Thoughts on the Weekly Parshah by HaRav Eliezer Chrysler
Formerly Rav of Mercaz Ahavat Torah, Johannesburg

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Vol. 8   No. 46

This issue is sponsored anonymously
with the prayer that the forthcoming year
will be free of strife among ourselves
and one of peace within our borders

Incorporating Rosh Hashanah

Blowing and Remembering (adapted from the Torah Temimah)

The Gemara in Rosh Hashanah (29b) comments on the discrepancy between the Pasuk in Pinchas (29:1), which refers to Rosh Hashanah as 'a Day of Blowing', and the Pasuk in Emor (23:24), which calls it 'a Remembrance of Blowing' (as if it were not a day on which one actually blows, but only recalls the blowing).

To resolve this discrepancy, the Gemara establishes the Pasuk in Emor by Rosh Hashanah which falls on Shabbos, and the Pasuk in Pinchas, by Rosh Hashanah which falls during the week. The Torah Temimah cites the author of this opinion as Rav Papa. In our Gemoros however, it is quoted in the name of Rebbi Chama bar Chanina.


The Torah Temimah queries the fact that the Gemara refers to these two Pesukim as a discrepancy. Why should the one Pasuk not be instructing us to blow the Shofar, and the other, to recite the relevant Pesukim - concurrently (as indeed we do, though from a different source).

It seems to me however, that the Torah would not have then referred to them both as 'a Day of ... '. The use of this expression suggests that this is the order of the day, in which case the Gemara is perfectly justified in talking about a discrepancy. Either the order of the day is to blow, or it is to remember the blowing. It cannot be both.


Based on the fact that there is no reason for the Torah to forbid the blowing of the Shofar on Shabbos, Rava concludes that the above D'rashah is merely an Asmachta (a support for a Rabbinical decree). He maintains that min ha'Torah, the Shofar is blown on Shabbos too, and it is the Rabanan who forbade blowing the Shofar on Shabbos, in case one comes to carry it into the street (to take to an expert, to ask him how to blow properly).


The Torah Temimah comments that another Gemara in Rosh Hashanah appears to concur with Rav Chama bar Chanina. Rebbi Avahu (16a) explains that we recite Pesukim of Malchiyos, in order to crown G-d as our King, and Pesukim of Zichronos, so that our remembrance should rise before the heavenly Throne. From the fact that Rebbi Avahu fails to then give a reason as to why we recite Pesukim of Shofros, he extrapolates that it must be because we only recite Pesukim of Shofros when Rosh Hashanah falls on Shabbos (like Rebbi Chama bar Chanina). That being the case, the reason for reciting them is so obvious that it does not need mentioning.

This proof however, is all but incomprehensible. Rebbi Avahu, having explained that we read the Pesukim of Zichronos, 'so that our remembrance should rise before the heavenly Throne', concludes 'And with what - with the Shofar!'

Now surely what he is telling us here is that it is through the recital of Shofros our rememberance appears before the Heavenly Throne and works on our behalf! 'Shofros' is the catalyst that triggers Zichronos, because without it Zichronos would simply not work. And this is his reason for the recital of the Pesukim of Shofros, concurrently with the blowing, like the Pesukim of Malchiyos and Zichronos (like Rava)!


Another difficulty raised by the Torah Temimah is, how Rava will deal with the discrepancy between the Pasuk in Pinchas and the Pasuk in Emor, which he makes no effort to resolve. He cites the Maharil, who maintains that at Kidush on Rosh Hashanah night one says 'Zichron Teru'ah', even when Rosh Hashanah falls on a weekday, because one does not blow the Shofar at night time. In that case, "Yom Teru'ah may well refer to Rosh Hashanah day (with regard to the blowing of the Shofar), and "Zichron Teru'ah", to Rosh Hashanah night (with regard to the recital of Kidush).

