Back to this week's parsha | Previous Issues

by Daneal Weiner
email: daneal@actcom.co.il

From the Orchards of Jerusalem

Not only is it the end of a year but it is also the end of ayear. It was a year ago this Parsha that I came up with the name"Orchards of Jerusalem." BIIIIG DEEEEAL!

Of course, we have a gshmak vort but first, I hate loose ends. Back in Parshas Chukas I mentioned the Shchinah spoke from Moshe's throat in a vort having to do with Moshe hitting the rock. Rather than wait till Parshas Bo which is the source of the throat vort I said we'd have an honorable mention in Vayelech.Needless to say...

"Vayelech Moshe..." "And Moshe went..." Where did he go? Well, where had he been? He had been sitting at the opening of the Ohel Mo'ed, the Mishcan and where he went was out into the camp. No, it was not an election year. The Bais Yitschak says that since the Shchinah was eminating from Moshe's throat he had stayed in a place that was befitting the Shchinah. Then, as the next verse and Rashi explain, once H' had officialy given over to Yehoshua the leadership, the Shchinah left Moshe's throat, "And Moshe went." Quick and painless.

We had to dip into last weeks parsha anyway because therein lies the introduction for this weeks

Parshas Ha'azinu / Shabbos Shuva

in the very last line of the parsha. "Moshe spoke the words of this song into the ears of the entire congregation of Israel, until their conclusion" (Whose conclusion? The song's or B'Y's?)Last week Moshe told us it was in our mouths. Now it is in our ears too! B'H!

Ha'azinu is called a song. The style of the language is therefore poetic and you can see in a Chumash with commentaries that the lengths of the commentaries are considerably longer. Some proport the change in writing style lends credence to those who would pontificate the multiplicity of authorships in the dictation and compilation and repagination of the Torah. For whereas whence thereby it may be aksed doth one ever see but one mortal being ever alter his motis operendi of written intercourse? What clowns! But I digresseth.

The style of the enscription is dramatically different. The song is enscribed as two perfect columns on the sides of the parchment.This is juxtaposed to the only other dramatically different enscription which is back in Shmos by Oz Yashir. That song is enscribed with the overlapping appearance of brickwork. I've heard it said by I don't remebember by whom, I went to look in my notes but my dog has been licking specific lines off the page, that by Oz Yashir, B'Y was fresh out of Mitsrayim and was in the early stages of becoming a nation. They indeed needed a brick-like foundation. That is what Oz Yashir helped build for them. Now, however, the theme of Ha'azinu, like all these final-the picture! Let's expand on that picture. Shall we? Hmm?

The anthology Sha'arai Aaharon brings down two of the Ba'alai Tosofos, the Riv'a and R. Baruch bar Yitschak who ask where is the song's author's name? We had `Oz Yashir Moshe', we have `AzYashir Yisrael', `Shir Hashirim shel Shlomo' and `VatasharD'vorah'. Ha'azinu starts `Listen and I will speak..' Who is doing the speaking? These Tosofists answer that as with any song,the author's name is in it but due to the song being one of rebuke and not praise, the author decided to hide his name int he text. (Yes, of course it's Moshe, but where is he?) Those familiar with the Shabbios songs know authors spell their name out as the first word of each stanza. This author felt that was still a little too open. He hid it deeper.

The first 4 verses start with the lettrers hay, yud, chaf, hay.The gematria of these 4 letters equals 40, the value of mem.Verse 5 starts with a shin and verse six with a hay. This spellsMoshe.

A question in the Gemorah is did Moshe still say these words out of prophecy or were they from his own divinely inspired wisdom? Either way, H's seal of approval is stamped on this song because the first and last letters of the first verse is Yud and hey. The first and last letter of the last verse is vav, hey, H's 4 letter Name of mercy.

