by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS VO'ES'CHANAN 5767 BS"D
Ch. 3, v. 23: "Rav loch" - It is much for you - The Holy Zohar, Ari z"l, and Mei'am Lo'eiz list numerous reasons for Moshe's not being allowed entry into Eretz Yisroel, all having the common factor of his having great virtues, all of which overpowered the sanctity of Eretz Yisroel. This is "RAV loch." You are so great that you simply cannot go there. (Nachal K'dumim)
Ch. 4, v. 43: "Betzer, Romos, Golon" - These are the names of the three cities of refuge on the Trans-Jordanian side. One who kills accidentally finds refuge in one of these cities, where permission for the blood-redeemer does not apply. This is alluded to in T'hilim 89:49, "Mi GeVeR yichyeh v'lo yireh mo'ves." If one who kills accidentally finds himself in one of the cities GeVeR, an acronym for Golon, Betzer, Romos, he will remain alive and not die through the actions of the blood-redeemer. (M'kome Mikdosh)
Ch. 5, v. 12: "Shomore es yom haShabbos" - Safeguard the day of Shabbos - In the Ten Commandments in parshas Yisro, where the reason given for Shabbos is that Hashem has created the world in six days, and ceased on Shabbos, a "remembrance" is in place, hence "zochor." Here, where the reason given is the exodus from Egypt, there is no place for a "remembrance," as one is to view the exodus from Egypt as if it took place today. (Rabbi Shlomo haLevi Alkabetz in his commentary on Shir Hashirim chapter #1)
Ch. 5, v. 12: "Shomore es yom haShabbos l'kadsho kaasher tzivcho Hashem Elokecho" - Safeguard the day of Shabbos to sanctify it as Hashem has commanded you - The intention of "kaasher tzivcho" might be that just as Hashem commanded you earlier (either in Moroh, Olush, or at Mount Sinai) to keep the Shabbos, a generation that was to live in a miraculous manner, with all their physical needs taken care of, and no doubt they had no thoughts of business dealings, etc., as all was done for them, so too, even when you enter Eretz Yisroel, and will live a non-miraculous life, and during the weekdays will have your mind on agriculture, livelihood, etc., you should also have a clear mind, devoid of all these type of thoughts on Shabbos, "k'ilu kol m'lach't'cho asuyoh." (Nirreh li)
Ch. 5, v. 16: "Ulmaan yitav loch" - And so that he do good to you - Who will do good to you? The Abarbanel explains that the antecedent is your son. When he sees how you behave towards your parents, he will act likewise.
Ch. 5, v. 26: "Mi yi'tein v'hoyoh l'vovom zeh lo'hem" - Who will give that their present heart will be for them - Medrash Breishis Raboh 34:10 says that the wicked are under the control of their heart, while the righteous are in control of their heart. This is the intention of these words. "If only their present heart will continue to be theirs," i.e. under their control. (Chasam Sofer)
Ch. 5, v. 28: "V'atoh po amode imodi" - And you stand here with Me - The Holy Alshich offers a novel interpretation of these words. The gemara Shabbos 88 relates that when Moshe entered the heavens to take the Torah down to earth, the angels were very displeased with his presence in heaven, and became even more displeased when they were apprised of his intention to bring the Torah "down to earth." They wanted to hurt him, and Hashem advised him to hold onto His Royal Throne. This is "po amode imodi."
Based on this explanation, the Oznayim laTorah explains that "v'ossu vo'oretz" to mean "so that they will do the mitzvos on the earth," and the Torah will not remain in the upper celestial realms.
Ch. 6, v. 2: "L'maan tiro es Hashem Elokecho lishmore es kol chukov …… atoh uvincho "u'ven bincho - So that you will fear Hashem your G-d to safeguard all His statutes …… you and your son and your son's son - The mishnoh in Pirkei Ovos 2:4 says, "Do not trust yourself until the day of your death." The gemara Yerushalmi Shabbos 1:3 relates that a chosid questioned whether a certain safeguard was required even in one's old age, and he ended up having a mishap. Safeguarding mitzvos means putting up barriers against sinning, such as secondary, Rabbinically prescribed marriage prohibitions, "shniyos," and the like. These are required even in one's old age, as our verse says that we should be careful even when we are grandparents. (Meshech Chochmoh)
Ch. 6, v. 3: "Eretz zovas cholov udvosh" - A land that flows milk and honey - As this is a follow-up on the words of verse 1, "laasose bo'oretz," our verse should have likewise said, "B'eretz zovas ……" The gemara Ksubos 111b and Taanis 23 say that the blessings Hashem promised are contingent upon fulfilling the mitzvos properly. We can thus say that our verse's intention is, "V'shomato …… v'shomarto laasose kaasher di'ber Hashem …… loch eretz zovas cholov udvosh," - And you shall hearken and safeguard to do, so that the result will be as Hashem has promised to you, a land that flows …… (Meshech Chochmoh)
Ch. 6, v. 6: "V'shinantom l'vo'necho" - And you shall ingrain them in your sons - The gemara relates that Kimchis merited to see each of her seven sons serve as a Kohein Godol. She said that this was in the merit of her great modesty. She stated that even the beams, which made up the walls of her home, never saw her hair uncovered. Is there a merit a man has that would bring the same result? In Tana d'vei Eliyohu Raboh 18:10 Eliyohu testifies that a certain Kohein prayed and cried to Hashem that all his children should turn out righteous people, and in this merit each of his sons served as a Kohein Godol during his lifetime, and as well, none of them died during his lifetime.
Ch. 6, v. 6: "V'shinantom l'vo'necho" - And you shall ingrain them in your sons - Although the Torah extols us to teach the Torah to our sons, nevertheless, a proper Torah education for our daughters is of extreme importance. The Chazon Ish was asked what took preference. A community did not have sufficient funds for both a boys' and a girls' education facility. Which comes first? He answered that a girls' school is a priority.
Ch. 7, v. 9: "Ulshomrei mitzvosov" - And to those who guard His precepts - The word "mitzvosov" is spelled without a letter Yud between the Sof and Vov. This allows for a reading of "mitzvoso," His precept, singular. (This point can likewise be made in the Ten Commandments on 5:10, but there, there is also the issue of the letter Vov being read as a Yud.) Mechilta on parshas B'shalach on the "shiras ha'yam" states that Rabbi Noson says that if one commits himself in his totality to fulfill even one mitzvoh, is guaranteed that Hashem will shower His blessings upon this person. Similarly, the gemara Yerushalmi Kidushin, near the end of chapter #1 cites Rabbi Yitzchak bar Bun, who says that a person who is punctilious with even one mitzvoh and makes sure to never transgress it even once, and at all costs, will be well treated by Hashem and will have a long life. The Rambam makes a similar point in his commentary on the mishnoh at the end of tractate Makos. This is the reason for "mitzvosov" being spelled in a manner that allows for a reading of "mitzvoso," to teach that Hashem will be faithful and keep His covenant and kindness to one who even safeguards in totality, even just one mitzvoh. (Haa'meik Dovor)
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