(26:1) “ Vhayo Ki Savo-It wil be when you come.”
The word “ Vhayo” is always a term if joy. The Ohr Hachayim writes that real joy is only when you acquire Eretz Yisroel.
Most commentaries explain that this war refers to the battle of one’s own evil inclination, his Yetzer Horah. The words “Ki Saitzai Lamilchoma-When you go out to war” has the numerical value equal to the words promised to Avraham Avinu by the Bris Bein Habisarim, after serving as slaves for four hundred years the nation would be redeemed. “Yetzu Berechush Gadol-You will leave with great wealth.” Perhaps the connection is in what the Ohr Hachaim says regarding this great wealth. It means that Klal Yisroel was meant to gather in all of the lost sparks of Kiddusha that had been scattered since the original sin of Adam. When Klal Yisroel left Mitzraim it says Vaynatzlu-They emptied it. Meaning they emptied all of the sparks of Kiddusha. That could be the reason we are instructed never to return to Mitzraim, our mission there is complete. Vayinatzlu can also mean "They rescued" the souls of those who righteously converted were rescued from the Klipah of Mitzrayim.This is the great wealth that the posuk refers to here. Ki Saitzai-when they go out, once again it means to gather the great wealth of spirituality.
The word “Lecha”-for you- seems to be extra. It should just have said appoint Judges and officers? Parshas Shoftim is always read around the beginning of the month of Elul, when teshuva is the primary concern. The Torah is telling us with the word “Lecha” that every person must judge himself, especially during this month, to make sure to correct any wrongdoing he might find in himself. (Shelah)
In the opening verse of this week's parsha, Moshe speaks to the Jewish people and says, "See (re'eh), I have set before you today a blessing and a curse."
The word “re'eh” is in the singular while the word “Lifneichem” is in the plural? This teaches us that the world hangs on the actions of each individual.
However the word "Re'eh" seems out of place here. Moshe is not showing anything to the people; he is merely informing them about the consequences of their actions! Why does the Torah present this information in terms of "seeing," when it would have made more sense to use the idea of "hearing"?
In this weeks parsha Moshe continues to recount the events of the forty years in the midbar. All the trials of and all of their downfalls. After the sin if the Eigel Moshe went back up to Har Sinai to receive the second Luchos. The “Tiferes Tzion” explains the difference between the first and second Luchos. After Matan Torah Benei Yisroel were at a level of Kiddusha that resembled Angels. They were therefore worthy of the luchos made entirely by Hashem. After the Chet the second Luchos were hewn by Moshe but still inscribed by Hashem. This showed them that even after their sin they should know that they could still attain closeness to Hashem.
Let it be , Yom Kippur, the end of slicha and kopere, the day when the second tablets were given, but why t'u b'Av.
We know of 7 events on that day.I saw an insight ascribed to the holy Rebbe R' Avraham Yehoshua Hershel of Mezibuz; The Chazal say that in the future haShem will make a circle for tzaddikim....When people move in a circle, there is no head or bottom , so too there will be no jealousy between tzaddikim , just as the heavenly 'mazalos' where each one goes up 'backwards' and its 'face' to the back of its friend 'below' which looks as that he goes up first.
The 15th letter of the laphebet is the somech , a circle.This was the simcha of t'u b'Av.
Perhaps withg this we can understand a difficult medrash.We know that each year after the slanders of the spies 15,000 people dug their graves and lay down to die (the genration of 600,000 / by 40 years).The last 9th of av , 15,000 dug their graves, but lo and behold in the morning , they are still alive!
Maybe it is a mistake; so they lie down again, and again , till the full moon.and they realize the decree of death has been lifted.The first simcha of t'u b'Av.
What had actually happnened to that decree , why were they still alive.No one can give an answer for the horrors ofthe many Hitlers y's our people have had to endure, but one thing we know, those who survived the camps had no sense of jealousy of one to another.The Jewish people are a corporate body which transcends place and time.That is why the whole generation needed a tikun for the sin of the few.But if all had died, then the generation wouldn't have its tikun complete .The tikun for loshon hara is to wipe out completely all vestiges of smallness and petty jealousy.
The entrance to Gan Eden on earth is the capacity to love .this is the dance of the maidens , the time for shidduchin , and the time for the shidduch of the jewish people with their betrothed, the Ribbono shel Olam.
Mazla tov , Montreal.
