(29:9) “Atem Netzavim Hayom Kulchem Lifney Hashem-You are standing here today, all of you, before Hashem”
The purpose for this assembly was to have the Benei Yisroel enter into a Bris with Hashem. But they had already done this at Har Sinai? Why was there a need to have them do it again? The reason is because the first time by Har Sinai they had asked Moshe to be an intermediary for them. Now with the passing of Moshe Rabeinu they would be standing before Hashem themselves without any intermediary. This is the meaning of the words “Atem Netzavim Hayom Kulchem Lifney Hashem-Today you are all standing before Hashem.” The Maharal says that it was necessary now because they were on the threshold of entering into Eretz Yisroel. Until now they were being totally supported by Hashem for their every need. The Bris made at Har Sinai didn't have the same impact. Now that they were entering into Eretz Yisroel where they would need to live in the real world and have to support themselves, they needed to reestablish their tie with Hashem. Therefore the Bris was really for the generation that was about to enter Eretz Yisroel. This could explain why the posuk mentions the children before the women and Gairim. (29:10).
29:9) “Atem Netzavim Hayom-You are standing here today” The emphasis is on the word “Today”. The nation was in the very near future, about to enter into the land. No longer would such a gathering be possible. Each tribe would be involved in settling in their portion.
This parsha is always read before Rosh Hashana. One of the reasons is because on Rosh Hashana we are all standing before Hashem. The gemara in Rosh Hashana talks about how we know that a Ram's horn is used for a Shofar. The gemara says that a horn of a calf can't be used because it is reminiscent of the chet of the Eigel and the prosecutor can't be the defender. The same is said by gold being used on Yom Kippur. The Kohen Gadol was not allowed to wear any gold when entering into the Kadshe Kadshim for the same reason. The gemara asks but the Shofar is not blown in the Kadshe Kadshim? They answer that since the blowing is for remembrance it’s as if we are standing before Hashem. What does the Gemara mean? When we blow the Shofar on Rosh Hashana we are recalling the Akeida when a ram was sacrificed in place of Yitzchok. This act reached such a tremendous level of Kiddusha that it was likened to being before Hashem in the Kadshe Kadshim. In fact it says regarding the Kohen Gadol that when he went into the Kadshe Kadshim no one was allowed to be in the courtyard at the same time, not even malachim. However by the Akeida it says that a Malach called to Avraham from heaven to tell him not to lay a hand on Yitzchok. Why from heaven did he call to him as opposed to just saying he called? The answer is that at that moment, Yitzchok was like the Kohen Gadol going into the Kadshe Kadshim and no one, not even an angel could be there.
(29:14) “Ki es Asher Yeshno Poh Imanu Omade Hayom...Ves Asher Ainenu Poh Imanu Hayom-Hashem is making his covenant with those standing with us today...and with those who are not here today.” According to those who say this refers to the ones from the past, what purpose would an oath serve? Rabeinu Bachya writes that the past neshamas are the roots of the future branches. They can therefore make the descendants liable to an oath. Perhaps this is meant to include the neshamas that will return in the form of a gilgul. The word Yeshno comes from the root word yishan-sleeping. In addition the word "Omade" used here could hint to those who have left this world. We know that Neshamas are referred to as being Omade since they can no longer move up in the spiritual realm.
(29:27) “V'yahlichaim el Eretz Acheres-Hashem will cast them to another land.” The word “V'yashlichaim is spelled with a large “Lamed” to indicate that this will occur in the 30th generation from the time of Avraham. Also since Israel is compared to the moon, the cycle of thirty days points to the waxing and waning of the monthly cycle.
(29:28) “Hanistoros L'Hashem Elokainu V'haniglos Lanu Ulivaneinu Ad Olam-The hidden things are for Hashem, our G-d but the revealed things are for us and our children forever.” The Torah in general does not reveal the reward for each particular mitzvah. For if one would know the exact reward for each mitzvah then a person would opt to do those mitzvos that have greater rewards in place of those that have lesser rewards. There are however two mitzvos that the Torah reveals the reward: Kibud Av honoring one's parents and Sheluach Hakahn sending away the mother bird before taking the babies. For both the reward is long life. It would appear that Sheluach Hakahn is a mitzvah that is of lesser importance than honoring one's parents. Yet the Torah states that they both have the same reward of long life. So we see that the reward for mitzvos is not dependent on their importance.
Going back to our posuk: The hidden one's are for Hashem ie: the Torah in general hide's the rewards for mitzvos but the Niglos lanu Ulivaneinu ie: the two mitzvos that the rewards are delineated in the Torah one is “Lanu” the mitzvah of Sheluach Hakahn which is incumbent on each of us. The second is “Livaneinu” this is the mitzvah of Kibud Av V'aim- which is incumbent on the children.
We don't know the exact reward for each mitzvah. Therefore if any mitzvah comes to you “Al Tachmitzena” (don't delay it) just do it. For even a supposed “lesser” mitzvah like Sheluach Hakahn, the reward is great just like the law of Kibud Av V'aim.
