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 of 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.
(7:13) "Uverach Pri Vitnecha Upri Admosecha-Hashem will bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your land." The fruit of your womb comes before the fruit of your land to teach us that a person should not withhold having children out of concern for his livelihood. With each child comes additional sustenance. (Oznayim L'Torah)
(7:19) “ Ha’Maasos H’Gedolos Asher Rou Aynecha-The great tests that your eyes have seen” The Baal Haturim writes that this verse contains every letter of the Aleph Beis except for the letter Beis. This indicates that there will be a second event (Beis) where wonders will once again be done for Klal Yisroel.
(7:22) “V’noshal Hashem es-H’goyim Miponecha M’at M’at-Hashem will cast out those nations before thee little by little.” The reasons given for the gradual expulsion of the nations is so that wild animal not increase upon you. The question is why not have the animals stay away by Divine decree rather than to cause Yisroel to acquire the land over a longer period of time? The Modjitzer Rebbe said that gradually conquering the land would insure that the Israeli fighters would not become like animals. It was to prevent the animals from increasing upon you!
(8:1) "Kol Hamitzvah Asher Anochi Mitzavecha Hayom-All of the Mitzvah that I command you today." Rashi says that this means you must complete any mitzvah you undertake, for every mitzvah is credited to the one who completes it. As the verse says “the bones of Yosef which Benei Yisroel brought up.” Although it was really Moshe who brought Yosef’s remains out of Egypt, it was nevertheless credited to Benei Yisroel for they completed it. The question is that we find that Dovid Hamelech was not permitted to build the Beis Hamikdosh, even though he prepared all of the materials, but it was still named the house of David? Since he was a man of war with blood on his hands, he was not suitable for its’ construction. However since he gave so much of himself for it’s construction, it received the name “The house of David.”
"Kol Hamitzvah Asher Anochi Mitzavecha Hayom-All of the Mitzvah that I command you today." Do not pick and choose the Mitzvos you wish to do. Like the human body, Mitzvos are all connected as we see when making a blessing on a particular Mitzvah we use the plural “Asher Kidishanu B’Mitzvosav” all of the Mitzvos.
(8:3) “Vayeancha Vayarevecha Vayachilcha es Ha’Munn.” I afflicted you, starved you fed you the Munn. What is meant by afflicting you and starving you with the Munn? The Munn was a blessing for them? One aspect of the Munn was that they never had more than they needed for that day. They never had the satisfaction of knowing that they were stocked with food. Every day they had to rely on Hashem for their sustenance. The other aspect was that the Munn was delivered to them on a variety of ways. For those who were on a very high level the Munn would fall right out side their door and they did not need to prepare it in any way. For those on a lesser level they had to go out to the fields to gather it. Some even had to cook it before they could eat of it. So if someone who was accustomed to having the Munn fall at his doorstep, would sin. He would suddenly find himself having to go out to gather the Munn. This would be a tremendous embarrassment for him. Because everyone could see that he was not at the level of Kiddusha he was before. So some people went hungry rather than be embarrassed at going out to collect it. This is what the Posuk means when it says “I afflicted you and starved you.”
The Rabeinu Bachya writes that since this was spiritual food, the people were to eat it only after becoming spiritually hungry. This would only come after removing all waste material from alien food eaten in Egypt. Once this had been voided from the body they would be hungry for and ready to take on their spiritual calling.
(9:5) “Lo B’Tzidkascha-Not because of your righteousness” This verse explains that it was not because of our righteousness that the land of Israel was given to us. But rather due to the wickedness of the gentile nations occupying the land at the time. Then the Torah goes on to say that it was in order to fulfill the promise made to the Avos? Which reason is it? Rabeinu Bachya writes that it means to say even if those nations occupying Israel were righteous, they would have had to leave because of the promise made to the Avos.
(9:17) “V’esposh B’shnei Haluchos V’ashalcheim M’al Shtei Yodai V’ashberiem L’ayneichem-I grasped the two Tablets and threw them from my two hands, and smashed them before your eyes.” In Posuk 15 the Torah writes that Moshe turned and descended the mountain with the two tablets in hand? Why here does it say “He grasped the two tablets?” In the previous verse Moshe tells us the Luchos were on his hands not in them “U’Shnei Luchos H’bris Al Shnei Yodai-The two tablets were on my hands (floating above, not in them). After the Chet Moshe grabbed them from the air and smashed them.
The Midrash comments that although the letters of the Luchos flew up and returned to heaven, the command to guard Shabbos remained on the tablets. As said in the Shabbos morning prayers “Shnei Luchos Avonim Byodo V’kosav Aleihem Shmiras Shabbos-The two tablets of stone in my hand written upon them safeguard the Shabbos.” Meaning, even after being smashed the command regarding Shabbos remained ingrained upon them.
Why was this? What purpose did this serve? Perhaps we can suggest that Shabbos is a constant. It arrives every seven days with or without man’s input. With or without a separate command from Hashem. It is the day that G-d rested. It is one of the secrets of creation.
