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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 7, v. 12: "V'shomar Hashem Elokecho l'cho es habris" - And Hasem your G-d will safeguard for you the covenant - This is a continuum of the words in the end of the previous parsha, "Shomer habris .. l'elef dor" (7:9). Hashem promises to bestow the reward for proper behaviour even upon descendants a thousand generations later, provided that they safeguard and keep the mitzvos. If an earlier generation is deserving, Hashem will give the reward earlier. (Rashbam) Perhaps he translates "shomer" and "v'shomar" as "waiting."

Ch. 8, v. 11: "Hisho'mer l'cho pen tishkach es Hashem Elokecho" - Guard yourself lest you will forget Hashem your G-d - The Torah prohibits forgetting Hashem with two terms, "hisho'mer" and "pen." Two students of the Chasam Sofer had to travel to a far-off town. He advised them to spend a Shabbos with a Chasidic Rebbe who resided near their destination. They did as the Chasam Sofer advised, but were quite surprised to not note anything special in the Rebbe's behaviour or Divrei Torah during the Shabbos. However, before they took leave they had a private audience with the Rebbe to bid him farewell.

When the Rebbe was apprised that they were students of the Chasam Sofer, he told them to relate to their teacher that when a carpenter builds a table or chair, he must concentrate on building it properly, and not on the person who hired him to build it, even though he was the driving force behind the carpenter's taking on the job.

When they returned, the Chasam Sofer asked about their visit to the Rebbe, but they had almost nothing to say, surely nothing very complimentary. The Chasam Sofer asked if they heard any Torah insight that was of value, and they responded in the negative. Almost as an afterthought, one of the students reminded himself of the enigmatic message about the carpenter, and related this to his teacher.

The Chasam Sofer jumped with excitement upon hearing this, and said that a burden that he was carrying for years had now been lifted from his chest. He told his students that although he attempted to always consciously have Hashem in mind at all times, nevertheless, when he became involved in deeply complicated Torah study he was so engrossed that Hashem was not on his mind during that time. This bothered him greatly, but he had no way of resolving the matter. The heavenly inspired advice the Rebbe sent through his students clarified that this was not at all a concern.

Ch. 9, v. 15: "Ushnei luchos habris" - And two tablets of the covenant - Why in verse 17 are they only called "shnei luchos," but not "habris"? This is because when Moshe descended from the mountain the words were still upon the tablets, but after seeing that the golden calf was made the letters flew off the tablets, they were no longer "two tablets of the covenant," but only "two tablets." (Bikurei Oviv)

Ch. 9, v. 17: "Vo'espos bishnei haluchos" - And I grabbed onto the two tablets - Wasn't Moshe already holding them? It could well be that he felt no weight in spite of the tablets being six fist-breadths cubic each. If the Holy Ark was not weight-bearing, surely the tablets that they housed on their own were not weight-bearing. It was only when Moshe decided to break them that they no longer exhibited this miraculous property, and became heavy. This required his gripping them. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 9, v. 17: "Vo'ashabreim l'ei'neichem" - And I broke them in front of your eyes - Since Hashem's Holy Name appears on the tablets numerous times, why wasn't there a prohibition of erasing Hashem's Holy Name?

1) Moshe ruled that the bnei Yisroel were likened to an unfaithful wife. By breaking the tablets he symbolically destroyed the marriage contract between Hashem and the bnei Yisroel, so as to lessen their punishment, and hopefully restoring peace between Hashem and his wife, the bnei Yisroel. This is akin to erasing Hashem's name in the "sotoh" water procedure. Since it is permitted to erase Hashem's Holy Name for establishing peace between but one man and his wife, surely for the nation Yisroel this is permitted. (Yalkut Yehudoh)

2) Moshe somehow knew that the letters on the tablets would miraculously fly upwards, and the tablets that he broke had no text upon them. (Nirreh li)

3) The medrash says that when the letters flew off the tablets they became much heavier, to the point that Moshe could not carry them any more. Even though our verse says "vo'aslicheim," nevertheless, it was beyond his control. (Nirreh li)

4) Moshe's intention was to throw them, but he was not sure that they would break. (Nirreh li)

5) Since the formation of the letters was not a physical object, as they were etched, and were actually the LACK of stone, he did not erase any letters, only the background. (Nirreh li)

6) The prohibition of erasing Hashem's Holy Name was not given until Dvorim 12:4. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 10, v. 7,8: "Moyim, .. Ulvo'reich bishmo" - Water, .. And to bless with His Name - The juxtaposition of water to "blessing with His Name," the priestly blessing, is an allusion to the requirement of Kohanim to have their hands washed before "birkas Kohanim." (Baal Haturim)

Ch. 11, v. 14: "B'ito" - In its time - Rashi says that conveniently timely rain comes at night, when people don't travel. The numerical value of "b'ito" is the same as "b'leilos." (Baal Haturim)

Ch. 11, v. 14: "Yoreh" - Early rain - The literal translation of this word is:

1) It will satiate (Rashi)

2) It shoots (Daas Z'keinim)

3) It indicates that - a) the crops will be successful) (Ibn Ezra)

b) they should coat the roof of their home) (Ibn Ezra)

Ch. 11, v. 21: "L'maan yirbu y'meichem" - So that your days be lengthened - Rabbeinu Tam posits that Torah, tefillin, and mezuzoh be placed lying down when in use. This means that a Torah scroll, even when in the Aron Kodesh, should be lying down flat. Similarly, the scrolls in tefillin should be placed horizontally, not vertically, as we have them. Mezuzos, likewise, should be placed into a horizontal hole drilled into the doorpost.

However, in actual practice we have all these holy items placed upright, but, either as a compromise or a remembrance to Rabbeinu Tam's opinion, we tilt the Torah scroll in the Aron Kodesh, and the mezuzoh on the doorpost. I know of no such diagonal tilt for the script in tefillin. Perhaps this is because the tilt is not a compromise concession to Rabbeinu Tam, but rather, only a remembrance of his opinion, and since the script in the tefillin is not visible, we don't bother with it.

Why do we tilt the mezuzoh so that the lower part is closer to the outside rather than reverse? This is so that when we enter we will come to the blessing of "L'maan yirbu y'meichem" immediately, as it is written at the bottom of the scroll. In a situation where we cannot affix the mezuzoh in the depth of the doorpost, and are forced to place it on the face of the door frame within one "tefach," approximately 4 inches, of the door opening, we should tilt it so that the bottom of the scroll will be closer to the door opening, so that we likewise have "L'maan .." closer to the entry.


The Torah verse most often said DAILY in our prayers is "Hashem yimloch l'olom vo'ed."

How many times a day do we say this DAILY and exactly where?

N.B. - R' T.B. wrote that the Malbim explains that Hashem gave Moshe miraculous sight to view Eretz Yisroel as if he were within it, hence he would also view it eastward.



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

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