Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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1) Ch. 33, v. 9: "Ho'omeir l'oviv u'l'imo lo r'isiv v'es echov lo hikir v'es bonov lo yodo" - Rashi (Sifri and Yalkut Shimoni remez #955) says that when the bnei Yisroel sinned with the golden calf Moshe announced "Mi laShem eiloy" (Shmos 32:26). The complete tribe of Levi assembled and Moshe told them to kill the sinners even if they were the person's own father, meaning his mother's father (one calls his grandfather "father"), his maternal brothers, and his daughter's sons (one calls his grandchild his child). Rashi adds that it impossible to explain "father" literally, or "brothers" as paternal brothers, nor "sons" literally, since the sinners would then be members of the tribe of Levi and this cannot be since the same verse says "Va'yei'osfu eilov KOL bnei Levi," that not even one person of the tribe of Levi sinned.

Why does Rashi not point this out in parshas Ki Siso on the words "v'hirgu ish es ochiv" (32:27)?

2) Ch. 33, v. 20: "V'toraf zro'a AF kodkode" - When Gad slew the enemy with his sword, he not only decapitated him, but also severed the enemy's arm in one swing of his sword. Why doesn't the verse simply say "kodkode uzroa" leaving out the word AF and mention "kodkode" first, as one goes after the enemy's head?

3) Ch. 34, v. 5: "Va'yomos shom Moshe" - And Moshe died there - The gemara B.B. 15a asks how Moshe was able to write that he died, as at the time of writing it would not be true. Rabbi Nechemioh answers that until this verse Hashem would dictate, Moshe would verbalize and write. From this verse on Hashem would dictate and Moshe would write "b'dema," commonly translated as with tears. Why did Moshe verbalize before he wrote the previous section of the Torah, and only write without verbalizing from this verse on, as indicated by the gemara not mentioning his verbalizing the last eight verses?

4) Ch. 34, v. 12: "Asher ossoh Moshe l'einei kol Yisroel" - By proof of a cross-reference from our word "L'EINEI" to the term "va'ashabreim L"EINEIchem" (Dvorim 9:17), Rashi says that this refers to Moshe's shattering the tablets which contained the Ten Commandments. Considering all the awesome accomplishments of Moshe that this verse and the previous verse list, why does the Torah deliver as the grand finale Moshe's shattering the tablets?

5) Ch. 34, v. 12: "Asher ossoh Moshe l'einei kol Yisroel" - The Holy Zohar is quoted in the Pnei Yehoshua on gemara Kedushin 30a as saying that there are 600,000 letters in the Torah. An early commentator says that this is hinted at in the first word (BREiSHiS)as well as the last word (YiSRoEL) of the Torah. Torah Yeish Boh Shishim Ribo Osios - Yeish Shishim Ribo Osios LaTorah. Rabbi Saadioh Gaon counted and gave us a total of under 800,000. Sefer Hamesorres written by Rabbi Eliyohu Habochur claims it includes the letters of Nach. Our text of Nach makes this an impossible answer, as including Nach brings the total to well over 1,000,000 letters. Our count gives us 304,805 for the Torah alone. This is about half of the 600,000 mentioned in numerous sources. How do we answer this discrepancy?


Answer to questions on parshas Haazinu:

1) Ch. 32, v. 2: "Yaarofe kamottor likchi tizal katal imrosi" - Rashi points out that "mottor," rain, is not beneficial for everyone. For one who has his wine stored in a pit that has no cover and for one who is traveling, rain is a major inconvenience. However, "tal," dew, is beneficial for all. The Torah is comparing the words of the Torah to both rain and dew. Since Rashi says that dew is always of benefit and always appreciated, why does the Torah find it necessary to also use the analogy of rain to the words of the Torah?

