subscribe.gif (2332 bytes)

by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

Back to this week's parsha | Previous Issues


Ch. 27, v. 20: "V'ATO t'za'veh" - Rather than mentioning Moshe by name, the pronoun YOU is used. From parshas Shmos, where Moshe was first introduced, until the end of the Torah, Moshe's name is mentioned in every parsha, save T'za'veh. Although Moshe's name is not mentioned in Parshas N'tzovim, it is usually joined with Parshas Va'yeilech, where Moshe's name is mentioned.

1) The Tosfos Hasholeim says that since Moshe said (32:32), "m'cheini noh misif'r'cho asher kosavto," his words had the effect of having his name erased from a parsha in which it would have otherwise appeared. The reason that parshas T'za'veh was chosen is that Moshe says, "asher kosavto," which You have WRITTEN," so it must be before parshas Ki Siso. T'za'veh is the last parsha which had already been written.

2) Because of "m'cheini" as above. T'za'veh was chosen so as to delay erasing Moshe's name as long as possible, a full circle around the calendar until our parsha.

3) Moshe lost the opportunity to be a Kohein (Shmos 4:14) when he declined (Shmos 4:1, 10) to fulfill Hashem's wish of his being the agent to bring the bnei Yisroel out of Egypt. Because of this his name is not mentioned in this parsha which deals with the clothing of the Kohanim. (Paa'nei'ach Rozo)

4) The GR"A says that Hashem foresaw that Moshe would die on the seventh of Adar. This date almost always falls out during the week of Parshas T'za'veh. Since Moshe left this world during parshas T'za'veh, his name is left out.

5) The GR"A also says that although Moshe's name doesn't appear overtly in our parsha, it is present covertly. The total number of verses in our parsha is 101. The hidden portion of the letters of Moshe's name (milluy), indicating his hidden presence, adds up to 101. Mem is spelled Mem-Mem. The hidden letter equals 40. Shin is spelled Shin-Yud-Nun. The hidden letters equal 60. Hei is spelled Hei-Alef. The hidden letter equals 1. The hidden part equals 101.

5) The Rebbe R' Heshel points out that the "mesorres siman" of 101 verses in our parsha is "Michoel." Moshe prayed that Hashem personally should lead the bnei Yisroel (33:15,16). The medrash on Yehoshua 5:14 says that Moshe's prayer helped to push off Hashem's statement that an angel would lead them (23:20) until the Angel Michoel appeared to Yehoshua (5:14) saying, "Now I have come." We see that Moshe kept the Angel Michoel from directly guiding the bnei Yisroel. Since Moshe's name is not mentioned in our parsha, Michoel found an opportunity to have his presence in this parsha in a shadow form, by being the "mesorres siman" of the total number of its verses. The above medrash on sefer Yehoshua disagrees with the Tikunei Zohar brought in Rashi 23:21 that the angel was M-T-T-R-N. However, the Baal Haturim also says that the angel was Michoel, pointing out that when Hashem said that He would send an intermediary (32:34), "hinei MALOCHI yeileich l'fo'necho," the letters of the word "MALOCHI" spell "MICHOEL."

Ch. 27, v. 20: "V'yikchu EILECHO shemen zayis zoch" - The word EILECHO deserves elucidation. See the words of the Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh. The Meshech Chochmoh explains that EILECHO, similar to the word L'CHO, often means for your benefit. See the words of Rashi on Breishis 12:1, Lech L'CHO. Here too, having the oil for the kindling of the menorah is for the benefit of Moshe. The Mechilta section Pis'cha chapter #1 says that Hashem spoke to Moshe only by day. However the Ibn Ezra on Bmidbar 8:2 explains that this limitation to day only is limited to when there were no lights illuminating the night. The logic behind this might be similar to the rule of judgements of monetary matters beginning to be deliberated only by day, as per Choshen Mishpot 5:2, derived from the words, "V'ho'yoh b'YOM hanchilo es bonov" (Dvorim 21:16). Yet if the courtroom is illuminated it is permitted to begin the court proceedings at night (Sefer M'iros Einayim ad loc s.k. 37). Hence Moshe benefited from the illumination of the menorah by receiving prophecy even at night. This obviously benefited all the bnei Yisroel as well. However, after Moshe's death there was no such benefit and the only reason for lighting the menorah was that it was a statute from Hashem to do so, hence "chukas olom l'DOROSEICHEM" (verse 21). (Meshech Chochmoh)

