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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS VO'ES'CHANAN 5774 BS"D

Ch. 4, v. 2: "V'lo sig'r'u mi'menu lishmor es mitzvos Hashem Elokeichem" - And do not diminish from it to safeguard precepts of Hashem your G-d - Do not say that there are so many mitzvos with so many details and this causes some people to forsake the Holy Torah. If we were to diminish the number of and the details of mitzvos we can more than make this up by having more adherers. (Da'mesek Eliezer)

Ch. 4, v. 5: "R'ei limadti es'chem chukim umishpotim kaasher tzivani Hashem Elokoi laasos kein b'kerev ho'oretz" - See that I taught you statutes and laws as Hashem my G-d has commanded me to do so within the land - "R'ei" indicates that one can see. How is Moshe's teaching the bnei Yisroel seen? Moshe tells the bnei Yisroel that he has taught them laws to keep within the land. How does Moshe know that the laws are doable? For example, he commands to take "arba minim" on the first day of Sukos. Moshe was never in Eretz Yisroel. Maybe not all four of these species grow there. This is a proof that is so clear that it is, "kaasher tzivani Hashem Elokoi laasos kein." It is as if you see that Hashem has commanded me to convey to you to do these laws. (Ksav Sofer)

Ch. 4, v. 5: "Kaasher tzivani Hashem Elokoi laasos kein b'kerev ho'oretz" - As Hashem my G-d has commanded me to do so within the land - The Chovas Halvovos mentions people who remove themselves from society, becoming hermits, to allow themselves to develop in their spirituality undisturbed by society. Our verse tells us to behave otherwise. We should fulfill chukim and mishpotim "b'kerev ho'oretz," while mingling with society. It is under these circumstances that Hashem wants us to develop (see Rambam hilchos dei'os). (Pninim Y'korim)

Ch. 4, v. 8: "Chukim umishpotim tzadikim" - Righteous statutes and laws - Righteous people who behave in a manner that is not understood to the public are "tzadikim chukim," and righteous people whose behaviour is readily understood are "tzadikim mishpotim." (Holy Admor of Rizhin)

Ch. 4, v. 23: "Pen tish'k'chu vaasisem lochem pesel tmunas kole asher tzivcho Hashem Elokecho" - Lest you will forget and you will create for yourselves a form a picture of all that Hashem your G-d has commanded you - The simple understanding of this verse requires us to add a self-understood "lo laasoso," not to do it. The Holy Admor of Kotzk explains: Lest we make for ourselves the form and the picture of all that Hashem has commanded us, i.e. doing the mitzvoh insofar as the outer shell, the actual doing, but not the essence of the mitzvoh.

Ch. 4, v. 29: "Uvikashtem mishom es Hashem Elokeichem umotzoso" - And you will seek from there Hashem your G-d and you will find Him - The pursuit of seeking Hashem is in itself considered finding Him. (Holy Admor of Kotzk)

Ch. 4, v. 29: "Uvikashtem mishom es Hashem Elokeichem umotzoso" - And you will seek from there Hashem your G-d and you will find Him - This verse begins in plural form and then changes to singular form. More than one person seeks but only the one who searches with his whole being, "Ki tid'r'shenu b'chol l'vovcho uvchol nafshecho," finds Him. (Gan Roveh)

Ch. 5, v. 12: "Shomore es yom haShabbos l'kadsho" - Safeguard the day of Shabbos to sanctify it - Our Rabbis explain that the word "zochor" in the first rendition of the Ten Commandments and "shomore" here were said simultaneously. "Zochor" refers to reciting "Kiddush" over wine and "shomore" to safeguard Shabbos by not transgressing any of its 39 labours or their sub-categories. One might decide to do the "zochor," i.e. drinking wine, enjoying the special Shabbos meals, etc., but not bothering with the restrictions, and at least having accomplished one of the two aspects of Shabbos. This is patently wrong! "Zochor v'shomore b'dibur echod ne'emru," and "zochor" without "shomore" is worthless. (Ohel Yaakov)

Ch. 5, v. 12: "Shomore es yom haShabbos l'kadsho" - Safeguard the day of Shabbos to sanctify it - Our Rabbis say, "Shomore milacharov zochor milfonov." In our Shabbos zemiros we sing "Hamacharim lotzeis min haShabbos um'maharim lovo." Why do we mention the departure of Shabbos before its advent? Addition to that which is required to sanctify the Shabbos beyond "tosfos d'Oreisa" is done because we are in doubt of the exact moment that it begins and ends. When the bnei Yisroel were given Shabbos in the desert they knew exactly when it began and ended as there was the "changing of the guard" of the pillars of cloud and fire from day to night and from night to day. Moshe died on Shabbos (see Tosfos and Ta"z on Sh.O. O.Ch. 292). Given this the first time they were in doubt was when Shabbos would depart, and they added to it to be sure. On the following erev Shabbos they would add time before. Since this was the order in which the bnei Yisroel added to Shabbos, departure before advent, we likewise sing, "Hamacharim lotzeis min haShabbos um'maharim lovo." (Rabbi Pinchos of Koritz)

Ch. 5, v. 27: "Shuvu lochem l'oho'leichem" - Return to your tents - Take the powerful, elevated experiences you received at Har Sinai and bring it back into your daily lives in your homes. (Holy Admor of Kotzk)

Ch. 6, v. 5: "V'ohavto eis Hashem Elokecho b'chol l'vovcho uvchol naf'sh'cho" - And you shall love Hashem your G-d with all your heart and with all your soul - The mishnoh in Pirkei Ovos says that love which does not depend upon something, unconditional love, will last. Loving Hashem will all our soul is interpreted to mean even if Hashem were to take our soul we would still love Him. This is truly love that is not dependent upon a benefit. If you truly have this level of love then, "V'hoyu hadvorim ho'eileh asher onohci m'tazvcho ha'yom al l'vo'vecho," the love will be permanent. (Imrei Shefer)

Ch. 6, v. 9: "Uch'savtom al mezuzos bei'secho" - And you shall write them upon doorposts of your home - The mezuzos on the doorposts of one's home are a constant reminder that Hashem enabled him to purchase it and in truth it is Hashem's. Given that He is the Landlord it is easier for a person to accept guests and feed them. (Pninim Y'korim)

Ch. 6, v. 25: "Utz'dokoh ti'h'yeh lonu ki nishmore laasose" - And righteousness will be to us when we safeguard to do - "Shmiroh" also can be translated as "anticipating," as in "V'oviv shomar es hadovor." The charity that we give will be credited to us when we anticipate the opportunity to give. Some people give charity only because the petitioner is standing in front of him, or because there is a public appeal and others are giving. However, the donour would be happier if no one came for alms. "Utz'dokoh ti'h'yeh lonu" when we anticipate to do so, "ki nishmore laasose." (n.l.)

Ch. 6, v. 25: "Utz'dokoh ti'h'yeh lonu ki nishmore laasose" - And righteousness will be to us when we safeguard to do - Do not think that when you are very magnanimous with charity that you can get away with not being careful with other mitzvos. When is it attributed to us, "ki nishmore laasose," when we safeguard "es kol hamitzvoh hazose." (Rabbi Eliyohu Chaim Meisels - Lodz)

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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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