Why did Moshe decide that Benei Yisroel’s sinning with the Golden Calf called for a forfeiture of the Torah? I would think just the opposite would seem to be the case. Had they seen him come down with the Luchos they would have realized their error and resolved to repent. What was Moshe’s intention in not being willing to preserve the tablets? The Gemarrah (Eruvin 54a) interprets the Torah’s description of the Luchos as having “the word of G-d engraved on the stone.” This teaches us that had these G-d made tablets not been smashed, the Torah would never have been forgotten from the Jewish people. This means there was a divine element, a special gift of knowledge associated with these words. Anyone who would have studied the Torah that was recorded on these tablets even once would never have forgotten a word of it’s wisdom.
R.Shimon Shkop zt”l, explains that when Moshe saw the evil elements that existed among the people as they danced and celebrated around the calf, he realized that these miraculous tablets did not belong amongst them. He did not want a Chilul Hashem to occur where a group of corrupt individuals would be perfectly familiar with and expert in Torah study. He decided to destroy these Luchos and Hashem confirmed that this was the correct action to be taken.
The first Luchos were unique in their capability to enable perfect study. They miraculously sustained the very letters which were upon them. The utterances of Hashem were literally captured upon the stone, hovering and floating as thy appeared to be carved upon the surface. These letters flew back up to heaven when the tablets were smashed. Their nature was not a normal type of writing. consequently, if they would have been studied, the words would have been ingrained upon those who gazed upon them forever. The second Luchos were man made. “Carve for yourself.” Moshe was told. Moshe had to toil before they would be prepared. This now became the prototype for Torah study from that point onward. Torah was to be acquired only by those who first prepared their hearts to have the Torah inscribed upon them, and only then could they hope to have it impact their minds and souls.
(10:2) “B'ase Hahe Omar Hashem Aylai Psol L'cha Shenei Luchos Avonim K'rishonim...V'asisa L'cha Arone Eitz-At that time Hashem said carve for yourself two tablets of stone..and make for yourself an Ark. Why was there no command to make an ark for the first Luchos? One answer is that Hashem knew they would be broken. However we still find that they too needed to be housed in the Ark? Had Benei Yisroel not sinned with the Eigel, Moshe would have held on to the Luchos as he marched into Eretz Yisroel. They needed no housing for Moshe would never have let them go.(Yalkut Ruveini)
There are differences of opinion regarding whether there were two different Arks. The Ramban holds that there was only one, made by Moshe of wood and that later during the building of the Mishkon it was overlaid with gold by Betzalel.
The Ark made by Moshe was the one leading the nation when they would go out to war. The question asked by the Lubavitcher Rebbe is if the Luchos were broken as a result of the sin of the Golden Calf, how could it serve to be a merit for Israel when going out to war? We know that although these original tablets were smashed by Moshe when he returned from receiving the Torah, they still retained their Kiddusha. Just as a Tzaddik who has forgotten his learning still commands respect, the Luchos retained its Kiddusha. Perhaps this is the lesson that must be gleaned from this. Klal Yisroel had fallen from the exalted level they had attained at Har Sinai. But by raising this symbol of these broken tablets before them into battle, they proclaim that we wish to come back. Not merely to the status of the second Luchos. But to return to the Geulah Shleimah. The Gematria of the word Luchos is 450 the same as the words Geulah Shleima.
The original Luchos were one of the ten things created Erev Shabbos. Each of those ten things were created for the purpose of bringing creation back to its spiritual source. The original Luchos barely lasted a day. They were shattered before their purpose was ever fulfilled. How could something so important, that it necessitated being included on the eve of the very first Shabbos, not realize it's potential? Perhaps we can say that it did.
When Hashem gave the Torah to Klal Yisroel He first offered it to the nations of the world. He offered it to the Benei Yishmael. They asked what it contained and were told the commandment against sexual immorality. They said it was not for them. He then offered it to the Benei Essav. They too asked what was in the Torah and were told the commandment not to commit murder. They rejected the Torah. And so on, the rest of the nations of the world. The question asked then is why they were each told the one commandment they could not live with? Why not tell them of the beauty of Judaism? The answer is that if a person is not willing to change, not willing to break their Midos then the Torah is not for them. This could be the purpose of the broken Luchos. Located in the holiest place on earth, the broken Luchos stand as the symbol of how to acquire Torah. Only by being willing to break yourself, to be open to growth and change.
(10:12) “V’atoh Yisroel Mah Hashem Elokecha Shoal M’Imoch Ki Im L’Yirah es Hashem Elokecha-Now oh Israel what does Hashem your G-d ask of you? Only to fear Hashem, your G-d.” Is this really what Hashem wants, to be feared? This concept of fear is repeated in verse 20 where it says “Es Hashem Elokecha Tirah-Hashem your G-d you shall fear.” The extra word “Es” comes to include Talmidei Chachomim. Why repeat this if it was just said a few verses earlier?