Ch. 28, v. 8: "V'cheishev afudoso asher olov k'maa'seihu" - The gemara Z'vochim 88b says that the wearing of the eifode garment atones for the sin of thoughts of idol worship. In general we do not consider the thought of sinning as a sin itself. This is alluded to in the words of this verse. "V'cheishev" - and the thought, "afudoso," - of the sin of idol worship for which the eifode garment atones, "k'maa'seihu," - is as harsh as actually doing the sin. (Meshech Chochmoh)

Ch. 28, v. 9: "U'fitachto a'leihem shmos bnei Yisroel" - These words indicate that the names of the bnei Yisroel were ON the stones. In verse 11 the words "t'fatach es shtei ho'avonim al shmos bnei Yisroel" seem to indicate that the stones were on the names of the bnei Yisroel, the opposite of our verse. The Daas Z'keinim answers that since the names were etched into the stones both points are true. The names are ON the stones in that they were etched in from the top. On the other hand, since they were etched into the surface of the stones, a section of the stones was ABOVE the surface of the letters. Compare this with the words of the Mahari"l Diskin regarding the stones of the choshen in verse 21.

Ch. 28, v. 21: "V'ho'avonim t'h'yenoh al shmos bnei Yisroel ...... pituchei chosom" - The Mahari"l Diskin says that the names of the bnei Yisroel were etched in reverse on the undersides of the stones. They shone through the stones, which were either transparent or translucent. This explains how the words of our verse can be understood literally. Firstly, the stones were ON the names of the bnei Yisroel since the etching was from the underside. Secondly, the etching was like that of a seal, "pituchei chosom," in reverse when viewed from the underside. Compare this with the words of the Daas Z'keinim on 28:9 mentioned above.

Ch. 28, v. 22: "V'osiso al hachoshen sharsh'ros gavlus ...... zohov tohore" - The Holy Admor of Modzitz interprets: "V'osiso," and you should make, "choshen," for your pursuit of money matters, (Choshen Mishpot is a term used for the section in the Shulchan Oruch dealing with halochos of money matters), "sharsh'ros," two basic rules, as in the word "shoroshim." One is to be in control and create limits to the time spent in this pursuit, "gavlus," as in the word "g'vul." The second rule is "zohov tohore," that all money made is to be pure, totally honest, according to the laws of the Shulchan Oruch.

Ch. 28, v. 28: "V'yir'k'su es hachoshen" - The Mahari"l Diskin says that the fold of the Choshen Mishpot is on the bottom and it is held closed on top by chains. If it were to be the reverse, the script of the Urim V'tumim would fall out. In some booklets that have diagrams of the priestly garments this is shown incorrectly.

Ch. 28, v. 28: "V'lo yizach hachoshen mei'al ho'eifode" - This is one of the 613 mitzvos of the Torah, to not have the choshen breastplate separate from the eifode garment (gemara Yoma 72a). Four symbolic interpretations are offered:

1) The gemara Arochin 16a says that the Kohein's wearing of the choshen atones for improper judgements of money matters, and the wearing of the eifode atones for the sin of idol worship. These two sins are associated with each other as stated in the gemara Sanhedrin 7b, "Whoever appoints an inappropriate judge is considered to have planted a tree of idol worship near the altar. Therefore the Torah says that these two items which the Kohein Godol wears should not be separated one from the other, to give us a constant reminder that these two sins are of equal paramount importance. (Chasam Sofer)

2) The choshen is to be placed on the HEART of the Kohein Godol. The word eifode in our verse is spelled lacking the letter Vov, leaving us with Alef-Fei-Dalet which equals 85, also the numeric value of "Peh," a MOUTH, spelled Pei-Hei. The prohibition to separate the two teaches us that one should not speak words from his mouth which are not the true feelings of his heart, "ein piv v'libo shovim," but rather have the two always joined, "piv v'libo shovim" (See Rashi on Breishis 37:4 d.h. v'lo yochlu dabro l'sholom). (Degel Macha'neh Efrayim)

