by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHIOS HAAZINU 5767 BS"DCh. 32, v. 1: "Haazinu hashomayim vaada'beiroh v'sishma ho'oretz" - Heavens listen as I speak and earth should hear - Rashi explains that Moshe engaged the heavens and earth as witnesses to the bnei Yisroel's commitment to the tenets of the Torah. Moshe himself could not serve as a witness because he is not permanent. He would die shortly. The final words of the previous parsha are " ad tumom." With shifting letters in the latter word we have "eid mumos," the witness (Moshe) will be brought to die. Therefore "Haazinu .." (Nirreh li)
Ch. 32, v. 1: "Hashomayim vaada'beiroh v'sishma ho'oretz imrei fi" - The heavens as I speak and the earth should hear the words of My mouth - The expression "dibur," connoting harsh words, is used for the heavens, while "imrei," connoting soft words, is used for the earth. In last week's parsha 31:7, Moshe says to Yehoshua, "Ki atoh tovO es ho'om," - you will come with the nation. Rashi there notes that in verse 23 Hashem tells Yehoshua, "ki atoh tovI es bnei Yisroel." Rashi explains that Moshe assumed that the elders would cooperate with Yehoshua and they would come together, with one attitude, into the land. Hashem knew that not everyone would accept Yehoshua as leader, feeling that they were his equal. Therefore Hashem said "tovI," you will bring them, even against their will and even with force, if necessary.
The Kli Yokor answers this discrepancy differently. Note that in verse 7 it says "es ho'om," which means the lower level people. Yehoshua is to deal with them softly, as otherwise he would estrange them completely. Verse 23 says "es bnei Yisroel, meaning the upper echelon. Even if Yehoshua would deal with them in a domineering fashion they would still accept his leadership. Similarly, here in our verse, "hashomayim" refers to the heavenly people, the more spiritual ones. To them the talk should be on the "dibur" level, while "ho'oretz" refers to the people on a lower spiritual rung. They need to be dealt with kid gloves, "imrei."
Ch. 32, v. 6: "*H*a laShem tig'm'lu zose" - To Hashem do you behave thusly - The letter Hei at the beginning of this verse is oversized. There is a diminutive letter Hei in the Torah as well. It is in the verse, "Eileh toldos hashomayim v'ho'oretz b'hiborom" (Breishis 2:4). Rashi (gemara Brochos) there explains that Hashem created this physical world with the letter Hei. This is expanded upon in the gemara Shabbos 104a. The letter Hei has no base, but rather, is fully open on the bottom, symbolic of the ease with which one can automatically fall downwards spiritually. At the same time near the top on the left side there is a small opening. This is symbolic of the need to work upwards for success, and the small opening shows that only a minority of people succeed. Chazal tell us that the letters of "b'hiborom" spell "b'Avrohom," meaning that Avrohom was the one who recognized his Creator, even in a generation that thought to the contrary.
In a manner of allusion, derech remez, the letter Hei symbolizes the presence of Hashem in this physical world. In Breishis 2:4 it is diminutive, indicating that recognition of Hashem at the time of Avrohom would be very limited. In spite of this and of being the son of an idol worshipper and dealer, he recognized the truth. Compare this with the words of rebuke in our parsha. Hashem's presence, especially in the eyes of the bnei Yisroel, who witnessed tremendous miracles, was quite expanded, hence an oversized letter Hei. In spite of this, some do not recognize Hashem's power to punish and reward (see Rashi). (Nirreh li)
Ch. 32, v. 26: "Omarti a'fei'hem" - I said that I would make them insignificant - Rashi offers that "a'fei'hem" is sourced from "pei'oh," a minimal corner. Targum Yonoson ben Uziel says that Hashem said He would remove bnei Yisroel's "ruach hakodesh" and leave over a minimal amount, just as a person harvests his field and leaves over a bit.
Rabbi Dovid Oppenheim explains this enigmatic Targum Yonoson ben Uziel. One is supposed to leave over 1/60th of his field as "pei'oh" for the poor. Even though Hashem has stopped communicating in a manner of "ruach hakodesh," nevertheless, He continues to do so on a lower level through the medium of dreams. A celestial message in a dream is 1/60th of the clarity of "ruach hakodesh," just as "pei'oh" is 1/60th of a field. (Kerem Shlomo 9:10:39)
Ch. 32, v. 32: "Ano'veimo invei rosh" - Their grapes are grapes of bitter grass - Maa'sei Rav, the collection of the customs of the GR"A writes that it was the GR"A's custom to avoid eating grapes on Rosh Hashonoh. The Pnei Menachem, Admor of Gur explains this based on these words of our verse. Since parshas Haazinu is read in the proximity of Rosh Hashonoh, we avoid eating grapes during this time, as the gemara Sanhedrin 70a interprets the word "rosh," spelled Reish-Vov-Shin, as: "if one merits then he becomes a head (as if it were spelled with an Alef). If he does not merit, then it is bitter (with a Vov). It seems that the Pnei Menachem expands this restriction to "a'serres y'mei teshuvoh," while in Maa'sei Rav only Rosh Hashonoh is mentioned.
Ch. 32, v. 44: "Va'y'da'beir es kol Divrei hashiroh hazose" - And he spoke all the words of this song - What is meant by "KOL Divrei hashiroh"? Ramban on verse 40 cites the words of the Sifri #43, "This song is great in that it encompasses the present, the past, the future, the present world, and the world-to-come." He expands upon this theme by saying that the intention is that all that has happened and will happen to each and every individual is somehow alluded to in "shiras Haazinu." He adds that this is the intention of the words "KOL Divrei hashiroh." Moshe advised the bnei Yisroel of the words of the Sifri, that the "shiroh" contains every happening.
Based on this, Rabbi Yechiel Mechel Feinstein so eloquently explains why these verses are called "shiroh." Just as a song played by an orchestra is beautiful and enchanting only when we have a proper melding of numerous sounds emitted by totally different types of musical instruments, so too, to grasp the fairness and actual beauty of world events, requires seeing the past, present, and future in a panoramic view. Taking note of only a slice of our history and finding it seemingly unfair, brutal, etc., is like only hearing the banging or screeching of one component of a philharmonic orchestra.
Ch. 32, v. 49: "U'rei es eretz K'naan" - And see the land Canaan - Moshe's viewing the land, albeit from a distance, was the vehicle of his bestowing his blessing upon the land. (Sforno)
Ch. 32, v. 50: "U'mus bohor" - And die upon the mountain. The verse in 34:6 says, "v'lo yoda ish es kvuroso." No one knows where upon Mount N'vo Moshe is buried. "Bohor" has the numerical value of 207, the same as "roz," a secret. (Nirreh li)
Ch. 32, v. 50: "V'hei'o'seif el a'mecho" - And be gathered unto your nation - The gemara Ksubos 104a says that when the soul of a righteous person ascends to heaven, the souls of deceased righteous people come forward to meet him. This is the assemblage, the gathering, called "asifoh." (Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh)
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