by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 32, v. 2: "Yaarofe kaMoToR likchi tizal kaTal imrosi" - Rashi points out that "motor", rain, is not beneficial for everyone. For one who has his wine stored in a pit which has no cover and for one who is travelling rain is a major inconvenience. However, "tal," dew, is beneficial for all. The Chasam Sofer says that there is an illusion to this point in the letters of these two words which can be an acronym. MoToR spells out, "Masaachem, Torchachem, Rivchem" (Dvorim 1:12). TaL spells out, "Tov Lakol."

The Chasam Sofer's son, the Ksav Sofer asks, "The Torah is comparing the words of the Torah to both rain and dew. Since Rashi says that dew is always of benefit and always appreciated, why does the Torah find it necessary to also use the analogy of rain to the words of the Torah?" He answers that to understand the Torah properly there are two levels. The first basic level of understanding is that one must single-mindedly and diligently study and toil to understanding the Torah. (Even after all the toil the knowledge acquired is a present from Hashem, as we find in the words of our daily blessings to study the Torah, "Asher bochar bonu mikol ho'amim v'NOSAN lonu es Toroso." He has GIVEN us His Torah. The Holy Admor of Kotzk says on the words of the gemara Megiloh 6b and the Medrash Tanchumoh in our parsha 3:8 "Yogati umotzosi taamin," 'We see from these words that after all the toil, understanding the Torah is compared to a FIND, something that is gotten not as a direct result of one's efforts, just as a found object is not usually gotten directly through one's efforts.)

This level is compared to rain. Although rain comes from the heavens, it is not a product of the heavens. The bodies of water on the earth experience some evaporation, and this moisture ascends skyward. Upon condensation the rain descends. So too with Torah study, first we must make an effort, the diligent study of the Torah down here on earth, and then, and only then, does Hashem respond with a downpour of Torah knowledge into our minds. This level of Torah knowledge is exactly like rain.

There is a second level of Torah knowledge called, "laasukei shmay't'so alibo d'hilchoso," to conclude with a proper halachic understanding of the Torah that was studied. The gemara Bovo Kamo 92a says that this is dependent upon "siyato dishmayo," heavenly intervention. This level of Torah knowledge is totally from above, similar to dew which comes from the heavens and does not start out on the earth. Hence the need to mention both comparisons.

The GR"A says that the comparison of Torah study to rain teaches us a startling lesson. Do not assume that Torah study guarantees that the one who pursues it will become a refined person. Just as one who plants something beneficial, as wheat or another grain, has his crops develop thanks to the rainfall, similarly one who plants poisonous plants will have them thrive from the rain as well. It all depends upon what one plants. The Torah only makes it thrive but does not change what the plant is. This is why the verse compares Torah study to rain. Only one who undertakes to study the Torah as a guiding light to change his negative traits will benefit from it in a manner where he will become a different and improved person.

Ch. 32, v. "Shicheis lo lo bonov mumom" The Avnei Ezel says that we sometimes find a person who outwardly seems to be keeping the mitzvos of the Torah, and yet his emotions and attitudes do not synchronize with the spirit of the Torah. Although he does not transgress the Torah himself, his anti-Torah inner feelings develop in his offspring and they do not fulfill the Torah's requirements (See Ramban on Dvorim 29:17 "Shoresh poreh rosh v'laanoh").

This is the meaning of our verse. "Shicheis" - even if one is internally corrupt, "lo lo," the external damage is not visible upon him, but, "bonov mumom," his flaw will be externally visible upon his children.

Ch. 32, v. 43: "Harninu goyim amo" - This verse ends the 43 verses of "Shiras Haazinu," the Song of Haazinu. It is written in a unique format. The first half of each verse is written on the right side and a large space is left in the middle. The second half of each verse is then written on the left half, each verse ending at the far left end. This leaves us with two narrow vertical columns of writing in one outer column, encased in rectangular embossed (m'surtot) lines. This configuration is called "ariach al gebei ariach u'l'veinoh al ga'bei l'veinoh," a half-brick upon a half-brick of writing and a full brick upon a full brick of blank space.

These 43 verses comprise the first six of the seven weekly "Alios laTorah."

The gemara Rosh Hashonoh 31a and the Talmud Yerushalmi Megiloh 3:7 say that the chant of the L'viim for the Shabbos Mussof offering was Shiras Haazinu.

Rabbi Chonon (Onon) bar Rovo in the name of Rav said that it was divided into six sections. The acronym for the first words of these six sections is "HaZIV L'CHo," Hei-Zayin-Yud-Vov-Lamed-Kof. The gemara goes on to say that the same applies to the synagogue. Rashi explains that this means that when parshas Haazinu is read in shul on Shabbos, Shiras Haazinu is split into six "alios," each starting with the same verse as the chant of the the L'viim in the Beis Hamikdosh during the Shabbos Mussof sacrifice procedure.

See Rabbeinu Bachyei for an insight into the meaning of the acronym "HaZIV L'CHo."

