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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 32, v. 1: "Haazinu hashomayim" - Heavens listen - The Holy Kotzker Rebbe translated these words as: Listen heavenly. In T'hilim it says "Bidvar Hashem shoma'yim naasu." This means that the heavens were originally in a loose form and when Hashem said "Y'hi rokia," the heavens became a firmament. This was a fear of Hashem that brought the heavens to become firm (hence "firmament"), and this has been their nature since the creation of the world. This is the depth of the words "yiras shoma'yim." Not that it means fearing heaven, but rather, to have fear of Hashem as the heavens have fear of Hashem. This is the level of hearing the word of Hashem that Moshe demanded of the bnei Yisroel.

Ch. 32, v. 1: "Haazinu hashomayim vaada'beiroh v'sishma ho'oretz imrei fi" - Heavens listen and I will speak and the earth will hear the speech of my mouth - Why by the heavens is listening expressed in second person and by the earth in third? The gemara Sanhedrin 23a says that the pure of spirit of Yerusholayim would not sign a document that required two signatures before they knew who would be signing along with them. Similarly here, since Moshe was speaking to two witnesses, the heaven and the earth, he told the heavens to listen and also told the heavens that "v'sishma ho'oretz imrei fi," the earth will be the second witness. (Yalkut Ho'urim)

Ch. 32, v. 2: "Yaarof kamottor likchi tizal katal imrosi" - My acquired item shall drop as rain My word shall flow as dew - Dew comes daily and rain only comes from time to time. "My word" does not indicate that it is something that the listener put effort into acquiring while "likchi" does.

An interesting occurrence came to my attention. In a small new sub-division of seven homes the landscaper planted a tree in front of each of the homes. Each was the same type and same age. Numerous heavy rains came accompanied by strong winds. Two of the trees were uprooted and five withstood the storms. The owners of the two trees asked the landscaper to replace the trees with other stronger, healthier trees at his expense. He claimed that he bought healthy, mature trees from a nursery and it was their loss. They were ready to take him to a beis-din ruling and he then spoke to the nursery owner and said that if he lost the ruling he would pass this loss on to the nursery owner.

The nursery owner was also surprised that the trees didn't withstand the rains and wind, which were not extreme. He suggested to the landscaper to ask the owners of the homes where the trees fell down if they had installed an automatic sprinkler system on their properties, and did not explain why he suggested this. The landscaper went to all seven owners and asked this and to his surprise the properties where the trees remained upright had no sprinkler system, while where the trees fell down did. He went back to the nursery man who explained that by being "baby spoon fed" water all the time the trees did not develop a healthy, DEEP root system. During dry spells tree roots "dig" deeper in search of water.

The lesson is obvious. When we put in more effort into acquiring something it stays with us stronger. "Likchi," that which "acquired" by effort is like rain, not coming on a daily "spoon-fed" basis. "Imrosi" is like dew, coming on a daily basis and is not described by the verse as "acquired" in depth. (n.l.)

Ch. 32, v. 28: "Ki goy o'veid eitzos heimoh v'ein bohem tvunoh" - Because they are a nation void of counsel and there is no understanding in them - Sometimes someone listens to absolutely no advice because he thinks that he is sufficiently clever to sort things out. The verse tells us that this nation does not accept counsel even though it is totally void of wisdom. (Shaar Bas Rabim)

Alternatively, this nation is lost because it has an overabundance of advice. It makes meetings and meetings to sort things out but for lack of wisdom it never acts.

Ch. 32, v. 34,35: "Halo hu komus imodi chosum b'otzrosoi, Li nokom v'shi'leim" - Is it not stored with Me sealed in My treasuries, To Me is revenge and reward - The Alshich Hakodosh says that a person deserves either reward or punishment for his actions, notwithstanding that Hashem knows the future, since the person does not know it. This is alluded to in the gemara Nidoh 32, that says that although numerous matters about a person are decided before he even enters this world, his being either righteous or evil is not.

This is the intention of these two verses. What a person will do in the future is hidden with Hashem and the person does not know this beforehand. Therefore there is reward and punishment that Hashem will administer justifiably. (P'ninim Y'korim)

Ch. 32, v. 39: "Ani ani hu v'ein Elokim imodi ani omis v'echyeh mochatzti vaani erpo" - I I am He and Elokim is not with Me I will put to death and I will resuscitate I have smitten and I will heal - I am Hashem that is a Name of mercy. I am Him twice, be it for reward or what seems like punishment.

Nevertheless I am acting out of mercy. Even when I put to death it is for the purpose of bringing to life again in the world-to-come. When I have smitten it is for the purpose of a person learning to better his ways and through this I have brought about his spiritual healing. (Gan Roveh, Rabbi Shlomo Kluger)

Ch. 32, v. 41: "V'limsanai asha'leim" - And I will recompense those who have brought to hate Me - The verse does not say "ulsonai asha'leim," to My enemies I will pay their due punishment. "V'limsanai," - causative - zeroes in on the nations that have issued edicts and false propaganda that have brought the bnei Yisroel to hate me. (Ohel Yaakov)

Ch. 32, v. 44: "Hu v'Hoshei'a bin Noon" - He and Hoshei'a the son of Noon - The reason there is no letter Yud at the beginning of Yehoshua's name is that the letter Yud until now has enhanced his name showing that Moshe prayed for his being saved from negativity. Now that he has ascended to the level of Moshe by being the leader of the bnei Yisroel, he no longer needs this enhancement. (Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh)

Ch. 32, v. 47: "Ki lo dovor reik hu mikem ki hu cha'yeichem" - Because it is not an empty matter from you rather it is you life - Upon extolling the importance of studying and fulfilling the Torah's dictates it is most unusual to then say that the Torah is not empty, something that describes the other extreme. If we look at a person who lives in a society where he does not know the language, to write, etc., then we can categorize him as socially empty, but not dead. We might feel that with the lack of Torah knowledge and the fulfillment of its mitzvos a person is empty. The verse therefore tells us that this is not an "empty" person. He is considered spiritually dead. (Da'mesek Eliezer)

Ch. 32, v. 47: "Ki hu cha'yeichem uvadovor zeh taarichu yomim" - Because it is your life and through this thing you will extend your days - The previous verse tells us that we are to convey the commands of the Torah to our children. This in turn will be what extends our lives. No one lives forever. If the next generation is taught to live according to the Torah's dictates then the previous generation is considered alive even after passing on, as per the dictum of our Rabbis, that he who leaves over a righteous son it is as if he lives on. (Imrei Shefer)



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

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