Perhaps we can suggest that since the word Yirah-to fear can also be translated as to See that is what Hashem really wants from us to be aware of His constant presence. To see Him in everything, in everyday life. To know that all comes from Hashem, and that everything exist only through Hashem's will. Hashem wants us to cleave to Him. In order to be able to do that we must make ourselves sanctified. The sanctity of a person was once described by a Swedish wise man as an expression of their direct relationship that a person enjoys with the Source of existence. In the perspective of Judaism, this is the definition of Yireh. Yireh is the dialogue that bridges the gap between one’s Creator and one’s self.
(10:12) “Vatoh Yisroel Mah Hashem Elokecha Shoal Memoch Ki Im-L’Yiroh es-Hashem Elokecha…L’tov Loch-Now Yisroel what is it that Hashem your G-d requires of you but to fear Him…that it be good for you. How do we understand fearing Hashem translating into Hashem doing good for us? Is that the reward we receive for fear?
I heard from R.Kelemen that if a person wants Hashem to perform miracles for him he should recognize everything Hashem does for him. If he is waiting for a bus and the bus comes he should say “Boruch Hashem-thank you Hashem for bringing this bus.” If we acknowledge everything Hashem does in our lives He will be willing to do more for us. Perhaps we can say this is the meaning behind this Posuk. “Mah Hashem Elokecha Shoal Memoch Ki Im-L’Yiroh es-Hashem Elokecha- what is it that Hashem your G-d requires of you but to fear Him.” The word Yiroh means to fear but it can also mean to SEE. What Hashem wants is for us to see Hashem in every aspect of our lives. If we truly see everything that Hashem does for us then the next Posuk L’tov Loch-that it be good for you - will follow.
Perhaps with this we can answer another question as well. The Torah writes (11:16) “Umaltem es Orlas Levavechem -That Hashem will circumcise our hearts “We cannot physically see Hashem, but we can perceive Him through our hearts. Fear does not lead to love. But seeing Hashem and knowing that He is just, even when the wicked prosper, can lead to love.
Additionally all the letters of the Aleph Beis can be spelled out. Aleph is Aleph Lamed Phey, Beis is Beis Yud Tof. But the letters of “Mah-Mem Hey”are the only letters that equal themselves. This comes to teach us that Hashem wants us to be Tocho K’boro that the outside of a person should be a true reflection of the inside.
The Baal Shem Tov writes that just as Mitzvos bring us closer to Hashem, sin results in us becoming distant from Hashem. What we mean here by fearing Hashem is, we should fear losing that closeness.
(10:17) “Ve'Lo Yekach Shochad-Hashem does not accept bribes.” What type of bribe could someone possibly offer to Hashem? People some times feel that as long as they give to charity or support Torah learning, they can do whatever they want in their own lives. As long as I'm doing Chesed I can conduct my life as I choose. But Hashem does not accept bribes.
(11:12) "MeyReshis Hashana-From the beginning of the year." The word Reishis has the same letters as Tishrei meaning that the blessings come at the beginning of the year. The amount of rain may be decreed at the start but how it will be used depends on Klal Yisrael. If a small amount was decreed but Yisroel does Teshuva that small amount will go along way. (Rosh Hashana 17b)
(11:13) "I'm Shomoah Tishmiru-If you will. Listen. and hear." From the double wording we learn that if. You review what you learn you will be able to hear it well and gain new insights. (Brochos)
(11:18) "Vesamtem es Devorai- And I shall place my words" Rashi says that even after they are exiled they must keep the Mitzvos of Tefillin and Mezuzos, in order that they should not be new to them when they return to Eretz Yisroel. This Rashi seems to be very hard to understand? How could we think that the only reason to do this is so as not to be unfamiliar? These Mitzvos are not linked to Eretz Yisroel they are linked to the body?
The Sefer Share Aaron answers that this was a mistake in the Rashi. It was taken from an old Rashi and the words were initialized and the ones who transcribed the words erred. Originally the Rashi wrote the letters “Hey Tuf Ayin Mem” thinking it stood for “Haniach Tefilin Asu Mezuza.” But in reality the letters stood for “Hifrishu Terumah Asru Maaser”. These are Mitzvos that would have to do with the land.
An alternate answer is that from here we learn that all of the Mitzvos performed outside of Eretrz Yisroel are only for the purpose of training those in exile to properly perform the Mitzvos when they return to Israel. What this means then is that Mitzvos outside of Eretz Yisroel are not nearly as potent as those performed in Erertz Yisroel.
The K'sav V'Kabolah writes that this in analogous to a Queen who had fallen from grace and had become estranged from her husband. While she remained in her parents home she retained her royal clothing to show her desire to return to the good graces of the King.
Gur Arye writes that there are two parts to every Mitzvah. One is physically listening to Hashem and the other is the spiritual effects that they have on a Neshamah. Only in Eretz Yisroel do the Mitzvos have that spiritual effect.
(11:19) “V’Limaditem Osom es B’neichem L’dabaer Bom-You shall teach them to your children to discuss them.” The word “Osom” is spelled without a “Vav” and can be read as “Atem” which means “you.” What the Torah is telling us here is that in order to teach “Osom”- them - the Torah and Mitzvos, to his children, it is vital that it also be “Atem”- You. A person must be a living example to his children.