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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 32. v. 1: "Haazinu hashomayim" - Hearken the heavens - This chapter of poetry is called "shiras Haazinu." Why is it called a SONG, connoting good tidings, when it contains numerous admonitions? Since the punishments of Hashem are in essence the prodding of a loving Father to guide his children towards the right path, even the admonitions are a positive song.

Ch. 32, v. 2: "Yaarofe kamottor likchi" - May my offering pour down as rain - Just as when it rains all surfaces are rained upon, so too, not only those who hear a sermon, but also one who serves as a guide, the one who preaches and delivers sermons to the public himself, is also positively affected. (Zichron Amrom Zvi)

Ch. 32, v. 3: "Ki sheim Hashem ekro hovu godel lEilokeinu" - When I will call in the name of Hashem respond with grandeur to our G-d - The gemara Brochos 21a derives from these words that before one embarks upon learning Torah he must make a blessing. Since much Torah was taught to the bnei Yisroel before parshas Haazinu, why was this most important piece of information not taught earlier?

The Malbim in his preface to in Sefer Dvorim posits that the interpretation of the gemara Megiloh which states that Moshe wrote Sefer Dvorim is that first Moshe wrote it of his own accord and later Hashem told him exactly the same words, stating that they should become the text of Sefer Dvorim.

Thus this "shiroh" is different from rest of Torah because it was written by a human and then transmitted. The first 4 volumes of the Torah was transmitted as "Sh'chinoh m'da'berres mitoch grono," a miraculous form of transmission, therefore there was no need for "birkas haTorah" to be mentioned earlier, just as we find that there was no information given about grace after meals when they ate the miraculous manna. This section was first written down by Moshe, hence it was transmitted on a "b'derech ha'teva" level, and thus requires "birkas haTorah". If you will ask why "birkas haTorah" wasn't taught at the beginning of Sefer Dvorim, it is because this area was a lower level even within Sefer Dvorim, as Moshe's "mayonos hachochmoh" started to wane close to his death, as is mentioned in Rashi. The blessings of parshas V'zose Habrochoh, a very high level of prophecy, was a fulfillment of "lifnei shever ga'on" (Mishlei 16:18), just before a fire extinguishes itself, the flame becomes most intense and powerful. (N'tzi"v)

Ch. 32, v. 6: "Am novol v'lo chochom" - A nation that is despicable and is not wise - Targum Onkeles translates these words as, "amo d'kabilu oreiso v'lo chakimu," - a nation that has received the Torah and is not wise. How is the receiving of the Torah indicated in the most pejorative expression "novol"? Since our Rabbis teach us that "shonoh u'fi'reish yoseir mikulon" (gemara P'sochim 49b), one who has been on the right path and has strayed is more condemned than one who has never "seen the light," since the bnei Yisroel have received the Torah, the guiding light, and yet have strayed, they are described as "novol." (M'oroh shel Torah)

Ch. 32, v. 7: "Sh'al ovicho v'ya'geidcho z'keinecho v'yomru loch" - Ask your father and he will tell you, your grandfathers and they will say to you - "v'ya'geidcho" connotes harsh words (see Rashi on Shmos 19:3 d.h. "v'sagid"), while "v'yomru" connotes soft calming words (see Rashi on Bmidbar 12:1 d.h. "vat'da'beir"). While fathers sometimes communicate with their children in a tough manner, grandparents speak to them in a soothing manner. (Minchas Yehudoh)

Ch. 32, v. 10: "Yimtzo'eihu b'eretz midbor" - He will find him in a desert land - Just as the Torah was given in the desert, a location that is devoid of means of sustaining human life, so too, success in Torah is to be found in those who forgo life's niceties. (The Holy Chofetz Chaim)

Ch. 32, v. 14: "Cheilev kilyos chitoh v'dam einov tishteh" - The choicest of the kernels of wheat and juice of the grape you will drink - The Sifri says that the "kernels of wheat" refer to Torah laws, halochos, while "the juice of the grape" refers to homiletics, "agodos." This is very logically alluded to in these words of our verse. Torah law knowledge is a basic requirement, just as grains of wheat from which bread is made is a staple food. Wine is a luxury, and similarly agodoh knowledge is not a fundamental requirement. (Siach Yitzchok)

