July 31, 1999 18 Ab 5759
by Rabbi Reuven Semah
"And if only you listen to these laws" (Debarim 7:12)
Our perashah begins with Hashem promising us tremendous bounty as a result of observing His misvot. The Oznayim LaTorah, in the name of Rabbi Eliezer Gordon learns from our verse a very interesting point.
When a person does a misvah with other people, he earns two misvot. One is the misvah itself, that he is fulfilling the will of Hashem. The second is the fact that he is causing his friend to do a misvah. This additional misvah is called a misvah "on the heels" of his own misvah.
Suppose a person wakes up early to learn Torah. He gets a misvah for learning Torah and no more. However, if he has an arrangement to learn with a friend, he gets his own misvah for learning, as well as another misvah "on the heels" of his own for his friend's learning. If there is a class of ten, he gets his own and nine more, because when he comes every morning he inspires his friends to come as well. It is easy to prove this, for if one or more stops coming to the class, it weakens the resolve of the rest to come. This is what the above pasuk is hinting at.
If you observe the misvot of the "heel," meaning the misvot you do on the heels of your own misvot, you will be blessed with tremendous bounty. We would like to encourage all of our members to partake in these misvot and be part of this great reward. Shabbat Shalom.
By Rabbi Shmuel Choueka
"And you will remember that it is Hashem who gives you the strength to do this great deed." (Debarim 8:18)
Whenever a person accomplishes anything, he may be tempted to think that he was responsible for his success, so the Torah tells us that it is Hashem who gave you the strength to succeed. The Targum adds a very important word to the verse. He says, "You shall remember that it is Hashem Who gives you the idea which leads you to succeed."
This teaches us an amazing lesson. Even the idea itself which sets off an entire chain reaction, and ultimately leads to accomplishments is from Hashem. How many times are we in a tough situation looking for answers when all of a sudden, an idea "pops into our head" which gives us a way out? Every time a person thinks of something to do or remembers something important, he should thank Hashem for the idea itself for it is He who gives us the thought with which to succeed. Shabbat Shalom.
"Now, O Israel, what does Hashem, your G-d, ask of you" (Debarim 10:12)
The word "mah - what" is superfluous. Instead of asking a question, "What does Hashem ask of you?" Moshe should simply have said, "Hashem asks of you..."
On the pasuk "Hashem, your G-d, you shall follow" (13:5) the Gemara (Sotah 14a) asks, "How is it possible for a human being to follow Hashem, of Whom it is said, 'For Hashem, your G-d, is a consuming fire" (4:24), and answers that the Torah means that one should emulate Hashem's attributes. "Just as He performs acts of kindness, so shall you; He clothes the naked, visits the sick, and buries the dead, so shall you" (see also 13:5, Rashi).
In light of the above, it can be explained that Moshe did not begin his remarks with a question, but with a statement. He was telling the Jewish people that "mah Hashem Elokecha - What Hashem, your G-d, consists of" - i.e. represents and practices - "sho'el me'imach - He is asking of you" - to emulate and practice in your daily lives.
Alternatively, in the Hebrew alphabet, there are twenty-two letters. Each letter can also be written out in full, for instance, alef, bet, gimmel, etc. Thus there is an external part of the letter (the letter itself) and a hidden internal part, the full spelling.
The way to write out in full a mem or hey is by adding the same letter. Mem is spelled mem mem, and hey is spelled hey hey. Thus each of these two letters are tocho kebaro - the inside is identical to the outside. Among people there are some who are wicked on the inside but appear as righteous on the outside. Moshe was not asking, but telling the Jews that "mah" - to be like the letters "mah" (mem and hey), true through and through, is what Hashem, your G-d, wants of you. (Vedibarta Bam)
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