by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHIOS V'ZOSE HABROCHOH 5767 BS"DCh. 33, v. 1: "Ish hoElokim" - A man of G-d - Medrash Tanchuma #2 says that "ish hoElokim" is a akin to "ish No'omi" (Rus 1:3). Medrash Shochar Tov on T'hilim #4 says that same. The Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh explains that just as "ish" means the husband/master in relation to Elimelech and Naomi, so too, "ish hoElokim" means "the Master of G-d," by virtue of "Moshe gozeir vaShem m'ka'yeim." Rashi on the words, "ish ho'adomoh" (Breishis 9:20) says that it means "the master" as we find "ish No'omi."
A similar concept is found in the Kedushas Levi, applying this concept to all the bnei Yisroel. In Shir Hashirim 1:9 we find the words, "L'susosi b'richvei Pharoh dimisich ra'yosi," - I have compared you, my friend, to the mare of Paroh's chariots. He explains that normally the coach driver is in control of where the horses pull the chariot. However, when Paroh and his mighty army came to the banks of Yam Suf, the chariot drivers wanted the horses to stop pulling them into the water. However, contrary to the norm, the horses were in charge and headed into Yam Suf.
This is the comparison. Hashem is in control of the world. When He issues an edict it is sometimes countered by the prayers of the bnei Yisroel. Hashem gives the bnei Yisroel control and their supplication turns away the negative decree. This is similar to the horses of Paroh's army controlling the direction that the chariots would go.
Ch. 33, v. 1: "Es bnei Yisroel" - Moshe would have blessed each person separately, but since it was very close to his death he had no choice but to bless them as one. (attribution see mimaynos)
Ch. 33, v. 1: "Lifnei moso" - Before his death - The gemara R.H. 21b says that there are 50 gates of wisdom and all were given to Moshe save the 50th. The GR"A in A'derres Eliyohu says that at his death he merited the 50th gate as well. The Holy Shaloh writes that "Va'yaal Moshe har N'vo" can be understood as, "And Moshe elevated himself to the level of "Nun bo."
Ch. 33, v. 3: "Af choveiv amim" - Also he loves tribes - This is the intention according to Targum Onkelos and Rashi, referring to the 12 tribes. However, the Baal Haturim says that it refers to non-Jews who convert to Judaism, alluded to by the numerical value of these words being equal to "geirim." Lechem V'simloh notes that the numerical value of these words are equal to Onkelos. The GR"A and Rabbi Akiva Eiger are quoted as saying that when Hashem went to all the nations, offering them the Torah, although they all turned down the offer, it means that the vast majority of the people turned it down, but there were individuals who accepted it. Conversely, there were unfortunately also a few bnei Yisroel who did not accept the Torah, and they are the apostates.
Ch. 33, v. 7: "Shma Hashem kole Yehudoh" - Hashem hear the voice of Yehudoh - Rashi says that Shimon was not overtly given a blessing, but was included in Yehudoh's blessing. Some explain that the word "shma" alludes to Shimon, as his name is sourced from Shin-Mem-Ayin. Biurei Mahara"i explains that Shimon was not overtly blessed because in the future the Rabbis would pray that scribes not become wealthy (gemara P'sochim 50), so his tribe was left out. Moshav Z'keinim says that although both Shimon and Levi behaved improperly in Sh'chem, Levi later made good by the incident of the golden calf. Shimon sinned again with the daughters of Midyon.
Ch. 33, v. 7: "Shma Hashem kole Yehudoh" - Hashem hear the voice of Yehudoh - The Holy Admor of Kotzk offers: "Hashem, hearken to the voice of Yehudoh, i.e. the opinion of Rabbi Yehudoh Hanossi, who posits that the offering of Yom Kippur brings atonement even for those who do not repent.
