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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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IN HONOUR OF THE BIRTH OF OUR GRANDSON TO OUR SON SHOLO-M UMISHPACHTO sheyichyu,p> SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS VO'ES'CHANAN 5773 BS"D

Ch. 3, v. 23: "Vo'es'chanan" - And I beseeched - Rashi sources this type of prayer from the word "chinom," gratis. Although Moshe had many merits, he as other righteous people, does not rely on his meritorious acts, but rather asks for the fulfillment of his prayer as a gift. This can be explained as follows: The merits are not the good behaviour of the past, but rather, that if their wish were to be fulfilled it would allow them to do future mitzvos. Moshe had no interest in entering Eretz Yisroel to just be a tourist. He wanted to be given the opportunity to do land-bound mitzvos that could only be done there. He nevertheless did not ask to be allowed ingress for future meritorious acts, only as a present. (Yalkut haGershuni)

Ch. 3, v. 23: "Vo'es'chanan el Hashem bo'eis hahee" - And I beseeched Hashem at that time - At which specific time? Moshe beseeched Hashem right after he offered the leadership to Yehoshua, as related in the end of the previous parsha. At that time Moshe felt Hashem might rescind His decree to not allow Moshe ingress to Eretz Yisroel. Moshe claimed that he was only prohibited entry as the leader of the nation, and now that he has given over the mantle of leadership to Yehoshua he may enter as a rank and file citizen. However, as related in the medrash, Hashem told him that he would be distraught as a student of Yehoshua, whom he had taught for so many years. This was in consonance with Moshe's feelings and he relented, and continued as Yehoshua's teacher till the last day of his life, when they shared the leadership. (Abarbanel)

We might add that based on this insight, "bo'eis hahee" could also contain the message that Moshe only begged Hashem at "that time," meaning that he quickly rescinded his plea afterward. (n.l.)

Ch. 3, v. 24: "Atoh hachiloso" - You have begun - Why didn't Moshe simply say that Hashem showed His servant His greatness What is added by saying "You have begun?" Sh.O. Ch.M. #221 says that if there is a disagreement between a seller and a buyer about certain terms/details of a sale/purchase that took place between them and even after discussing it they came to no agreement over those details, then if the purchaser goes over to the seller and simply says, "Give me my purchased item," the deal is sealed according to the opinion of the seller. If the seller is first and goes to the purchaser and simply says, "Take your item," then the deal is sealed according to the opinion of the purchaser.

When Hashem and Moshe were carrying on their dialogue about Moshe's being the agent to take the bnei Yisroel out of Egypt Moshe said, "Shlach noh b'yad tishloch." "Tishloch" is in the future tense and Moshe's intention was that Hashem should send an agent to take out the bnei Yisroel who would later be the agent again to bring them into Eretz Yisroel. Although we see no resolution of this issue, nevertheless, Hashem made the next move by saying, "Lech n'chei es ho'om." Hahachically, it seemed to Moshe that Hashem accepted his terms by making the first move after their disagreement. This is "Atoh hachiloso," and therefore, "E'ebroh noh v'e'reh es ho'oretz." (Mahara"m Schiff)

Ch. 4, v. 10: "Asher yil'm'dun l'yiroh osi kol hayomim" - That they should learn to fear Me all the days - LEARNING to fear Hashem is repeated numerous times, "L'maan tilmad l'yiroh es Hashem (14:23), L'maan yilmad l'yiroh (17:19), Yil'm'du l'yiroh" (31:13). This continuous repetition, and its being expressed as LEARNING teach us a most compelling lesson, that we must work on "yiras Hashem" through study. It will not come through osmosis alone. This is our holy responsibility when having our children educated. Teachers who themselves are "yorei shomayim" must be our children's educators, not teachers who know the subjects well and are bereft of "yiras shomayim." (Rabbi Shimshon ben R'foel Hirsch)

Ch. 4, v. 15: "V'nishmartem m'ode l'nafshoseichem" - And you shall safeguard extremely your souls - "Shmiroh" sometimes means to "wait and anticipate," as in "v'oviv shomar es hadovor" in the beginning of parshas Va'yeishev. Some people are driven by having a "good time." They live from one thrill to the next, waiting for another such opportunity to arise. Our verse tells us otherwise. You should wait and anticipate extremely for a spiritual experience. (n.l.)

Ch. 4, v. 20: "Va'yotzi es'chem mikur habarzel miMitzrayim li'h'os lo l'am nachaloh" - And He has taken you out of the crucible of iron from Egypt to be to Him a nation of inheritance - Just as gold as mined from the earth is placed into a crucible and heated to the extreme separates the gold from needless other matter, so too, Hashem has put the nation through the spiritual purifying experience in Egypt and those who were not up to the task died out during the plague of darkness. Those who remained were the "gold" to whom Hashem gave the Torah. Had they not gone through the experience of slavery for a few generations they would never have accepted the servitude of Hashem as expressed in the Torah. (Haksav V'hakaboloh)

Ch. 4, v. 24: "Ki Hashem Elokecho aish o'chloh hu" - Because Hashem your G-d is a consuming fire - Hashem is compared to a consuming fire in the following manner. Just as fire is all-consuming and reduces anything in its path to naught, so too, when we compare anything in the world to Hashem it is as naught. (Rabbi Shimshon ben R'foel Hirsch)

Ch. 4, v. 29: "Uvikashtem es Hashem Elokecho umotzoso" - And you shall seek Hashem your G-d and you will find Him - The verse begins in plural and continues in singular.

1) This teaches us that Hashem hearkens not only to the masses who pray to Him, but also to a single person. (Rabbeinu Bachyei)

2) Not only will the masses be subject to being sent into the Diaspora, as mentioned in verse 27, but every individual will be subject to this. (Rabbi Shiimshon ben R'foel Hirsch)

3) The nation is considered disparate people as long as there is no unified driving force of service of Hashem as one's life goal. When still in the stage of searching we are numerous, separate people, and only after we reach the level of "finding Him," do we become unified, singular "umotzoso." (Meshech Chochmoh)

4) Many will pursue finding Hashem and only some will reach that level. Two search and one finds. This is because only the one who "Ki sid'r'shenu b'chol l'vovcho uvchol nafshecho" will find Him. (Gan Roveh)

5) Although we have a maxim "Yogato v'lo motzoso al taamin," since the verse is discussing people who have served pagan gods and are repenting, since they are doing it at a very great distance from Hashem, and it is they who have consciously distanced themselves, as is indicated by the word "mishom," which the Ralba"g in Sefer Hashoroshim entry "shomayim" says means very far away, it is only the single few who will properly repent and find Hashem. (n.l.)

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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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