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!"


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