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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 5, v. 27: "Leich emor lohem shuvu lochem l'oho'leichem" - Go tell them return for yourselves to your tents - The Brezhaner Gaon Rabbi Sholo-m Mordechai haKohein Schwadron was in Belz. The Sar Sholo-m of Belz asked him a question based on the gemara Megiloh 7b. It relates that Raboh and Rabbi Zeira had a Purim meal together. They both became inebriated and Rabboh killed Rabbi Zeira with a shochet's knife. The next day Rabboh prayed for Rabbi Zeira to be restored to the living, and so it was.

Asked the Sar Sholo-m: Was Rabbi Zeira's wife permitted to be married to another person since her husband died, or since he was restored to life as the same person she is still his wife? (This question is raised by others as well, Birkei Yoseif, Rabbi Elchonon Waserman). The Maharsha"m did not answer him. After a bit of silence the Sar Sholo-m suggested that he had a proof from the gemara Shabbos 88. The gemara says that with the recital of each statement of the Ten Commandments the souls of the bnei Yisroel left them and they were revived through Hashem's sending "dew of life" upon them, which will also be used at the time of the resurrection of the dead. Hashem then told Moshe to tell the bnei Yisroel to return to their tents, meaning that although for the last few days married people were to not have relations, they could now resume. We do not find any verse or any statement by our Sages that they had to remarry them. We see from this that their marriages remained intact.

Ch. 6, v. 7: "V'shinantom l'vo'necho" - And you shall teach them to your sons - Tosfos on the gemara Chagigoh 15a cites a gemara Yerushalmi that relates how in Elisha ben Avuyoh were planted the seeds of discarding observance of the Torah. On the day of Elisha's bris his father Avuyoh, one of the great men of Yerusholayim, assembled the foremost Torah scholars of the city to partake in the simchoh. At the festive meal Rabbi Eliezer said to Rabbi Yehoshua, "Let the assembled be involved in theirs, i.e. in eating, drinking, singing, and merrymaking, and let us involve ourselves in ours, i.e. in depth Torah study. They studied and a fire from heaven enveloped them as they learned. Avuyoh saw this and asked them if they intended to burn down his home.

They responded that they had no such intention. Rather, they studied Torah in a manner that brought such happiness in the heavens that they recreated an aura of the giving of the Torah at Har Sinai, which was accompanied by fire. Avuyoh was so taken by this that he said, "Hopefully this son will survive and I commit myself to give him over for total immersion in Torah study.

Since there was a component of his personal wishes, that he was so impressed and wanted his son to re-enact what he saw, Elisha was not a success.

There is an obvious question: The gemara Sanhedrin 105b says that one should study Torah even if not for its sake, because eventually this study will bring to total devotion for the sake of Torah. If so, why did Elisha have a strong propensity to choose a bad path? Rabbi Chaim Kreiswirth cites the Alter of Kelm who answers that this rule is true only for the person himself, but not for the parent who is giving his children a Torah education, it requires being totally devoted to the Torah with no other motives.

Ch. 6, v. 8: "Ukshartom l'ose al yodecho v'hoyu l'totofos bein einechoh" - And you shall bind them as a sign upon your arm and they shall be as jewellery upon your head - We all know that there are four parshios in the head and likewise in the arm tefillin. They are the same text, the four chapters of the Torah that mention the mitzvoh of tefillin. There is a disagreement between Rashi and Rabbeinu Tam as to the order of placement of these four parshios in each of the compartments of the shel rosh tefillin. Although the shel yad tefillin has only one compartment, nevertheless these same two opinions differ one from the other, as the shel yad parshios are usually written on one long strip of parchment and they disagree as to the order that they should appear.

However, there is the opinion of Rabbeinu Peretz, a rishon, who posits that the disagreement between Rashi and Rabbeinu Tam is only in the order in the shel rosh, but not in the shel yad. This seems most puzzling. Why should there be a difference. Perhaps this can be explained based on a question Rabbi Chaim Brisker poses. The gemara M'nochos mentions, as is the halacha as well, that one may write the four parshios of the shel yad on four separate slips of parchment, but must wrap each one all around. Asks Rabbi Chaim Brisker, "If so, even if they are written on one long strip of parchment, since they may be written on separate pieces, how can there be a disagreement given that they all are placed into one compartment? He offers no answer.

This question might well be the basis for the opinion of Rabbeinu Peretz.

What remains to be answered in Rabbi Chaim Briskers question, and in turn an understanding of the common practice of those who also wear Rabbeinu Tam tefillin shel yad. It seems that there is a significant difference between Rabbi's opinion and that of Rabbeinu Tam even in the shel yad. Given that they disagree in the order, the blank spacing between one parsha and the next is different. In Rashi's order "shma" comes before "v'hoyoh im shomo'a," and there must be at least nine letter spaces blank between the two of them and the end of "v'hoyoh im shomo'a" may come to the end of the line. If "v'hoyoh im shomo'a" comes before "shma," then there must be a minimum of nine letter spaces blank after "al ho'oretz" as it precedes "shma" which must begin at the beginning of the line. This difference is true even earlier, between the end of "v'hoyoh ki y'viacho" and the beginning of either "shma" (Rashi) or "v'hoyoh im shomo'a" (Rabbeinu Tam). So we have a cogent answer for Rabbi Chaim Brisker's question and at the same time a very clear understanding of how the difference in order carries over to the shel yad tefillin as well. (n.l.)

Ch. 6, v. 18: "V'ossiso ha'yoshor v'hatov b'einei Hashem l'maan yitav loch" - And you shall do that which is correct and good in the eyes of Hashem so that it will be good for you - With the commencement of the thirteenth cycle of Daf Yomi and the start of Maseches Brochos this insight is offered: Brochos begins with the laws of the recital of "Shma" at night and day and continues with the laws of prayers and blessings. Why wasn't the name "Shma" or "Tefilos" given to this volume? Rabbi Yehudoh Hanossi was concerned that even with the presence of a text of "Torah shebal peh" that people would forget what they learned. There is a requirement to recite a blessing before we embark upon our Torah studies on a daily basis. By giving the first volume of Shas the title "Brochos," people would be reminded to make this blessing before they learn and in turn Hashem would bestow Torah knowledge upon them and also it would help towards their not forgetting what they learned. There is also the advantage that after reciting the blessing the Torah knowledge that is accrued becomes his, "TorosO." (Tzla"ch at the end of his commentary on Maseches Brochos)

This is a true fulfillment of these words of our verse.



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

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