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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 14, v. 9: "Sor tzilom" - Their shadow/protection has abandoned them - Rashi offers two explanations:

1) Their strength through the merit of a righteous person is gone because Iyov has died.

2) Their shadow, their protective cover offered by Hashem, has left them.

Here are a few more insights:

3) The words just before this phrase are "lachmeinu heim," they are our bread. The bnei Yisroel's bread in the desert was the manna. Just as when the sun would shine upon the manna it would quickly melt and run off into the ground, so too, the present inhabitants of the land will have their protective shadow removed and the sun will beat down upon them, and they will melt away, i.e. offer us no resistance. (Abarbanel)

4) Their protection through good fortune has left them. The message is that we should not mistakenly believe that so many of them died because the climate and air of the land is so poor that life expectancy there is very short. (Minchoh V'luloh)

5) Their protection through their administering angels has left them. (Minchoh V'luloh)

6) The verse says that the inhabitants of the land will remain their because "Ki lo sho'leim avone hoEmori." At this point in time their merit to stay in the land, their shadow of protection, is gone and their time has come. (Minchoh V'luloh)

7) Their shadow refers to the protection afforded by their armour. We have heard them say that if the bnei Yisroel will enter the land and do war with them, that they would discard their armour to allow them to escape quicker. (Sforno)

8) A person who is being brought to the gallows be hung casts no shadow. They likewise cast no shadow, indicating that their death is imminent. (Rabeinu Chaim Paltiel citing Rabbi Yehoduh Chosid)

9) The head of a person who will die this year casts no lunar shadow on the night of Hoshana Rabboh. They likewise cast no shadow, indicating that they will die in battle. (Ramban)

10) These words are an allusion to merits that the bnei Yisroel have, which the inhabitants of the land lack. "Lachmeinu heim" is in the merit of the matzoh we consume on Pesach, and "sor tzilom" is the merit of residing in a Sukoh under the shadow of the "s'chach." (Rabbeinu Bachyei)

Ch. 15, v. 34: "Ki lo forash mah yei'osseh lo" - Because it was not clear what should be done to him - Rashi says that they knew that he was deserving of the death penalty, but they did not know which of the four types of punishment should be administered. However, the Tzror Hamor says that they might not have known if his actions constituted chilul Shabbos.

Ch. 15, v. 37: "Va'yomer Hashem el Moshe leimore" - And Hashem said to Moshe thus saying - Why does the parsha of tzitzis begin with "amiroh" and not with "dibur?" The Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh answers that based on the medrash (see Daas Z'keinim) that Moshe complained to Hashem that because there was no visible sign on the bnei Yisroel to remind them to not sin, as tefillin are not to be worn on Shabbos, the "m'kosheish" desecrated Shabbos. Hashem responded with the mitzvoh of tzitzis, which are to be worn even on Shabbos. In general mitzvos are an added responsibility and most parshios introducing new mitzvos begin with "Va'y'da'beir," a term of harshness. However, since this mitzvoh was in response to Moshe's request, it is a "kind" mitzvoh, and the parsha therefore begins with the soft word form of "amiroh."

The Holy Zohar explains that this word is used as a play-on-words to teach a halacha. Some garments have a sort of serge that is loose threads, which is called "imrah." One might think that he can make the tzitzis out of this "imrah." Therefore the parsha begins with "Va'yomer" and then commands us to make tzitzis. This teaches that there is an "imrah" and besides this one is to add tzitzis of separate threads.

Ch. 15, v. 38: "Tzitzis" - Fringes - In the previous verse the medrash was cited which said that lacking tefillin there was no reminder to avoid desecrating Shabbos Kodesh. Since the desecrator was put to death it is obvious that he was warned to not do so at the risk of incurring the death penalty. If so, what was Moshe's complaint that there was no reminder? We might say that it was a concern that someone might desecrate Shabbos where no one warns him to not do so, but from the medrash it sounds more like he was hurting by the sin bringing to capitol punishment. Numerous Rishonim ask this question: How could the desecrator be put to death? Rabbi Yehudoh's position is that the warning required to bring to the death penalty requires specificity. It is insufficient to only say that the act carries a death penalty. There are four types of death penalty. The one who warns must clearly state which type of death penalty will be administered. Since at the time of the desecration no one knew which of the four is the punishment for Shabbos desecration, how was he put to death? Some answer that they warned him that he would be put to death through one of the four types and he responded that whichever one it is he nevertheless was going to proceed. Others answer that the command in verse 35 to put him to death was a unique Heavenly command, and normally would not be done. Based on this answer we might say that he was indeed a "shogeig," but nevertheless, Hashem wanted him to be put to death (given that there was a laxity in this mitzvoh as per the Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh, or there was an attitude that all mitzvos were no longer relevant to them, as they were going to die in the desert). This is quite far-fetched.

The Rokei'ach says that when he was questioned about doing such a heinous sin, he responded that he started off desecrating Shabbos unintentionally (either he thought it was a weekday or that this act did not constitute "chilul Shabbos"), but upon receiving a warning he decided to go ahead anyway. Hashem responded by giving the reminder afforded by the mitzvoh of tzitzis, worn even on Shabbos.

Ch. 15, v. 39: "Tzitzis" - Fringes - Rashi offers a gematria. "Tzitzis" has the numerical value of 600. Add its eight strings and five knots and we have a total of 613. This seems farfetched, a combination of words and a section of the physical object of the mitzvoh. However, it seems that the point is the "tzitzis" is to serve as a reminder of all mitzvos, and this is not enough conceptually, thinking about the "tzitzis." This leaves us with only 600. We also need action, i.e. the making and wearing, hence the combining of the word and the action of binding the eight threads and making five knots. This is "l'maan tizkru," through "vaasisem." (n.l.)

Ch. 15, v. 39: "Uz'chartem es kol mitzvos Hashem" - And you will remember all of Hashem's mitzvos - Rabbinically ordained mitzvos are also Hashem's mitzvos. A gematria allusion: Vov-Zayin-Reish-Tof = 613, Taryag. The remaining Chof and final Mem = 620 (final Mem = 600). These are the Taryag plus 7 d'Rabonon. (n.l.)



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

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