Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

subscribe.gif (2332 bytes)

by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

Back to This Week's Parsha | Previous Issues

Please send your answers and comments to: SHOLOM613@AOL.COM


1) Ch. 3, v. 23: "Vo'es'chanan" - Rashi says that Moshe said 515 prayers to Hashem, begging to be allowed entrance to Eretz Yisroel. The numerical value of the letters in the word, "vo'es'chanan" is 515.

Why did Moshe not pray for Aharon to live longer and enter Eretz Yisroel when he was advised of Aharon's imminent death?

2) Ch. 4, v. 14: "Laasos'chem osom BO'ORETZ" - Aren't mitzvos to be kept outside of Eretz Yisroel as well?

3) Ch. 4, v. 23: "Hishomru lochem pen .. vaasi'sem lochem pessel tmunas kole asher tzivcho Hashem" - Guard yourselves lest .. you will make a form a picture of anything that Hashem has commanded you - It sounds as if ch"v Hashem has commanded to YES make a form of a deity. How are we to understand these words?

4) Ch. 5, v. 6,7 : "Onochi Hashem Elo'kecho, Lo y'h'yeh l'cho elohim acheirim" - When the bnei Yisroel sinned with the golden calf Moshe spoke in their defense. The M.R. Shmos 47:9 says that Moshe said that since our two verses which command that the bnei Yisoel believe only in Hashem and not in false gods is expressed in the singular form, "Elo'keCHO" and "Lo y'h'yeh L'CHO," perhaps the command was only given to Moshe and not to them. How is it possible for Moshe to use such a defense? Did he not tell the bnei Yisroel that in the merit of accepting the Torah after their deliverance from Egypt, they would be allowed to leave Egypt? Were they not told to prepare numerous days for the giving of the Torah? It is therefore impossible to say that all their preparation was only for being relegated spectator status!

5) Ch. 7, v. 2: "V'lo s'cho'neim" - And do not favour them - The gemara A.Z. 20a derives 3 prohibitions from these words. It is prohibited to speak favourably about them, to give/sell them land in Eretz Yisroel, and to give them gifts. How do we derive these three seemingly disparate laws from these two words?

Answer to questions on parshas Dvorim:

1) Ch. 1, v. 3: "Va'y'hi b'arbo'im shonoh" Rashi explains that Moshe waited to rebuke bnei Yisroel until it was close to the time of his death. How was Moshe allowed to wait to fulfill the mitzvoh of rebuking one's neighbor" (Vayikra 19:17)?

1) The Baalei Tosfos in sefer Moshav Z'keinim ask this. They answer that when one sees his fellow Jew actively doing a sin, he must respond immediately. However, after the sin has already been perpetrated, one is not required to respond at the first opportunity.

2) The Rambam hilcos dei'os 6:6 says that the mitzvoh of rebuking applies in an equal manner even after one has sinned. To answer the previous question according to the Rambam, Rabbi D. Mandlebaum differentiates between rebuking a group and rebuking an individual. When rebuking a group, one need not respond immediately, but to an individual's sin, "amisecha" (singular form), one must respond immediately.

3) The Mahara"m Schiff in his commentary Drushim Nechmodim at the end of gemara Chulin differentiates between rebuke that is given in a subtle, hinting form, which he gave at the time of their sins, and rebuke which is open and straight forward, which he gave close to his death.

2) Ch. 1, v. 13: "Chachomim" - Rashi comments, "K'SUFIM." What does this word mean?

1) The Gur Aryeh and the N'tzi"v both say that they are unclear as to Rashi's intention. (Although they surely are able to translate K'SUFIM, perhaps they don't grasp how it would be a desirable characteristic trait for a tribal elder.)

2) The Divrei Dovid (Taz) translates it as pleasant and desirable, as in "nichsof nichsafti" (Breishis 31:30). However, the Ibn Ezra on the above verse says that "nichsof nichsafti" means "I have lusted." It is difficult to see why this is a trait that is preferable for an elder to have.

3) The Chasam Sofer says that it means they are lustful for knowledge of the words of the Torah.

4) Rabbi Akiva Eiger in his commentary on the Sifri and the Sifsei Chachomim say that this word means that they are people who are easily shamed. This has the advantage that they carefully calculate their actions and avoid sinning so that they are not put to shame by their actions.

