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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 29, v. 9: "A'tem nitzovim hayom kulchem lifnei Hashem Elokeichem" - All of you are standing today in front of Hashem your G-d - The Sforno explains that Moshe's words conveyed this message: "You might have been able to fool me some of the time, but you all stand in front of Hashem, Whom you can never fool."

Ch. 30, v. 19: "Hachaim v'hamo'ves nosati l'fo'necho habrochoh v'hakloloh uvocharto bachaim" - The life and the death I have placed before you the blessing and the curse and you shall choose in the life - The Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh asks us to compare this verse with verse 15. There it says, "R'ei nosati l'fo'necho hayom es hachaim v'es hatov v'es hamo'ves v'es horo." He raises these questions:

1) Why isn't our verse repetitive?

2) In verse 15 the four choices seem to be four separate possibilities, as indicated by the dividing word "v'es." Here we seem to have two groupings of two choices each.

3) After giving the choices of life and death why doesn't the verse immediately say that you should choose life, before mentioning new options, the blessing and the curse?

4) Why was "tov" not mentioned here?

5) Another question, whose answer is the key to answering all these questions: Why here does the verse interject "nosati l'fo'necho" in the middle of the four options? Either place it at the beginning, as we find in verse 15, or at the end? Our verse first gives us two options, that of life and death. These are "olom ha'zeh" choices, as they in turn bring in their wake reward and punishment in this world. These two choices are "nosati l'fo'necho," I have placed in front of you, i.e. in this present world. "Habrochoh v'hakloloh" are two possibilities in "olom habo." They are not "l'fo'necho."

"Brochoh" and "kloloh" are "olom habo" outcomes, as the verse says, "Boruch atoh b'vo'echo uvoruch atoh b'tzei'secho" (Dvorim 28:6). The gemara B.M. 107a explains that "b'tzei'secho" means upon your exiting this world. The placement of "nosati l'fo'necho" is now very well understood.

Our verse then says "uvocharto bachaim," referring back to the "olom ha'zeh" options. This command is targeting that which is in the present, as we live in the here and now. We find the same when the Torah tells us to follow Hashem's dictates and in turn we will receive timely rain (Dvorim 11:13), rather than mentioning "olom habo" rewards. Verse 15 mentions life and good and death and bad, as CHOICES, more than as resultant outcomes. Our verse mentions this world's results, actually receiving life = reward, or death = punishment, and the two types of "olom habo" remunerations, for a blessing and ch"v the opposite. This is why "tov" is mentioned earlier and not here.

Ch. 30, v. 19: "L'maan tichyeh atoh v'zar'echo" - So that you will live you and your children - Although this insight was offered in an earlier issue, it will be repeated because of the importance and practical application of the message. Our verse offers life and death and says that you should choose life. This is most puzzling. A choice means that the two or more options are real possibilities. As well, when advice is given to pick one, it clearly means that the recipient of this advice would consider choosing the other possibility. The choice between life and death is not really much of a choice, let alone that we have to devote a verse in the Torah to advise which to pick.

The answer lies in the end of our verse, "l'maan tichyeh atoh v'zar'echo." Your children are introduced into the options. Life and death can be interpreted not as doing things that are proper and improper. Rather, either choice is abiding by the Torah's dictates. Life means to do the mitzvos and to refrain from the negative precepts in a manner of "life," with eagerness, happiness, etc. One could just as well do the exact same mitzvos but with the "fear of death" approach. If I do that which is incorrect, or fail to do that which is correct, I will be subject to Although this might be true, it is the fear of retribution that is the driving force in mitzvoh fulfillment, and not the upbeat attitude of feeling so fortunate to do Hashem's will, "chaim." Although there is room for this mentality to an extent, it should not be the pervasive atmosphere in the home. This is serving Hashem through "mo'ves." This is why our verse ends with, "l'maan tichyeh atoh v'zar'echo." By employing negativity as the driving force in fulfilling the mitzvos we might be able to live our lives according to the Torah's dictates, and in turn we will "live," our children will likely be turned off and will ch"v turn away from our values. To maximize the possibility of "l'maan tichyeh atoh V'ZAR'ECHO," we must choose LIFE, serving Hashem with joy and happiness, as the next verse says, "L'ahavoh es Hashem." (n.l.)


Ch. 31, v. 16: "Elohei neichar ho'oretz" - The gods of the occupiers of the land - These words have the same numerical value as yishu u'miriam, the so-called result of immaculate deception and his sinful mother. The name yishu is an acronym for "yimach shmo v'zichro." His name was originally y'shua, with the letter Ayin at the end, but we call him his original name minus the Ayin. (Rabbeinu Efrayim)

There are more and more groups of spiritual wolves in sheep's clothing who represent themselves as followers of a religion that is essentially Jewish, but in fact is an attempted cover-up for belief in yishu as their deity. We might thus offer that "Elohei neichar ho'oretz" has the numerical value of 612, one short of the 613 mitzvos. This could well allude to someone representing himself as a person totally committed to all the Torah's precepts, but in fact he is sorely lacking in one particular mitzvoh, that of "Onochi Hashem Elokecho." (n.l.)

Ch. 31, v. 17: "V'choroh api vo vayom hahu vaazavtim v'histarti fonai mei'hem v'hoyoh le'echol umtzo'uhu v'omar b'kirbi m'tzo'uni" - And My anger will burn in HIM on that day and I will forsake THEM and I will conceal My face from THEM and HE will be left for consumption and there will find HIM and He will say in ME has found ME - As the capitalized words indicate, there is quite a number of changes from the single to the plural form. Any help with this would be greatly appreciated.

Ch. 31, v. 18: "V'onochi hastier astir fonai" - And I will indeed hide My countenance - Since this person has confessed that he is the recipient of much bad as a result of his having forsaken Hashem, as is written in the previous verse, why would Hashem respond with hiding His countenance? In an earlier edition of Sedrah Selections close to 30 answers were offered. Rabbi Yechezkel haKohein of Radomsk offers that the person is not repenting at all. He admits that he has forsaken Hashem, but has no plans to change his ways, notwithstanding that he has been the recipient of much bad. Read these words of our verse as: "V'ONOCHI hastier," - and when this person has hidden - forsaken - ONOCHI - the first of the Ten Commandments, to recognize that Hashem is our G-d, then Hashem's response is "astir ponai."



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

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