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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 3, v. 26: "Va'yisa'beir Hashem bi l'maanchem" - And Hashem was angered in me by virtue of you - Rashi says that we find that this is so in T'hilim 106:32, "Va'yaktzifu al mei m'rivoh va'yeira l'Moshe baavurom." Why does Rashi bring this verse and not cite a verse in the Torah itself, Bmidbar 20:12? Y'dei Moshe answers that Hashem does not punish on this world for not fulfilling a positive command. The exception is that at a time of Hashem's anger He punishes even for this. Moshe's not striking the rock was only a lack of fulfilling Hashem's positive command. Only the verse in T'hilim tells us that Hashem was angered, "va'yaktzifu."

Possibly, this question can be answered very simply. In our verse Moshe states that Hashem was angry with him BECAUSE OF the bnei Yisroel, "l'maanchem." The verse in Bmidbar does not state this, while the verse in T'hilim adds "baavurom." (Nirreh li)

Ch. 4, v. 2: "V'lo sig'r'u mi'menu lishmor es mitzvos Hashem" - And do not diminish from it to safeguard the precepts of Hashem - Some people attempt to surreptitiously undermine the sanctity and wholesomeness of the Torah by claiming that there are simply too many mitzvos with which to comply and people just give up. If there would be less mitzvos then at least the smaller amount would be kept by all. The Torah sternly warns against this! Do not diminish from the precepts of the Torah even if you feel that this will safeguard the mitzvos, "lishmor es mitzvos Hashem." (Hadoroh Shel Torah)

Ch. 4, v. 9: "Pen tishkach" - Lest you will forget - The gemara Horios 13b lists a number of acts that bring one to forgetting his Torah learning, called "koshoh l'shikchoh." Doing one of these acts is not just a matter of forgetting one's learning and having to put in the effort of more study to recover the knowledge. It might well be an outright transgression of the negative precept "pen tishkach," the warning to not forget one's Torah learning, as per the mishnoh Pirkei Ovos 3:9. (MVRHRH"G R' Yaakov Kamenecki zt"l shomati mi'menu)

Ch. 4, v. 9: "Pen tishkach es hadvorim asher ro'u ei'necho" - Lest you will forget the matters that your eyes witnessed - The Ramban, in a somewhat lengthy impassioned manner explains that these words are one of the 613 mitzvos of the Torah. We are commanded to not forget the awesome scene at Har Sinai, which took place at the time of the giving of the Torah. The Rambam does not mention this as one of the mitzvos, although he clearly states in his I'geres Teimon that this verse means the same as the Ramban explains, calling it a hinge upon which belief in the Torah hinges. He clearly states that by recounting the stance at Har Sinai we strengthen our BELIEF in Hashem and his Torah. This is why the Rambam does not count it as a separate mitzvoh. It is a component of belief in Hashem, mitzvoh #1 on his list. The Ramban posits that the gist of the verse is to solidify our position in countering anyone who might later claim that either the whole thing is a fabrication or that ch"v a "new deal" has been cut.

The mishnoh Pirkei Ovos (3:8) says that this verse teaches us that it is a sin to forget the teachings of the Torah (also see gemara M'nochos 99b). This seems contrary to both the Ramban and Rambam. However, this is resolved with the words of the Kabalists brought in the Yalkut Dovid. They say that if one forgets the words of the Torah he should remind himself of the stance at Har Sinai. By connecting with the awesomeness of that stance the words of the Holy Torah will come back to him.

Ch. 4, v. 9: "V'hodatod l'vo'necho v'livnei vo'necho" - And you shall teach them to your sons and to your sons' sons - These words are the mitzvoh of teaching Torah to our sons and sons' sons (Rambam hilchos Talmud Torah 1:2). There is an halachic consequence of there being a mitzvoh and responsibility to teach one's sons' sons Torah. Rabbi Akiva Eiger rules that if the father is not present at his son's circumcision, then the next in line to perform this mitzvoh is the child's paternal grandfather because this privilege is based on the responsibility to teach Torah to the child.

