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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS VO'ES'CHANAN 5769 BS"D

Ch. 3, v. 23: "Voes'chanan el Hashem" - And I have beseeched Hashem - Rashi explains that this term is used for prayer when one is asking for an undeserved freebie, "matnas chinom." Gur Aryeh explains that the word "chinom," gratis, is based in the "chanan," a prayer for a present. The additional letter Mem at the end of "chinom" is found in other word forms as well, such as "reikoM." Although there should be an additional letter Nun in "chinom," it is incorporated into the first, and only, letter Nun of the word, as indicated by its having a "dogesh," a dot, in the letter.

The Rada"k says that "chinom" is sourced from "chein," grace, and the suffix letter Mem is explained as the Gur Aryeh says. They explain that when someone offers something gratis, it is based on finding grace, "chein," in the eyes of the giver.

The Chizkuni in his explanation of Rashi says that the word "vo'es'chanan" has as its source word "chinom," and the second Nun is in place of the Mem of "chinom." (See the final word in Sefer Doniel, "L'keitz ha'yimoN.")

Rashi says that since Hashem expressed Himself to Moshe with the words, "V'chanosi eis asher ochon" (Shmos 33:19), Moshe now expressed himself similarly. Rashi goes on to offer an alternative explanation, that this word form is simply one of ten synonyms that are used for prayer, as enumerated by the Sifri. A clarification of these two explanations: The former is that had Moshe not been advised that Hashem sometimes gives undeserved reward, he would not have had the temerity to ask for it. Since Hashem said, "V'chanosi " Moshe took up Hashem's offer. (Minchas Yehudoh)

The second explanation is independent of Moshe's being aware of Hashem's graciousness to give an undeserved present. Although this specific word form indeed means to pray for an undeserved reward, and this is its nuance of difference from other synonymous words, and that is why it is used here, Moshe would have asked for a favour in any case.

There is a variation of texts in the Sifri, but according to the GR"A's text the word "tz'okoh" is left out. Perhaps it is so close to "z'okoh" that it is self-understood. The Sifri's list following the GR"A's text is: "Z'okoh, shavo'oh, n'okoh, rinoh, p'gioh, n'fole, pilul, asiroh, chiluy, chinun." The Sifri cites a verse for each of these words.

Ch. 3, v. 23: "Bo'eis hahee" - At that time - At which time? Ramban says this means upon having vanquished Sichon and Og. The Abarbanel and Tzror Hamor say that it refers to after having given Yehoshua the reins of leadership. The Ramban and Tzror Hamor alternatively offer that it refers to immediately after Hashem advised Moshe that he would not enter the land, i.e. just after the sin of the "waters of dissent."

Ch. 3, v. 26: "Va'yisa'beir Hashem bi l'maanchem" - And Hashem has been angry with me for you - Translate "l'maanchem" as "for your benefit." Because Hashem was very displeased with Moshe and did not allow him ingress into Eretz Yisroel, he died in the desert, and as per the medrash, although the bnei Yisroel who died in the desert did not deserve to rise at the time of "t'chias ha'meisim," since their leader would be resurrected, they too will be resurrected along with him. (Malbim)

Ch. 4, v. 1: "V'atoh Yisroel shma" - And now Yisroel hear - This is the only word of our verse that refers to the people in the singular. Following this we have no less (and no more) than eight words that are plural. A commentator on Targum Onkelos, named Yo'ir, makes note of this. Targum Onkelos follows through with an Aramaic translation that is also in the singular for the word "shma," while Targum Yonoson ben Uziel and Targum Yerushalmi both translate it in the plural, "shmo'u."

Ch. 4, v. 1: "L'maan tichyu" - So that you will live - Rabbeinu Avigdor says that in the Torah the word is "tichyuN," and not "tichyu." He even has an insight into this detail. However, we do not find this as the written text of our Torah (ksiv), and it is surely not the way it is read (kri).

Ch. 4, v. 34: "B'masos b'osos uvmofsim ubmilchomoh uvyad chazokoh uvizro'a n'tuyoh uvmoro'im g'dolim" - With tests with signs and with wonders and with war and with a strong hand and with an outstretched arm and with large awe inspiring acts - This is quite a line up of powerful activities that Hashem has done in Egypt to bring about the exodus. Seven aspects of strength are mentioned here to allude to the seven days each (most of the plagues) plague lasted. Four of these phrases are plural, so if we add four we have 11. This alludes to the ten plagues plus the happenings at Yam Suf. (Rabbeinu Yoel).

Numerous commentators note that every letter of the Alef-Beis is contained in this verse. There are many allusions connected to this. Hashem took the bnei Yisroel out of Egypt conditional to their accepting the Torah, which is written in the 22 letters of the Alef-Beis (Rabbeinu Bachyei, Rabbeinu Yoel, Rokei'ach, Yalkut Ho'eizovi). As well, the Ten Commandments contain all the letters of the Alef-Beis. There are 27 words in this verse, corresponding to the 22 letters and 5 final letters of the Alef-Beis. (Rokei'ach) Since the acceptance of the Torah at Har Sinai was the assurance that Hashem would not turn the world back into vast nothingness, the mention of all the aspects of Hashem's manifest actions that brought about the ten plagues, which correspond to the ten emanations of the creation of the world are present in our verse. The word "tov" is mentioned in the chapters of the creation 9 times. TOV has the numerical value of 17, times 7 = 119, the number of letters of our verse. The Ten Commandments begin with the letter Alef and end with the letter final Chof. So does our verse. (Rabbeinu Bachyei) This would explain why our verse has the plural "Hashem ElokeichEM" but then immediately ends with the singular "l'ei'neCHo," to end with a Chof. The letters Alef and Chof have the numerical value of 21, corresponding to the Holy Name E-H-Y-H, which is the Name through which Moshe was sent to redeem the bnei Yisroel from Egypt. The word ACH is the power through which Hashem will punish the evil doers of the foreign nations at the end of days (its literal meaning being "I will smite), and at the same time it bodes good for the bnei Yisroel, as per the verse "Ach tov l'Yisroel" (T'hilim 73:10). (Baal Haturim)

Ch. 4, v. 40: "V'shomarto es chukov v'es mitzvosov asher onochi m'tzavcho ha'yom asher yeetav l'cho ulvo'necho acha'recho" - And you shall safeguard His statutes and his precepts that I command you today which will be good for you and your children after you - The verse prioritizes, mentioning statutes ahead of regular precepts. The best way of instilling a value into one's children is by example. Don't expect your child to daven in shul with much concentration and surely to not socialize during the davening if you are guilty of this yourself. The ability to instill into one's children to follow parents' dictates even if they do not understand the wisdom in following them is of inestimable value, but how are we to inculcate this into their minds and hearts? The answer is, once again, by example. By clearly demonstrating to our children that we totally comply with Hashem's dictates, including statutes, for which we have no logic, but nevertheless, as Hashem's soldiers, follow without fail, we have a very good chance at having them follow our wishes, even if they don't fully grasp the reasoning behind the dictates. This is the intention of, "V'shomarto es chukov v'es mitzvosov asher onochi m'tzavcho ha'yom asher yeetav l'cho ulvo'necho acha'recho." By giving a priority to complying with Hashem's "chukim," it will be good for us in the future in that "bo'necho acha'recho" will also do the same. (n.l.)

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


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