(29:28) “Hanistoros L'Hashem Elokainu V'haniglos Lanu Ulivaneinu Ad Olam- The hidden things are for Hashem, our G-d but the revealed things are for us and our children forever.” There are two possible moments in time for the future redemption. One is hidden and is known by Hashem alone. That is a predetermined set time. The second is a revealed moment in time which is the time when Yisrael returns to Hashem in total repentance. As it says in the posuk “Hayom Im B’kolo Tishmu-Today if you hear my voice.” Meaning it is even possible to bring the Moshiach today, if we hearken to His voice. This moment in time is dependent on our actions. This is the meaning of this posuk “The hidden things are for Hashem, this refers to the set moment in time known only by Hashem. But the revealed things are for us and our children forever meaning that we know that through our efforts the redemption can come even today. The Zohar says that the arrival of the Moshiach parallels the original redemption which is compared to the birth of a child. The birth of a child is one of the three keys held only by Hashem. Just as every pregnancy has a due date but the actual birth of the child varies, so too the arrival of the final redemption may be due but the exact date remains known only to Hashem.
(29:28) “Hanistoros L'Hashem Elokainu V'haniglos Lanu Ulivaneinu Ad Olam- The hidden things are for Hashem, our G-d but the revealed things are for us and our children forever. The Rambam writes that this refers to the study of Kabbalah.
(30:2) “V'shavta ad Hashem Elokecha... Atoh U'vanecha-You will return unto Hashem...You and your children.”The final generations will see the parents on the verge of assimilation. It will be the children who will fight with their non-religious parents to bring them back.
(30:3) “V’shov Hashem Elokecha es Shvuscha V’Rachamecha V’Shav V’kibetzcha M’kol Ho’Amim.-Then Hashem your G-d will bring back your captives and have mercy on you, and He will gather you in from all the nations.” The word “Shuv” is repeated Rabeinu Bachya writes that there are two returns. One will be the Ten Tribes who will begin the rebuilding of the land, and then the remaining two tribes will return.
The Meshech Chochma writes that that the double Loshon goes first on the living and then on the resurrected.
How can a nation that fell so far, rise to such tremendous heights? The Chofetz Chaim writes that this has always been the way of Yisroel. From Avraham,who could not father children, to Klal Yisroel who went from the lowest slaves to standing on Mount Sinai to receive the Torah. Plus countless examples of low and difficult beginnings that resulted in triumph. We must learn from this past how history will be repeated. So too in our time we will rise from ashes to the greatest heights.
(30:4) “Im Yihiyeh Nidchecha Biketzei Hashomayim Mishom Yikabetzcha Hashem-If you’re dispersed will be at the ends of heaven from there Hashem will gather you.” What does it mean when it says “the ends of heaven.” Man does not live in heaven? It should have said from the ends of the earth? Shomayim denotes spiritual matters, while Eretz refers to the material. Biketzei comes from the word “Ketzat” a little bit. Since every Jew has done at least a little bit of good and has some merit in heaven, Moshe told the nation: “Im Yihiyeh Nidchecha-If your dispersed.” You need not worry as long as you have ketzei Hashomayim a little bit of spirituality then Hashem will bring you back to him.
(30:7) “ V’nosan Hashem Elokecha es-Kol H’Olos H’Ayleh al-Oyvecha V’al Sonecha- Hashem will place all these imprecations upon your enemies and those who hate you.” On your enemies refers to Yishmael, on those who hate you refers to Essav. In Messianic times both of these nations will convert to Judaism.
(30:12) “Mi Yaleh Lanu Hashmayma- Who will ascend to the heavens.” Even if the Torah were in heaven we would be required to fetch it. How? By enlisting a Navi. We see that prior to receiving the Torah it was in heaven!
(30:12) “Mi Yaleh Lanu Hashmayma- Who will ascend to the heavens.” The first letters spell the word Milah. The last letters of each word spell YKVK. This indicates that Milah is not just a ritual that elevates a person to holiness. Rather it is an essential condition that must be fulfilled in order for a person to be able to properly submerge himself in Torah study. The last letters which spell Hashem, show that if you have Milah you can have the seal of Hashem.
(30:15) “Reaye Nosaty Lifanecha Hayom es-H’chaim V’es Hatov Ves Hamoves V’es Horah-See I have placed before you today life and the good, and the death and the evil.” Why is the subject reversed? It should read “Good and Life” not life and then good? The good should lead to life? The Kli Yakar answers that we should live to do good.
The Meshech Chochma comments that we have encountered this phrase earlier in Parshas Reaye. However there, it only mentions blessings and curse not life and death? This is meant to teach us that here we were given the Mitzvah of Teshuva. This teaches us that we have a tremendous responsibility to do Teshuva. Not using the opportunity to correct sin, to have a way out, is worse than the sin itself.
(30:19) Ha’Idosy Bochem Hayom es H’Shomayim V’es Hoaretz , H’Chaim V’Hamoves Nosaty Lifonecha H’Bracha V’Haklolah Ubocharta B’chaim L’maan Tichyeh Atoh V’zaracha- I call heaven and earth today to bear witness against you. I have placed life and death before you, blessing and curse, and you shall choose life in order that you shall live you and your offspring..” R.Moshe Feinstein Z’tl wrote that we should choose life means we should place life into our service to Hashem. We should perform the Mitzvos with life. If we convey Mitzvos as difficult our children will not keep the Mitzvos on their own.