At first glance, this explanation appears difficult, due to the fact that Kidush on Yom-tov is only mi'de'Rabbanan (whilst we are concerned with an aspect of Yom-tov that is min ha'Torah). In fact however, the Torah Temimah earlier in the Parshah (23:6), proves from a Mechilta as well as from a Gemara in Rosh Hashanah (22a) that Kidush on Yom-tov is d'Oraysa (in spite of the Magen Avraham and the other Poskim, who hold that it is only mi'de'Rabbanan).


A final problem dealt with by the Torah Temimah concerns the two Pesukim that we discussed earlier. Why is it, he asks according to Rebbi Chama bar Chanina, that in Emor, which is the main Parshah of Yom-tov, the Torah refers to Rosh Hashanah as 'Zichron Teru'ah', and in Pinchas, where the Yom-tov only appears because of the Musaf, it is called 'Yom Teru'ah'. Considering that Rosh Hashanah usually falls in the middle of the week, and only rarely, on Shabbos, it would surely have been more appropriate to reverse the titles (to call it 'Yom Teru'ah' in Emor, and 'Zichron Teru'ah' in Pinchas)?

And he answers with the Gemara in Shabbos (87b), which informs us that Pesach of the year that they left Egypt fell on Thursday; and as is well-known, whenever Pesach falls on Thursday, Rosh Hashanah will fall on Shabbos. Consequently, it is perfectly apt to write "Zichron Teru'ah" in Emor, to teach us that Shabbos over-rides Shofar, since that is what had happened that year, on the only Rosh Hashanah that they had so far experienced.


The K'li Yakar however, has a different approach. In the Beis Hamikdash, he points out, they would blow the Shofar even on Shabbos, and the Ba'al ha'Turim even finds a hint for this, in the first letters of the Pasuk in Yo'el "Tik'u Shofar Be'Tziyon", which spell 'Shabbos'. In any event, this explains why the Pasuk in Pinchas, which speaks about the Musaf-offering that was brought in the Beis-Hamikdash, refers to "Yom Teru'ah". Whereas the Pasuk in Emor, which speaks about outside the Beis-Hamikdash, refers to "Zichron Teru'ah". Both Pesukim in fact, are referring to Rosh Hashanah that falls on Shabbos, but one in the Beis-Hamikdash, the other, outside it.


Parshah Pearls

(adapted from the Ba'al ha'Turim)
The Worst of All

"Ve'hivdilo Hashem le'Ro'oh (29:22) points out the Ba'al ha'Turim, has the same numerical value as "Hinei Zeh Yerav'am". And it is because Yerav'am was the first, and therefore the worst, of all the rebel kings that Hashem would divide him from the people for punishment.


But Not the Only One

"Asher Yakumu Me'achareichem" (29:21), he adds, form the first letters of Achav, Yerov'om and Menasheh, the three most prolific idolaters of all the kings.

It is noteworthy however, that Menasheh did Teshuvah (late, very late, but not too late - see next Ba'al ha'Turim d.h. "Chiloh")


Hashem's Anger -Seventy Years

"And Hashem moved them away from their land with anger, with wrath and with fury ... " (29:27). The numerical value of these three words ("be'af, u've'Cheimah u've'ketzef" has equivalent to the numerical value of 'Shiv'im' - seventy, a hint to the duration of the seventy years Golus in Bavel, the result of G-d's anger.


But Not for the Ten Tribes

" ... and he cast them away ('va'Yashlichem') to another land like this day" (ibid).

" va'Yashlichem" contains a large 'Lamed', and is missing a 'Yud', to teach us that the ten tribes were not cast away in the same manner as Yehudah and Binyomin.

* The Gemara in Sanhedrin 110b, cites Rebbi Akiva who connects this Pasuk to the ten tribes. "And G-d removed them from their land", he says, refers to this world, he says; whereas "And He cast them to another land" refers to the World to Come (see also Torah Temimah). In that case, what the Ba'al ha'Turim ought to have said is that Yehudah and Binyomin were not cast away in the same manner as the ten tribes.


Seventy Days or Seventy Years

"And the revealed things are up to us and our sons forever ("ad olom") (29:28).