3) Worshipping false gods comes from distortion of straight thinking as explained by Rabbeinu Nisim Gaon in his preface to his commentary on Shas, that the main aspect of the sin of idol worship is mental. Similarly, improper ruling of money matters is a form of mental distortion. They are the same types of sin, only that one is a sin against Hashem and the other against one's fellow man. The Torah wants to stress the similarity of these two sins, thus requiring that they not be separated. (MVRHRH"G Rabbi Yaakov Kamenecki in Emes L'Yaakov)

4) When one distorts the halochos of money matters in his favour, it is a lack of full faith in Hashem. Full trust in Hashem's deciding the set income for each person would not allow a person to act in such a manner. This sin is rooted in denial of Hashem's powers, feeling that one has the ability to gain through his own cunning, in essence a form of avodoh zoroh. The coupling of the sin of distortion of judgement of money matters with the sin of idol worship teaches us that when one seeks atonement for the former, he also needs atonement for the latter. (Rabbi Moshe Feinstein in Dorash Moshe)

Ch. 29, v. 33,34: "V'zor lo yochal ki kodesh HEIM, V'im yivoseir mibsar hamiluim umin ha'lechem ad haboker v'sorafto es hanosar bo'eish lo yei'ocheil ki kodesh HU" - The Maharsh"o on the gemara Kidushin 56b d.h. "b'Tosfos d.h. hamka'deish" writes that when the meat of a sacrifice has been left over beyond the prescribed time for its being eaten, "nosar," its sanctity is totally gone.

The Chasam Sofer in his responsa Evven Ho'ezer 2:152 and the Beis Yitzchok in his responsa both ask that our verse stands in stark opposition to the Maharsh"o, clearly stating that although the meat is disqualified from further eating as sacrificial food, nonetheless it may not be eaten because it is still holy, "ki KODESH hu." Although the gemara P'sochim 24a derives from these words that all disqualifying matters affecting sacrificial meat have this same prohibition, "kol shebkodesh posul bo hakosuv li'tein lo saa'seh al achiloso," nevertheless, the simple words of the verse still stand, namely that the meat still retains its sanctity, contrary to the Maharsh"o.

The sefer Ari B'mistorim page 93 answers in the name of Rabbi Yehudoh Leib Alter zt"l, the son of the Pnei Menachem, the Holy Admor of Gur Rabbi Pichos Menacheim Alter zt"l, by pointing out that there is a difference in the wording between verse 33 and verse 34. In verse 33 the prohibition of a foreigner to partake of the meat of a sacrifice is expressed "ki kodesh Heim, while in the next verse which prohibits the eating of "nosar" it is expressed as "ki kodesh HU."

He explains that in verse 33 both the eating of the sacrifice, Shalmei Tzibur, and its accompanying breads are mentioned. One who is not fit to eat them, a non-Kohein, is prohibited to do so because of THEIR (the sacrifice and the bread) sanctity, thus "ki kodesh HEIM."

Verse 34 discusses Shalmei Tzibur becoming "nosar." They become "nosar" after the passing of that day and the following night. However, normally a Korban Shlomim has an eating time allowance of the day the sacrifice is processed, the following night, and the following day. Why is this sacrifice disqualified earlier?

Its breads are logically disqualified earlier because accompanying breads of another type of Korban Shlomim, the Korban Todoh, are limited in their time allowance to only that day and the following night. However, the sacrificial meat should have an extra day of allowance for eating, as all other Korb'nos Shlomim.

To this question the Torah responds, "ki kodesh HU," because the public Korban Shlomim, Shalmei Tzibur, is different from the private Korban Shlomim in that it is holy, Kodshei Kodoshim, and not Kodoshim Kalim as all other Shlomim. The Torah is only explaining the sanctity of the sacrifice and not its accompanying bread, thus the term HU, and not HEIM as in the previous verse, which explains the restriction to a non-Kohein to eat either the sacrifice or its breads. The words in verse 34 explain the allowed eating time of the sacrifice when it is not yet "nosar," and therefore there is no verse stating that "nosar" is "kodesh," in perfect consonance with the words of the Maharsh"o.


Back to this week's parsha | Previous Issues

This article is provided as part of Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Permission is granted to redistribute electronically or on paper,
provided that this notice is included intact.

For information on subscriptions, archives, and
other Shema Yisrael Classes,
send mail to
Jerusalem, Israel