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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 11, v. 26: "R'ei ONOCHI nosein lifneichem ha'yom brochoh u'kloloh" - The Medrash Tanchumoh R'ei #3 says that the words of our verse bring out the same point as the words of the verse "Mipi Elyon lo seitzei horo'ose v'hatov" (Eichoh 3:38). The Oheiv Yisroel quotes the Holy Zohar (parshas Vo'es'chanan page 261a) who says that if Hashem had directly transmitted all the Ten Commandments to the bnei Yisroel then the negative influence that was caused by the sin of the snake in parshas Breishis would have ceased. He then interprets: See that I have given in front of you only ONOCHI (and "Lo y'h'yeh") and not the rest of the Ten Commandments, as they were transmitted through Moshe. If I had directly given you all the Ten Commandments, then the evil defilement caused by the snake would have been removed, "posko zuhamoson," and there would be no inclination to do bad. This is what the Medrash Tanchumoh means by connecting our verse with the verse in Eichoh. "Mipi Elyon lo seitzei" - Since from the mouth of the Elevated One (Hashem) will not go out (all of the Ten Commandments), "horo'ose v'hatov," - we are therefore left with the bad and the good in our nature.

It seems that the words of the Holy Zohar mentioned above are in disagreement with the gemara Shabbos 146a which says that at the time the bnei Yisroel stood at the foot of Har Sinai their spiritual defilement ceased, "posko zuhamoson".

Ch. 11, v. 26: "HA'YOM brochoh" - The Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh interprets that something which might seem to be a blessing and of great benefit TODAY, on this world, might be negative for a person in the world-to-come.

Ch. 11, v. 27: "ES habrochoH asheR tish'm'U" The final letters of these four words spell TORAH. This indicates that the greatest blessing is the Torah. (Baal Haturim and R"I of Vienna)

Ch. 11, v. 27: "ASHER tish'm'u" - The verse does not say "IM tish'm'u," - If you will listen, but rather "ASHER tish'm'u," - SO THAT you will listen. This means that Hashem will give you a blessing of undisturbed opportunity so that you may pursue Torah and mitzvos. (Ponim Yofos and Tiferes Shlomo of Radomsk)

Ch. 12, v. 4: "Lo saasun kein laShem Elokeichem" - A number of interpretations are offered:

1) This is a prohibition against bringing a burnt offering to Hashem outside the Mikdosh campus, referring to "ki im el hamokome, Va'ha'veisem shomoh oloseichem" of verses 5 and 6. (Rashi)

2) This is a prohibition against destroying an altar, referring back to "V'nitatz'tem es miz'b'chosom" of verse 3. (Rashi)

3) This is a prohibition against erasing Hashem's name, referring back to "v'ibadtem es shmom" of verse 3. (Rashi)

4) This is a prohibition against sinning in general and causing Hashem to respond by ch"v destroying the Beis Hamikdosh, referring back to "U'shmartem laasose" of 11:32. (Rashi in the name of Rabbi Yishmo'eil)

5) This is a prohibition against using sanctified food as fuel for personal use, referring back to "va'ashei'rei'hem tis'r'fun bo'eish" of verse 3. (Gemara P'sochim 48a)

6) This is a prohibition against building a temple for Hashem in any location that we might choose, referring back to the placement of idols for worship in many locations, "es eloheihem al hehorim horomim v'al hogvo'os v'sachas kol eitz raanon" of verse 2. (The Holy Alshich and Kli Yokor)

7) This is a prohibition against emulating the pagans' forms of serving their gods, referring back to "asher ovdu shom hagoyim" of verse 2. (Rabbi Saadioh Gaon and Rabbi Shlomo Ibn Gvirol)

8) This is a prohibition against building the Beis Hamikdosh on a location that was previously used for idol worship, referring back to "v'ibadtem es shmom min hamokome hahu" of verse 3. Even after destroying all vestiges of idol worship from a location, don't build a temple for Hashem on that location. Even though the gemara Avodoh Zoroh 45a derives from Dvorim 12:2 "al hehorim eloheihem" that their gods are on mountains but the mountains themselves cannot become their gods, i.e. even if a section of earth, mountain, etc. is deified, this does not give it a status of an idol and thus does not bring about a prohibition against deriving benefit from it, nevertheless, this is only regarding people's personal use, but it is still rendered unfit for use for a sanctuary. (Proshas Drochim)