There is a dot on the 'Ayin' of "ad olom ... " (besides those on "lonu ul'voneinu"). The Gemara in Sanhedrin explains that it was only from the time that they crossed the Yarden that they took upon themselves the responsibility for each other's sins - seventy days from Rosh Chodesh Sh'vat, when Moshe began expounding the Torah, until they crossed the Yarden on the sixteenth of Nisan.

Alternatively, it hints to the seventy years of Galus Bavel.



"And Hashem will circumcise (remove the stupidity of - Unklus) your heart and the heart of your descendents" (30:6).

The first letters of the words "your heart and the heart of your descendents" ('Es Levovcho Ve'es Levav'), says the Ba'al ha'Turim, spells Elul, and it is the basis for the Minhag to get up early as from Rosh Chodesh Ellul to recite Selichos (as practised nowadays by the Sephardim). Perhaps it also serves as a gentle reminder what it is that one needs to work on most of all. For so Chazal have said 'G-d wants our hearts!'


He also quotes the Pasuk in Tehilim (in "le'David, Hashem Ori ve'Yish'i") "If I had not believed ('Lulei He'emanti') that I would see the goodness of Hashem".

There too, the word "Lulei" spells 'Ellul', because it is in Ellul that one begins to tremble before Hashem (in anticipation of His coming close on Rosh Hashanah).


And the numerical value of " ... es levovcha ve'es ... " is equivalent to that of 'Zeh li'Yemos ha'Mashi'ach' - because it is in the days of Mashi'ach that G-d will remove the Yeitzer-ha'Ra from our midst once and for all.


The Power of Teshuvah

"And you will return ... And Hashem will leave you over for the good" (30:8/9).

A hint, comments the Ba'al ha'Turim, that the moment we do Teshuvah, the redemption will follow. And how do we do Teshuvah?


"When you listen to the voice of Hashem" (30:10).

"When you listen to the voice" ('Ki sishma be'kol ... ') has the same numerical value as 'Zeh be'kol divrei Talmidei-chachamim' - because it is through the words of the Talmidei-Chachamim that G-d speaks to us.


"Ki soshuv el Hashem Elokecha be'chol levovcha ... " ('When you will return with all your heart') ... Because this Mitzvah (the entire Torah - Rashi) ...

A clear indication that Teshuvah is compared to the entire Torah.


To Heaven, via the B'ris Milah

"M-I Ya'aleH LanU Ha'shamaymaH" (30:12).

The Ba'al ha'Turim points out that not only do the first letters spell 'Milah', but the last letters too, spell 'Hashem' (both in the correct order).

Clearly, the privilege of standing before G-d in Heaven is reserved for those who have been circumcised (the reason that one circumcises a baby who died within thirty days of birth before burying him).

And the same idea is expressed in the Pasuk in Lech-Lecha (17:1), where, in connection with the B'ris Milah, G-d said to Avraham "Go before Me and be complete".


When Mouth and Heart Combine

" ... with your mouth and with your heart to do it" (30:14).

Connecting this pasuk with the mitzvah of learning Torah (like Rashi), the Ba'al ha'Turim explains that " ...with your mouth" refers to verbalising the text - which we derive from the Pasuk in Mishlei (4:22) "Because they are life to those who verbalise them".

"and with your heart "- refers to working to grasp their meaning - which we learn from Chazal, who say (B'rachos 6a) 'The reward for learning is S'vara' (understanding the reasons behind the text).


Torah and Life

"u'Vocharta ba'chayim ('And you shall choose life" [30:19]).

"ba'chayim", explains the Ba'al ha'Turim, has the numerical value of seventy, corresponding to the seventy different ways that each Pasuk in the Torah can be explained, and to the seventy years described in Tehilim as the normal life-span of man. Evidently, Torah and life are synonymous only when one proceeds to study it in its entirety (refer to the previous piece).


