SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS VA'YEILECH 5766 BS"D
Ch. 31, v. 2: "Lo uchal ode lotzeis v'lovo" - I will no longer be able to
leave and come - This means that I will no longer be capable of interceding on
your behalf to ask Hashem to forgive your sins, as I am about to die. However,
you should pray directly to Hashem without my intervention, as the next verse
says, "Hashem Elokecho hu oveir l'fo'necho." Hashem will forgive, as in "oveir
al pesha." (Mo'ore Vosho'mesh)
There is a most important message here. Even if one feels that his spiritual
leader is the greatest and most effective in interceding on behalf of the bnei
Yisroel, nevertheless, upon his passing he should not become despondent and
give up, feeling totally helpless. Rather, he should always remember, "Mi
kaShem Elokeinu b'chol ko'reinu eilov."
Ch. 31, v. 7: "Ki atoh tovo es ho'om ha'zeh .. v'atoh tanchi'lenoh osom" -
Because you will come with this nation .. and you will apportion their land
inheritance to them - Note that the verse does not mention that Yehoshua will
vanquish the inhabitants of the land, only that he will apportion it. This is
because the wars were won only through Hashem. (Abarbanel)
Ch. 31, v. 12: "Hakheil es ho'om ho'anoshim v'hanoshim v'hataf" - Assemble
the nation the men and the women and the children - This takes place after the
"shmitoh" year, after a one year furlough from agricultural pursuits. The
lesson is obvious, that before throwing yourself back into farming, review the 5th
book of the Torah, which is replete with ethical teachings and admonitions.
This could well explain the need for the presence of the women and children.
They will learn to not press the head of the household to maximize his pursuits
of increasing his income at the expense of Torah study and mitzvos. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 31, v. 14: "Hein korvu yo'mecho lomus" - Behold your days have drawn
close to die - The gemara M.K. 28a derives from these words that if a person is
ill for 5 days and then dies, this is the norm. If he is sick for less time it
is considered a sudden death. Tosfos asks that Moshe was not ill for five days
before his demise, as is evidenced by his writing a Torah scroll and his
jumping many elevations when he ascended Har N'vo. He answers that even if a person
dies suddenly this is not to be considered out of the norm.
However, the Paa'nei'ach Rozo says that Moshe was indeed sick for 5 days
before his death. His text of the gemara states that if one was sick for 5 days
and then died, it is considered a sudden death. He answers that since Moshe was
exceedingly old, even though he died suddenly, it is considered a normal death.
Ch. 31, v. 16: "V'kom ho'om ha'zeh v'zonoh acha'rei elohei neichar ho'oretz"
- This nation will stand up and it will turn after the foreign gods of the
land - The Rambam in hilchos teshuvoh chapter 5 asks that since Hashem has told
Moshe that this will surely take place, why would they be responsible for this
sin. He answers that the message contained no information of any specific
person doing this horrific sin, so each person is responsible for sinning.
Perhaps we can offer that our verse says "asher hu vo shomoh b'kirbo." The
gemara Makos 7b says that "asher" connotes a voluntary act, "r'shus," as in
"Vaasher yovo es rei'eihu vayaar" (Dvorim 19:5). Our verse adds the seemingly
superfluous word "b'kirbo." Perhaps the intention of these words is that if a
person of his own volition, "asher," will not only come to those who worship false
gods, but also come "b'kirbo," in CLOSE contact with them, then it is
inevitable that he will be drawn to their gods, but he is totally at fault for
setting the stage for this to happen. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 31, v. 16: "Ho'om ha'zeh v'zonoh acha'rei" - This nation and it will turn
after - The numerical value of these words equals that of "Zeh hu Menasheh."
Ch. 31, v. 21: "Ki yodati es yitzro asher hu o'seh ha'yom b'terem avi'enu el
ho'oretz" - Because I know his inclination today before I will bring him to
the land - If while here in the desert, where one's basic existence depends upon
open miracles, he has sinned, all the more likely will he sin when in the
Promised Land, where physical accommodations are present in a natural manner.
