CHAMISHOH MI YODEI'A - FIVE QUESTIONS ON THE WEEKLY SEDRAH - PARSHIOS NITZOMIM-VA'YEILECH 5767 - BS"D
1) The only time we separate Nitzovim from Va'yeilech is when there is a Shabbos between Yom Kippur and Succos of the upcoming year. It would seem logical to always have Nitzovim and Va'yeilech joined as they total only seventy verses.
2) Ch. 29, v. 10: "Tapchem n'sheichem" - Your children your wives - Since this is a continuum of the list of those standing in front of Hashem, why is it a separate verse?
3) Ch. 29, v. 15: "Eis asher yoshavNU b'eretz Mitzroyim v'eis asher ovarNU b'kerev hagoyim asher avarTEM" - That WE resided in the land of Egypt and that which WE passed through the midst of the nations that YOU have passed - Why the change from first person plural to second person plural, and why the repetition of "passing through"?
4) Ch. 31, v. 19: "V'atoh kisvu lochem es HASHIROH hazos" - Why is the feminine form SHIROH used rather than the masculine form SHIR?
5) Ch.31, v. 27: "Hein b'o'de'ni chai" - This is one of the ten "kal vo'chomers" in the Torah. If you were rebellious against Hashem during my life time, all the more so will you be rebellious after my death. The gemara Sanhedrin 37a relates that there were wayward people living in the neighbourhood of R' Zeira. When R' Zeira died, they repented, saying that as long as R' Zeira was alive his merits protected them against retribution. After his death, they discontinued their bad ways, fearing punishment from Heaven. According to this story, isn't Moshe's kal vo'chomer refuted? During Moshe's lifetime people might have been rebellious against Hashem, with the hope that Moshe's merit would save them. However, after his death, they may not sin for fear of retribution.
If we were to join Nitzovim and Vayeilech and split two larger parshios earlier in the year, our final Shabbos reading of the year would be Ki Sovo, which contains the "tochochoh," admonition, with which we do not want to end the year. (See Tosfos Megiloh 31b and B.B. 88b).
1) Sforno explains that this is a separate verse because children and wives take guidance from their parents and husbands.
2) The Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh says that this is a separate verse because those in the previous verse have the added responsibility of "arvus," being guarantors for the behaviour of others, while children, women (see Rosh on the gemara Brochos piska #13, Shaar Hatziun on O.Ch. 271:9), and converts do not have this responsibility.
Targum Yonoson ben Uziel translates "ovarnu" as "the strengths displayed by Hashem that have passed over us." This answers the seeming repetition. The change from second to third person might be as follows: Moshe, who is speaking, says that WE resided in Egypt, as he refers to himself and the survivors of the exodus generation, i.e. those who were below the age of 20, above 60, and women. The strength shown by Hashem saved US, including the new generation. The point made by saying that there was traveling through the nations where they saw the abominations and idols and in turn there was the fear that one might ch"v interest himself in them (verses 16 and 17), is directed at the next generation that will enter the Promised Land and will again be exposed to the same. Those who left Egypt were already tested there and passed the test. The new generation was not yet tested.
Possibly, this can be explained with a Tosfos in the gemara P'sochim 116b, d.h. "v'nomar", or "v'ne'emar." He says that shiroh being a female form of song indicates that there will be a future song as well, similar to a woman who goes through difficulties in childbirth numerous times. So also shiroh connotes a song of praise of being saved from a difficulty, which is not the final difficulty. However, shir, the masculine form, connotes a song indicating a final redemption.
Similarly, here, Hashem has commanded us to write the song of Ha'azinu, (or to write the complete Torah, see Ha'amek Dovor by the N'tziv), yet He wants us to realize that the written Torah is not complete without the oral Torah. Hence, write this SHIROH, an expression of a song that has another song to follow, the Torah Sheh'b'al Peh. Indeed, it is the custom when bringing a new sefer Torah to a shul or beis medrash, that a speaker discusses Torah Sheh'b'al Peh to indicate that there is more to the Torah than just the written scroll.
Another explanation for SHIR being used for a final redemption and SHIROH being used for a temporary redemption can be found in the Medrash Shir Hashirim 1:37, on the words, "Sh'choroh ani v'novoh bnos Yerusholayim." The feminine word SHIROH connotes a song of praise for being rescued and able to reside in Eretz Yisroel, the land of the seven nations, a tenth of the seventy nations of the world. This is similar to a woman who receives a tenth of her father's properties upon his death, where there is no will stating otherwise. In the future, when the Jews will be exalted above the seventy nations of the world, they will give praise with SHIR, in the masculine form, similar to a man who inherits everything. There is also another very interesting explanation in the Eitz Yosef on this verse in Shir Hashirim. He says that all redemptions prior to the final one have a woman involved, so the feminine form, SHIROH, is used. The final redemption will be without the involvement of a woman, so the masculine form, SHIR, is used.
This question was asked by the Maharsh"a. The Sefer Minchas Yehudah answers that we find by the incident of the golden calf, that some of the b'nei Yisroel said (Shmos 32:1), "Ki zeh Moshe Ho'ish ......" Rashi explains that the soton showed them a vision of Moshe seemingly dead in the sky. They then produced a golden calf. We now understand the kal vo'chomer. Moshe is saying, "When I was alive and you thought I was dead, you sinned with the golden calf. After I will truly be dead, you will surely be rebellious."
Another answer is offered by Rabbi Zvi Irenstein zt"l of Lvov. He says that there are two types of sinners. One denies the Torah completely, and casually transgresses its precepts without the slightest feeling of guilt. Another type of person creates all sorts of leniencies, and accusing the Rabbonim of not truly understanding Moshe's intent in the Torah. This latter sinner claims that if Moshe were alive, he would say that many of the things being forbidden by the Shulchan Oruch are actually permitted. The latter category of sinner could only function after Moshe's death. While Moshe was alive, he would have refuted this type of sinner's false claims. The first category of sinner could exist even during Moshe's lifetime. Now we understand the kal v'chomer. Moshe said, "During my lifetime, you were rebellious," referring to the total denier. "Surely after my death, the second category of sinner will come into being."
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