The Twelve Stones
(Part 2)

Setting up the stones and writing the Torah, says the Ibn Ezra, was the very first Mitzvah that Yisrael were commanded to perform in Eretz Yisrael. In his opinion, that is what the Torah is referring to in the previous Pasuk (27:1), when it warns us to "observe all the Mitzvah". And when the Pasuk continues "And you shall write on them all the words of this Torah, in order that you will come to the Land", it means that on the merit of keeping this Mitzvah, G-d will help you to conquer Eretz Yisrael. If further proof is needed to correlate Eretz Yisrael and the Mitzvos, we have it in the very nature of the Mitzvah and in the format for carrying it out. For not only did the Mitzvah comprise writing the Torah in all seventy languages, but it entailed traveling sixty Mil, and was accompanied by the ceremony on Har Gerizim and Har Eival (which was in itself, a demonstration of loyalty to Torah and Mitzvos). And all this was performed the moment they entered Eretz Yisrael, before they had even worked out a strategy to capture the land, before setting up camp to rest from the journey, before having a good night's rest. What greater demonstration of the importance of Torah could there conceivably be than that?


According to the Ramban, the opening Pasuk to "observe all the Mitzvah" refers, not to the Mitzvah on hand, but to all the Mitzvos. It is more like a prelude to the Mitzvah of the twelve stones, which at the same time serves to reinforce the prominent role of Torah and Mitzvos in Eretz Yisrael.

And he also disagrees with the Ibn Ezra's interpretation of the second Pasuk. In the first of two explanations, he explains the phrase " ... in order that you will come to the land" to mean that 'you will come to the land in order to remember the Torah, because that is the objective of living there. He inverts the phrases as if the Torah had written "You will come to the land in order to write on them all the words of the Torah" (and he proves from a number of sources, that it is not uncommon for the Torah to express itself in this manner).

Rabeinu Bachye cites the Ramban, and he points out that this is the source for the insertion of Torah in Birchas ha'Aretz in Bensching.


The Oznayim la'Torah cites three reasons for the Mitzvah of the stones (though all three reasons seem to pertain to the third set, and are not one reason for each of the three sets, as one may have expected. One reason, which is mentioned in Yehoshua (4:6/7), was to arouse the curiosity of the descendents of those who entered Eretz Yisrael, whereupon they would relate to them how their ancestors crossed the Yarden (which is where the stones were taken from).

And the other two reasons are mentioned in the Torah; one of them, in the Pasuk that we cited earlier, which describes it as a means or as a prelude to capturing Eretz Yisrael. And the other one is written by way of a hint, by virtue of the fact that the Torah was to be translated in all the languages, whose purpose it was to grant the gentiles access to the Torah. Perhaps this was in order to keep the door of conversion open. Or perhaps it was to drive home the lesson that Hashem created the world and that it therefore belongs to Him, says the Oznayim la'Torah. This in turn, will help to reinforce the lesson that it was He gave the Jewish people Eretz Yisrael and that it is rightfully theirs (as the first Rashi in the Torah teaches us).

The Gemara in Sotah (35b) describes how G-d put it into the heads of the gentiles to transcribe the Torah in their respective languages, and adds that they were taken to task for not learning from what they had transcribed.


The Agados Maharsha there links the three sets of stones to the Seifer ha'Ikrim's three fundamental principles of Emunah: Torah min ha'Shamayim, Hashem's existence and Divine reward and punishment.

The stones set up by Moshe Rabeinu in Eiver ha'Yarden was symbolical of Torah min ha'Shamayim (as Moshe was the one to receive it from Har Sinai). The stones that Yehoshua placed in the Yarden symbolized Hashem's existence (incorporating His Divine Supervision, and His ability to perform miracles, which He illustrated by the splitting of the River Yarden). And the stones that Yehoshua set up on Har Gerizim were symbolical of the reward and punishment that were the keystone of the ceremony that took place there at that time.

Chazal have taught that if there is one basic principle which encompasses the entire Torah it is Emunah. It is not surprising therefore, that fortifying that Emunah is now found to be part of the list of prerequisites required of Yisrael before they entered Eretz Yisrael.


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