And let us begin to look forward to the High holy Days!
The Midrash explains that Moshe prayed 515 Tefilos the exact numerical value of the word “V’eschanon” Hashem told Moshe not to continue praying even one more tefilah. For if he prayed one more prayer Hashem would have had to acquiesce and if Moshe was permitted to enter the land of Israel he would have built the Beis Hamikdosh and when Yisroel would sin, Hashem could not take it out on the wood and stone because whatever Moshe built was eternal. Instead he would have to take it out on Klal Yisroel. It was therefore beneficial for Klal Yisroel that Moshe not be allowed to enter the land. The word V’eschanon is also equal to the word tefillah, meaning that this is the ultimate expression of beseeching Hashem. The names Yitzchok and Rivkah equal 515 as well. Their prayers for children on Har Moriah caused great change in the world and cost Avraham 5 years of his life. Avraham was promised a good life, to die without ever seeing his descendants stray off the path. But when Yitzchok and Rivkah prayed on Har Moriah Hashem allowed himself to be persuaded the result was Essav being born 5 years before his time. So if 515 is the ultimate in tefillah what is the 516th tefillah. If 515 equals the word Tefillah and the word V’eschanon what does 516 equal? It equals the words Yiboneh Hamikdosh-The building of the future eternal house of Hashem.
This is the only Sefer that begins with “Kol Yisroel” and ends with “Kol Yisroel”We begin the fifth Sefer of the Torah in the fifth month of the year. This corresponds to the fifth level of the Neshama. There are five levels of the soul. Nefesh Ruach, Neshama, Chaye & Yichidah. Yichidah, the final level, is oneness with Hashem. It is the most hidden of all the five levels and is the level that will be revealed in the future. After each of the four exiles another level was revealed. We are now in the final exile, that of Yishmael, and what will be revealed, will be revealed to Kol Yisrael-To all of Israel. Every member of Israel will experience his own redemption. The long exile of Edom that we have endured, was only endured in the merit of Torah. However the final exile will require Tefillah-Prayer to combat the strength of Yishmael’s prayers. Perhaps this is why the Sefer is called Devarim-words. Because in the final days it is the words of our Tefillos that will be most desired by Hashem.
Why is the name of this weeks Parsha called Massey, which refers to the traveling, when what the Torah really describes here isthe camps that were set up? Also in the very second posuk (33:2) it says “Vayichtov Moshe es-Moitzaeyhem Le’MaseyhemAl-Pi Hashem V’Ayleh Maseyhem L’Motzaeyhem- And Moshe wrote their goings forth according to their journeys at the bidding of Hashemand these were thejourneys according to the goings fourth.” Why is the order of their travels reversed from the way it appears in the beginning? The Ohr Hachaimwrites that the going fourth was for a purpose. It was meant for Yisroel to seek out sparks of Kiddusha that are trapped in a shell of tumeh that make their home in the Midbar. It is the mission of Klal Yisroel to release them from this source by traveling through such places and acting as a magnet of Kiddusah to bring them back to their rightful place. According to the Zohar these sparks could be captured only while actively journeying not while they were encamped. Therefore it was the travels that the Torah mentions not the stops.
The parsha begins with the mitzvos of Nedarim. Since the last parsha dealt with korbonos of Yom Tov the connection between the two is that when a person vows to bring his korbon he is obligated to fulfill his promise on the coming Yom Tov, when he visits the Bais Hamikdosh.
The Sefas Emes writesthrough a vow Yisroel were given the power to endow an object with Holiness by mere words. This is one of the most elevated powers that man is capable of and is why it was placed near the end of the Torah.
Regarding the chet of the Eigel, Hashem swore to destroy whoever worships powers other than Hashem. Moshe in defense of Klal Yisroel reminded Hashem of the laws of annulling vows that he had taught him on Har Sinai. Moshe was described as “Ish Ha'elokim” he was privileged to be able to annul vows made by Hashem like an “ish”/husband.
(25:11) “Pinchas ben Elozer ben Aharon H’Kohen.” The parsha begins by tracing the genealogy of Pinchas back to Aaron. Why was it necessary to mention his grandfather? The reason is because people doubted the sincerity of Pinchas’ actions. Perhaps since he descended from Yisro his deeds were not Leshaim Shomayim? Hashem therefore wished to publicize that he was a tzaddik the son of a tzaddik. Also Hashem wanted to heal some of the residual bad feelings that might have existed against Aaron who at the time when he made the Eigel had inadvertently become the cause of many Jewish deaths. Now a grandson of Aharon had come and saved many more lives than Aaron had ever even indirectly caused to be lost.
