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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 32, v. 2: "Yaarof kamottor likchi" - May My offering water like the raindrops - Just as rain brings about the development of fruit, so too, may My words bear results. (Rabbeinu Bachyei)

Alternatively, Targum Onkelos translates "yaarof" as "y'va'seim," may it be sweet. He understands the letter Fei of "yaarof" to be interchangeable with the letter Veis, "yaarov." Just as rain is unpleasant at the time it falls, causing inconvenience and discomfort for those who are outside, but later on bringing most necessary benefits, the growth of all plant life, so too, when one embarks upon the road of Torah allegiance, it is a most daunting and challenging undertaking, but is also eventually richly rewarded. (Medrash Shmuel)

Ch. 32, v. 2: "Kamottor, katal, kisirim, v'chirvivim" - As the rain, as the dew, as a wind driven rain, as droplets - We have four expressions of precipitation to which the Torah is likened in our verse. The Baal Haturim says that this alludes to the four traits of those who learn, mentioned in Pirkei Ovos 4:12. How they correspond remains to be explained. He also offers that the four expressions correspond to the four times Moshe taught each Torah law (gemara Eiruvin 54b).

The Sforno says that we have two levels of infusion of Torah to two types of people. "Yaarof kamottor" is the absorption of a vast amount of Torah knowledge that is received by those who dedicate themselves to it fully. "Tizal katal" is the grasping of a limited amount of knowledge, just as dew is a small amount of moisture, by those who devote a limited amount of time and effort into its study. Although limited, it is very beneficial, just like dew. The second group of terms again refers to the same two types of learners, indicating a great appreciation of the wisdom imparted by the Torah by one, and a limited grasp and appreciation by the other.

Ch. 32, v. 5: "Shicheis lo lo bonov mumom" - His destruction is not to himself his sons have their flaw - Many commentators simply explain these words to mean that a person who sins does not readily show within himself that he is flawed. He hides his bad acts and does not openly show rebellion. However, he does affect his offspring so negatively that their behaviour overtly shows their flaws.

In T'hilim 112:1,2 the verses say, "Ashrei ish yo'rei es Hashem b'mitzvosov cho'feitz m'ode, Gibor bo'oretz y'h'yeh zaro dore y'shorim y'voroch." The gemara A.Z. 19 says that "yo'rei es Hashem" refers to one who repents. He should do this while he is still an "ish," a young energetic person. Repentance at this stage is much more meaningful, as he is still in the prime of life, full of strong urges and with the physical ability to pursue many prohibited acts. When, in spite of all this, he repents, it is a very meaningful teshuvoh. Although repentance is accepted under any circumstances, even "ad dichduchoh shel nefesh" (gemara Yerushalmi Chagigoh 2:1, based on the verse in T'hilim 90:3, "To'sheiv enosh ad dako"), it is less meaningful when one has no urge, nor the ability to sin.

We thus have this obvious advantage when repenting when we are young. A second advantage is that from the time we mend our ways and onward, we live a proper Torah true life, and our children are brought up in such an atmosphere. They will more likely follow our example, and likewise be true to the Torah. These two points lie in the above-mentioned verses. "Ashrei ish yo'rei es Hashem." Fortunate is the man who behaves with fear of Hashem when he is still young, an "ish." His repentance is first-class, as "Gibor bo'oretz y'h'yeh," he is a brave powerful person, as he has conquered his inclinations, "ei'zehu GIBOR hakoveish es yitzro" (Pirkei Ovos 4:1). Also he has the advantage that his children will be positively affected, "dore y'shorim y'voroch." (Beis Yitzchok in the name of the Beis haLevi)

Ch. 32, v. 6: "Am novol v'lo chochom ha'lo hu ovicho" - An abominable nation and it is not wise is He not your Father - The Ramban at the beginning of parshas K'doshim explains "K'doshim t'h'yu" to mean that one should act with restraint even in the realm of permitted matters, and not be a "novol birshus haTorah." Technically, one can do acts that are not transgressions and still be called an abomination. The M.R. Shmos 24:1 says that when we do Hashem's will He has mercy upon us like a father to a son, but when we do not do His will, He lords over us as a master over his servant. Commentators ask, "When we don't do His will why are we treated as servants? We should be considered rebellious people and treated more harshly." They answer that "His will" is not limited to the technical letter of the law, but to even behaving in a manner that is consistent with Hashem's will, even in matters not specifically prohibited. This is just like a father not spelling out certain matters to his son, but still expecting him to understand that the father wants them to be, or not be done. Doing "His will" gives us the status of "sons." Not doing "His will," but at the same time not transgressing open prohibitions, gives us the lesser title, "servants."

We now have a new insight into these words of our verse. When one acts like a "novol birshus haTorah," he acts unwisely. The verse goes on to admonish, "ha'lo hu OVICHO." Is He not your FATHER? Since He is your Father, you should reciprocate and behave like a son, complying not only with the written letter of the law, but you should also not be a "novol." (Nirreh li)

Ch. 32, v. 8: "Yatzeiv g'vulos amim l'mispar bnei Yisroel" - He has/will set up the borders of nations according to the count of the bnei Yisroel - See the Ibn Ezra who discusses whether "yatzeiv" is in the past or future tense. The Sforno explains that if not for the bnei Yisroel who were to later emerge from the earliest generations of the world (parshios Breishis and Noach) Hashem would have long destroyed them.

Rashbam explains that Canaan had 11 children who together with himself (Breishis 10:5) occupied 12 areas of Eretz Yisroel, which would later be inhabited by the bnei Yisroel.

Perhaps we can say that "gvulos amim" refers to the 70 nations of the world. This corresponds to the count of the bnei Yisroel, meaning that their population was such that the full amount of land in Eretz Yisroel was appropriate for them. This was the land of the 7 nations (Breishis 15:20-21), which was promised to Avrohom (The 3 lands of verse 19 are reserved for the days of Moshiach). The bnei Yisroel were promised a "maa'seir" of the 70 nations. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 32, v. 26: "Omarti a'fei'hem" - I said that I would ??? them - Rashi offers 4 translations for "a'fei'hem."

1) I will scatter them. Perhaps this is from the source word "pei'oh," a corner. Here it would mean to all corners of the world.

2) I will leave them ownerless, left to their own devices, sourced from the word "pei'oh," a corner of the field that is left for the poor to harvest.

3) I will pour my wrath upon them, sourced from the word "af."

4) Lastly, Rashi (Targum Onkelos, Sifri) interprets the whole word as a three component combination. I said in my anger, "af," that "ee," nothing, "heim," they are. I will make them negligible.

The Abarbanel says that some translate as #1 above, but he says that although the word source is "pei'oh," the intention is the exact opposite, not that I will scatter them to all CORNERS of the earth, but rather, I will place them all into ONE CORNER. The gemara P'sochim 87b in explanation of the verse in Shoftim 5:11, "tzidkas pizrono b'Yisroel," says that Hashem exhibited mercy by spreading the bnei Yisroel all over the world. Otherwise, ch"v a powerful enemy could have destroyed them to a man. He brings an historic example of this from the Greeks destroying the powerful and large nation, the Trojans. Likewise, almost all the bnei Yisroel were killed in England in the crusades by the blood-thirsty, merciless English, and likewise the French in their land. Remnants of the bnei Yisroel remained by virtue of some of them living in other lands. Hashem is saying in our verse that He considered placing them all into one corner, which would in turn ch"v bring to their total annihilation, "Lu'lei kaas oyeiv ogur," - if not for the anger of the enemy being restrained.



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

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