1) The Ksav Sofer answers that to understand the Torah properly there are two levels. The first basic level of understanding is that one must single-mindedly and diligently study and toil to understanding the Torah. (Even after all the toil the knowledge acquired is a present from Hashem, as we find in the words of our daily blessings to study the Torah, "Asher bochar bonu mikol ho'amim v'NOSAN lonu es Toroso." He has GIVEN us His Torah. The Holy Admor of Kotzk says on the words of the gemara Megiloh 6b and the Medrash Tanchuma in our parsha 3:8 "Yogati umotzosi taamin," "We see from these words that after all the toil, understanding the Torah is compared to a FIND, something that is gotten not as a direct result of one's efforts, just as a found object is not usually gotten directly through one's efforts."

This level is compared to rain. Although rain comes from the heavens, it is not a product of the heavens. The bodies of water on the earth experience some evaporation, and this moisture ascends skyward. Upon condensation the rain descends. So too with Torah study, first we must make an effort, the diligent study of the Torah down here on earth, and then, and only then, does Hashem respond with a downpour of Torah knowledge into our minds. This level of Torah knowledge is exactly like rain.

There is a second level of Torah knowledge called, "laasukei shmai't'so alibo d'hilch'so," to conclude with a proper halachic understanding of the Torah that was studied. The gemara Bovo Kamo 92a says that this is dependent upon "siyato dishmaya," heavenly intervention. This level of Torah knowledge is totally from above, similar to dew which comes from the heavens and does not start out on the earth, hence the need to mention both comparisons.

2) The GR"A says that the comparison of Torah study to rain teaches us a startling lesson. Do not assume that Torah study guarantees that the one who pursues it will become a refined person. Just as one who plants something beneficial, as wheat or another grain, has his crops develop thanks to the rainfall, similarly one who plants poisonous plants will have them thrive from the rain as well. It all depends upon what one plants. The Torah only makes it thrive but does not change what the plant is. This is why the verse compares Torah study to rain. Only one who undertakes to study the Torah as a guiding light to change his negative traits will benefit from it in a manner where he will become a different and improved person.

2) Ch. 32, v. 6: "Ha'lo hu ovicho KO'NECHO" - What is the translation of "ko'necho"?

Rashi offers three interpretations:

1) He has purchased you. (Kinyan)

2) He has placed you into the safety nest of boulders. (Kein)

3) He has rectified you with all manners of improvements. (Tikun)

The Moshav Z'keinim asks according to the translation that "He has purchased you," - Who was the vendor? He answers in the name of Rabbi Elozor of Vermeiza that when Hashem divided humanity into 70 nations he gave each nation over to an administering angel. This included the bnei Yisroel, whose angel was Micho'el. Hashem purchased the right to administer the Jewish nation in exchange for giving Michoel the position of head angel and to be the Kohein in the heavens. Clarification of this latter point can be found in gemara M'nochos 110a Tosfos d.h. "U'Michoel sar."

3) Ch. 32, v. 39: "Mochatzti vaani erpo" - In the Amidoh prayer (shmonoh-esrei) we say "R'fo'einu Hashem v'neiro'fei ...... ki s'hiloseinu ottoh." The words "ki s'hiloseinu ottoh" are most puzzling. Why do we mention that because Hashem will heal us He is our praise? Why not say this by any of the other middle blessings, i.e. because You give us wisdom, forgive us, give us sustenance, etc.?

Rabbi Yechezkeil Abramski answers that it specifically because Hashem allows us to avail ourselves of doctors in pursuit of healing (Shmos 21:19) that there is the fear of attributing our healing only to the doctor and ch"v forgetting that it is truly Hashem Who has sent us our r'fuoh. We therefore beseech Hashem to send us healing because we will remember that "You are our praise" and we will attribute it to Hashem.

4) Ch. 32, v. 43: "Harninu goyim amo" - This verse ends the 43 verses of "Shiras Haazinu," the Song of Haazinu. It is written in a unique format. The first half of each verse is written on the right side and a large space is left in the middle. The second half of each verse is then written on the left half, each verse ending at the far left end. This leaves us with two narrow vertical columns of writing in one outer column, encased in rectangular embossed (m'surtot) lines. This configuration is called "ariach al gebei ariach u'l'veinoh al ga'bei l'veinoh," a half-brick upon a half-brick of writing and a full brick upon a full brick of blank space.

