CHAMISHOH MI YODEI'A - FIVE QUESTIONS ON THE WEEKLY SEDRAH - PARSHAS VO'ES'CHANAN 5772 - BS"D
1) Ch. 3, v. 23: "Bo'eis hahee" - At that time - At which time?
2) Ch. 3, v. 26: "Va'yisa'beir bi Hashem l'maanchem" - And Hashem angered in me on your account - Although Rashi explains that "l'maanchem" means 'because of you," others say that it means "for your sake," for your benefit. What benefit did the bnei Yisroel derive from Moshe's being denied entry to Eretz Yisroel?
3) Ch. 3, v. 27: "Ur'ei v'einecho" - And see with your eyes - Moshe begged to be allowed to enter the land and his entreaties were denied. What was accomplished by having him see the land?
4) Ch. 4, v. 2: "Lo sosifu al hadovor asher onochi m'tza'veh es'chem v'lo sig'r'u mi'menu lishmor es mitzvos Hashem Elokeichem asher onochi m'tza'veh es'chem" - Do not add onto the matter that I command you and do not diminish from it to safeguard the precepts of Hashem your G-d that I command you - The last four words of this phrase are a repeat of what was said earlier in this verse word for word.
5) Ch. 4, v. 2: "V'lo sig'r'u mi'menu lishmor es mitzvos Hashem Elokeichem asher onochi m'tza'veh es'chem" -And do not diminish from it to safeguard the precepts of Hashem your G-d that I command you - What is taught by adding the words "lishmor es mitzvos Hashem Elokeichem," and why is this placed by the prohibition to not diminish?
Ramban says this means upon having vanquished Sichon and Og. The Abarbanel and Tzror Hamor say that it refers to after having given Yehoshua the reins of leadership. The Ramban and Tzror Hamor alternatively offer that it refers to immediately after Hashem advised Moshe that he would not enter the land, i.e. just after the sin of the "waters of dissent."
1) Had he entered he would have immediately had the Beis Hamikdosh built and it wold have had permanence. When the bnei Yisroel would sin grievously Hashem would not take out His wrath on the physical building, and would have ch"v taken it out on the bnei Yisroel themselves. (Malbim and others)
2) Since Moshe would die and be buried in the desert he would lead the generation of desert wanderers into Eretz Yisroel at the time of "t'chias ha'meisim."
3) Moshe would be buried in the desert across from the location of the false god baal p'ore. As explained in the gemara at the end of the first chapter of Sotoh, this brings atonement for the sin of baal p'ore. See Tosfos there for elaboration.
4) Although some commentators apply these concepts to the verse that says "biglalchem" in the previous sedrah, they seem to be better applied here, as the word "l'maanchem" more readily lends itself to be translated as "for your benefit" than does "biglalchem."
The Sforno on Dvorim 33:1 explains that Moshe's seeing the land brought blessing to the land and to its upcoming inhabitants, the bnei Yisroel. The Riv"o says that this was done so that it would be clearly demonstrated that although Moshe was not allowed ingress into the land, he was not included in, "v'chol m'naatzai lo yiruhoh" (Bmidbar 14:23).
According to the explanation of the Sforno it is more readily understood why he miraculously (Rashi on our verse and on Dvorim 34:2) saw all the land from his vantage point (see Dvorim 32:49,52).
The ChasaN Sofer explains that our Rabbis were invested with the power to add to the mitzvos of the Torah, such as reciting Hallel, reading Megilas Esther, etc. Similarly, they are allowed to diminish form the mitzvos, for example, not sounding the shofar when R.H. falls on Shabbos. However, this is all provided that they clarify that it is Rabbinic in nature. This is why our verse says "asher onochi m'tza'veh es'chem" both by the addition and by the diminishing of mitzvos.
As just mentioned in the previous offering, a prime example of diminishing from mitzvos that is Rabbinically sanctioned is when they prohibit us to blow a shofar on Shabbos R.H. Our verse is telling us that we may not do so even if it is "lishmor," to safeguard, as in our case of avoiding Shabbos desecration, if it is structured as "asher onochi m'tza'veh es'chem," a Torah level prohibition, as just mentioned in the previous offering. (n.l.)
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