There are numerous opinions as to which verses this acronym refers. Everyone agrees that the Hei stands for Haazinu (v. 1), as that is the first verse of our parsha. As well they also all agree that the second "aliyoh" begins with "Z'chor y'mose olom" (v. 7). A list of differing opinions follows, starting from the third "aliyoh."

1) Yarkiveihu (v. 13), Va'yishman (v. 15), Lu (v. 29), Ki yodin (v. 36).
(Ma'seches Sofrim 12:8)

2) Yarkiveihu (v. 13), Va'yar (v. 19), Lulei (v. 27), Ki yodin (v. 36).
(Rashi on gemara Rosh Hashonoh 31a d.h. "Haziv")

3) Yarkiveihu (v. 13), Va'yar (v. 19), Lu (v. 29), Ki essoh (v. 40).
(Rambam hilchos t'filoh 3:5, RI"F on gemara Megiloh 3rd chapter, Rav Paltoi Gaon, Moshav Z'keinim, and Shulchan Oruch O.Ch. #428:5)

4) Yimtzo'eihu (v. 10), Va'yishman (v. 15), Lulei (v. 27), Ki essoh (v. 40).
(Rav Hai Gaon brought in Sefer Ho'eshkol end of #21)

5) Yarkiveihu (v. 13), Va'yar (v. 19), Lu (v. 29), Ki yodin (v. 36).
(Rabbeinu Chananel on gemara R.H. 31a which is also mentioned in margin of gemara as a correction to the text of Ma'seches Sofrim, replacing Va'yishman (v. 15) with Va'yar (v. 19), brought in Tosfos d.h. "Haziv")

6) Yarkiveihu (v. 13), Va'yar (v. 19), Lu (v. 29), Ki mi'gefen (v. 32).
(Rabbeinu Chaim Paltiel in his commentary on verse 40, in the name of Rabbeinu Chananel)

There is an obvious difficulty raised by the Pri Chodosh on Sh.O. O.Ch.

#428:5. He asks that according to the opinion of the Ma'seches Sofrim mentioned above, the third "aliyoh" has only two verses since it begins with Yarkiveihu (v. 13), and the next "aliyoh" is Va'yishman (v. 15). The mishneh in Megiloh 23b says that there must be at least three verses for each "aliyoh," and this is the undisputed law as mentioned in Sh.O. O.Ch. #137:2.

He leaves us with no answer to this difficulty. (There is the opinion of Shmuel in the gemara Megiloh 22a that if one stops in the middle of a verse and the next "O'leh laTorah" continues from that point, that the verse is counted as two. Also there is the opinion of Rav that one may backtrack and read a verse twice to allow for three verses per each "Oleh laTorah."

However, neither opinion will remedy the problem, as we have a specific acronym for the starting points of each "aliyoh.") As mentioned above in opinion #5, there is a notation in the margin of the gemara Rosh Hashonoh 31a on Tosfos d.h. "Haziv" which changes the text of the Maseches Sofrim from Va'yishman (v. 15) to Va'yar (v. 19). This gives us an "aliyoh" which is six verses long and side-steps the problem raised by the Pri Chodosh. However, according to the original text the difficulty is still not resolved.

Perhaps a "chidush" which was said to resolve another problem can be used to answer the difficulty raised by the Pri Chodosh. The gemara Kidushin 31a says that there are 5,888 verses in the Torah. A text amendment printed in the margin of the gemara says that there are 5,845 verses in the Torah. According to the common annotation of the beginning of the verses, our tradition, mesoroh, is that there are 5,845 (we have 5,846) verses in the Torah. How do we reconcile the actual number of verses with the original text in the gemara?

The Satmar Torah journal Pri Eitz T'morim, Tishrei 5743 issue, #221 explains the discrepancy of 43 verses as follows: We have 43 verses in the song of Haazinu. Each verse has a gap of space in the middle of the verse after the cantellation "ESNACHTO," which is normally a mid-sentence stop, similar to a comma. This is how two narrow columns are created in the song of Haazinu, called "ariach al ga'bei ariach, l'veinoh al ga'bei l'veinoh." Since we have a combination of both an ESNACHTO and a gap of space, these two divisions combined render each of the 43 verses as if they were two verses. This would bring the total number of verses in the Torah to 5,888, the original text in the gemara.

We can likewise say that although there are only two verses between Yarkiveihu (v. 13) and Va'yishman (v. 15), the Ma'seches Sofrim considered each verse of the song of Haazinu as if it were two verses. Thus we have four verses from Yarkiveihu (v. 13) to Va'yishman (v. 15).

According to this "chidush" why don't we have two more verses added to the total number of verses of the Torah? We find a gap in the middle of Breishis 35:22 and Bmidbar 26:1, both after an ESNACHTO cantellation. As well, why aren't there another 14 verses by virtue of 14 gaps after an ESNACHTO in the song of "Oz Yoshir", Shiras Hayom (Shmos 15:1-19)? I await your response.