Ch. 32, v. 20: "Ki dor tahapuchos heimoh" - Because they are a generation of contradictions- This is dramatized by the Minchas Oni. A wealthy man is asked why he is not to be seen in the synagogue for weekday prayers and he answers that he has to pray quickly to free up time for his vast business endeavours. When asked for charity he responds that business is slow. When he is asked why he doesn't fast on the minor fast days he responds that we are experiencing weaker and weaker generations and fasting is a major hardship. When asked for a donation for a poor man he responds that the poor man is strong as an ox, so he should go to work even if it is physically very taxing.

Ch. 32, v. 23: "Chitzai acha'leh bom" - My arrows I will exhaust in them - The gemara Sotoh 49a derives a consolation from these words. Hashem will use up His arrows in punishing the bnei Yisroel but will not allow the bnei Yisroel to be obliterated from the face of the earth. Hashem often sends His wrath in the form of nations who persecute the bnei Yisroel. Even though they are doing Hashem's bidding Hashem bemoans their fate, as we find "Hoy Ashur shei'vet api," (Yeshayohu 10:5). (An in-depth explanation of how someone fulfills Hashem's wish to bring retribution upon another and still incurs Hashem's wrath is to be found in the Rambam hilchos teshuvoh 6:8.) Even though they serve as Hashem's arrows, they will come to an end. (Olas Shmuel)

Ch. 32, v. 44: "Hu v'Hoshei'a bin Nun" - He and Hoshei'a the son of Nun - Why does the Torah revert back to Yehoshua'a earlier name? Rashi says that at this juncture when Moshe is handing over the mantle of leadership to Yehoshua both he and Yehoshua acted as leaders, "Shabbos shel du'zyugi hoysoh" (gemara Sotoh 13b), so that people would honour Yehoshua and treat him as the leader, since he acted as such during Moshe's lifetime. Perhaps we can say that to strengthen this point the name Hoshei'a was used, indicating even to those few (15,000 men, or slightly over 21,000 according to Tosfos on the gemara Taanis 30b d.h. "yom shebo") surviving people who remembered Yehoshua from the olden days when he was young and still called Hoshei'a, to accept him as their leader. (Nirreh li)

Alternatively, Moshe blessed Hoshei'a that he be saved from the diabolical schemes of the spies. This blessing was incorporated into the new name Yehoshua. Being saved from the negative machinations of the spies involved separating himself from them, as we find that we derive that an "eidoh," a quorum, needs to be at least 10 men, and this is derived from the words "ho'eidoh horo'oh hazose" (Bmidbar 14:27). There were 12 spies and Ko'leiv and Yehoshua were not part of this group, leaving us with 10 men. We thus see that Yehoshua was apart from them. Now that he is to take on the mantle of leadership, he no longer is able to separate himself from evil people. A leader has to be involved with people of every stripe, hopefully bringing even the most removed back to the straight and narrow. His name is now Hoshei'a, as he is connected to everyone.

Ch. 32, v. 48: "B'etzem ha'yom ha'zeh leimore" - In the center of the day saying - LEIMORE teaches us that Moshe was commanded to tell the bnei Yisroel that Hashem advised him when he would die. The import of this is since the bnei Yisroel said that they would resist allowing Moshe to die, Hashem said that Moshe should announce it, so that no one would be caught unaware, and thus all would realize that they cannot stand in Hashem's way. (Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh)

Ch. 32, v. 50: "U'mus bohor" - And die on the mountain - The gemara Sotoh 14a says that Moshe was buried near baal p'ore to atone for the sin of p'ore. This is alluded to in the word "u'mus," whose letters are an acronym for "V'eizer Mitzorov T'h'yeh" (Dvorim 33:7). (Shaa'rei Aharon)



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

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