9) This is a prohibition against destroying the mountain top upon which the Beis Hamikdosh will be built, referring back to "A'beid t'abdun es kol hamkomose asher ovdu shom hagoyim ...... al hehorim" of verse 2. The gemara Avodoh Zoroh 45b derives from the double expression "a'beid t'abdun" that not only must the idols be destroyed but the locations need to be destroyed to the point of leaving no vestige of its former use. Since the verse says that the pagans have placed their idols on the high mountains, etc., one might think that it is required to dig up the mountain top upon which the Beis Hamikdosh will be built for fear of its having formerly been a location of idols. Our verse tells us not to do this.

The location of the Beis Hamikdosh will be made known to us by a prophet (Shmuel 2:24:19). This is derived from verse 5, "l'shichno sid'r'shu," which the Sifri explains to mean that we should both attempt to figure out where the location is and as well we will be advised as to the correct location by a prophet. Hashem's choice of location will be one that was never used for idol worship.

Tosfos on the gemara Avodoh Zoroh 45a d.h. "Kol mokome" says that the gemara Yerushalmi asks, "How did they know that the Temple Mount wasn't once used for idol worship?" The Yerushalmi answers that the location was disclosed through a prophet and obviously was never used for that purpose. This is the same as the Sifri. (Nachal K'dumim)

10) Don't do your actions for Hashem in a manner of "KEIN," YES, meaning by rote. Rather, do them with forethought and intention. (The Holy Admor of Kotzk)

11) "LO," - a negative command, "saasun KEIN," - you may turn it into a YES command, "laSHEM Elokeichem," - if you do it for the furthering of Hashem and the Torah. This is the concept mentioned in the gemara Nozir 23b, "G'doloh a'veiroh lishmoh mimitzvoh shelo lishmoh." As well, this is alluded to in Dvorim 18:14, "V'atoh LO CHEIN nosan l'cho Hashem Elokecho," - And to you Hashem has given the opportunity of turning a LO into a KEIN through the ruling of "g'doloh a'veiroh lishmoh mimitzvoh shelo lishmoh." (Igro D'kaloh by the Holy Admor Rabbi Zvi Hirsh Shapiro of Dinov)

12) Do not fixate yourself on the fulfillment of one particular mitzvoh to the point that you feel that if you do not do it properly, all is lost. This often brings to neglect of other mitzvos. (The Holy Chozeh of Lublin)

Ch. 12, v. 5: "Ki im el hamokome" - If the earlier part of this verse, "Lo saasun kein laShem Elokeichem" refers to the prohibition of destroying the altar, how do the words "ki im el hamokome" flow? The Chasam Sofer says that there is only a prohibition against destroying the altar at the time of "heter bomos," when private altars are permitted, but "ki im el hamokome," when we reach the place, i.e. when we build the Beis Hamikdosh in Jerusalem, and private altars become permanently prohibited, then the altar of the Mishkon may be destroyed.

If the earlier part of the verse refers to the prohibition of erasing Hashem's Holy Name, the following two explanations are offered:

1) The gemara Sukoh 53a,b tells the story of King Dovid becoming aware of the imminent danger of an underground waterway rising and flooding the world. He was advised that it was permitted to write the Holy Name of Hashem on a shard and throw it into the waterway via the opening at the Temple's outer altar to avert this great tragedy. Our verse alludes to this, saying that it is prohibited to erase Hashem's Holy Name except when coming to the location of His choice for the Temple. There Hashem's Holy Name will be erased. (GR"A)

2) It is permitted to erase Hashem's Holy Name at the Beis Hamikdosh location as part of the Sotoh clarification ritual (Bmidbar 5:23). (Nachal K'dumim)

Ch. 12, v. 5: "Ki im el hamokom asher YIVCHAR" - The Rambam in Moreh N'vuchim 3:45 asks why Hashem did not advise much earlier in our history where the location of the Beis Hamikdosh would eventually be. He gives three answers. If the future location of the Beis Hamikdosh would be public knowledge much earlier then:

1) There would have been much opposition by the nations that occupied Eretz Yisroel, and they would not have allowed the bneiYisroel to gain ownership of the location of the Temple Mount.

