Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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1) Ch. 32, v. 2: "K's'irim alei deshe v'chirvivim a'lei eisev" - What is the inner message of the specification of "deshe" and "eisev," which in the main both just mean grass?

2) Ch. 32, v. 6: "Am novol v'lo chochom" - A nation that is despicable and is not wise - Targum Onkelos translates these words as, "amo d'kabilu oreiso v'lo chakimu," - a nation that has received the Torah and is not wise. How is the receiving of the Torah indicated in the most pejorative expression "novol"?

3) Ch. 32, v. 19: "Va'yar Hashem vayin'otz mi'ka'as BONOV U'V'NOSOV" - Why does the verse spell out "sons and daughters" and not just say "sons," which is inclusive of daughters?

4) Ch. 32, v. 24: "M'zei ro'ov" - Our verse relates numerous sufferings. To what do they correspond?

5) Ch. 32, v. 30: "Ki Tzurom m'chorom vaShem hisgirom" - Why is the word "hisgirom" used? What is the message of their being "locked up?"



The Chasam Sofer says that this teaches us the proper approach to giving mussar in an effective way. S'irim is a very hard, forceful rain, while r'vivim is a gentle, slower rain. Deshe refers to vast, general vegetation while aisev refers to grass only. What's the significance in the different types of rain for each one? When giving mussar to a large group (deshe) of people, it is effective even though it is harsh (k'sirim) because no one person feels that the words are directed specifically to him. On the other hand, when rebuking an individual (eisev), you should do it in a soft and gentle manner (v'chirvivim) since he knows the words are directed to him alone, he'll feel directly attacked. When one is treated like this, he usually won't readily accept mussar.


Since our Rabbis teach us that "shonoh u'fi'reish yoseir mikulon" (gemara P'sochim 49b), one who has been on the right path and has strayed is more condemned than one who has never "seen the light," since the bnei Yisroel have received the Torah, the guiding light, and yet have strayed, they are described as "novol." (M'oroh shel Torah)


In the preface of the Shov Shmeit'so the author brings in the name of the Zohar that Yiras Hashem is also referred to as "bas," a daughter, and the Torah is called "ben," a son. The phrase in the gemara B.B. 141a, "Bas t'chiloh simmon yofoh labonim" would mean that before one approaches Torah, he should first have an abundant measure of Yiras Shomayim as Rebbi Chaninoh ben Dosa says in Pirkei Ovos 3:11, Whoever's fear of Heaven precedes his wisdom of Torah, his Torah will have permanence. In our verse, "Hashem has seen and has become disgruntled from the anger of bonov u'b'nosav," bonov comes first, from those who approach Torah first, without a sufficient measure of "bas," Yiras Shomayim. The verse continues, "I will see what their outcome will be, " because they are, "dor tahapuchos," an inverted generation, they have placed "ben"(knowledge of Torah) before "bas"(fearing Hashem). "Bonim lo eimun bom," their Torah is not trustworthy as it will not have permanence because they did not give priority to Yiras Shomayim.


The Ponim Yofos says that this verse alludes to the gemara K'suvos 30b which says that even thought the courts don't carry out capital punishments anymore, Hashem brings about punishments corresponding to the four types of penalties meted out by beis din. "M'zei ro'ov" alludes to chenek, strangulation. The gemara says that he who deserves chenek dies from a throat disorder called s'krunchi. M'zei ro'ov corresponds to this as hunger brings about the throat disorder mentioned in the gemara. The gemara says that he who deserves decapitation by sword, sei'yif, dies in war or is killed by bandits. This is alluded to in "l'chumei reshef," war. The gemara says that he who deserves death by stoning, s'kiloh, is attacked by wild animals. This is alluded to in the words "v'shen b'heimos ashalach bom" and b'heimoh includes wild animals as per the gemara Chulin 59a. He who deserves death by fire, molten lead poured down his throat, s'reifoh, is bitten by a snake. This is alluded to in the last words of our verse, "im chamas zochlei ofor."


The Gaon of Rogatchov, Rabbi Yosef Rosen zt"l interprets this to mean that Hashem has sold them because Hashem has locked them up. Because of their many sins, they have become so defiled that they have reached the level of a metzora musgor (see Vayikra 13:4). Therefore Hashem has sold them. The Tosefta N'go'im perek 5 at the end of halochoh 12 cites the opinion of Rebbi Elozor ben Yaakov that if a slave has tumas tzoraas and is in a state of "hesger," then if his master sells him to a non-Jew, the tumoh is negated. This opinion is brought by the Tosfos on gemara Shabbos 27a, d.h. she'kein, and by the Rambam, Hilchos Tumas Tzoraas 13:11. Hashem has sold them to be able to remove "tumas hesger" from them.



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

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