Chasidic Insights

on the Weekly Parsha

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 1, v. 1: "Eileh hadvorim asher di'ber Moshe el kol Yisroel" - "Eiloh" negates the previous. The matters that Moshe spoke to all of Yisroel were to not become haughty because of all the good deeds that one has already done. He should negate the previous actions and feel that he is just starting out. (Rabbi Dovid Yitzchok Eizik Rabinowitz - the Holy Admor of Skolia)

Ch. 1, v. 1: "El kol Yisroel" - Moshe's words of rebuke were aimed only at the bnei Yisroel. When Hashem contemplated punishing them for their shortcomings Moshe only spoke of their positive attributes. (Rabbi Yoseif Moshe of Zolozhitz)

Ch. 1, v. 1: "Bamidbor bo'arovoh mole suf" - The desert symbolizes deprivation and difficulties, while "arovoh" means sweet. Moshe advised them to not let trials and tribulations destroy their spirit and not let seeminly sweet pleasures that are contrary to the law or spirit of the Torah lure them away from the correct path. The way to do this is "mole suf," look towards the end, i.e. calculate the loss of doing a mitzvoh against the gain of fulfilling it, and likewise calculate the ephemeral pleasure of a sin against the tremendous spiritual loss that one will suffer on the day of reckoning. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 1, v. 2: "Har sei'ir ad ko'deish" - The evil inclination, whether it is like a mountain (to the righteous) or as a hair (to the wicked, as per the gemara Sukoh), has to be worked on and brought into te camp of sanctity, "ad ko'deish." (Kedushas Levi)

Ch. 1, v. 5: "Bei'eir es haTorah hazose" - No matter how much Torah knowledge one amasses, there is an endless amount more to learn. The Torah is likened to a wellspring. Even though much water is drawn from it, it remains full. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 1, v. 5: "Es haTorah hazose" - Rashi says that Moshe explained the Torah in seventy languages. Even though the translation of the Torah into just Yivonis caused darkness to descend upon the world, MOSHE's teaching it brought about no negative affects. (Rabbi Yitzchok Yaakov of Biala)

Perhaps we can differentiate between the Torah being transmitted verbally and being committed to writing.

Because the bnei Yisroel would be dispersed among the seventy nations in the future, it was necessary for Moshe to explain the Torah in seventy languages. The translations empowered the bnei Yisroel to withstand the trials of each of the nations through the strength of the Torah. (Sfas Emes)

Ch. 1, v. 13: "Chachomim" - Rashi says that this means bashful people. This is understood according to the dictum of our sages that if a wise person is arrogant, his wisdom will dissipate. (Rabbi Chaim Elozor Shapiro of Munkatch in Chaim V'sholo-m)

Ch. 1, v. 16: "Shomo'a bein acheichem ushfat'tem tzedek" - Rashi says that "shomo'a" is like "zochor" and "shomor." Just as one who keeps the laws of Shabbos is considered a partner with Hashem in the creation of the world, so too, one who judges and rules properly is also considered a partner with Hashem in the creation of the world, as per the gemara Shabbos 10b. (Rabbi Chaim Elozor Shapiro of Munkatch in Chaim V'sholo-m)


See also Sedrah Selections and Oroh V'Simchoh

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