There is a second configuration of gaps throughout verses where there is a brick layout effect. This is called "ariach al ga'bei l'veinoh u'l'veinoh al ga'bei ariach," where instead of two columns being formed, the gaps in one line have text written below them on the next line, with the text always slightly overlapping the text below it on the next line. (See the gemara Megiloh 16b "omar Rav Sheiloh.") Can you list every place in Tanach that has the two column effect and every place that has the alternating brick effect?


Yom Kippur never falls on a Friday or a Sunday. If it would we would have Shabbos and Yom kippur back-to-back. This would create the following problems:

1) One who would die late Friday afternoon or on Shabbos could not be buried for two days.

2) In the days when there was no refrigeration vegetables would wither.


This is a ritual where one takes a live object, commonly a rooster for a male and a chicken for a female, and says a prayer, entreating Hashem to forgive his/her sins and symbolically having any evil decrees transferred to the bird. Others use a fish or another live animal. It is then slaughtered and then it (or its value) is given to the poor. Some use money and afterwards give it to charity. One should not use a species that is acceptable as a sacrifice on the altar at the Beis Hamikdosh, such as pigeons.

The earliest sources for this custom:

1) Rashi on the gemara Shabbos 81b D.H. "hai farpisa" says that there was a custom to place seeds into a planter before Rosh Hashonoh and once it sprouted, it was swung over the heads of people and a prayer was said that a year of life should be granted.

2) The gemara K'suvos 5a asks, "If Yom Kippur falls out on a Monday, shouldn't the Rabbis adjust the calendar to push off Yom Kippur lest someone come to inadvertantly slaughter a bird on the previous Shabbos?" Rashi says that it was everyone's practice to slaughter many birds for the very large erev Yom Kippur meal. However, Rav Amrom Gaon says that people would slaughter birds on the eve of Shabbos. This is obviously too early for the erev Yom Kippur meal and must have been the practice of slaughtering KAPOROS.
(Otzeir Ha'yoshon)

The one who will slaughter the bird should be the one who waves the bird above the head of the owner. (Tzeidoh la'derech)

If the bird is found ritually unfit for consumption through improper slaughtering, "n'veiloh," another bird should be used. (Knaf Raananoh) If it is found to be a "treifoh," having a physical disorder which renders it not kosher, there is a doubt if another bird is required, so money equal to its value should be given to the poor.
(S'dei Chemed on Yom Kippur vol. 1, #13)


"Ki Atoh SOLCHON l'Yisroel u'MOCHOLON l'shivtei Y'shurun" - Why are the words SOLCHON and MOCHOLON used, rather than "Ki Atoh SOLEI'ACH l'Yisroel u'MOCHEIL l'shivtei Y'shurun?"

The Holy Admor Rabbi Yisroel of Ruzhin answers with the gemara Bovo Metzia 33a which derives from the word "roveitz" (Shmos 23:5) to exclude a "ravtzon." There is a mitzvoh to help a fellow man with his load-bearing animal which has buckled under the weight of its load. However this only applies if the animal buckles occasionally, as indicated by the word "roveitz," meaning - it buckles. However if the animal constantly does so when it carries a load, it has the status of a "ravtzon," meaning a "buckler." This is an appellation that indicates an occupation, a reliably constant activity. When a friend's "buckler" is in need of help, there is no mitzvoh requirement to come to its aid.

Similarly, had the text of our prayer been MOCHEIL and SOLEI'ACH it would indicate that Hashem sometimes forgives and pardons. However, by saying MOCHOLON and SOLCHON, we are stating that Hashem is a constant and reliable FORGIVER and PARDONER.


"K'she'hoyoh Hashem yotzei mipi Kohein Godol," - When the Holy Name of Hashem EMANATED from the mouth of the Kohein Godol" - The Shulchan Oruch of the Ari z"l explains why the words "Yotzei mipi Kohein Godol" are used rather than "K'she'omar Kohein Godol" - when the Kohein Godol SAID Hashem's name. He says that the Kohein Godol did not actually say Hashem's name but rather only opened his mouth and the name of Hashem miraculously emanated from his mouth. With this he explains a difficult verse in Shmos 20:24. "B'chol mokom asher AZKIR es sh'mi ......" The literal translation is: "In every place that I will cause My name to be mentioned, I will come to you and bless you." Rashi says that to understand this verse we must switch around the phrases and explain as follows: Wherever I come to bless you, which means the Beis Hamikdosh, you may mention My name. This teaches us that in the Beis Hamikdosh, Hashem's name is pronounced exactly as it is written. We have two difficulties here. One is that we have to switch around the phrases, and the second is that the word AZKIR is not well translated. Rashi explains it to mean that you, the Kohein, may mention My name, but the verse says AZKIR, I will cause My name to be mentioned. According to the Ari z"l's explanation, everything flows smoothly because Hashem is saying His Own Holy name through the conduit of the Kohein Godol's mouth.


Last week in the first offering, the verse "Tomid einei Hashem Elokecho boh" was quoted, and sourced as Bmidbar 11:12. It should read Dvorim 11:12.

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