Oroh V'Simchoh

Meshech Chochmoh
on the Weekly Parsha

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 30, v. 9: "V'hosircho Hashem Elokecho b'chole maa'sei yodecho ...... l'tovoh" - We find the same blessing in parshas Ki Sovo 28:11. However, there it says "V'hosircho Hashem l'tovoh" and does not mention the words "b'chole maa'sei yodecho." The MESHECH CHOCHMOH answers this with the opinion of the Ramban that this chapter discusses the mitzvoh of repentance (See Ramban on verse 11). The gemara Brochos 35b (See Tosfos d.h. "kan") says that only one who has acted purely all his life has the possibility of reaching the level of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai regarding pursuit of a livelihood. This level is called "m'lachton naa'seis al y'dei acheirim," - they do not personally toil in pursuit of a livelihood, but rather, it is done through the efforts of others.

The verse in parshas Ki Sovo leaves out the words "b'chole maa'sei yodecho" because one does not have to involve the "labour of his hands." However, our verse, discusses one who has sinned and repented. Such a person must pursue his livelihood in a more down-to-earth manner with the toil of his hands, hence "b'chole maa'sei yodecho."

Perhaps this approach explains why in parshas Ki Sovo it only mentions "Hashem," while here it mentions "Hashem Elokecho." He who deserves to have his sustenance given to him without his labouring receives it from a purely Merciful source, "Hashem," while in our verse, which talks about one who must toil to earn a livelihood, we have "Hashem Elokecho," as this reflects sustenance from a source of judgement as well.

Ch. 30, v. 11: "Ki hamitzvoh hazose" - The Sefer Ho'ikrim maamar #4 chapter 25, the Ramban, and others explain that the mitzvoh referred to here is that of repentance, teshuvoh. The choice of doing good or bad is expressed in the beginning of parshas R'ei as "R'ei onochi nosein lifneichem ha'yom brochoh ukloloh" (Dvorim 11:26), as a choice between receiving a blessing or a curse. Later in our parsha 30:15) it is expressed as "R'ei nosati l'fo'necho ha'yom es Hachaim v'es hatov v'es hamo'ves v'es horo." Why was this choice earlier expressed as a choice between blessing and curse and now between life and death, much stronger results? The MESHECH CHOCHMOH answers that once the opportunity for teshuvoh is given and a person does not avail himself of it, he is much more deserving of greater punishment, hence the choice is one of life and death. We may add that his is expressed in the Psikta d'Rav Kahana nispochim #3, which equates the unused opportunity to repent with a group of people who rebelled in the king was incarcerated. They dug an underground tunnel and escaped. This person decided to remain in jail. When the king came by and saw what had happened, he resoundingly criticized the remaining prisoner saying, "An opportunity for escape is open for you and you don't make use of it!"


Ch. 31, v. 7: "L'ei'nei chol Yisroel chazak ve'emotz" - The king is commanded to not become conceited, "l'vilti room l'vovo" (Dvorim 17:20). The MESHECH CHOCHMOH explains that we find that King Yehoshofot even stood up from his throne and hugged and kissed a Torah scholar (gemara Makos 24a). However, this may only be done privately. When in public, we apply the rule of "melech shemochal al k'vodo ein k'vodo mochul," - a king may not forego his due honour (gemara K'suvos 17a). The gemara Yoma 22b says that King Sho'ul was punished because he gave up his honour, as we find that he was rebuked by the prophet Shmuel, "Im koton atoh b'ei'necho rosh shivtei Yisroel otoh." Thus a king should behave in a dual manner. In private he should be humble and yielding, showering others with honour, while in public he should display leadership qualities. This is the intention of these words in our verse. "L'ei'nei chol Yisroel chazak ve'emotz," - when in the public eye, you Yehoshua as the leader of the people, should be firm, but in private you should be yielding.

Ch. 31, v. 7: "Ki atoh TOVO es ho'om ha'zeh" - In verse 23 we find, "Ki atoh TOVI es ho'om ha'zeh." The difference is explained in the gemara Sanhedrin 8a. Here in verse 7 Moshe told Yehoshua that he along with the elders of his generation will guide the people, thus "you will COME with (the elders of) this nation. As indicated in verse 14, Moshe related to Yehoshua in verse 23 the word of Hashem that Yehoshua will lead the nation, and BRING them to the Promised Land, and the elders will not be on an equal footing. Hashem said that if the people don't cooperate, Yehoshua should take a staff and "bang them on their heads" to persuade them to cooperate. There is but one leader and no more for each generation. Thus you, Yehoshua, will BRING them. This is all brought in Rashi on our verse.

The MESHECH CHOCHMOH SAYS that Hashem's position as compared to Moshe's can be explained with the gemara B.B. 75a. The gemara says that the elders of the generation when comparing Yehoshua to Moshe said that Moshe's countenance is as that of the sun, while Yehoshua's is as that of the moon; woe to that embarrassment, woe to that shame. The MESHECH CHOCHMOH explains that the moon is not self-illuminating. Thus it is not able to light up another celestial body. The sun is self- illuminating and has the power to illuminate other celestial bodies. Moshe in his great humility considered Yehoshua his equal and felt that he would be like the sun. This means that Yehoshua would have the power to spiritually illuminate the elders of his generation, and thus bring them to a level equal to his. He therefore said that Yehoshua and the elders, on an equal footing, would lead the nation. Hashem, however, knew that Yehoshua was not Moshe's equal, and that he could not illuminate the elders as did Moshe. Therefore he would be a leader above and beyond the powers of the elders, and he alone should lead and BRING the bnei Yisroel into the land.


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