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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 7, v. 25: "Lo sachmod kesef v'zohov a'leihem v'lokachto loch" - Do not lust silver and gold that is upon them and you will take it for yourself - This is the literal translation of these words, and the problem is obvious. Shouldn't the verse have said, "lokachas loch," TO TAKE it for yourself? The gemara A.Z. 52 uses a sort of play on words on "Psi'lei eloheihem" at the beginning of our verse to derive to concepts. The first is that when an idol worshiper has shaped (PSL) an idol, it is prohibited. When he already has an idol, but has negated it (also sourced from PSL), it is considered negated and a ben Yisroel may derive benefit from it. However, it is only a ben Yisroel who may do so, but the item may not be used for the Mikdosh, i.e. to use it as a holy vessel, such as a pan to catch sacrificial blood, and surely not, if it is an animal, to be used as an actual sacrifice. Based on these two points of information we can explain the anomaly of our verse. You may not lust (and make use of) silver and gold that is upon the idols. When you are permitted, "v'lokachto," and may take it, then it is only "loch," for your personal unsanctified use, but not to sanctify it and offer it to the Mikdosh. (Meshech Chochmoh)

Ch. 7, v. 26: "V'lo sovi to'eivoh el bei'secho" - And you shall not bring an abomination into your home - The gemara A.Z. 21 derives in an allusionary manner (esmachta) that one may not rent his home to an idol worshiper, as the would be tenant will surely bring his idols and its appurtenances into your home, and thus you have transgressed the prohibition to bring these abominations into your home. It is not an outright Torah level transgression because, technically, you have not brought them in, but only have facilitated this. A rental situation is still considered "into YOUR home" because the rental payment does not make the house his. Since it remains yours even when he has the right to live there, our prohibition applies.

Some halachic authorities say that this only applies in Eretz Yisroel, where the bnei Yisroel were commanded to uproot and destroy avodoh zoroh. This seems to be corroborated by the gemara Yerushalmi A.Z. This is also the opinion of Rabbeinu Chanan'eil, and it is the common custom to be lenient on "chutz lo'oretz." The Ramban posits that a "baal nefesh," one who is meticulous in his spiritual pursuits, should be stringent (see Sh.O. Y.D. 155:10).

An insight of the Meshech Chochmoh deals with this same subject matter. He applies the prohibition against bringing avodoh zoroh items into one's home to apply to the permission granted to take a "y'fas to'ar" during war. This woman was until now an idol worshiper and likely is bedecked with jewellery to which she worships. Although you are told to bring her into your home, this verse prohibits allowing her to come in while wearing such items. This, he says, is the basis for the Rabbinical prohibition of renting a house to an idol worshiper.

Ch. 8, v. 1: "Kol hamitzvoh asher onochi m'tzavcho hayom tish'm'run laasose l'maan tichyun" - Every mitzvoh that I command you today shall you safeguard to do so that you may live - The Rambam in his commentary on the final mishnoh of Makos explains the words of chaza"l, "Rotzoh HKB"H l'zakos es Yisroel l'fichoch hirboh lohem Torah umitzvos." This seems to run contrary to logic. If Hashem wanted to bring merit to the bnei Yisroel He would give them LESS mitzvos, rather than MORE mitzvos to do. He explains that the merit is that of receiving reward in the world-to-come. He says quite a "chidush." In dependent of the number of merits and demerits that one has, if a person a bides by a mitzvoh, fulfilling it in its entirety, he merits reward in "olom habo." Thus, by offering the bnei Yisroel many. Many mitzvos, there is a greater opportunity to do at least one of them in its entirety.

We might say that this concept is alluded to in these words of our verse. We can translate "KOL hamitzvoh" not as every mitzvoh, but as a COMPLETE mitzvoh. If we fulfill a mitzvoh properly in all aspects, then the result will be "tichyun" in "olom habo." (n.l.)

