by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 7, v. 12: "V'hoyoh eikev" - The term "v'hoyoh" indicates happiness. "Eikev," which can be translated as "heel" can be symbolic of modesty, as the heel is not in a prominent position, but rather, at the bottom of the body. Rabbi Meyer of Premishlan thus says, "V'hoyoh," it will bring great joy, when, "eikev," you will act in a humble manner.

Ch. 7, v. 14: "Boruch t'h'yeh mikol ho'amim lo y'h'yeh v'cho okor" - Rashi explains that an "okor" is one "she'eino molid," who cannot reproduce. The P'ninei Kedem asks that this is obviously the characteristic of an "okor," so what is Rashi adding on?

He answers that since Hashem greatly desires the prayers of the righteous, He sometimes does not readily bless a tzadik with children. The tzadik then strengthens himself in prayer, and only then does Hashem grant him his wish.

This is what Rashi tells us. Do not translate "okor" as one who is unsuccessful in having children, as sometimes Hashem wants it to be that way.

Rather, an "okor" is one who is INCAPABLE of reproducing.

He offers a second answer in the name of Rabbi Shmuel Kahana, the grandson of the SM"A. The M.R. Breishis 60:13 and Shir Hashirim 2:8 say that the reason Rivkoh did not have children shortly after she reached reproductive age was because she received a blessing from her brother Lovon, "Achoseinu at ha'yi l'alfei r'vovoh" Breishis 24:60. If she would have had children without delay, people would have attributed the success to the blessing of her wicked brother Lovon. Therefore, the Torah tells us here that even if "Boruch t'h'yeh mikol ho'amim," even if you receive a blessing from the nations, and this might be a reason for you to not successfully reproduce so that it shouldn't be attributed to their blessing, still Hashem says that you will not have among you an "okor" or an akoroh," one who will not reproduce.

Possibly, both the above insights can be combined and a new answer to the difficulty in understanding Rashi will emerge. Rashi would not have explained "okor" as one who is INCAPABLE of reproducing as it also includes one who is capable, but hasn't had children. However, since the verse predicates the blessing with "Boruch t'h'yeh etc." and this negates having children immediately after receiving a blessing from the nations, Rashi therefore says that "okor" can only mean one who is INCAPABLE of reproducing, as a delay in having children will take place.

Ch. 8, v. 8: "Eretz chitoh" - The Baal Haturim points out that this verse contains ten words, corresponding to the ten mitzvos one fulfills before he has the loaf of bread on his table, ready for consumption. As mentioned in Yerushalmi Challoh 1:6, they are:

1) "Lo sacharosh"
2) "Lo sizra sodcho kiloyim"
3) Leket
4) Shikchoh
5) Pei'oh
6) "Lo sach'some"
7) Trumoh
8) Maa'seir Rishon
9) Maa'seir Sheini
10) Challoh

As well, these ten words allude to placing ten fingers on the loaf of bread when making the blessing"Hamotzi" (Tosfos on gemara Brochos 38b d.h. V'hil'ch'soh.

Perhaps, these ten words are also an allusion to the ten words in the blessing "Hamotzi."

Ch. 8, v. 8: "Chithoh u's'oroh v'gefen" - Grain is mentioned here before wine. Therefore halacha requires that when we have both bread and wine in front of us and we wish to partake of both, that we make the blessing on the bread first. From this stems the commonly known reason for covering the challos before making kiddush, so that they will not be embarrassed when we make the blessing over wine before making the blessing over the challos, since the blessing over the challos would normally come first. The Rivo (one of three commentators in the sefer Rabboseinu Baa'lei Hatosfos) simply says that the covering of the challos is done because their blessing should be recited first, and by virtue of covering them, they are out of sight and considered not in front of you on the table as you make the blessing over the wine. When they are not in front of you, you may make the blessing over the wine first.

A possible difference in halacha may emerge depending upon which of these two reasons is used. If one would have the challos in a transparent bag without any opaque covering, it would seem to comply with the reasoning that the challos should not be embarrassed, as they are not plainly open on the table. On the other hand, if the reason is so that they should be considered not in front of you on the table as you make the blessing over the wine, possibly, since you clearly see them through their transparent bag they might not be considered removed.

Ch. 8, v. 9: "Eretz asher avo'neho varzel" - Tosfos on the gemara K'subos 112a d.h. Rabbi Chaninoh says that when the Rabbis would travel to Eretz Yisroel and had come close to the border, they would lift rocks to determine if they had entered the Holy Land. If the mass/weight ratio of the rocks was normal, they knew that they were still outside Eretz Yisroel. If the rocks were unusually heavy for their size, they knew that they had entered Eretz Yisroel. This is a fulfillment of the verse in T'hilim 102:15, "Ki rotzu avo'decho es avo'neho." This phenomenon is alluded to in the words of our verse, Eretz asher avo'neho VARZEL." (Rabbi Yechiel Michel Stern shlit"a)

Ch. 8, v. 11: "Hishomeir l'cho pen tishkach es Hashem Elokecho" - The Rebbi Reb Bunim once came to the Holy Chozeh of Lublin in a most agitated state. He told the Holy Chozeh that he had not been consciously aware of the existence of Hashem for a fleeting moment and had transgressed the sin of "hishomer l'cho pen tishkach."

