by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS NITZOVIM 5761 BS"D
Ch. 29, v. 9: "A'tem nitzovim" - The word used for "standing" is "omdim." However, our verse says "nitzovim." Its connotation is "standing steadfast" with permanence, similar to "matzeivoh," a permanent monument. Moshe is telling the bnei Yisroel that he will pass on, as will future leaders as well. However, "a'tem nitzovim," the Jewish nation, will endure for all time. (Rabbi Shimshon R'fo'eil Hirsch)
Ch. 29, v. 9: "A'tem nitzovim" - Rashi on verse 12 d.h. "ha'yom" says that the admonitions and suffering maintain the bnei Yisroel and keep them standing steadfast in front of Hashem. The Sifsei Chachomim explains that the admonitions keep the bnei Yisroel from sinning and suffering cleanses their sins, as is stated in the gemara Brochos 5a and Avodoh Zoroh 4a. The Imrei Shefer explains Rashi with the words of the mishnoh Pirkei Ovos 4:2 "shes'char a'veiroh a'veiroh." He interprets these words to mean that when a person sins and thus forces Hashem to punish, this alone is a sin. Hashem punishes reluctantly. This is the reason we have a second set of admonitions in the Torah. The first was to warn the bnei Yisroel to not sin. Once they did and had to be punished, a second set of admonitions was in place, chastising them for sinning and causing Hashem to do the most unpleasant task of punishing. However, this sends a clear message of Hashem's unrelenting love for the bnei Yisroel. Had He no love for us after our sinning, He would not be upset by punishing us. By sending a second set of admonitions He shows that He is pained and still loves us. Thus the admonitions maintain us, because we receive the message of Hashem's unconditional love for us.
Ch. 29, v. 9: "Lifnei Hashem Elokeichem" - We sometimes find that the student reaches greater levels after the passing of his teacher, as after Avrohom died, "Va'y'hi acha'rei mose Avrohom va'y'vo'reich Elokim es Yitzchok bno" (Breishis 25:11) and after Yaakov left B'eir Sheva, where his father resided, "Va'yeitzei Yaakov miB'eir Shova, Va'y'achalome" (Breishis 28:10,12). As long as Moshe was alive the bnei Yisroel had this towering personage serve as a go between to Hashem. Moshe told them that he was about to depart from this ephemeral world and then the bnei Yisroel would have a more direct standing in front of Hashem. (Chasam Sofer)
Ch. 29, v. 16: "Vatiru es shikutzei'hem v'eis gilu'lei'hem eitz vo'evven kesef v'zohov" - A novel interpretation for today's western civilization mind set: "You have seen their abominations and their disgusting creations that they deify, of wood, stone. Their silver and gold, which they perceive as financial security and a shield to ward off all problems (are also their gods)."
Ch. 29, v. 16,17: "Vatiru es shikutzei'hem v'eis gilu'lei'hem, Pen yeish bochem ..asher l'vovo foneh" - Rashi says that "shikutzei'hem" from the word form "sheketz," indicates that their gods are disgusting as vermin. "Gilu'lei'hem," from the word form "golol," indicates that their gods are disgusting like the stench of bodily waste. If so, why is there a fear, as voiced in the next verse, that a person, a family, or even a tribe would ch"v turn to these abominations. We see here a virtual dramatization of the verse "v'lo sosuru acha'rei l'vavchem v'acha'rei ei'neichem" (Bmidbar 15:39), on which Rashi comments: "The heart and eyes are reconnoiters and agents for sin. The EYE sees and the HEART lusts." Thus, when VATIRU, and you have with your EYES, even a disgusting reeking object, there is a real fear that "Pen yeish bochem ..asher L'VOVO foneh," whose HEART will turn.
