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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 1, v. 1: "Eileh hadvorim" - These are the words - There are ten parshios in sefer Dvorim (if we count Nitzovim and Va'yeilech as one parsha). Each parsha has hidden in it the happenings of its corresponding century in the sixth and final millenium. (GR"A Likutim in Evven Shleimoh)

Ch. 1, v. 1: "Eileh hadvorim" - These are the words - Rashi comments that Moshe admonished the bnei Yisroel and to protect their honour he spoke covertly, only mentioning the places where they sinned, and not overtly spelling out their sins. Rabbi Ovadioh of Bartenura asks that we find later that Moshe resoundingly rebuked them openly. He answers that Rashi's intention is that sefer Dvorim should not BEGIN with open words of rebuke. The Ra"n in his droshos #9 says that the intention of Moshe in parshas Vo'es'chanan was not one of rebuke. Rather, he told the bnei Yisroel that they were very beloved to Hashem. Moshe sinned and was not allowed entry into Eretz Yisroel in spite of his greatness, and the bnei Yisroel sinned and in spite of this were permitted to enter. Thus by clearly spelling out their iniquities he brought this point home more pointedly. Why Hashem forgave them more readily than forgiving Moshe is also explained in droshoh #9. The Maskil l'Dovid answers with the words of the M.R. Moshe was reluctant to admonish the bnei Yisroel for their sins because he too had sinned by saying "shimu noh hamorim" (Bmidbar 20:10). Therefore he only criticized them indirectly. Hashem told him to not be afraid to openly admonish them and Moshe then openly reprimanded them.

Ch. 1, v. 1: "Bo'arovoh mole Suf" - In the plane across from Suf - Rashi comments that "bo'arovoh" refers to the sin of baal p'ore, which took place in Shitim, which is in the planes of Moav. "Suf" refers to the bnei yisroel's sinning when they came to Yam Suf before it was split when they said "hamibli ein kvorim b'Mitzrayim" (Shmos 14:11), and when they ascended from Yam Suf, as recorded in T'hilim 106:7, "Va'yamru al yom b'Yam Suf."

It seems that Targum Onkeles disagrees, as he translates these words of our verse as, "v'meishro loko'veil Yam Suf," in the plane across from Yam Suf. Targum Yonoson ben Uziel and Targum Yerushalmi explain that "bo'arovoh" refers to the Torah's being expanded and expounded in the planes of Moav, while "mole Suf" refers to the splitting of Yam Suf.

Ch. 1, v. 8: "Bo'u urshu es ho'oretz" - Come and inherit the land - The Ramban writes that this is not a promise that they would be successful in inheriting the land, but rather a command to do so.

Ch. 1, v. 13: "Hovu lochem anoshim .. vo'asi'meim b'rosheichem" - Give for yourselves men .. and I will place them as your leaders - Even though you will choose your leaders, do not think that they will be indebted to you and that you might be able to garnish favours from them. I, and not you, will place them as your leaders. (Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh)

Ch. 1, v. 13: "Vidu'im l'shivteichem" - And known to your tribes - The leaders reflect the level of the nation. Read these words as: And it will become known through them the level of your tribes. (T'cheiles Mordechai)

Ch. 1, v. 15: "So'rei alofim v'so'rei mei'os v'so'rei chamishim v'sorei asoros" - Ministers of thousands and ministers of hundreds and ministers of fifties and ministers of tens - The Abarbenel offers that these numbers refer to the number of litigants and defendants involved in the matter. If there were up to ten, one level of minister would judge, while if it increased then another level, up to the point of over 1,000 people, when the matter would be brought in front of Moshe. Alternatively, he offers that matters of up to 10 shkolim, etc. He ends by saying that for matters related to war there were ministers over 10 people, etc.

