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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 31, v. 2: "Lo uchal ode lotzeis v'lovo" - I will no longer be able to leave and come - This means that I will no longer be capable of interceding on your behalf to ask Hashem to forgive your sins, as I am about to die. However, you should pray directly to Hashem without my intervention, as the next verse says, "Hashem Elokecho hu oveir l'fo'necho." Hashem will forgive, as in "oveir al pesha." (Mo'ore Vosho'mesh)

There is a most important message here. Even if one feels that his spiritual leader is the greatest and most effective in interceding on behalf of the bnei Yisroel, nevertheless, upon his passing he should not become despondent and give up, feeling totally helpless. Rather, he should always remember, "Mi kaShem Elokeinu b'chol ko'reinu eilov."

Ch. 31, v. 7: "Ki atoh tovo es ho'om ha'zeh .. v'atoh tanchi'lenoh osom" - Because you will come with this nation .. and you will apportion their land inheritance to them - Note that the verse does not mention that Yehoshua will vanquish the inhabitants of the land, only that he will apportion it. This is because the wars were won only through Hashem. (Abarbanel)

Ch. 31, v. 12: "Hakheil es ho'om ho'anoshim v'hanoshim v'hataf" - Assemble the nation the men and the women and the children - This takes place after the "shmitoh" year, after a one year furlough from agricultural pursuits. The lesson is obvious, that before throwing yourself back into farming, review the 5th book of the Torah, which is replete with ethical teachings and admonitions. This could well explain the need for the presence of the women and children. They will learn to not press the head of the household to maximize his pursuits of increasing his income at the expense of Torah study and mitzvos. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 31, v. 14: "Hein korvu yo'mecho lomus" - Behold your days have drawn close to die - The gemara M.K. 28a derives from these words that if a person is ill for 5 days and then dies, this is the norm. If he is sick for less time it is considered a sudden death. Tosfos asks that Moshe was not ill for five days before his demise, as is evidenced by his writing a Torah scroll and his jumping many elevations when he ascended Har N'vo. He answers that even if a person dies suddenly this is not to be considered out of the norm.

However, the Paa'nei'ach Rozo says that Moshe was indeed sick for 5 days before his death. His text of the gemara states that if one was sick for 5 days and then died, it is considered a sudden death. He answers that since Moshe was exceedingly old, even though he died suddenly, it is considered a normal death.

Ch. 31, v. 16: "V'kom ho'om ha'zeh v'zonoh acha'rei elohei neichar ho'oretz" - This nation will stand up and it will turn after the foreign gods of the land - The Rambam in hilchos teshuvoh chapter 5 asks that since Hashem has told Moshe that this will surely take place, why would they be responsible for this sin. He answers that the message contained no information of any specific person doing this horrific sin, so each person is responsible for sinning. Perhaps we can offer that our verse says "asher hu vo shomoh b'kirbo." The gemara Makos 7b says that "asher" connotes a voluntary act, "r'shus," as in "Vaasher yovo es rei'eihu vayaar" (Dvorim 19:5). Our verse adds the seemingly superfluous word "b'kirbo." Perhaps the intention of these words is that if a person of his own volition, "asher," will not only come to those who worship false gods, but also come "b'kirbo," in CLOSE contact with them, then it is inevitable that he will be drawn to their gods, but he is totally at fault for setting the stage for this to happen. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 31, v. 16: "Ho'om ha'zeh v'zonoh acha'rei" - This nation and it will turn after - The numerical value of these words equals that of "Zeh hu Menasheh." (Baal Haturim)

Ch. 31, v. 21: "Ki yodati es yitzro asher hu o'seh ha'yom b'terem avi'enu el ho'oretz" - Because I know his inclination today before I will bring him to the land - If while here in the desert, where one's basic existence depends upon open miracles, he has sinned, all the more likely will he sin when in the Promised Land, where physical accommodations are present in a natural manner. (Shaa'rei Simchoh)

Ch. 31, v. 24: "Va'y'hi k'chalos Moshe lichtov .. ad tumom" - And it was when Moshe completed to write .. until their completion - Moshe wrote one Torah and handed it over to the tribe of Levi. The rest of the bnei Yisroel complained, stating that in the future the Levites might say that the Torah is theirs only, as the rest of the tribes did not receive a written one from Moshe. Moshe then completed another 12 Torah scrolls and gave one to each of the tribes. How could Moshe write 12 complete Torah scrolls in one day? The answer is that although Moshe starting writing each Torah, they were miraculously completed on their own. "Ad tumom" does not mean until their, antecedent "divrei, completion, but rather, the completion of 12 Torah scrolls. (Tzror Hamor)

Ch. 31, v. 25: "Va'y'tzav Moshe es haL'viim nosei aron bris Hashem" - And Moshe commanded the Levites carriers of the ark of the covenant of Hashem - The Ibn Ezra says that the Levites of our verse are not any of the Levites, but rather, specifically the Kohanim, who are also members of the Levite tribe. Our verse refers back to verse 9, which clearly states that Moshe gave the Torah he wrote to the Kohanim, who were carrying the Aron.

However, it seems that the Sforno disagrees with the Ibn Ezra. On verse 9 he writes that the Kohanim only carried the Aron when a miracle was to take place. It seems that the miracle was that all the bnei Yisroel fit in front of the Aron, as mentioned in the Ibn Ezra on Dvorim 29:9.

Perhaps the earlier verse discusses the giving of a Torah scroll to the Kohanim as representatives of the Levite tribe, and our verse the giving of the Torah that was placed into/next to the Aron. The second Torah might have been placed there when the bnei Yisroel were no longer miraculously all in front of the Aron.

Rabbi S.R. Hirsch notes that when the Kohanim carried the Aron the verse (31:9) says "hanosim," those who are carrying, while in our verse says "nosei arone," carriers. The Kohanim only carried it on special occasions, while the Levites had the regular task of carrying it, again seemingly in disagreement with the Ibn Ezra.

Ch. 31, v. 26: "Mitzad arone bris" - By the side of the ark of the covenant - The gemara B.B. 14a cites 2 opinions. Rabbi Yehudoh posits that the Torah scroll was placed on a ledge that protruded from the base of the ark. He bases this on the word "mitzad," at the side. If the intention of the verse was that the Torah scroll was placed inside the ark then the verse should have said "b'soch." Rabbi Meir posits that the Torah scroll was placed into the ark itself. Had the intention of the verse been that it was placed on the outside to the side of the ark the verse should have said "b'tzad." "Mitzad" indicates that it was right next to the tablets. (Maskil l'Dovid)

N.B. - The offering in parshas Nitzovim 30:11 should have read as follows: Ch. 30, v. 11,12,13: "Lo nifleis .. v'lo r'chokoh, Lo vashoma'yim, V'lo mei'eiver la'yom, " - It is not concealed .. and it is not distanced, It is not in the heavens, And it is not on the other side of the sea - The next verse tells us that contrary to these thoughts, the Torah is exceedingly close. The order of these distances is therefore from furthest to the closest. Not only is it not extremely far away, but not even somewhat far. Rather it is exceedingly close. "Nifleis" means hidden, beyond grasp, and "r'chokoh" is distanced but within grasp. "Vashoma'yim" is surely a more distanced place than is "mei'eiver la'yom." Targum Yerushalmi says that "vashoma'yim" refers to Moshe, who ascended to the heavens to receive the Torah, and "mei'eiver la'yom" refers to the prophet Yonah, who traveled overseas to bring Hashem's message to Ninveh.



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha and Chasidic Insights

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