Ch. 9, v. 10: "B'yom hakohol" - On the day of the assembly - We find this appellation for Shovuos in two other places as well, later in 10:4, and in 18:16. Haksav V'hakaboloh sources the Rabbinical name of Shovuos, ATZERRES, from these three verses. It is interesting to note that the GR"A says that the name Shovuos, which can be spelled Shin-Veis-Ayin-Sof, is an acronym for Shovuos, Atzerres, Torah. The thrice mentioned title KOHOL is not counted. Any help would be appreciated.

Ch. 9, v. 17: "Vo'espose bishnei haluchos vo'ashlicheim mei'al shtei yodoy vo'ashabreim l'eineichem" - And I gripped the two Tablets and I threw them from upon my two hands and I smashed them in front of your eyes - When Moshe was still in the heavens Hashem had already told him, "Lech reid ki shicheis amcho" (Shmos 32:7). If so, why did he bring the Tablets down with him, knowing full well that he would smash them? Why not just leave them in the heavens? If he would reconcile the bnei Yisroel with Hashem he could bring them down at that time.

1) By leaving the Tablets in the heavens the text of the commands to recognize that there is Hashem, that there is no other power, that it is prohibited to create forms of deities, would all be present in the heavens, and Moshe greatly feared that this would bring about an immediate powerful retribution. (Rokei'ach)

2) The previous verse says, "Vo'ei're v'hinei chato'sem." What need was there for Moshe to SEE that they sinned? Hashem told him that this was so. "Vo'ei're" means that Moshe saw the letters disappear from the Tablets. Once he saw that the text was gone he realized that they lost much of their worth, so he understood that they should be smashed. (Rabbeinu Tovioh)

3) Shmos Rabboh 43:1 says that Moshe considered the Tablets the marriage document drawn between Hashem and the bnei Yisroel. By breaking them he destroyed the marriage document and retribution would be limited to that of an engaged and not married woman, who was not faithful. (Ramban)

4) By breaking the Tablets in full view of the bnei Yisroel Moshe showed them the great treasure that they lost. This would bring to a powerful actualization of feeling great remorse. (Minchoh V'luloh)

5) By having broken Tablets a number of lessons are taught. Moshe hoped that Hashem would give the bnei Yisroel a second chance, and with it a second set of Tablets. To teach the bnei Yisroel that teshuvoh is accepted even for the most grievous of sins, and even if done by a large group of people, he brought the Tablets down to earth and broke them to leave a physical reminder of this. (n.l.)

6) A Torah scholar who has forgotten his Torah knowledge is still supposed to be treated with great respect. (K'hilas Yitzchok on Shovuos, in footnotes on parshas Nosso)

7) The broken Tablets represent the oral Torah. See an elaboration on this iy"H in an article on the upcoming Shovuos Selections 5770.

Ch. 9, v. 17: "Vo'ashabreim" - And I smashed them - The medrash says that although the letters etched into the Tablets flew heavenwards, the command of "Zochor es yom haShabbos l'kadsho" remained. We can thus understand the words of our Shabbos prayers, "Ushnei luchos avonim horid b'yodo v'CHOSUV bohem shmiras Shabbos" to mean that even after the letters of the Commandments flew away, "shmiras Shabbos is STILL WRITTEN in them." (Kedushas Aharon of Sadigur)

A number of points can be raised, some directly connected to this medrash and some in a general but related manner. The medrash says that ZOCHOR remained on the Tablets. The question of whether ZOCHOR or SHOMOR was etched into the Tablets was dealt with at length about ten years ago in Sedrah Selections parshas Yisro. This medrash says ZOCHOR, and the Kedushas Aharon connects this to "v'chosuv bohem SHMIRAS Shabbos." Also, what is meant by BOHEM? The Command of Shabbos is only on one Tablet? This point can be answered based on the opinion in the gemara Shkolim perek #6, that all Ten Commandments were written on EACH of the Tablets. According to the opinion that one of the tablets had ZOCHOR and the other had SHOMOR, the first difficulty can also be alleviated.



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha, Chasidic Insights and Chamisha Mi Yodei'a

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