Ch. 29, v. 17: "Pen yeish bochem shoresh poreh rosh v'laanoh" - Lest there is among you a root, an origin, that will profuse a bitter growth. The ROOT of sin, say both Targum Onkeles and Targum Yonoson ben Uziel is in the realm of thought. This ROOT is so pernicious that it is felt generations before it comes to fruition. For example, when Efrayim was brought in front of Yaakov for a blessing (Breishis 48:8), Yaakov's spirit of prophecy left him because he sensed that the evil Y'rovom the son of N'vot would descend from him, even though that would take place numerous generations later. Similarly, the M.R. Shmos 41:1 says that when the bnei Yisroel were traversing Yam Suf they took an idol, called the "pessel" of Michoh, with them. This cannot be taken literally, as Michoh who made the idol lived numerous centuries later. Rather we must say that his ancestor entertained some thought of idol worship when passing through Yam Suf. As well, the gemara Sanhedrin 82b says that Zimri ben Solu, Shlumi'eil ben Tzurishadai, and Sho'ul the son of the Canaanite woman were one and the same person. This is also not to be taken literally. It is forbidden to think that Shlumi'eil, who was the tribal head of Shimon and therefore obviously a very righteous and elevated person, was one and the same as Zimri, a great sinner. Rather the gemara means to tell us that since Zimri committed such a great sin, it was obviously a great stain on the tribe of Shimon and in particular its leader, Shlumi'eil. The ROOT of Zimri's sinning was based in Sho'ul the son of the Canaanite woman. Zimri's audacious act generations later was the OUTGROWTH. (GR"A in A'derres Eliyohu)
Ch. 29, v. 18: "V'hoyoh b'shomo es divrei ho'olloh haZOSE" - The gemara Megiloh 31b says that the admonitions of parshas B'chukosai were expressed in the plural form, while those in parshas Ki Sovo were expressed in the singular form. It is obvious that all admonitions of both of the above parshios were directed to the bnei Yisroel, both as numerous independent people, in the plural form, and as a group, in the singular form. The sinner, upon hearing THESE admonition of parshas Ki Sovo, "es divrei ho'olloh haZOSE," which were expressed in the singular form, indicating that they are directed to the bnei Yisroel as a group, placates his conscience by saying, "sholom y'h'yeh LI," peace will be upon ME, as I am but one insignificant person, and the admonitions were directed to the bnei Yisroel as a nation. However, Hashem responds in kind by also singling him out and punishing him, "V'hivdilo Hashem l'ro'oh mikole shivtei Yisroel" (verse 20), just as he separated himself from the rest of the bnei Yisroel. (GR"A in A'derres Eliyohu)
Ch. 29, v. 18: "V'hoyoh b'shomo es divrei ho'olloh hazose v'hisbo'reich bilvovo leimore sholom y'h'yeh li" - When one hears the powerful admonitions he might delude himself into believing that by being shaken up by the "speech" his sins will be forgiven, as the Holy Alshich interprets, "Va'yi'no'chem Hashem al horo'oh asher di'ber" (Shmos 32:14). Hashem has relented and is satisfied with "asher di'ber," that which He has spoken. Although after the sin of the golden calf Hashem did not carry out His threat to ch"v destroy the nation, it was only because of Moshe's intervening with much supplication. However, if a person relies on just hearing "mussar shmuessen," ethical lectures, and does not correct his ways, "Lo yoveh Hashem slo'ach lo ki oz yeshan af Hashem v'kinosso bo'ish hahu .." (verse 19). (Yaalas Chein)
Ch. 29, v. 19: "Lo yoveh Hashem slo'ach lo" - Why doesn't the verse simply say "Lo yislach lo Hashem?" The person who says "sholom y'h'yeh li" (verse 18) relies on the guarantor responsibility, "arvus," that all of bnei Yisroel accepted upon themselves. He figures that the punishment he will receive will be relatively light, because Hashem will spread out the total punishment among all the people. However, halacha mandates that the lender has the option of collecting all his debt from the borrower, even when there is a guarantor from whom the lender may collect. This is the intention of "lo yoveh," Hashem will not want to forgive him part of his sin and collect retribution from a guarantor. Rather, Hashem will single him out for punishment, "V'hivdilo Hashem l'ro'oh" (verse 20), because he sinned with the intention of having his punishment fall into the laps of others. (Likutei Naftoli)
Ch. 29, v. 27: "Va'yash*L*i'cheim el Eretz acherres" - The word "Va'yash*L*i'cheim" contains an oversized letter Lamed. The name of this letter can be translated as "teach." The gemara P'sochim 87b says that Hashem sent bnei Yisroel into exile among the heathen nations of the world to expose them to the "people of the Book" and this would increase the number of converts to Judaism Thus when the bnei Yisroel are thrown into another land there is a "great teaching," a "Lamud (limud) rabosi," which reaches even the nations of the world. (Rabbi Shimshon R'fo'eil Hirsch)
Ch. 30, v. 1,2,3: "V'hoyoh ki yovo'u o'lecho .. habrochoh v'hakloloh, V'shavto, V'shov Hashem Elo'kecho es shvus'cho v'RICHA'MECHO" - If you respond with repentance only after the curse has come upon you, this is not a desirable form of repentance, as it is repentance based on fear of further punishment. Nevertheless, "Tosheiv enosh ad dako vatomer shuvu vnei odom" (T'hilim 90:3), You accept the repentance of a person even when he is beaten. However, this is only because of Hashem's endless MERCY. Thus "V'shov Hashem Elo'kechoes shvus'cho v'RICHA'MECHO." (Imrei Shefer)
QUESTION: Which parsha of the Torah is not read at all this year?
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See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha
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