei Mohara”n on the earlier words of our verse, “Eretz asher lo v’miskeinus tochal boh lechem ……,” a land that without poverty will you eat in it bread nothing will be lacking in it. A poor man eats only bread because he cannot afford any accompaniments to this staple food. However, if he had the means he would surely eat numerous other foods along with his bread. However, our verse tells us that the sanctity of Eretz Yisroel is so great that it will spiritually affect you to eat only bread even though you are not poor and all assorted types of food are readily available. You will have no interest in Heinz ketchup.

Ch. 9, v. 1: “Goyim g’dolim vaatzumim mi’meko” – Nations that are large and stronger than you – The spies brought back a report and said, “Ki az ho’om” (Bmidbar 13:28), that the nation is strong. The Sforno says that had the spies not been sent, or had they not brought a report of being scared by the might of the occupants of Eretz Yisroel, they would have been a pushover, not requiring battles to be overpowered. Rather, the Holy Ark would have been at the head of the bnei Yisroel and the enemy would have dispersed in fear, “Va’y’hi binso’a ho’orone va’yomer Moshe kumoh Hashem v’yofutzu oi’vecho” (Bmidbar 10:35).

The bnei Yisroel have the power of speech. Just by saying that the inhabitants of the land are powerful they invested them with power. Perhaps this is the intention of our verse, “vaatzumim mi’meko,” and stronger THROUGH you, because you said that they are strong.

Perhaps this is alluded to in Rashi, “Atoh otzum,” you are strong, i.e. you have great powers through your speech, "v’heim atzumim mi’meko,” and they are strong THROUGH you.



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha and Chasidic Insights

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