32:18 "Tsur y'ladcha teshi vatishcach kel m'cholelecha" "You ignore the Rock Who gave birth to you and forgot G-d who brought you forth." The Magid of Dubnow gives a parable to understand the verse. Ruby lends Shimmy $10,000,000,000. After a while Ruby comes for the money but Shimmy hasn't got it. He repeatedly makes efforts to collect,and Shimmy keeps pushing him off. Finally Shimmy goes to Yainky,"Yaink, you gotta help me. Ruby is driving me nuts! Ill give him the money back when I have it but how do I get him off my back?" Yainky says, "The next time Ruby comes around just drop to the ground and start convulsing and dribbling out the mouth and he'll think you've gone mad and he'll leave you alone." Shimmy takes Yainky's advice. It works like a charm. Shimmy findsYainky, "Yainky! It worked! I dropped and shook and frothed, you would have been proud. Haven't seen him since!" Yainky says,"Thats great Shimmy. I'm very happy for you. Listen, uh...you know that little matter of the 10 bucks you owe me?" ImmediatelyShimmy drops to the ground and begins shaking and frothing. An angry Yainky shouts, "Who do you think you're frothing at!?"

Hashem did Bnei yisrael a tremendous favor. He gave us the power.(By the way, neither Ruby, Shimmy nor Yainky were acting like ehrlicher Yidden. ed.)

32:20 G-d will hide His face from them for they are "a generation of reversals." Reversals? Many understand this to mean `who turns away' or `who acts wrongly'. The Gan Ravah brings the Aidoos B'Yaakov who says, "A generation of reversals, thatsus!" G-d created a neshama which could not exist on earth without the body to support it. G-d created a man who could not exist without his wife to support him. Hashem created 6 days of erev and boker and Shabbos. Erev means mixed, biker (same root as boker) means criticize, Shavas (the root thing) means rest. The six days alone couldn't have survived without the harmonious support of the Shabbos.

In our generation, the drive of the neshama supports the lusts of the body. Men and woman are supporting themselves, if not their own sex altogether, and a good Saturday shopping day could support the rest of the week. RACHMANA LITSLAN!!!

And now for something completely different.

From the Chassidishe Rav Moshe Wolfson. As always true with the Rav, we get to see some fundamental ideas being brought to life in new and exciting ways.

It is known that there are 600,000 letters in the Torah corresponding to the 600,000 souls of B'Y. Chazal have even expounded for us the word YiSROeL to be the acronym for YaishShishi Ribui Osios L'Torah meaning `there are 600,000 letters in the Torah.' The other name for B'Y is YiShuRuN which stands forYaish SHishi Ribui Neshamos. `There are 600,000 souls.' Every soul of B'Y is rooted in one of the letters in a parsha, verse and letter that is relevant to the individual. It is also known that Ha'azinu is a microcosm of all mitsvot and aspects of the world. It's basically a microcosm of the Torah. Therefore, all of B"Y is alluded to in Ha'azinu.

The Ramban breifly touches upon this with what he wrote at the end of his commentary on Ha'azinu. He writes, "And so it is mentioned in the Siphri, Great is this song that has in it the present, past and future. It has in it this world and the world to come. This is hinted to in the verse, `...And he (Moshe) spoke all the words of this song...' It says the extra word `all' because it encapsulates everything. It has few words with amultitude of applications." A little which holds alot.

It is fitting that Ha'azinu is always read on Shabbot Shuva. Every week we read a different parsha, representative of thoseJews whose letters make up that parsha. The Rambam in Hilchos Sefer Torah writes, "It is incumbant upon every Jew to write a sefer Torah because it says in the Torah (last week 31:19),`...write for yourselves this song.' [But `this song' in that verse refers to Ha'azinu?] That is to say, write the sefer Torah that has IN IT this song because it is not allowed to write a Sefer Torah parsha at a time."

What the Rambam means is that one can't decide to write just Ha'azinu or, say, just Breishis if that's all thats intend for that time. Even if at a later time another parsha will be added,or eventually all of them. One must set out to write the Torah from beginning to end. Now days, we can uphold this mitsva by hiring a sofer to write one, or, those of less means can contribute to the cost of one being written.