Ch. 5, v. 6: "Onochi Hashem Elokecho asher hotzeisicho mei'eretz Mitzrayim" - I am Hashem your G-d Who has taken you out of the land Egypt - Why not say "Who has created heaven and earth?" If the verse would say this one could still be mistaken and incorrectly assume as do many that there is ch"v one G-d who has mastery over good happenings, and another who has power over bad happenings. By stating that I have taken you out of the land Egypt, a situation where good happened for the bnei Yisroel and in tandem powerful retribution visited the Egyptians, this mistaken view is negated. (Lechem Abirim)

Ch. 5, v. 12: "Kaasher tzivcho Hashem Elokecho" - As Hashem your G-d has commanded you - We do not find these words by the command to remember the Shabbos in the Ten Commandments of parshas Yisro. Although Rashi says that "as Hashem your G-d has commanded you" refers to the command in Moroh before the Torah was given, the Meshech Chochmoh offers a most novel differing explanation. The Ramban on Vayikra 23:24 writes that the words "y'h'yeh lochem Shabbosone" teach us that besides the 39 restricted acts of Shabbos transgression the Rabbis were empowered with deciding which acts are also restricted on Shabbos because they take away from the sanctity of the day. This includes business transactions, moving and arranging items in a warehouse, movement of "muktzoh" items, etc. If these acts would be permitted there is the fear that one would take up the day with arranging stock, etc. In the desert this concern had no place, as people were not involved in business activities all week. They had their housing, food, and clothing provided for in a miraculous way. Hence there was no need to warn against such activities. In our parsha, where the new generation of bnei Yisroel that would enter Eretz Yisroel and live a "natural" existence was being addressed, the prohibition against such activities is in place. The Meshech Chochmoh concludes that "kaasher tzivcho" refers to the command "y'h'yeh lochem Shabbosone" in parshas Emor.

Ch. 5, v. 15, "V'zocharto ki eved ho'yiso b'eretz Mitzrayim va'yotziacho" - And you shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt and He took you out - Shabbos of the Ten Commandments in parshas Yisro is a reminder that Hashem created the world in six days and desisted from creation on the seventh day (Shmos 20:11). We mention both ideas in our Friday night kiddush, "zikorone l'maa'sei vreishis," and "zeicher litzias Mitzroyim." Why do we say "zikorone" in relation to the creation of the world and "zeicher" in relation to being taken out of Egypt?

Obviously, we must first explain the difference between these two words.

Based on the Rada"k in his Sefer Hashoroshim entry "ish," who writes that the word "ishon," the pupil of the eye, is sourced from "ish," a person, and the Vov-Nun suffix indicates the diminutive form, we can say that "zikorone" is a small remembrance and "zeicher" is a full-fledged remembrance.

The Mahara"l of Prague in Gvuros Hashem chapter #44 writes that if Shabbos would be limited to being a remembrance of the creation of the world only, it would follow that all mankind would be required to sanctify the day. It is only because it is also a remembrance that Hashem took the Jewish nation out of Egypt to serve Him, and this created a unique relationship, limited to the bnei Yisroel to the exclusion of others, that Shabbos is to be kept only by the bnei Yisroel. Not only that, but a ben Noach may NOT keep the Shabbos even on a voluntary basis.

We now understand why as a commemoration of the creation of the world Shabbos is a minor theme, "zikorone," and as a commemoration of the exodus from Egypt it is a major theme, "zeicher." (Nirreh li)

Ch. 5, v. 17: "V'lo sinof" - And do not commit adultery - Rashi writes that "niuf," adultery, is a word reserved for adultery with a married woman only, and not other forbidden unions. Rashi on verse 7 writes that he has already explained the Ten Commandments. If so, why does he explain "niuf" here, as he has already explained it in Shmos 20:13? (Although we find Rashi offering a few comments on this second account of the Ten Commandments, each one of these comments is on a change from the wording of the earlier text.)

There is a difference between the text here and in parshas Yisro. There the verse says "Lo sinof" without the linking Vov. Here we have "V'lo sinof," connecting it to the previous words "Lo sirtzach." We could possibly misunderstand this to mean that one is prohibited to kill his fellow man, AND if he did kill him, leaving the victim's wife as a widow, he is still prohibited from having relations with her and this is considered "niuf" for the murderer. Therefore Rashi reiterates what he previously said in parshas Yisro, that "niuf" only applies to a married woman, and not to a widowed woman even under these circumstances. (Ro'isi)



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha and Chasidic Insights

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