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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 28, v. 33: "Oshuk v'rotzutz" - Robbed and shattered - This translation is taken from the Rada"k on Shmuel 1:12, where it says, "V'es mi oshakti v'es mi ratzosi." The Rada"k says that the former term refers to monetary wrongdoing and the latter refers to physical wrongdoing. He adds that this is the same as "oshuk" and "rotzutz" of our verse.

Ch. 28, v. 35: "Yakchoh Hashem bish'chin ra al habirkayim v'al hashokayim asher lo suchal l'heiro'fei mikaf rag'l'cho v'ad kodko'decho" - Hashem will smite you with bad leprosy on the knees and on the thighs which you will not be able to be healed from the sole of your foot until your cranium - There are two ways that one can be healed of "Tzoraas." One is that the leprosy leaves, and the second is that it spreads over one's whole body. Our verse is saying that when leprosy will appear on one's knees and thighs he will only be halachically healed by having it spread from the top of his head to the soles of his feet. Read this verse as if it said "asher lo suchal l'heiro'fei -ad she'yi'h'yeh - mikaf (Meshech Chochmoh)

A variation on this might be that the leprosy is bad, "bish'chin ra," because it is only sent upon the knees and the thighs, and it will not spread beyond this, nor recede, hence "asher lo suchal l'hei'ro'fei mikaf rag'l'cho v'ad kod'ko'decho," you will not be able to be halachically healed with it spreading from head to toe.

Ch. 29, v. 39: "Kromim tita v'ovodto v'yayin lo sishteh" - Vineyards you will plant and work and wine you will not drink - Compare this with the description of olives in the next verse, where it says, "Zeisim yi'h'yu l'cho." Why does our verse not similarly say, "Anovim yi'h'yu l'cho?" The mere having grapes is intrinsically not negative, only that after all the effort you have no resultant wine. Eating some grapes is actually positive. However, if there are olives on the tree and you consume some of them it can be very negative. The gemara Horios 13b says that if one eats olives it is conducive to his forgetting even seventy years of Torah learning. This loss can be restored by drinking olive oil. Therefore the next verse relates that olives will grow, but you will not have olive oil because they will prematurely fall form the tree (and not be oil producing olives). When you eat olives and assume that you will shortly have olive oil to reverse the negative effects, and this does not come to fruition, it is a further curse. (K'hilas Yitzchok)

Ch. 28, v. 40: "V'shemen lo sosuch" - And oil you will not anoint - Why doesn't the verse say that you will not drink olive oil? This is because the gemara Brochos 35b says that drinking unadulterated olive oil is damaging to one's digestive system. Even if your olives would produce oil, you would not drink it as is. (Meshech Chochmoh)

Ch. 28, v. 43: "Ha'geir asher b'kir'b'cho yaa'leh o'lecho maloh moloh v'atoh seireid matoh motoh" - The sojourner within you will ascend higher higher and you will descend lower lower - If one becomes wealthy it is better for him if it happens in small increments. That way his being wealthy is not very conspicuous, and he avoids the evil eye. If one becomes poor it is better for him if it happens in one fell swoop. That way people will have mercy on him and help him out, albeit that the sudden financial plunge is of itself more painful. The curse of our verse is thus twofold. The sojourner will ascend bit by bit, and not be subject to the evil eye. You will similarly descend bit by bit and not receive the mercy. (Holy Alshich, Chasam Sofer)

Ch. 20, v. 45: "Ki lo shomato b'kole Hashem Elokecho lishmor mitzvosov v'chukosov asher tzivoch" - Because you have not hearkened to the voice of Hashem your G-d to safeguard His precepts and His statutes that He commanded you - The last two words of this verse seem superfluous. However, there might be a most important message here. Even if here and there you happen to comply with Hashem's wishes, but not because He has commanded you to do so, but rather, because you've decided that you want to do this or that mitzvoh, a sort of cafeteria approach to Torah observance, nevertheless, "U'vo'u o'lecho kol haklolos ho'eileh urdofucho v'hisigucho ad hishomdoch." (Nirreh li)

Ch. 28, v. 47: "Tachas asher lo ovadto es Hashem Elokecho b'simchoh uvtuv leivov meirov kole" - On account of your not serving Hashem your G-d with joy and with a gladdened heart from all the good -

1) The Holy Ari z"l translates these words as follows: On account of your not serving Hashem your G-d with joy and a gladden heart MORE THAN the joy and gladdened heart you have from all the good bestowed upon you.

2) The Tzror Hamor has a different explanation of "meirov kole." The reason you have not served is because you have so much gashmius.

3) The Meshech Chochmoh explains: The reason you have not properly served Hashem is because "b'simchoh uvtuv leivov meirov kole," you found your happiness and gladdened heart instead in your "rov kole."

4) An alternative explanation: The stress is on the first word of our verse, TACHAS, which is to be translated as "In place of." In place of your serving you have given precedence to "rov kole." (Nirreh li)

Ch. 28, v. 58: "Im lo sishmor laasos es kol divrei haTorah hazose l'yiroh es Hashem" - If you will not safeguard to fulfill all the words of this Torah to fear Hashem" - These words conclusively show that the whole purpose of fulfilling the positive and negative precepts is to bring fear of Hashem into our hearts. Moshe clearly stated this at the time of the giving of the Ten Commandments, "Uvaavur ti'h'yeh yiroso al pneichem" (Shmos 20:17). (Rambam Moreh Hamvuchim 3:24)

Ch. 28, v. 60: "Kol madvei Mitzrayim v'dovku boch" - All the anguish of Egypt and it will cleave in you - Do not think that you will be subject to the plagues of Egypt, but that they will be shortlived, just as it was in Egypt. Rather, v"dovku boch," they will linger. (Tzror Hamor)

Ch. 28, v. 65: "Uvagoyim hoheim lo sargia" - And among those nations you will not have a respite - "Lo sargia" has the same numerical value as "b'Shabbos." This alludes to the historical fact that while in exile in certain nations we were not allowed to rest on the Holy Shabbos. (Rabbeinu Efrayim)

Ch. 28, v. 66: "V'hoyu cha'yecho tlu'im" - And your life will hang in the balance" - We find the word "tlu'im" one other place in Tanach, "V'ami tlu'im limshuvosi" (Hoshei'a 11:7). This alludes to the statement in the gemara R.H. that "beinonim" have their judgment hanging between R.H. and Yom Kippur. This is "cha'yecho tlu'im," depending upon their repenting or not. This is "V'ami tlu'im limshuvosi," My nation is hanging depending upon if they do teshuvoh. (Baal Haturim)



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

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