If the Torah wants itself to be written then why hang this commandment on Parsha Ha'azinu? Accordingly, we already have our answer. Ha'azinu IS the whole Torah. It's a little that holds alot. The rest of the Torah is it's interpretation. We have to write Ha'azinu and we, thereby, end up writing the whole Torah because piece-meal isn't allowed. With out the rest of the Torah we would have no idea what Ha'azinu means anyway. What The Oral Law is to Torah the Torah is to parshas Ha'azinu!

Tangentially, the sefer, Yisod Yoseph brings down the story of Abner, the student of the Ramban who went off the Derech Hashem when he heard the aforementioned reality. He could not find his name in Ha'azinu and did not believe his teacher that so little could hold so much. Abner went out and commited every aveira in the Torah. He became very powerful in the church. (He was obviously qualified for the job.)

One Yom Kippur Abner ordered the Ramban to appear before him. TheRamban came to witness Abner take a bite out of the head of alive pig and was asked how many aveirot were just commited. TheRamban said 5. Abner proved to him that it was actually 6.Seizing the opportunity, the Ramban asked him why he went off the Derech. Abner explained what he heard on Ha'azinu and lost all faith. The Ramban quoted him from verse 32:26, "...afAihemashBisa mai'eNosh zichRam." The third letter (in Hebrew) of each word spells out `Abner'. Not only was Abner shaken by this revelation but also the pasuk means "I (H') will scatter them, I will cause their memory to cease from man." Contextually, H' is refering to the enemies of Israel. Abner understood H' to also‹j

As a final act of tshuva, Abner inacted the verse. He put himself on a boat with no captain or crew and drifted off, scattered by the winds, leaving behind no trace to remember him by.

Above we saw H's Name, k'viyachul and Moshe Rabbeinu's name spelled out at the beginning and ends of words. Interestingly enough, Abner's was spelled out by the third letters in. RavWolfson draws from this incident that it is IMPOSSIBLE for any neshama of B'Y to be obliterated for all eternity! Every Jew is rooted, a branch from the trunk of our holy forefathers. This was our beginning. And every Jew is promised a share in the world to come. This is our end. If Abner was spelled out by the first letters of this verse, it could imply he was cut off without a trace from his ancestors. If by the last letters, the implicationis as we'd expect, he's cut off from his his end, Olam Habah.Neither is the case! By the middle letters he is expressed. To teach us it is only the middle portion of his existance, his neshama's existance, was left `without a trace'. His end will indeed be with the rest of B'Y, in Olam Habah, according to the level of his tshuva and his mitsvot and the punishments he suffered.

What about people who don't do tshuva? Everybody does Tshuva.Maybe not now, not this week, year, life time. Never the less,after enough reincarnations or punishments, every neshama WILL acheive it's tikun, Baruch Hashem. We're running out of time for reincarnations. It is highly recommended to act, now!

Finally, back to our all encompassing, little that packs a lot,Shabbos Shuva, how fitting is it to read Ha'azinu, the little that packs alot. One hour of this Shabbos has in it days and days of the year. One little action can pack in alot of rectification. An extra 5 minutes of concentration in praying and SHAZAM, 20hours of TV and MADD magazine is turned into time spent serving Hashem! Isn't it obvious how much Hashem desires us to be close to Him? He gives us this Shabbos and this Parsha, and He gives them to us at a time of the year intended to correspond to another gift, the Temple Mount. There the Yidden would pack themselves into the courtyard of the Bais Hamikdash to watch the service of the Kohen Gadol. They would all be pressed shoulder to shoulder standing. But when the cohen would call out the HolyName, all would fall to the ground with hands and feet spread.Chazal say there would be 4 amot between each person. A little courtyard that packs alot. In the Kodesh K'dashim, a room that was 20 amot wide, the Kohen Gadol would enter and stand before the Holy Ark which was 2.5 amot wide. If he took out his holy tape measure and measured from the sides of the Ark to the wall he would measure 10 amot from each side. Another little that holds alot.


Back to this week's parsha| Previous Issues