SEDRAH SELECTIONS HAFTORAS DVORIM 5765 BS"D
Ch. 1, v. 1: "VaChatzeiros v'Di Zohov" - Rashi explains that Chatzeiros
alludes to Korach's attempted rebellion, and Di Zohov alludes to the sin of the
golden calf. If so, they are chronologically out of order, as the sin of the
golden calf came first.
When Moshe was pleading for the bnei Yisroel after the sin of the golden calf
he said "Lomoh yeche'reh apcho b'a'emcho asher hotzeiso mei'etrez Mitzrayim"
(Shmos 32:11). He said that they are not to blame for idol worship because
they had just recently been taken out of Egypt, the cradle of idol worship, and
had been negatively affected by their environment.
However, if this were to be a defence, they were caught in a catch 22. They
likewise should have learned some positive things, and in particular unfailing
respect for spiritual leaders even in the most trying of times. The Egyptians
were starving during the seven years of famine, and when they ran out of funds
to purchase food, they sold off item after item, until they even sold their
property and themselves into slavery. However the priests, who were held in
very high esteem were left alone, and fed at the expense of the government. They
should have learned to implicitly trust Moshe. The argument Korach fomented
against Moshe's leadership pulled out the underpinnings of his defence.
Therefore Korach's attempted rebellion is mentioned before the sin of the golden calf.
Ch. 1, v. 10: "V'hinchem ha'yom k'chochvei hashomayim lorove" - And behold
you are today as the stars to many - This is the literal translation of these
words. This raises two questions. First, why add the word "hayom"? Since Moshe
is telling them "v'hinchem," - and you are - this connotes the present, i.e.
today. Second, why the letter Lamed before "rove"? What is the intention of "TO
The number of stars that people saw in the sky in those days, without the aid
of a telescope, was quite limited. Commentators on the Rambam hilchos yesodei
haTorah 3:8 say that there are 1,022 stars in the sky. This is all that was
visible to them in earlier times. Accordingly Moshe is telling the bnei Yisroel
that they are many, as the stars of the sky today, as is visible now, but the
blessing is to be understood as being many, many more, "Lorove. " Once we
will discover that there are more stars in the sky, we will see even more than a
thousand-fold more, "elef p'omim." (Nirreh li)
Ch. 1, v. 13: "Hovu lochem anoshim" - Prepare for yourselves men - Moshe told
them to CHOOSE men whom they felt would be good judges. Yet, in verse 15 we
find Moshe saying "Vo'Ekach," and I will take, seemingly changing his mind. In
between we have "vatomru tov hadovor asher dibarto laasos," an overly eager
response to Moshe's "hovu lochem." Moshe realized that they were all too eager
to comply because they wanted to appoint people who would be biased in their
favour, either because of having been given their position, or being favourably
disposed towards bribery, Moshe immediately rescinded his offer, and appointed
them himself. (Ksav Sofer)
Ch. 1, v. 16: "Ushfat'tem tzedek" - And you shall judge with righteousness -
This is an exhortation to not just technically follow the "books" and judge
accordingly. The judges must use their finely tuned antennae to ferret out false
claims, "din m'ru'meh," even though going by the "books" would find the
claimant victorious. (Malbim)
Ch. 1, v. 34: "Es kole divreichem" - The voice of your words - Sforno says
that "kole" refers to the needless crying that accompanied their words. Likutei
Bossor Likutei offers that even though the spies praised the Holy Land,
nevertheless, their tone was one of negativity. "Listen to what I mean, not what I
Ch. 1, v. 37: "Gam bi hisanaf Hashem biglalchem" - Also upon me has Hashem
brought His anger as a result of you - The Ramban has difficulty in finding
Hashem's anger with Moshe as a result of the spies' sin. He explains that this sin
brought in its wake another sin, to the point that Hashem was angered with
Moshe, their leader.
The Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh finds this explanation difficult to comprehend,
"ayin shom." He therefore offers that had the bnei Yisroel not done the sin of
believing the spies, they would have been on a much higher spiritual level when
entering Eretz Yisroel. This would have carried on for generations, and they
never would have sunk so low that the Beis Hamikdosh would have to be destroyed.
Alas, once this sin took place, the future held a further lowering of their
level to the point of destruction of the Beis Hamikdosh. The gemara Sotoh 5a
says that all that Moshe or Dovid created had permanence. We do not find that
the Mishkon ever fell into enemy hands, let alone having any of its components
destroyed. Thus, if Moshe would have entered the Holy Land he would have
orchestrated the building of the Beis Hamikdosh, and it would have been permanent.
The terrible sins that later occurred would only be expiated by destruction of
the nation ch"v, rather than through "pouring His fury upon wood and stone" of
This is the intention of our verse. Because they sinned with their belief in
the negative report of the spies, Moshe could not enter the land.
Ch. 2, v. 28: "Ochel ba'kesef tashbi'reini v'ochalti umayim ba'kesef ti'ten
li v'shosisi" - Food for payment you should sell me and I will eat and water
you should give me and I will drink - Isn't it obvious that the purchased food
would be for consumption? The Ibn Ezra, as explained by Avi Ezer, says that the
word form "shever" has one of two, albeit opposite, meanings. It can either
mean purchase (Breishis 41:57) or sell (Breishis 42:3). To clarify that the
bnei Yisroel were requesting that food be SOLD to them they added on "v'ochalti."
This seems to be a weak explanation, as it is obvious that the bnei Yisroel,
wandering in the desert for many years, would request egress to a country and
offer to SELL them food. Secondly, why add "v'shosisi" after requesting
"u'mayim ba'kesef ti'ten li," since "ti'ten" is unequivocal?
The Sha"ch offers an interesting explanation, which will alleviate our
difficulty. He translates "v'ochalti" and "v'shosisi" in the past tense, "even
though I have already eaten and drunk." The bnei Yisroel offered that they would
purchase food and drink to allow for a profit even though they had already eaten
their manna and drunk from the wellspring. We can apply both these insights
to 2:6 as well.
Ch. 3, v. 14: "Chavos Yo'ir ad ha'yom ha'zeh" - Hamlets of Yo'ir until this
day - Why does the Torah stress that this name remained? Yo'ir vanquished this
area and gave it his own name. We find the same with Novach (Bmidbar 32:42).
However, as Rashi points out there, his name was not perpetuated on the city.
The Torah stresses here that Yo'ir's hamlets did not have the same results.
(Rabbi Shimshon R'fo'el Hirsch)
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