SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS V'ZOSE HABROCHOH 5765 BS"D
Ch. 33, v. 4: "Torah tzivoh lonu Moshe" - Moshe commanded us the Torah - The
Torah has four levels, whose mnemonic is "PaRDeiS," "p'shat, remez, drush,"
and "sode," straight-forward explanation, allusion, exegesic, and hidden. The
holiest level, "sode," is called "Toras emes." This is because the other levels
can be fathomed to an extent by anyone, even if he has no great character
qualities. However, to merit understanding the Holy Torah on the level of "sode,"
one must have acquired the trait of humility. This is called EMeS,
Alef-Mem-Tof, which is an acronym for humility. Avrohom said that he is "Eifer," ash.
Moshe said "nachnu Moh," of what value are we. King Dovid said, "v'onochi
Solaas," I am but a worm. (Heard from Rabbi Ben Tzion Feldman shlit"a, R"M in
Ch. 33, v. 4: "ToraH tzivoH lonU MosheH moroshoH k'hilaS YaakoV" - Moshe
commanded us the Torah it is the inheritance of the congregation of Yaakov - The
final letters of these words has the numerical value of 428, the same as the
word "ChaTaCH, Ches-Tof-Chof. This the name invoked for livelihood, taken from
the final letters of the words "Posei'aCH eS Yo'deCHo" (T'hilim 145:16).
Perhaps this allusion is placed here and specifically in FINAL letters to teach us
the maxim of the mishnoh Kidushin 82a, "I leave over teaching my son all
crafts, livelihoods, and will teach him only Torah." This is the "moroshoh," the
inheritance we should give our children "while we are still alive," as indicated
by "moroshoh," more of a present form, as in "morish," than the word
"y'rushoh," a future form. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 33, v. 5: "Va'y'hi vIshurun melech b'hisa'seif roshei om yachad shivtei
Yisroel" - And there was in Yeshurun a king when the leaders of the nation
assembled in unity the tribes of Yisroel - Targum Yonoson ben Uziel on Breishis
49:1-2 says that when Yaakov had his sons assemble before him to receive his
blessings, in unison they said the verse "Shma Yisroel .." (Dvorim 6:4). This is
the verse of acceptance of Hashem's kingship over us. We can thus say that our
verse refers to this happening. There was "with Yeshurun" (an exulted name of
Yaakov) acceptance of the King, when the leaders of the nation assembled.
This was when the tribes of Yisroel were in unison. (Da'mesek Eliezer)
This verse coming on the heels of the previous verse, "Torah tzivoh .." is
explained by the Mahari"l Diskin as follows: Countries are ruled in one of three
manners. Either there is one despot who rules, and absolutely everyone must
comply with his every wish and whim. Another system is that the country is run
by a very limited group of people who make up its constitution. Lastly, there
is a system (at least theoretically) where everyone is equal, and the leaders
are put into their positions through an open and fair vote. No matter which
system one lives under, the rules of the Holy Torah are immutable.
This is "Torah tzivoh lonu Moshe." It is a permanent set of rules whether we
live under "Va'y'hi vIshurun melech," a king who rules single-handedly, or
"b'hisa'seif roshei om," we have the country run by a select few who have taken
this position by themselves, or "yachad shivtei Yisroel," where everyone is
Ch. 33, v. 19: "V'liZvulun omar smach Zvulun" - And to Zvulun he said rejoice
Zvulun - Rashi explains the repetition of the noun of direct address by
Zvulun, as well as by Gad, Don, Naftoli, and Osher. They were the weakest of the
tribes and this repetition of their names gave them vigour. This seems most
puzzling. Rashi on the next verse d.h. "k'lovi" states that only "giborim" can
live at the border, and that is why Gad had a border allotment. Rashi on Dvorim
3:18 d.h. "lifnei" clearly states that the tribes of Reuvein and Gad were the
strongest and they were at the head of the army. Mosaf Rashi d.h. "v'toraf"
(verse 20) also states that the people of Gad were "giborim."
