Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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1) Ch. 32, v. 1: "Haazinu hashomayim vaada'beiroh v'sishma ho'oretz" - Heavens, hearken and I will speak and the earth will hear - Why is the remark to the heavens addressed in second person form while to the earth in third person?

2) Ch. 32, v. 1: "Haazinu hashomayim vaada'beiroh v'sishma ho'oretz imrei fi" - Heavens, hearken and I will speak and the earth will hear the words of my mouth - The Holy Zohar writes that "the heavens" refer to wealthy people, while "the earth" refers to poor people. Where is there an indication in our verse for this interpretation?

3) Ch. 3, v. 4: "HaTzur tomim po'olo" - The gemara Brochos 7a discusses the subject of "tzadik v'ra lo," why seemingly bad things happen to good people. Hashem imparted of His wisdom to Moshe and allowed him to understand Hashem's ways of justice. Others do not comprehend this. This subject is on the minds of many. It is related that two people came to the Ibn Ezra with a monetary dispute, and once they were there they also asked this question, not only posing it as a question, but with their intonations indicating that they had a great complaint against Hashem for such seeming injustice. Their monetary question was as follows: They had been traveling together and sat down to eat. Another traveler came upon them and told them that he had no food with him and that he was starving. He told them that he did have money with him and would pay them for whatever they would give him. They agreed to his offer. One of these two had three loaves of bread, while the other had two. All loaves were the same size. They equally consumed all the bread. The man who had no food left them with five gold coins. The person who owned the three loaves felt that he deserved three coins, as he had started off with three loaves and that his friend deserved two coins, as he owned two loaves. His friend disagreed, stating that since the third party consumed an equal amount from both of their breads, he and his friend should each receive 2 coins. The Ibn Ezra disagreed with both of them and then told them the proper amount each was to receive. The Ibn Ezra ended by telling these two people that if they could not fathom the judgment of a mere flesh and blood human being whose judgment was actually quite simple to comprehend, how could they expect to understand the depth of Hashem's rightful judgment, let alone voice a complaint against Hashem. "Mish'p'tei Hashem emes tzodku yachdov" (T'hilim 19:10) What was his ruling?

4) Ch. 32, v. 7: "Sh'al ovicho v'ya'geidcho z'kei'necho v'yomru loch" - Ask your father and he will relate to you your grandfathers and they will tell you - These two phrases seem to be repetitive. As the child is advised to ask his father AND grandfathers it would seem that there should be a conjunctive letter Vov before the word "z'kei'necho," so that it may read as "AND your grandfathers."

5) Ch. 32, v. 51: "Asher m'altem bi ... v'lo kidashtem osi" - What are these two wrongdoings?



The gemara Sanhedrin 23a states that the idealistic elevated people of Yerusholayim would not sign a document unless they personally knew who would be signing along with them. We may say that the heavens, aware that they would not be the only witnesses to Moshe's farewell testament had to be advised who else would bear witness. Thus Moshe directed his words to the heavens, second person, and advised that the earth, third person, would be the other witness. (Yalkut Ho'urim) Alternatively, we can say that the heavens represent the great learned leaders of the nation, while the earth represents the common masses. Once the heavens would directly hear Moshe's words of admonition, the information would be passed on to the rank and file. (Shaa'rei Simchoh)


Since the verse says "vaada'beiroh" and then changes to "imrei" it is understood. "Dibur" is a word form that connotes tough harsh words while "amiroh" means soft words. A wealthy person doesn't readily take words of admonition to heart, as per the verse "v'oshir yaa'neh azus" (Mishlei 18:23), and therefore he has to be spoken to in a tough manner to make an impact. However, regarding the poor man the same verse says "tachanunim y'da'beir rush," so gentle speech is sufficient.


The Ibn Ezra ruled that the owner of the three loaves deserves four coins, while the owner of the two loaves deserves only one coin. Both of the litigants responded that the Ibn Ezra does not know how to rule properly, as he awarded one of the men even more than he felt he deserved. The Ibn Ezra explained his position quite simply. Since each of the three people who had partaken of the breads ate an equal amount, let us calculate as follows: The five breads can be considered as 15 portions if we split each bread into three. Each of the three people ate five portions. The owner of the three breads owned 9 portions while the owner of the two breads owned 6 portions. The owner of the 9 portions ate five portions and gave away 4 portions, while the owner of the 6 portions ate 5 portions and gave away only 1 portion. It thus makes perfect sense to give 4 coins to the owner of the three breads and only 1 coin to the owner of the two breads. (Yalkut Mei'am Lo'eiz)


The Ibn Ezra asks this question. This verse is discussing a generation that is so estranged from the Torah that when the son asks his father a question regarding a custom or mitzvoh the father doesn't know the answer. He says to his son, "Ask Zeidy." "Sh'al ovicho," when you ask your father, "v'ya'geidcho," he will respond, "z'keinecho v'yomru loch," go to your grandfathers and they will answer you. (Dvash V'cholov)


The Meshech Chochmoh explains this verse with a well known explanation of the GR"A of the words in the mishnoh Pirkei Ovos 3:1, "Din v'cheshbon." When a person sins, he is accountable for two matters. One is din, the judgment of the appropriate punishment for the transgression. The second matter is cheshbon, a calculation of the time spent on doing the aveiroh which could have been used for a productive mitzvoh activity. Hashem is saying in our verse that there is a responsibility of "M'altem bi," you have sinned against Me and at the same time, "Lo kidashtem osi," you have not used that time productively to sanctify Me.



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

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