2) The pagan nations occupying Eretz Yisroel before the bnei Yisroel conquered the land might have destroyed the future Temple Mount. If I may add, indeed, history has borne this out with the attempt of a nation to obliterate the Temple Mount by piling land-fill on the sides of the Temple Mount to the point that it would not be a distinct mountain. This condition still exists today on the west side of the Temple Mount.

3) There would be much fighting amongst the bnei Yisroel as to whose tribal apportionment should include the Temple Mount. He adds that this is the main reason among the three that he has offered.

Perhaps there is also an element of "maa'seh ovos siman labonim," - that which occurred to our forefathers is an omen for their descendants (See Ramban at beginning of parshas Lech L'cho). Avrohom was told to bring his son Yitzchok as a human sacrifice "al achad hehorim asher omar eilecho," upon one of the mountains that Hashem would later disclose to him. This was to be the future Temple Mount. Just as Avrohom was not advised immediately, so also, the generation that entered Eretz Yisroel and many more generations after that were also not told its location.

Ch. 12, v. 20: "Ki yarchiv Hashem Elokecho es g'vulcho kaa'sher di'beir loch v'omarto ochloh vosor" - The Tosefta Arochin 4:10 says in the name of Rabbi Elozor ben Azarioh that he who has 100 "monoh," a unit of money that is equal to 100 "zuzim," may eat a "litra" of meat daily. One-hundred "monoh" equal 10,000 "zuzim." How did Rabbi Elozor ben Azarioh arrive at this figure? Rabbi Meir Yechiel haLevi Halishtok, The Holy Admor of Ostrovtze answers this with the mishnoh in Pei'oh 8:8 that states that one who has 200 "zuzim" should not take charity, as he is not considered a poor man, an "oni." The Mordechai on the first chapter of B.B. says that 200 "zuzim" are a sufficient amount for a couple to live on for a year. We may assume that this is a bare minimum since if they had one "zuz" less, they are considered destitute. Thus for one person, 100 "zuzim" are needed per year for basic existence. the average life-span of a person is 70 years (T'hilim 90:10). this brings to a total of 7,000 "zuzim" needed to cover a lifetime of expenses at the bare minimum. Our verse says that "when Hashem broadens your border," when He gives you an abundance of income, then it is appropriate for you to request meat as your fare. What is considered a broadening of income? We find this term used right in our verse referring to broadening our borders. This means that besides the land of the seven nations occupying Eretz Yisroel, Hashem will also eventually give us the land of the three nations, Keini, K'nizi, and Kadmoni. We see from this that broadening, having an abundance, is increasing from 7 to 10. Similarly we can consider one's income as broadened when he has every seven "zuzim" increased to 10 "zuzim." Since a person requires 7,000 "zuzim" for minimum sustenance for a lifetime, 10,000 "zuzim" would be considered a broadened income for a lifetime. This is why Rabbi Elozor ben Azarioh said that if one has 100 "monoh," which are equal to 10,000 "zuzim" it is appropriate for him to consume meat daily.

Ch. 13, v. 6: "V'hanovi hahu ...... yumos" - The gemara Sanhedrin 89b gives us two opinions as to the type of death penalty administered to the false prophet who attempts to persuade someone into serving a false god, either by stoning or by strangulation. It is therefore most puzzling that we find Eliyohu killing the false prophets of Baal by sword (M'lochim 1:18:40 and 1:19:2). The Meshech Chochmoh answers this difficulty by saying that we must assume that Eliyohu acted in the name of King Achov. The Rambam states in hilchos m'lochim 3:8 that all death penalties decreed by a king must be carried out in the firm of beheading by sword. With this we can understand M'lochim 1:19:1 which states that Achov told his wife I'zevel what Eliyohu had done to the false prophets of Baal, that he had killed them by the sword. In 1:19:2 she responded by sending a messenger to Eliyohu advising him that she intended to have him be a victim of the same fate as the false prophets. When she heard from Achov that the death penalty was by the sword, she understood that Eliyohu acted in a manner of carrying out the king's decree. Since she had taken for herself a most prominent role in running the country, she was slighted that Eliyohu carried out a capital punishment without consulting with her first.

N.B. In last week's Sedrah Selection there was a mistake in Ch. 8, v. 3. Twice where it was written Yaakov it should have been Yitzchok.



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