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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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IN HONOUR OF THE BRIS OF OUR GRANDSON ELIEZER TZODOK FLEISHER ON SHABBOS KODESH N"V

SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS HAAZINU 5771 BS"D

Ch. 32, v. 1: "Haazinu" - Hearken - Rabbi Yoseif Yitzchok Schneerson, the Admor of Lubavitch, relates a tradition from the Mahara"l of Prague to daily recite "shiras Haazinu" before our morning prayers, as it brings to purity of mind and heart. He did not limit this to Torah Scholars, but also said that business people and workers should recite it a number of times during the day. It is also purported to afford a long life. Since it becomes a sort of daily prayer, it may be recited by heart. (Sefer Hazikoron)

Ch. 32, v. 1: "Haazinu hashomayim vaada'beiroh v'sishma ho'oretz imrei fi" - Hear the heavens and I will speak and the earth shall hear the words of My mouth - Numerous commentators question Rashi's statement at the beginning of parshas Dvorim, where he says that Moshe wanted to admonish the bnei Yisroel in a soft manner so he covertly alluded to their wrong-doings in the desert by only mentioning the locations where they camped, but the intention was to remind them of their infidelity to Hashem in those places. They ask that we find in parshios Vo'es'chanan and Eikev that Moshe very overtly tells them off for their sins. Likewise, numerous answers have been offered, some of them redacted in previous editions of Sedrah Selections. The Baal Hatanya answers that in parshas Dvorim Moshe addresses their physical beings, and since there is a natural weakness in a person's nature to hear rebuke, he did so softly. In parshios Vo'es'chanan and Eikov Moshe addressed their souls, which have a yearning for spirituality, and hence can take strong admonition.

This might be alluded to here. Rashi on Bmidbar 12:1 d.h. "vat'da'beir" says that "dibur" is a harsh expression, as in "di'ber ho'ish adonei ho'oretz itonu koshos" (Breishis 42:30), while "amiroh" is a soft expression, as in "va'yomar al noh achai to'rei'u" (Breishis 19:7). "Haazinu hashomayim vaada'beiroh," - the heavenly spiritual component of the person should hear when I speak harshly, "vaada'beiroh," and "v'shishma ho'oretz," the earthy physicality of the bnei Yisroel should hear "imrei fi," the soft words of My mouth. (n.l.)

Ch. 32, v. 3: "Ki shem Hashem ekra hovu godel lElokeinu" - When I will pronounce the name of Hashem give honour to our G-d - These words are a source for answering "omein" after a blessing heard from someone else.

The verse in Iyov 23:13 says, "V'hu b'echod umi y'shi'venu v'nafsho ivsoh va'yo'as." We recite this verse on the second day of Rosh Hashonoh by the Shacharis service. Responsa Teshuvoh Mei'ahavoh O.Ch. #212 cites the Rebbe Reb Shmelka, who explains this verse to be referring to one who recites a blessing and is eager to have someone available to respond with "omein." If a person is one alone, "v'hu b'echod," and he is concerned with - who will respond to him - "umi y'shi'venu," then he should recite the blessing with great spiritual fervour and likewise pray for a responder, "v'nafsho ivsoh." Then Hashem"va'yo'as" (based on Pirkei Ovos that when one does a mitzvoh a positive angel is created), and this angel will answer "omein."

Sounds like a nice Chasidic interpretation, but there is a Chasidishe maa'seh that happened to a great Litvishe person to back up this concept. Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin was very careful to make a blessing only when there was someone available to answer "omein." Once in the middle of the night he was very thirsty, but he refrained from taking water to drink as no one was around to answer "omein." Suddenly, he heard a knock on his door and he opened it and one of his illustrious students entered to ask him a question in the field of Torah study. Rabbi Chaim answered his query and then took water, made a blessing on it, and his student responded with "omein." The following morning Rabbi Chaim thanked the student for appearing at this most unlikely time, allowing him to slake his extreme thirst. To his great surprise the student said that he did not come to his Rebbe in the middle of the night.

Ch. 32, v. 8: "L'mispar bnei Yisroel" - Corresponding to the count of the bnei Yisroel - Targum Yonoson ben Uziel and Rashi say that just as the bnei Yisroel who descended to Egypt were 70 souls, correspondingly, Hashem set aside 70 lands for the 70 nations. Rashbam says that just as the bnei Yisroel have 12 tribes, so too the descendants of Canaan are 12 tribes.

Ch. 32, v. 10: "Yimtzo'eihu b'eretz midbor" - He will find him in the desert land - Rashi comments that Hashem found only the bnei Yisroel in the desert, who were willing to accept all the dictates of the Torah, while Yishmo'el and Eisov refused. The medrash on Dvorim 33:2, V'zorach miSe'ir lomo hofia mei'har Poron," explains that Hashem offered the Torah to all the nations and each asked what the Torah demanded. Hashem gave each a sampling and they all refused to accept, until he came to the bnei Yisroel, who exclaimed, "Naa'seh v'nishma." If so, why does Rashi here only cite Eisov and Yishmoel, and not mention all the nations?

1) Sifsei Chachomim says that these two should have more willingly accepted the Torah as one is the son of Avrohom and the other the son of Yitzchok.

2) We might say that since the medrash does not mention by name all the other nations, and only elaborates on Yishmo'el's and Eisov's refusal, including the specific mitzvoh, Rashi likewise only mentions these two. (n.l.)

3) Another possibility might be that Rashi's intention is to allude to all the nations, based on the words of the Holy Zohar, that 35 nations are offshoots of Yishmo'el and another 35 are offshoots of Eisov. (n.l.)

Ch. 32, v. 10: "Yitzrenu k'ishon eino" - He will guard them as the pupil of His/his eye - I believe that the word "yitzrenu" is used here rather than "yish'm'renu," because the example used here is safeguarding one's eye. This is done by closing the eyelid over the eye (see Sforno). "Yitzrenu," is sourced from TZ-R-R, meaning wrapped, i.e. protected through being placed inside a protective covering.

Does Hashem require a protection for His eye? The Ramban explains that we should understand this phrase as a "mikra kotzer," shortened by leaving out a word that is self-understood, and the intention is "yitzrenu K'ISH ishon eino." The Ramban is doing more than adding a word. He also transposed the prefix Kof from "K'ishon" to the self-understood "ish."

Ch. 32, v. 27: "A'lei rosh hapisgoh u'rei v'ei'necho" - Ascend the precipice and see with your eyes - Since Moshe was not to enter the Holy Land, what purpose did his seeing it accomplish? The Riv"o answers that with his having the opportunity to see the land he clearly demonstrated that he was not included in the group of people whom Hashem referred to as "My aggravators," as per the verse, "V'chol m'naatzai lo yiruho" (Bmidbar 14:23).

Moshe accomplished by simply viewing the land that the airspace of Eretz Yisroel gives people the propensity towards wisdom, "Avira d'Yisroel machkim." (ro'isi)

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


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