by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS HAAZINU 5763 BS"D
Ch. 32, v. 1: "Haazinu hashomayim vaada'beiroh v'sishma ho'oretz" - Heavens, hearken and I will speak and the earth will hear - Why is the remark to the heavens addressed in second person form while to the earth in third person? The gemara Sanhedrin 23a states that the idealistic elevated people of Yerusholayim would not sign on a document unless they personally knew who would be signing along with them. We may say that the heavens, aware that they would not be the only witnesses to Moshe's farewell testament had to be advised who else would bear witness. Thus Moshe directed his words to the heavens, second person, and advised that the earth, third person, would be the other witness. (Yalkut Ho'urim)
Alternatively, we can say that the heavens represent the great learned leaders of the nation, while the earth represents the common masses. Once the heavens would directly hear Moshe's words of admonition, the information would be passed on to the rank and file. (Shaa'rei Simchoh)
Ch. 32, v. 1: "Haazinu hashomayim vaada'beiroh v'sishma ho'oretz imrei fi" - Heavens, hearken and I will speak and the earth will hear the words of my mouth - The Holy Zohar writes that "the heavens" refer to wealthy people, while "the earth" refers to poor people. Where is there an indication to this interpretation? Since the verse says "vaada'beiroh" and then changes to "imrei" it is understood. "Dibur" is a word form that connotes tough harsh words while "amiroh" means soft words. A wealthy person doesn't readily take words of admonition to heart, as per the verse "v'oshir yaa'neh azus (Mishlei 18:23), and therefore he has to be spoken to in a tough manner to make an impact. However, regarding the poor man the same verse says "tachanunim y'da'beir rush," so gentle speech is sufficient.
Ch. 32, v. 2: "Yaarof kamottor likchi" - May my offering drip as raindrops - Why are these words of admonition compared to raindrops? Just as raindrops bring about the growth of fruits, so too, Moshe hoped that his words would bring spiritual fruits to those who complied with them. (Chizkuni)
Ch. 32, v. 2: "Kis'irim a'lei deshe" - As a rainstorm upon vegetation - One who witnesses a powerful rainstorm hitting plant life, hammering it with gale storm winds, might conclude that the storm will uproot the plants and grass. However, the opposite is true. By causing the plants to sway to and fro they are strengthened. So too, the commands of the Torah are many and one might mistakenly feel that they will ch"v be the downfall of the bnei Yisroel. Here too, the opposite is true. The Torah imbues the spiritual fortitude into each ben Yisroel, allowing him to survive the vicissitudes of life. (Tzror Hamor)
Ch. 32, v. 7: "Sh'al ovicho v'ya'geidcho z'kei'necho v'yomru loch" - Ask your father and he will relate to you your grandfathers and they will tell you - The Ibn Ezra asks that there two phrases seem to be repetitive. As the child is advised to ask his father AND grandfathers it would seem that there should be a conjunctive letter Vov before the word "z'kei'necho," so that it may read as "AND your grandfathers."
This verse is discussing a generation that is so estranged from the Torah that when the son asks his father a question regarding a custom or mitzvoh the father doesn't know the answer. He says to his son, "Ask Zeidy." "Sh'al ovicho," when you ask your father, "v'ya'geidcho," he will respond, "z'keinecho v'yomru loch," go to your grandfathers and they will answer you. (Dvash V'cholov)
Ch. 32, v. 39: "R'u ki ani ani hu v'ein elohim imodi" - See that I indeed I am He and there is no other power with Me - An insight into this verse brought in Sedrah Selections 5760 is brought and an addendum is offered. << "R'u ato ki ani ani Hu v'ein elohim imodi" - Rabbi Elozor of Amsterdam explains this according to what is written in the Rekanti and M'ga'leh Amukos. There are 955 strata of heavens. The first 900 strata have angels residing in them who ascend in greatness from strata to strata. However, the top fifty-five levels of heaven are devoid of angels. This is alluded to in the verse Dvorim 10:14, "Hein laShem hashomayim ushmei hashomayim." "Hein" equals fifty-five, so the verse is saying that the fifty-five heavens closest to Hashem are uniquely His with no angels residing there. Rabbi Elozor of Amsterdam says that Moshe pierced through all 955 levels of heaven with the power of the verses of Dvorim, which total 955 verses. From our verse "R'u" until the completion of the Torah there are fifty-five verses. As Moshe penetrated each heaven with another verse of Dvorim, he saw angels at each level until he reached level 901. In our verse which is the 901st verse of Dvorim, Moshe is saying, "See that I am He," meaning that Hashem is here alone, "v'ein elohim imodi," and there is no other power with Me, as from this level and upwards, no angels reside. >>
As an aside, the Divrei Chanoch says that with this piece of information that there are 55 strata of heavens that are uniquely Hashem's residence above the 500 strata of heavens that are shared with angels, we can penetrate the words of the Ibn Ezra on Kohe'les 5:7. On the words "Govoah al govoah," - the heights upon the heights. Ibn Ezra comments that he who knows the hidden secret of Hashem knows that they are fifty-five. These words are very cryptic. According to the above he might very well be referring to the highest 55 strata of the heavens, the "high above high."
Getting back to our verse, Rabbi Shlomo Kluger asks that the repetition of the word "ani" is not explained according to this insight. He offers that Rashi in numerous places in the Torah on the words "Ani Hashem" explains these words to mean either "I am trustworthy to carry out retribution," or "I am trustworthy to give a reward." (REWARD: Shmos 6:2, Vayikroh 18:5, 18:6, 19:16, 22:33, 23:22, 26:2 - PUNISHMENT: Shmos 6:2, Vayikroh 19:16, Bmidbar 15:41)How indeed can the same words connote totally opposite concepts, reward and punishment? We must say that even punishment is to be considered a positive act, as it either prods a person to walk the straight and narrow or cleanses his sins.
This is the intention of these words in our verse. See that "ani" when used by retribution and "ani" when used by reward are both positive, "v'ein Elokim imodi," there is no negative punishment involved, as the word "Elokim," which connotes strict punishment, is not with Me, only the words "ani Hashem," the appellation of mercy.
Ch. 32, v. 42: "Ashkir chitzay midom" - I will inebriate My arrows with blood - Parshas Haazinu arguably contains the most poetic verses in the Torah. Since these are the holy words of Hashem, they contain untold power, as do all the words of the holy Torah. The poetic power of our verses can be highlighted with the following story, related to me by Rabbi M.M.R. ob"m: He gave weekly lectures to a group of men. Many of them were not totally committed to Torah and mitzvos. One man told him that he had finally decided to embrace the path of Torah because he finally realized that the Torah was given to us by Hashem. His proof was from these words of our verse. He found them so beautifully expressive that he decided that it was humanly unlikely to compose them. Only Hashem is capable of creating such enthralling poetry.
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