Ch. 31, v. 24: "Va'y'hi k'chalos Moshe lichtov .. ad tumom" - And it was when
Moshe completed to write .. until their completion - Moshe wrote one Torah
and handed it over to the tribe of Levi. The rest of the bnei Yisroel
complained, stating that in the future the Levites might say that the Torah is theirs
only, as the rest of the tribes did not receive a written one from Moshe. Moshe
then completed another 12 Torah scrolls and gave one to each of the tribes.
How could Moshe write 12 complete Torah scrolls in one day? The answer is
that although Moshe starting writing each Torah, they were miraculously completed
on their own. "Ad tumom" does not mean until their, antecedent "divrei,
completion, but rather, the completion of 12 Torah scrolls. (Tzror Hamor)
Ch. 31, v. 25: "Va'y'tzav Moshe es haL'viim nosei aron bris Hashem" - And
Moshe commanded the Levites carriers of the ark of the covenant of Hashem - The
Ibn Ezra says that the Levites of our verse are not any of the Levites, but
rather, specifically the Kohanim, who are also members of the Levite tribe. Our
verse refers back to verse 9, which clearly states that Moshe gave the Torah he
wrote to the Kohanim, who were carrying the Aron.
However, it seems that the Sforno disagrees with the Ibn Ezra. On verse 9 he
writes that the Kohanim only carried the Aron when a miracle was to take
place. It seems that the miracle was that all the bnei Yisroel fit in front of the
Aron, as mentioned in the Ibn Ezra on Dvorim 29:9.
Perhaps the earlier verse discusses the giving of a Torah scroll to the
Kohanim as representatives of the Levite tribe, and our verse the giving of the
Torah that was placed into/next to the Aron. The second Torah might have been
placed there when the bnei Yisroel were no longer miraculously all in front of
Rabbi S.R. Hirsch notes that when the Kohanim carried the Aron the verse
(31:9) says "hanosim," those who are carrying, while in our verse says "nosei
arone," carriers. The Kohanim only carried it on special occasions, while the
Levites had the regular task of carrying it, again seemingly in disagreement with
the Ibn Ezra.
Ch. 31, v. 26: "Mitzad arone bris" - By the side of the ark of the covenant -
The gemara B.B. 14a cites 2 opinions. Rabbi Yehudoh posits that the Torah
scroll was placed on a ledge that protruded from the base of the ark. He bases
this on the word "mitzad," at the side. If the intention of the verse was that
the Torah scroll was placed inside the ark then the verse should have said
"b'soch." Rabbi Meir posits that the Torah scroll was placed into the ark itself.
Had the intention of the verse been that it was placed on the outside to the
side of the ark the verse should have said "b'tzad." "Mitzad" indicates that it
was right next to the tablets. (Maskil l'Dovid)
N.B. - The offering in parshas Nitzovim 30:11 should have read as follows:
Ch. 30, v. 11,12,13: "Lo nifleis .. v'lo r'chokoh, Lo vashoma'yim, V'lo
mei'eiver la'yom, " - It is not concealed .. and it is not distanced, It is not in the
heavens, And it is not on the other side of the sea - The next verse tells us
that contrary to these thoughts, the Torah is exceedingly close. The order of
these distances is therefore from furthest to the closest. Not only is it not
extremely far away, but not even somewhat far. Rather it is exceedingly
close. "Nifleis" means hidden, beyond grasp, and "r'chokoh" is distanced but within
grasp. "Vashoma'yim" is surely a more distanced place than is "mei'eiver
la'yom." Targum Yerushalmi says that "vashoma'yim" refers to Moshe, who ascended
to the heavens to receive the Torah, and "mei'eiver la'yom" refers to the
prophet Yonah, who traveled overseas to bring Hashem's message to Ninveh.
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