CHAMISHOH MI YODEI'A - FIVE QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON PARSHAS VO'ES'CHANAN 5773 - BS"D
1) Ch. 4, v. 3: "Asher holach acharei baal p'ore" - Who has gone after baal p'ore - Sforno says that this refers to cleaving to the daughters of the baal p'ore adherers. Once they involved themselves with these women they inevitably fell into the trap of serving baal p'ore. Although this is historically what happened, why does the Sforno mention this to explain our verse, which could be understood in a straightforward streamlined manner, simply that they served baal p'ore?
2) Ch. 4, v. 37: "Va'yotziacho b'fonov" - And He took you out in front of Him - Everything takes place in front of Hashem, so what is the meaning of "b'fonov"?
3) Ch. 4, v. 40: "Ulmaan taarich yomim al ho'adomoh asher Hashem Elokecho nosein l'cho kol ha'yomim" - And so that you extend the days upon the land that Hashem your G-d gives you all the days - The final two words of this verse, "kol ha'yomim" seem problematic. To which earlier part of the verse do they connect?
4) Ch. 5, v. 18: "V'lo sachmode eishes rei'echo v'lo sis'aveh beis rei'echo" - And you shall not lust your friend's wife and you shall not lust your friend's house - What is the difference between "chemdoh" and "taavoh?"
5) Ch. 6, v. 4: "Shma Yisroel" - Hear Yisroel - This verse is arguably the second most daily repeated verse in all the Torah, as it is said at least four times in our daily prayers. What is the most daily repeated Torah verse?
Perhaps it is because the verse says "holach acharei." Rashi (Breishis Raboh 44:5) on Dvorim 11:30 says that "acharei" always means "after by quite a distance." Had our verse said "holach achar baal p'ore" we would explain it in the direct manner. Now that it says "acharei" it means "he went after it from a distance." The Sforno therefore explains that the intention is that "he involved himself in baal p'ore from a distance," namely, first getting involved with women, who then enticed him to serve this false god. (Nirreh li)
1) When Hashem took the bnei Yisroel out of Egypt He placed them in a prominent position, as if they were in front of Hashem, as per the verse in Shmos 14:19, "Va'yeilech mei'acha'reihem." (Rashi)
2) In front of our Patriarchs, even though "b'fonov" is singular, so are the Patriarchs expressed in the singular, "b'zarO acharOV" (Rashi)
3) With a face of anger upon the Egyptians (Ibn Ezra)
4) Through an angel, which is expressed as "ponim," as per the verse, "umalach PONOV hoshiom" (Yeshayohu 63:9) (Ibn Ezra)
5) Waging war, as per the verse "ufo'necho holchim b'kerev" (Shmuel 2:17:11) (Ibn Ezra)
6) Through His word, "b'meimrei" (Targum Onkelos)
7) With willingness, "b'a'pei r'u'sei" (Targum Yonoson ben Uziel)
8) With Hashem in front, as per the verse "vaShem holeich lifneihem yomom" (Shmos 13:21) (Rashbam) This is totally the reverse of Rashi's first explanation.
9) With acts that are beyond nature (Sforno)
10) In front of Yaakov (based on the explanation of the Rokei'ach that the change to singular form of "b'zarO acharOV" refers only to Yaakov)
Possibly it is to the beginning, "V'shomarto," and you shall safeguard, and when should you do this, "kol ha'yomim." Possibly it is to "asher yitav l'cho ulvo'necho acha'recho," and when will He bestow good upon you and your descendants, " kol ha'yomim." We could even go so far as to say that it connects to "asher onochi m'tzavcho ha'yom," and the intention is that although I am commanding you today, nevertheless, this "ha'yom" should be "kol ha'yomim," as per the maxim, "b'chol yom yi'h'yu v'einecho kachadoshim" (see Rashi on Dvorim 11:13 d.h. "m'tza'veh").
With any of these explanations we still have the words "kol ha'yomim" misplaced in the verse, a hanging phrase. Perhaps it flows with the immediate previous words, "asher Hashem Elokecho nosein l'cho." The gist of Moshe's words are that the bnei Yisroel will be privileged to occupy Eretz Yisroel, but conditional upon their scrupulously adhering to the mitzvos. To indicate how tenuous their staying in Eretz Yisroel is, Moshe expressed the GIVING of the land in the present tense, i.e. Hashem is giving it and giving it, dependent upon your behaviour. There is no, "I HAVE GIVEN it" and it will always remain yours. The Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh says a similar thought on the words "ho'oretz asher ani NOSEIN lochem" (Vayikra 25:2). (n.l.)
The Rambam in hilchos g'zeiloh 1:10-12 explains that "taavoh" is lusting and yearning for something, while "chemdoh" is reacting to this lust by taking action to bring it into his possession, even if paying for it after nagging and nagging the owner until he acquiesces.
The Sma"g and Sma"k both disagree, questioning the explanation of the Rambam, "If this were so, then the Torah is stricter with taking someone's wife than with his property. The sin of lusting another's wife is only complete when actually taking her, while by simply lusting someone's home he has already committed a sin. They therefore offer that technically they are the same.
The Sma"k adds: Even though the Mechilta clearly states that "lo sachmode" is only with acquiring the object, such as paying for it, the basic sin is transgressed just with the emotion, but lashes are not administered for transgressing unless the object is acquired, to be a transitive sin.
"Hashem yimloch l'olom vo'ed" (Shmos 15:18).
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