Perhaps we can differentiate between the strength of the tribe as a whole in
the desert and afterwards and their ancestor Gad. Rashi might actually give us
a hint to this by stating that these 5 were the weakest as shown by Yoseif's
sending them as the family's representatives. From this we cannot conclude
that the descendants of this tribe were also weak. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 34, v. 5: "Va'yomos shom Moshe" - And Moshe died there - The gemara B.B.
15a asks how Moshe was able to write that he died, as at the time of writing
it would not be true. Rabbi Nechemioh answers that until this verse Hashem
would dictate, Moshe would verbalize and write. From this verse on Hashem would
dictate and Moshe would write "b'dema," commonly translated as with tears.
Why did Moshe verbalize before he wrote the previous section of the Torah,
and only write without verbalizing from this verse on, as indicated by the
gemara not mentioning his verbalizing the last eight verses? (Actually, on the
gemara M'nochos 30a, Tosfos d.h. "u'Moshe" has another text in the gemara where
the word "v'omar" is not present.) This is because these verses contain the most
powerful accolades and heap honour upon Moshe. He had no choice but to write
these words, but did not want to also verbalize them. (Shaa'rei Simchoh)
Alternatively, the above-mentioned Tosfos on the gemara M'nochos says that if
the correct text includes "v'omar," halacha would require the scribe to
verbalize each word of the Torah before it is written. The GR"A explains "b'dema"
differently. Based on the words of the Ramban in his preface to Breishis, he
says that the Torah existed in the heavens in a different form, (either having
all its words run on as per the Ramban), or although containing all the letters
that our Torah contains, it had them assembled differently, creating
different words. This in turn gave the Torah a different meaning. (The Radbaz says
that this was the Torah that the angels wanted should remain in the heavens, as
mentioned in the gemara Shabbos 88b.) Moshe writing "b'dema" means he wrote
these last eight verses "mixed," i.e. in an order that had a different meaning.
"B'dema" is sourced from the word form "dimua." Perhaps the requirement to
verbalize the holy words of the Torah before they are written is limited to
writing them in the form that was transmitted to us humans, hence the requirement
for a human to say the words before they are written. Moshe, however, wrote
these verses in a heavenly order, thus not necessitating his verbalizing them.
Ch. 34, v. 7: "U'Moshe ben mei'oh v'esrim shonoh b'moso lo chohasoh eino v'lo
nos leichoh" - And Moshe was 120 years old at his death his eye did not fade
and his moisture/youth did not depart - Targum Yonoson ben Uziel says that
"v'lo nos leichoh" means that he did not lose his teeth in his old age. Targumim
Onkelos and Yerushalmi both say that it means that the shine of his face did
not leave him.
Rashi adds that the verse's intention is not only during his lifetime, but
even after death he was not subject to the normal deterioration of the sparkle
of one's eyes leaving and having a sallow facial appearance.
The gemara B.B. 17a goes beyond this and says that Moshe was one of 7 people
whose bodies did not decompose, nor were they subject to attack by maggots.
They are Avrohom, Yitzchok, Yaakov, Moshe, Aharon, Miriam, and Binyomin ben
Yaakov. The gemara adds an opinion that there was an 8th person as well, King
Rabbeinu Bachyei says that all this is alluded to in the words "V'lo hivish
v'rimoh lo hoysoh bo" (Shmos 16:24). "V'lo hivish" can be read as "v'lo
Hei-Beis ish," and not 5+2 (=7) man, "v'rimoh lo hoysoh," there was no maggot
infestation. As well, the opinion that there was an 8th person who merited this
miracle is alluded to as well. "V'rimoh lo hoysoh Beis-Vov," and there was no
infestation of worms in 2+6 (=8).
Ch. 34, v. 9: "Va'yishmu eilov bnei Yisroel va'yaasu kaasher tzivoh Hashem es
Moshe" - And they listened to him and they did as Hashem commanded Moshe -
The gemara Megiloh 2b says that we derive from the words "ei'leh hamitzvos"
(Vayikra 27:34) that no prophet may give us new mitzvos based on hearing them from
Hashem, as did Moshe, "ein novi r'sho'i l'cha'deish dovor mei'atoh."
This is the intention of our verse. Although the bnei Yisroel accepted all
that Yehoshua told them, they did this only as per the commands of Hashem to
Moshe, not al new commands from Hashem transmitted through Yehoshua. (The Holy
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