The Holy Chozeh assuaged Rebbe Reb Bunim's feelings by relating to him the halacha of "shikchoh," the bundle of grain forgotten in the field. This must be left for the poor. However, if the size of the bundle is "sosayim," a relatively large amount, even if forgotten, it does not have the status of "shikchoh" and still belongs to the owner of the field (Mishneh Pei'oh 7:2). The reason is that since it is a substantial amount, it is not considered forgotten, as obviously the owner will shortly remind himself that it was left behind in the field. Similarly, since the R'R' Bunim is always so consciously aware of Hashem's presence, a momentary lapse is not considered "shikchoh."

Ch. 10, v. 7,8: "Nachalei moyim, u'l'voreich bishmo" - The Baal Haturim says that these words are placed near each other to allude to the requirement of a Kohein to wash his hands before blessing the people (duchaning).

Ch. 10, v. 8,9: "Bo'eis hahi hivdil Hashem es sheivet haLevi, Al kein lo hoyoh l'Levi cheilek v'nachaloh im echov" - Hashem separated the tribe of Levi at the time of the sin of the golden calf. How is this a reason, "al kein," for their not having a portion in the Promised Land? The Meged Y'rochim answers that the gemara Brochos 32a and the M.R. Breishis 28:17 say that the bnei Yisroel's abundance of gold and silver brought about their creating a golden calf, as is stated in the Prophet Hoshei'a (2:10), "V'kesef hirbeisi loh v'zohov ossu laBaal." Since Hashem appointed them as replacements for the first-born for His servitude, He at the same time instituted that they would not receive property for agriculture in Eretz Yisroel. This would greatly limit their opportunity to become wealthy and fall prey to the enticements that wealth brings.

Ch. 10, v. 12: "V'ato Yisroel moh Hashem Elokecho sho'eil mei'imoch" - The Daas Z'keinim brings the gemara M'nochos 43b which derives from this verse the halacha of reciting one hundred brochos daily. The word "moh" is to be read "mayoh," meaning one hundred. The Daas Z'keinim points out that in the transmutation system of "atbash" where the last letter of the alphabet is transformed to the first, and so on, the letters "Mem-Hei" (moh) turn into "Yud-Tzaddi," which add up to one hundred.

He brings the opinion (Tur O. Ch. # 46) that King David was the first to institute the hundred daily blessings to stem a plague which brought about the death of one hundred people daily.

As well, the Daas Z'keinim brings another hint to the one hundred daily blessings from T'hilim 128:4 "Hinei KI CHEIN y'vorach gover." The letters of "ki chein," Kof-Yud-Chof-Nun, add up to one hundred, "y'vorach gover", a man should bless. He adds that when we say "modim" we mean to say that we thank Hashem with one hundred blessings, the numerical value of "modim," Mem-Vov-Dalet-Yud-Mem.

Ch. 10, v. 12: "V'ato Yisroel moh Hashem Elokecho sho'eil mei'imoch ki im l'yiroh" - Although modesty is a very great virtue, it has a flip side as well. If one thinks little of himself he can fall prey to his evil inclination which can entice him to sin by arguing that he is insignificant. If, however, he thinks highly of himself, he has the defence of saying to himself, "How can I face myself after having committed this lowly sin?"

A person should therefore always be modest, with the exception of when he is faced with a sin. Then he should hold highly of himself to counter the evil inclination, as above.

This is indicated in our verse. "MOH Hashem Elokecho sho'eil mei'imoch." Hashem requests of you to be MOH, modest, as we find in Shmos 16:7 and 16:8, "V'nachnu MOH, as well as in Bmidbar 16:11, "V'Aharon MAH hu." Although Hashem requests that we be humble, but, "ki im l'yiroh," there is an exception to this when it comes to fearing Hashem, refraining from sinning. In that situation we should be proud and not humble. (Rabbi Meir miPremishlan)

Ch. 10, v. 21: "Hu s'hilos'cho" - He is your praise. This has numerous interpretations:

1) All your praise should be of Hashem. (Ramban)

2) Hashem is the cause of your being exalted and praised above all the nations of the world. (Ramban)

3) Your praise should be directed to Hashem Who is always available to help you. (Rabbeinu M'yuchos, a Baal Tosfos from Greece)

4) Your praise should be directed to Hashem Who gave you the privilege to be His servant. (Sforno)

Answer to last week's question:

Ch. 3, v. 23: "Leimore" - Rashi comments that this is one of THREE places where Moshe requested a response from Hashem. However, we recently discussed Rashi on Bmidbar 12:13 who mentioned that Moshe requested a response in FOUR places, so why does he say here that Moshe requested a response THREE times? The Sifsei Chachomim answers that Rashi is pointing out a different matter. Indeed, in four places we find that inherent in Moshe's words was a question that elicited a response. However, here Moshe asked for a specific positive response. The same is true in Bmidbar 12:13, where he requested that Miriam be healed of her affliction, as well as in Bmidbar 27:15 where he requested that Hashem bestow a proper leader upon the bnei Yisroel. This took place three times only. However, in both Shmos 6:12 where he asked if Hashem would personally redeem the bnei Yisroel without an intermediary, and in Shmos 17:4 where he asked how to handle the nation, Moshe only requested a response to his question, but did not ask that he receive an affirmative response. This is indicated in the words of Rashi on Dvorim 3:24, where Rashi quotes Moshe as saying, "Shetodi'eini im taa'seh sh'eilosi," - that You should let me know if you will COMPLY with my request.


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