It was here that many of the men of Israel began to sin with the daughters of Moav. It is difficult to fathom how a people growing up in the Midbar and seeing all of the miracles they must have seen, could sin with the first sight of seductive women?The Midrash Tanchuma interprets the words “Vayeshev Yisroel B’Shitim-Israel settled in Shittim.” to indicate that there was a fountain at Shittim which caused people who drank from it to develope into adulterers, just as we know there are fountains of water which cause the people who drink from it to become strong or weak physically, or to influence their character in various ways. The waters of that well were the ones the people of Sodom had been drinking which affected their behavior. Seeing that it had such spiritually negative effects on the people drinking from it Hashem caused it to stop flowing. (RabeinuBachya)
אין דברי תןרה מתקים אלא במי שמימית עצמו עליה
'A man who dies in the tent ' - the words of torah can only reside in someone who totally immerses himself - ie. to be dead to the world- in the tents of torah'
How especially poignant to us are the words of the baal medrash become , when we read that when the church burnt the talmud , they did so with an official 'executioner'.Actually ,yes, the words of the living talmud are ingrained in the souls of our people and not on old parchment.
Twenty four cartloads of jewish books burnt "at the stake" in front of the Louvre in Paris June 17, 1242 ,Friday, erev shabbas, parshas Chukas (this writer's gentile birthday and bar mitzva sedra).It was the beginning of more than 500 years of such profanity (the last fire in 1757). The great sages of the time decreed a fast on Friday erev shabbas as they understood the destruction to tie in to the parsha ,(one of the baale tosfos asked a shela b'shemayim and was answered that the day was the cause -'This is the chok (law without explanation) of the torah.
The Church was right, the ideas and sacrifice of our people for living words of haShem through the mesorah was dangerous to them.That event signaled the end of the great Jewish presence in France.In an article attributed to Rabbi Wein's history lessons http://www.jewishhistory.org/the-burning-of-the-talmud/
the ramifications were many ,including and up to the future secular Nazis and their evil ways..
כאשר יענו אתו כן ירבה וכן יפרץ
The more they were afflicted , the more they grew and spread
While the Church and their students continually degraded themselves , the burnings had the opposite effect on the Jews.Rabbenu Yonah connected that desecration with the burning of the Rambam's works in 1233 , also in Paris (which he himself had partially instigated ) .As a result he wrote the Shaare Teshuva - 'The Gates of Repentance' the pillar of the mussar movement.That work and others to follow would focus on building the inner sanctums of the ethical and religious jew .Our passion for the talmud just grew, and many say that the incessant burnings actually contributed to the flowering of kabbala amongst our people.
Last week's terrible sick 'attack' in Nice France , made this writer wonder.Google describes Nice as "the city today balances old-world decadence with modern urban energy." I saw a well written article at http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/columnists/henry-ergas/france-takes-centre-stage-in-the-clash-of-civilisations/news-story/616730d98b4d3d73b2d9c2394944aa5f which impressed me.It describes the situation as a 'Clash of Civilizations".The anniversary of the storming of the Bastille was called trhe Feast of Federation,the celebration of French culture , of French ideals of "liberty, equality and fraternity".
"The revolution extolled reason; the fundamentalists worship at the alter of apocalyptic irrationality. And the revolution proclaimed (although it often failed to respect) freedom, including freedom of religion; the fundamentalists seek a caliphate in which only the laws of Islam prevail."
"But the revolution also established an enduring concept of citizenship that underpinned the French nation, “one and indivisible”. Far more than any other European country, it was open to foreigners; it demanded, however, that they join the nation on its terms. As Michael Walzer put it, “foreigners were welcomed — so long as they learned the French language, committed themselves to the republic, sent their children to state schools, and celebrated Bastille Day”.
It was equally insistent on what they were not to do: isolate themselves in ethnic enclaves that clashed with the broader community of citizens. Already in 1791, the refusal of a right to differentiate and divide was expressed in the Legislative Assembly’s debate on the emancipation of the Jews by Clermont-Tonnerre, a deputy of the centre, when he spoke for the majority (which favoured emancipation): “One must refuse everything to the Jews as a nation,” Clermont-Tonnerre declared, “and grant everything to the Jews as individuals.”
