Oroh V'Simchoh

Meshech Chochmoh
on the Weekly Parsha

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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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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