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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 1, v. 1: "Eileh hadvorim ahser di'beir Moshe el kol Yisroel" - These are the words that Moshe spoke to all Yisroel - Moshe, the great protagonist for protecting the bnei Yisroel even when they fell short of what was expected of them, seems to be acting totally out of character here. He lists place after place where they sinned (albeit that Rashi says that he said this in an allusionary manner). The verse in Mishlei 28:23 says, "Mochiach odom acharai chein yimtza." Simply this means that he will be more appreciated by the one who was rebuked over one who falsely praises him. The medrash says that this refers to Moshe. He has rebuked the bnei Yisroel behind Hashem's back, so to say, by chastising them with the words "A'tem chato'sem" by the incident of the golden calf, and to Hashem he spoke differently, "Lomoh yechereh apcho b'a'mecho." He strongly rebuked the bnei Yisroel and he spoke words of appeasement to Hashem. This is the intention of our verse. "Eileh" is a word connoting limitation. These are the words of chastisement that Moshe spoke only to the bnei Yisroel, while to Hashem he begged for forgiveness. (Rabbi Shlomo Kluger)

Ch. 1, v. 5: "Ho'il Moshe bei'eir es haTorah hazose leimore" - Moshe began to clarify this Torah thus saying - This is very puzzling. Moshe, in great length is chastising the bnei Yisroel until we reach parshas Vo'es'chanan where he goes into clarification of the mitzvos of the Torah, and not here.

It is well known that before one begins to study the Torah he must repent on his improper actions, as the verse in T'hilim 3 says, "V'lorosho omar Elokim mah l'cho l'sa'peir chukoy." This is why Moshe began with chastisement before he started teaching the actual Torah at the Trans-Jordan. (Mo'ore Voshomesh) We might add that this is why the Rambam includes hilchos Talmud Torah in the laws of repentance.

Ch. 1, v. 6: "Rav lochem sheves bohor ha'zeh" - It is enough for you residing by this mountain - The bnei Yisroel were encamped near Har Sinai. The mountain represented the acceptance of the Torah through coercion, as Hashem held it over them to force them to accept the Torah. This allows for an excuse for sinning, "modo'o rabo l'Oraisa" (gemara Shabbos 88a). This excuse held no water upon entering Eretz Yisroel, as explained by the Rashb"o, based on the verses, "Va'yitei lohem artzos goyim , Baavur yish'm'ru chukov" (T'hilim 105:44,45). This is Moshe's message: You have sat at this mountain, this excuse, long enough. "P'nu u'soo lochem," turn away from here and go to Eretz Yisroel, which will create a situation where you must fulfill the Torah without any excuses. (Chid"o)

Ch. 1, v. 10: "V'hinchem hayom k'chochvei hashomayim lorove" - And behold you are today many as the stars of the heavens - The gemara Yoma 32a cites Rabbi Yochonon who asks a seeming contradiction. One verse says, "V'hoyoh mispar bnei Yisroel k'chol ha'yom" and a second verse says, "Asher lo yisofeir v'lo yimod." The former verse says that they are like the sand on the seashore, indicating that although they are many, there is a total number of the bnei Yisroel, while the latter verse clearly states that they cannot be measured nor counted. The gemara answers that when the bnei Yisroel are doing the will of Hashem they cannot be counted, and when they ch"v are not doing the will of Hashem they can be counted.

When the bnei Yisroel are on the lower level it is obvious that they can be counted. It is only when they are on a higher level, when each person is possibly counted as many, as the gemara Sanhedrin 44 says about Yo'ir ben Menasheh, that he was equal to the majority of the high court, that they cannot be quantified. (Chid"o in Nachal K'dumim)

Ch. 1, v. 11: "Yoseif a'leichem kochem elef p'omim" - Shall increase upon you a thousand-fold as you are - Rashi comments that this was Moshe's own blessing, while Hashem's will be much more. Why is Moshe's blessing exactly a thousand-fold? In the writings of the Ari z"l it says that the numeric value of Moshe is the same as "Keil Shakai." When we take the letters of "Keil Shakai" in their "miluy" we have Alef-Lamed-Shin-Dalet-Yud. These five letters' numeric value is 1,000. Moshe blessed the bnei Yisroel with his inner totality.

Ch. 1, v. 16: "Vo'atza'veh es shofteichem bo'eis hahee leimore shomo'a bein acheichem" - And I have commanded your judges at that time thus saying to hear the claims between your brethren - It is only at that time that it was necessary to hear the claims and counter-claims between the disputants, and then to arrive at a proper verdict. But in the days of the Moshiach the gemara Sanhedrin 90 says that a judge will be able to rule by his sense of smell, as per the verse, "V'hiricho b'yiras Hashem" (Yeshayohu 11:3), and then come to the ruling, as it says in verse 6, "V'shofat b'tzedek dalim." (K'dushas Levi)

Ch. 1, v. 18: "Vo'atza'veh es'chem bo'eis ha'hee" - And I have commanded you at that time - What is the intention of stressing "at that time?" Rashi says that these words refer to the ten differences between judging money matters and capital punishment. There are ten differences. They include the number of judges, leaning towards merit, etc. until the time Moshe taught them these laws he was the single judge. Not even one of these laws applied to him, as he was in communion with Hashem when he judged. It was "at the time" that he told the bnei Yisroel of the institution of numerous judges that he taught them these ten details. (Mahari"l Diskin)

Ch. 1, v. 31: "Uvadovor ha'zeh einchem maaminim baShem Elokeichem" - And in this matter you have no faith in Hashem your G-d - A follower of Rabbi Yitzchok of La'yev, the son of the Magid of Trisk, came to Rabbi Yitzchok and cried about his fate. The communists removed him from his job and he had no visible means of income. The one opportunity of a job was one that entailed working on Shabbos. Rabbi Yitzchok cited our verse and applied it to this situation. "Uvadovor ha'zeh," if you decide that it is only in "this manner" that something can be resolved, then "Einchem maaminim baShem Elokeichem," you do not have faith in Hashem your G-d. Hashem has numerous ways to provide a livelihood.

Ch. 1, v. 37: "Gam bi hisanaf Hashem biglalchem leimore gam atoh lo sovo shom" - Hashem also turned his anger against me because of you saying "You too will not come there" - Even though Moshe deserved to be punished because of his shortcoming by the waters of discord, but there is no correlation between that and specifically the punishment of not being allowed entry into Eretz Yisroel. Only when the bnei Yisroel sinned and were not permitted to enter Eretz Yisroel was Moshe's punishment the same, as it would be very inappropriate to have the nation's leader enter the land without his nation. (Rabbi Eliezer Ashkenazi in Maa'sei Hashem)



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha, Chasidic Insights and Chamisha Mi Yodei'a

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