"In the country which long prided itself on being the “eldest daughter” of the church, there are more devout young Muslims than devout young Catholics and Protestants combined."
It seems somewhat ironic that the “eldest daughter of the church" who tried as much as they could to sniff out our national souls are facing today the challenge of the end of theirs.
Perhaps this is hinted to at the end of the parsha - כי אש יצאה מחשבון להבה מקרית סיחן אכלה ער מואב בעלי במות ארנון - 'A fire went out from Cheshbon , a flame from the city of Sichon,it ate Or of Moab ,and baale bomos of Arnon.'
We were not allowed to go to war with Moab as we could not take their land ;it was given to the son of Lot.So a 'fire' went out from Sichon , the king of Emoree - from the land of Canaan, and ate up - conquered Moab.So , when Sichon went out to war with us, and we won, we were allowed to take those lands as our own.
The first Rashi in Chumash tells us that the torah as lawbook should have started with the first mitzva - the sanctification of the month.But it starts with sefer breishis , which we can't truly understand , to teach us that haShem , the Creator takes the land and gives it to whom He wishes.This is the ultimate answer to the world who will ultimately call us 'thieves.'
We don't truly know the ways of haShem , and we certainly don't wish bad on any of haShem's creatures, but it is our deep belief that all the turmoil and horrors and fears we are going through today are a process of the ending of evil (b'ezer haShem it should be mostly by self annhilation) and ignorance and confusion and the unfolding of the blessings to mankind,as we are free to fulfill our raison detre as the 'Conscience of Mankind' and the 'Light unto the Nations.'
(19:2) “Zos Chukas H’Torah-These are the statutes of the Torah.” This week’s Parsha deals with death. The ashes of the Para Adumah that purify someone who came into contact with death, the death of Miriam and Aharon and the decree of Moshe’s death are all major themes here. With this parsha the sefer Bamidbar seems to change direction. Until now we have been dealing with the generation that emerged from Egypt. But from here on, the remainder of the Chumash recounts the history of the next generation. All of the events described from here on take place in the 40th year of the midbar wanderings. The point of this transition is the mitzvah of the Para Haduma. It is called a “Chok” because the meaning behind it has eluded even the greatest of minds. Rashi says that no reason is given for these “Chukim”. Yet he does say that if the nations of the world would mock the Torah saying, look at these mitzvos that make no sense, we precede this by saying that although they are a Chok beyond our comprehension, Klal Yisroel were still willing to comply.This could be the connection to last week’s parsha. In parshas Korach we learned that Korach challenged Moshe by using his own logic. He would tear down anything he could not understand. If a room is full of Torah scrolls how can it need a mezuzah? This is why our parsha begins with “Chukim” these are laws beyond human comprehension.
Rashi explains the connection between this Parsha and the end of the previous one. That when Aaron saw all of the donations made by the Nesiim he felt bad that neither he nor his shevet had any part of it. This is why the Mitzvah of lighting the Menorah was directed exclusively towards him. The Ohr Hachaim asks why was it this mitzvah when there was so many others that Aharon had to perform? The Nesiim only brought their Korbaonos this one time, while Aharon and his descendants were to perform them for all time? He answers that the Mitzvah of cleaning and lighting the Menorah was even greater than bringing the Korbonos because each day it was necessary to dismantle the Menorah in order to clean it. So in effect Aharon, by reassembling the Menorah, was completing the Mishkon every day.
During the time between Pesach and Shevuous we count the Omer.
Why is the term Sefiras H’omer used? The Omer was a onetime offering brought the day after Pesach consisting of barley-basic animal food. Forty-nine days later an offering o
If chametz is analogous to sin, to the Yetzer Hora which prevents us from performing Hashem's will, why is it permitted at all, at any time of the year? Why are chametz and se'or prohibited for only one week each year, and permissible during the remaining 51 weeks?
The Parsha begins with the words “ Im Bechukosaye Teilech. If you will go in my ways.”
We read this portion of the Torah every year before Matan Torah. This is in order to put the curses that are contained in this weeks parsha behind us before the new year. In fact they are read twice. Once before Rosh Hashana and once before Matan Torah. The question is what is the connection of these curses to Matan Torah?
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