Ch. 1, v. 17: "Lo soguru mipnei ish ki hamishpot lEilokim hu" - Fear no man because the judgment belongs to Elokim - Do not fear the wrath of the person whom you rule against. Tell him that the conclusion that you came to is the ruling of Elokim, and he should harbour no ill will against you. In turn you will have nothing to fear. (Chizkuni)

Ch. 1, v. 23: "Va'yitav b'einai hadovor" - And the suggestion was good in my eyes - If Moshe felt that sending spies was a good idea why did he include it in his admonishments? Moshe complained that not only did they suggest something that was against the will of Hashem, but even campaigned so heavily that they convinced Moshe that it was a good idea. (Sfas Emes)

Ch. 1, v. 29: "Lo saartzun v'lo sirun" - Do not become broken and do not fear - A most novel interpretation is offered by Haksav V'hakaboloh. Do not consider them strong, from the word source "oritz," and then you will not fear them.

Ch. 1, v. 31: "Asher n'so'acho Hashem Elokecho kaasher yiso ish es bno" - That Hashem carried you as a father would carry his son - We can translate "n'so'ach'o" as "He has forgiven you." Even though Hashem as King cannot forgive, as per the axiom that a king's forgiving is not effective (gemara K'subos 17a), but He has carried you as a father, and once He has the status of Father we apply the axiom that a father's forgiveness is effective (gemara Kidushin 32a). (Chid"o in Nachal K'dumim)

Ch. 1, v. 35: "Im yi'reh iSH bo'anoshiM ho'eileH" - If a man from among these men will see - The final letters of "iSH bo'anoshiM ho'eileH" spell Moshe, to indicate that he was also included in this oath. (Baal Haturim)

Ch. 1, v. 37: "Gam bi hisanaf Hashem biglalchem leimore gam atoh lo sovo shom" - Hashem also turned his anger against me because of you saying "You too will not come there" - Even though Moshe deserved to be punished because of his shortcoming by the waters of discord, but there is no correlation between that and specifically the punishment of not being allowed entry into Eretz Yisroel. Only when the bnei Yisroel sinned and were not permitted to enter Eretz Yisroel was Moshe's punishment the same, as it would be very inappropriate to have the nation's leader enter the land without his nation. (Rabbi Eliezer Ashkenazi in Maa'sei Hashem)

Ch. 1, v. 37: "Biglalchem" - Because of you - The M.R. says that this means for your benefit, as understood through a parable. A maidservant accidentally dropped her bucket into a well and was unable to retrieve it. She began to cry because of the loss. The king's maidservant came by to draw water from the well and also dropped her golden bucket into the well. The other maidservant was overjoyed, saying that whoever would be sent to fetch the golden bucket would at the same time retrieve hers as well. So too, once Moshe would not merit to enter the Holy Land and would be buried in the desert, when the time for the revival of the dead would take place and Moshe will be brought into Eretz Yisroel, so will the rest of those who died in the desert.

Ch. 1, v. 45: "Vatoshuvu vativku .. v'lo shoma Hashem b'kolchem" - And you turned back and you cried .. and Hashem did not hearken to your voice - Had you cried genuine tears of regret, Hashem would have accepted them, but you only cried because of the inconvenience of having to retrace your steps, "vatoshuvu vativku." (Haksav V'hakaboloh)

Ch. 2, v. 9: "Al totzar es Moav" - Do not distress Moav - The Medrash Tanchuma says that as a reward for Moav's ancestor Lote's hosting the angels his descendants merited to not be caused anguish by the bnei Yisroel.

Ch. 2, v. 27: "Ba'derech ba'derech eileich" - On the path on the path I will go - Why the repetition? Targum Yonoson ben Uziel translates that this means that the bnei Yisroel said that they would only travel on the well-trodden path.

Ch. 2, v. 28: "Ochel ba'kesef tashbi'reini v'ochalti u'mayim ba'kesef ti'ten li v'shosisi" - Food for payment you shall sell me and I will eat and water for payment you shall give me and I will drink - "V'ochalti" can be translated as "and I have already eaten." Likewise "v'shosisi" can be translated as "and I have already drunk." The bnei Yisroel sent a message to Sichon that they had manna and water from the wellspring of Miriam. They already ate and drank. In spite of this they would still purchase food and drink so that the people of Cheshbon would benefit from the commerce. (Sifsei Kohein)



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha and Chasidic Insights

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