These 43 verses comprise the first six of the seven weekly "Aliyos laTorah." The gemara Rosh Hashonoh 31a and the Talmud Yerushalmi Megiloh 3:7 say that the chant of the L'viim for the Shabbos Mussof offering was Shiras Haazinu. Rabbi Chonon (Onon) bar Rovo in the name of Rav said that it was divided into six sections. The acronym for the first words of these six sections is "HaZIV L'CHo," Hei-Zayin-Yud-Vov-Lamed-Kof. The gemara goes on to say that the same applies to the synagogue. Rashi explains that this means that when parshas Haazinu is read in shul on Shabbos, Shiras Haazinu is split into six "aliyos," each starting with the same verse as the chant of the the L'viim in the Beis Hamikdosh during the Shabbos Mussof sacrifice procedure. Which are the six verses of this acronym?

There are numerous opinions as to which verses this acronym refers. Everyone agrees that the Hei stands for Haazinu (v. 1), as that is the first verse of our parsha. As well they also all agree that the second "aliyoh" begins with "Z'chor y'mose olom" (v. 7). A list of differing opinions follows, starting from the third "aliyoh."

1) Yarkiveihu (v. 13), Va'yishman (v. 15), Lu (v. 29), Ki yodin (v. 36). (Ma'seches Sofrim 12:8)

2) Yarkiveihu (v. 13), Va'yar (v. 19), Lulei (v. 27), Ki yodin (v. 36). (Rashi on gemara Rosh Hashonoh 31a d.h. "Haziv")

3) Yarkiveihu (v. 13), Va'yar (v. 19), Lu (v. 29), Ki essoh (v. 40). (Rambam hilchos t'filoh 3:5, RI"F on gemara Megiloh 3rd chapter, Rav Paltoi Gaon, Moshav Z'keinim, and Shulchan Oruch O.Ch. #428:5)

4) Yimtzo'eihu (v. 10), Va'yishman (v. 15), Lulei (v. 27), Ki essoh (v. 40). (Rav Hai Gaon brought in Sefer Ho'eshkol end of #21)

5) Yarkiveihu (v. 13), Va'yar (v. 19), Lu (v. 29), Ki yodin (v. 36). (Rabbeinu Chananel on gemara R.H. 31a and also mentioned in margin of gemara as a correction to the text of Ma'seches Sofrim, replacing Va'yishman (v. 15) with Va'yar (v. 19), brought in Tosfos d.h. "Haziv")

6) Yarkiveihu (v. 13), Va'yar (v. 19), Lu (v. 29), Ki mi'gefen (v. 32). (Rabbeinu Chaim Paltiel in his commentary on verse 40, in the name of Rabbeinu Chananel)

5) Ch. 32, 44: "V'Hoshei'a bin Nun" - Why have we reverted back to Yehoshua's previous name?

The Rebbi Reb Heshel of Cracow in Chanukas haTorah answers that the gemara Sanhedrin 107a says that when Sorai's name was changed to Soroh, the letter yud complained to Hashem that it is not in use. Hashem responded that not only would it be used, but previously it was at the end of a name and now it would be at the beginning of Hoshei'a's name which will be changed to Yehoshua. Sorai was eighty-nine years old when her name was changed to Soroh and she lived a total of 127 years, hence the yud was inactive for 38 years. Hoshei'a's name was changed to Yehoshua by Moshe Rabbeinu at the time when the m'raglim, spies, were sent (B'midbar 13:16). This took place in the second year that the bnei Yisroel were in the desert. Now that we are in the end of the fortieth year in the desert, the yud has been in use for thirty-eight years, so there is no further need to call him Yehoshua. A question can be raised on this: Why do we find the name Yehoshua later in Ch. 34, v. 9?



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

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