Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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1) Ch. 32, v. 1: "Haazinu hashomayim vaada'beiroh v'sishma ho'oretz" - Rashi says that the heavens and earth are called as witnesses because they are eternal. The mishnoh in Pirkei Ovos 4:22 says that Hashem is the judge and a witness. If so, why is it necessary to bring other witnesses?

2) Ch. 32, v. 1: "Haazinu hashomayim vaada'beiroh v'sishma ho'oretz imrei fi" - Heavens, hearken and I will speak and the earth will hear the words of my mouth - The Holy Zohar writes that "the heavens" refer to wealthy people, while "the earth" refers to poor people. Where is there an indication in our verse to this interpretation?

3) Ch. 32, v. 7: "Sh'al ovicho v'ya'geidcho z'kei'necho v'yomru loch" - Since the child is advised to ask his father AND grandfathers it would seem that there should be a conjunctive letter Vov before the word "z'kei'necho," so that it may read as "AND your grandfathers."

4) Ch. 32, v. 26: "Omarti a'fei'hem" - What is the translation of "a'fei'hem"?

5) Ch. 32, v. 48: "B'etzem ha'yom ha'zeh leimore" - Hashem commanded Moshe to ascend the mountain and that he would die there. What is the intention of "leimore"? There was nothing to communicate to anyone.



It seems that the prophet Yeshayohu answered this question when he said "Shimu shomayim v'haazini Eretz vonim gidalti v'romamti v'heim poshu vi" (Yeshayohu 1:2). How do these two thoughts in the same verse connect? The Asoroh Maamoros answers that the statement in Pirkei Ovos that Hashem is both the judge and the witness only applies regarding a sin that is between man and man. However, when one sins against Hashem, He is disqualified from judging because Hashem is the plaintiff, and as well, the bnei Yisroel are His children, as the gemara Avodoh Zoroh 3a says, "Can Hashem testify to the benefit of His children? May a father testify for his son?" Thus the verse says, "Heavens and earth, hear, as you will be needed as witnesses. The reason Hashem cannot be the witness is because "bonim gidalti," they are My children, and also because "v'heim poshu VI," I am the plaintiff. Thus the heavens and earth are called upon as witnesses in our verse for the same reasons. (Tiferes haGeirshuni)


Since the verse says "vaada'beiroh" and then changes to "imrei" it is understood. "Dibur" is a word form that connotes tough harsh words while "amiroh" means soft words. A wealthy person doesn't readily take words of admonition to heart, as per the verse "v'oshir yaa'neh azus" (Mishlei 18:23), and therefore he has to be spoken to in a tough manner to make an impact. However, regarding the poor man the same verse says "tachanunim y'da'beir rush," so gentle speech is sufficient.


This question is raised by the Ibn Ezra.

Our verse is discussing a generation that is so estranged from the Torah that when the son asks his father a question regarding a custom or mitzvoh the father doesn't know the answer. He says to his son, "Ask Zeidy." "Sh'al ovicho," when you ask your father, "v'ya'geidcho," he will respond, "z'keinecho v'yomru loch," go to your grandfathers and they will answer you. (Dvash V'cholov)


(all from Rashi)

1) I will scatter them. Perhaps this is from the source word "pei'oh," a corner. Here it would mean to all corners of the world.

2) I will leave them ownerless, left to their own devices, sourced from the word "pei'oh," a corner of the field that is left for the poor to harvest.

3) I will pour my wrath upon them, sourced from the word "af."

4) Lastly, Rashi (Targum Onkelos, Sifri) interprets the whole word as a three component combination. I said in my anger, "af," that "ee," nothing, "heim," they are. I will make them negligible.

The Abarbanel says that some translate as #1 above, but he says that although the word source is "pei'oh," the intention is the exact opposite, not that I will scatter them to all CORNERS of the earth, but rather, I will place them all into ONE CORNER. The gemara P'sochim 87b in explanation of the verse in Shoftim 5:11, "tzidkas pizrono b'Yisroel," says that Hashem exhibited mercy by spreading the bnei Yisroel all over the world. Otherwise, ch"v a powerful enemy could have destroyed them to a man. He brings an historic example of this from the Greeks destroying the powerful and large nation, the Trojans. Likewise, almost all the bnei Yisroel were killed in England in the crusades by the blood-thirsty, merciless English, and likewise the French in their land. Remnants of the bnei Yisroel remained by virtue of some of them living in other lands. Hashem is saying in our verse that He considered placing them all into one corner, which would in turn ch"v bring to their total annihilation, "Lu'lei kaas o'yeiv ogur," - if not for the anger of the enemy being restrained.


Rashi (Sifri) says that "b'etzem" teaches us that although the bnei Yisroel were totally against Moshe's being taken from them, nevertheless, Hashem took his life. Hashem wanted the bnei Yisroel to realize that no amount of protest would change His plans, so not only should Moshe ascend the mountain in plain view during the day, but also announce prior to this, "leimore," that he was ascending the mountain, with the intent that he would die there. (Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh)



See also Sedrah Selections, Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha and Chasidic Insights

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