5) The Kerem Shlomo 17:7:9 says in the name of Rabbi Zanvil of Poznan that it means that they are willing to shame themselves by seeking counsel even from those less scholarly than themselves, in keeping with the dictum, "Eizehu chochom? Holomeid mikol odom" (Pirkei Ovos 4:1).

6) The Imrei Shamai says that it means that they have great riches (kesef). This is an attribute of an elder as the gemara K'subos 105b says, Rabbi Nachman bar Kohein says, 'What is the meaning of the verse, "Melech bamishpot yaamid oretz" (Mishlei 29:4)? If a judge (or leader) is as a king who has riches, his demands and guidance will be followed, since he is independent of public support.'" (Pardes Yoseif)

3) Ch. 1, v. 16: "Vo'atza'veh es shofteichem bo'eis ha'hee leimore" - The Sifri #16 says that even if a similar case has come in front of the judges numerous times, they should not be hasty to judge, but rather, they should investigate the details meticulously. Perhaps there are factors that could change the ruling that only come to light after in-depth investigation. How is this concept derived from these words?

1) "Bo'eis ha'hee leimore" is seemingly superfluous. These words teach that one should judge the case as if he has for the first time, "bo'eis ha'hee," heard the words of the two litigants. (Shach)

2) The word "vo'atza'veh" indicates being enthusiastic, as if this type of case has come to him for the very first time, as per the gemara Kidushin 29a, that the word "tzav" indicates eagerness and enthusiasm, both in the present and in the future. Similarly here, one should approach each case as a new one, not only when it is indeed new, but even a seemingly repetitive situation should be dealt with as if it were new. (Maskil l'Dovid)

3) The words "shomo'a bein acheichem" are seemingly superfluous. These words teach us that every time you hear the words of the litigants you should fulfill "ushfat'tem tzedek," meaning to deeply investigate their words, and not rely on the ruling you gave in a previous similar case. (N'tzi"v)

4) Ch. 1, v. 23: "Vayitav b'einai hadovor" - If Moshe was amenable to sending the spies, why is this included in the admonition?"

1) Rashi answers with a parable of a person attempting to sell a donkey. The prospective buyer raises numerous concerns about its ability to function under different difficult circumstances. The vendor says, "You may test it under each circumstance before you buy it." The willingness of the vendor to allow the buyer to test it under all circumstances should be sufficient to bolster the confidence of the buyer, and it should not be necessary to actually test the animal. Similarly, Moshe's saying that it is a good idea, to send the spies as he feels their findings will not deter their pursuit of the conquest of Canaan, should be sufficient to allay their concerns. Thus, their insistence on proceeding with the spy mission was inappropriate.

2) The Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh answers Rashi's question differently. We find that in v. 22, Moshe quotes the bnei Yisroel as requesting a spy mission with the purpose of "v'yach'piru" (and they will spy). However, when he relates what happened, the word used for spying is "va'yi'raglu"(v. 24). The Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh explains that "v'yach'piru" comes from the source word meaning "to dig" (chafiroh). They requested spying for the purpose of finding out where the inhabitants were digging to hide their possessions. Spying for this purpose was acceptable to Moshe. However, "va'yi'raglu" means to spy out the condition of the land, and the nature and strength of its inhabitants. This spying demonstrated a lack of trust in Hashem, and was therefore deemed inappropriate. 3) The Sfas Emes answers that Moshe rebuked them for the suggested mission finding favour in his own eyes. They were so forceful in promoting their agenda that that they even influenced Moshe to the point that the idea appealed to him.

5) Ch. 1, v. 16: "Bo'eis ha'hee" - What is being pointed out with the words "at that time?"

1) See Shach in previous offering.

2) Once you are appointed as a judge you may not back out of this responsibility to the public. (Maskil l'Dovid's commentary on Rashi)

3) Every judge in every generation, "bo'eis ha'hee," should be venerated as Moshe was. (Baal Haturim)

4) Only at that time, during the years before the coming of Moshiach, is "shomo'a bein acheichem" required. Once Moshiach will come, he will have the ability to judge through his sense of smell, ferreting out the truth by sense alone, as is stated in Yeshayohu 11:3, "V'hiricho b'yiras Hashem .. v'lo l'mishma oznov yochiach," - he will not need to judge by what he hears. (Kedushas Levi)



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

Back to Parsha Homepage | Previous Issues

This article is provided as part of Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Permission is granted to redistribute electronically or on paper,
provided that this notice is included intact.

For information on subscriptions, archives, and
other Shema Yisrael Classes,
send mail to
Jerusalem, Israel