Ch. 33, v. 8: "Ul'Levi omar" - And to Levi he said - The blessings to each tribe are short save those to Levi and Yoseif. Taamo Dikro explains that Hashem lengthened their blessings because they themselves are the source of blessing for all the tribes, the Kohanim when they "duchan," and the tribe of Yoseif is a source of blessing as per the verse, "B'cho y'vo'reich Yisroel leimore y'simcho Elokim k'Efrayim v'chiM'nasheh" (Breishis (48:20).
Ch. 33, v. 9: "Ho'omeir l'oviv ul'imo lo r'isiv" - Who says about his father and mother I have not seen him - Targum Yonoson ben Uziel says that this means that during their training period they are away from home so many years that when they return they do not recognize even their closest relatives.
Ch. 34, v. 6: "V'lo yoda ish es kvuroso" - And no man knew his burial spot - Why Did Hashem not want anyone to know where Moshe was buried?
1) So that the location not be used for idol worship (Chasam Sofer)
2) Moshe's burial spot was so hallowed that it is equated to the location of the Holy Ark. Just as the Holy Ark takes up no space (gemara Yoma 21a), so too Moshe's burial spot was beyond physically being pinpointed. (Ben Yehoyodo on gemara Sotoh 14a)
3) Hashem knew that in the future the bnei Yisroel would so grievously sin that the Beis Hamikdosh would have to be destroyed to bring them to their senses to properly repent. Had they known Moshe's burial place they would have gone there to pray that his spirit intercede for them (see responsa Minchas Elozor #68) and have the decree rescinded. (Iyun Yaakov on the gemara Sotoh 13b)
4) So that no one be buried in his proximity (Chizkuni)
5) So that no one transgress the sin of "v'doreish el ha'meisim" (Dvorim 18:11) (Chizkuni)
6) So as to serve as another proof that all that Moshe taught us was Divinely dictated - Had he lied and everything was his own, he surely would have deified himself by not writing that he died. After all, he did not physically age and could have easily said that he ascended to heaven, as no one can locate his burial spot. (K'hilas Yitzchok)
7) Commentators say that the reason the tribe of Gad wanted to remain on the Trans-Jordan side was that they wanted to remain with Moshe. Understand "Umikneh rav hoyoh livnei Reuvein v'livnei Gad otzum m'ode" (Bmidbar 32:1) to mean, "And an acquisition in their RAV, there was to the sons of Reuvein, and to the sons of Gad it was to the extreme." The bnei Gad therefore relinquished their privilege to have an inheritance in Eretz Yisroel to stay with Moshe's physical remains on this world. Although the burial location of our Patriarchs and Matriarchs is well known, once this overzealous action took place, the burial spot of the most outstanding person, Moshe, was not known so that no one decide to remain in the desert. The drawback of this is that people should not base their connection to sanctity on "segulos," but rather on their own connection to Hashem through Torah and mitzvos. (Birkas Shimon)
Ch. 34, v. 8: "Va'yitmu y'mei v'chi eivel Moshe" - Arguably, these words, on a time line, are the absolute latest thing that the Torah records as having taken place. Possibly, according to the Sforno's comment on these words in our verse, the most recent happening is the beginning of the next verse, "VIhoshua bin Nun mo'lei ruach chochmoh." (When the Torah says "ad ha'yom" (Breishis 35:20), we understand this to mean "until this day that this verse is recorded.") There could well be another statement in the Torah that something HAS TAKEN PLACE, which is even more recent. What is it?
Ch. 34, v. 12: "Moshe" - This is the final time Moshe's name is mentioned in the Torah. Elef Ksav relates that The Admor of Munkatch took a "tikun" of the Torah on Simchas Torah and counted how many times Moshe's name appeared in the Torah. It totaled 612 times. Perhaps we can turn this into 613 times by adding the word "komohu" (Bmidbar 23:10), as explained by Tiferes Y'honoson. When Bilom said, "May my end be 'k'mohu'" it does not mean "as he," but rather, "as Moshe's end." The gemara N'dorim chapter #1 says that "Mohu" is a nickname for Moshe. (Nirreh li)
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