subscribe.gif (2332 bytes)

by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

Back to This Week's Parsha | Previous Issues

For sponsorships and advertising opportunities, send e-mail to:SHOLOM613@AOL.COM


Ch. 33, v. 2: "V'zorach miSei'ir" - And shone forth from Sei'ir - Rashi explains that Hashem had earlier offered the Torah to the descendants of Eisov, only to have it turned down.

Chizkuni translates "v'zorach" as and He came from the east, as in "mizrach." The illumination of lightning came from the east until it reached Har Sinai. Since Hashem also offered the Torah to other nations (see Rashi d.h. "hofia"), what is the intention of the words "asher bochar bonu miko'l ho'amim?" Rather than Hashem choosing us, it seems that we chose Him. However, as explained in the gemara Shabbos 88a, Hashem coerced us into accepting the Torah by lifting Har Sinai above us. This was not done when the Torah was offered to any other nation (gemara A.Z. 2b). This is "asher bochar bonu."

Ch. 33, v. 2: "V'osoh" - And came - This word form is commonly found in the gemara, but seldom in Tanach. It is synonymous with "u'vo." What is the nuance of difference in meaning between these two words? "U'vo" simply means "he came," while "v'osoh" means "and he came bringing something along with him." However, it seems that all three Targumim translate "v'osoh" as "and with Him," from the ES word form, with.

Ch. 33, v. 2: "Aishdos" - Law of fire - This is written as one compounded word but read as two distinct words. Rashi on T'hilim 10:10 gives us a list of 15 such instances in Tanach.

Ch. 33, v. 2: "Dos" - Law - We commonly translate this word as "law" or "religion." However, the Ibn Ezra says that the literal translation is "standing permanently."

Ch. 33, v. 3: "Af choveiv amim kol k'doshov b'yo'decho" - Also when He favours nations all its holy ones are in Your hand - Rashi interprets this as "Also Hashem favours each tribe and the souls of the holy people who have passed on are concealed with Him.

The Rosh explains, "Even when Hashem favours the gentile nations it is only the souls of their holy ones who convert to Judaism.

The Chizkuni explains, "Even when Hashem favours the gentile nations and allows them to master over the bnei Yisroel, He has 'hands on control' of His holy ones."

Ch. 33, v. 5: "Va'y'hi bIshurun melech" - And there was a king in Jeshurun - Rabbeinu Bachyei explains that "yeshurun" is sourced in "loshur," to see. These words refer to the time of "matan Torah." When Hashem became the bnei yisroel's king, when they accepted His rule and rules, He was "kavyochol" in sight. This means that Hashem opened the heavens and gave the bnei Yisroel a unique spiritual view.

Ch. 33, v. 6: "Y'chi Reuvein" - May Reuvein live - Moshe's prayer was for the cohorts of Korach, who were mostly from the tribe of Reuvein. He prayed that they should merit to be resurrected in "olam habo." (Gemara Yerushalmi Sanhedrin)

Ch. 34, v. 2: "Ad ha'yom ho'acharone" - To the final sea - The Mediterranean is the final sea to the west as far as lands that the Torah discusses. Perhaps because there are other seas further to the west (Atlantic Ocean), the Sifri says to read the word "sea" as "day."

Another way of explaining how the Torah calls the Mediterranean the "final" sea is based on verses in parshas Shmos. Hashem tells Moshe to do wondrous signs in front of Paroh and his advisors. Hashem tells Moshe that if they do not respond positively to the first sign then he should do the next one, called "ho'ose ho'acharone" (4:8). In the next verse Hashem says that if they do not respond to either of the two signs then Moshe should make a third sign. We clearly see that even when we say "acharone," we can still have another. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 34, v. 4: "Herisicho v'ei'necho v'shomoh lo saavore" - I have shown you with your eyes and you will not pass over to be there - We must understand these words to mean that Hashem told Moshe that he only merited to see all the visions because he was not passing over the Jordan River. This was a comfort. If we simply say that Hashem told Moshe again, "You can't go there," this would be a most insensitive jab. (Haksav V'hakaboloh)

Ch. 34, v. 5: "Va'yomos shom Moshe e'ved Hashem" - And Moshe Hashem's servant died there - Rabbeinu Bachyei writes that during his lifetime, Moshe was called "ish hoElokim" and upon his death "e'ved." This is because a slave has access to even the inner chambers of the king. Once Moshe died he became even closer to Hashem than during his lifetime.

However, we find Moshe being called "e'ved" even during his lifetime, "Lo chein AVDI Moshe b'chol beisi ne'emon hu" (Bmidbar 12:7).

Ch. 34, v. 10: "V'lo kom novi ode b'Yisroel k'Moshe" - And there never stood a prophet in Yisroel as Moshe - Why doesn't the verse simply say "V'lo hoyoh novi?" By using the word "kom" the verse is telling us in which manner Moshe was unique. All other prophets lost some of their senses and fell upon their face when receiving a prophecy, while Moshe stood upright, "kom," and was in full control of his faculties (see Sforno on "ponim el ponim"). (GR"A)

Alternatively, the word "kom" means "stood up to challenge," as in "bas komoh b'imoh." Within Yisroel no one stood up to say that he was an equal to Moshe. This is the intention of the Sifri on our verse that says, "However, among the nations there is, and that is Bilom." Bilom had the audacity to consider himself Moshe's equal.

Ch. 34, v. 10: "V'lo kom novi ode b'Yisroel k'Moshe" - And there never stood a prophet in Yisroel as Moshe - As just mentioned, the verse is telling us that Moshe was a unique prophet. The literal translation of "v'lo kom" only tells us that there WAS no equal to Moshe. How do we know that there WILL BE NO equal in the future? The word "ode" means that this will continue to be the case. (Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh)

Ch. 34, v. 10: "V'lo kom novi ode b'Yisroel k'Moshe" - And there never stood a prophet BY VIRTUE of Yisroel as Moshe - This is the interpretation of the Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh. It was only through the virtue of the nation that Moshe received such prophecy. When the bnei Yisroel were reprimanded in the desert and estranged Moshe received no prophecy for close to 39 years.

Ch. 34, v. 10: "Asher y'do'o Hashem ponim el ponim" - That Hashem related to him face to face - Perhaps we can translate "y'do'o" as "He made him knowledgeable." Moshe reached the deepest level of Torah understanding of any person who ever lived (The gemara M'nochos which says that Rabbi Akiva taught and Moshe did not understand is explained by the Mahara"l of Prague.) This is "ponim el ponim," "pnim el pnim," deep of the deep. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 34, v. 11,12: "L'chol ho'osose, Ulchole ha'yad hachazokoh .. asher ossoh Moshe l'einei kol Yisroel" - For all the signs, And for all the acts of the strong hand .. that Moshe wrought in front of the bnei Yisroel - All of these acts were done in front of the bnei Yisroel to drill into them the knowledge that "Breishis borro Elokim." (Ksav Sofer)



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

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