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Parshas Devarim

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Parshas Devarim
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Og Melech HaBashan and His Bris Milah

The Zohar says that Og Melech HaBashan had a Bris Milah with Avrohom serving as the Mohel. Because of this z'chus says the Alshich, Moshe Rabbeinu was scared to go fight with him.

This is seen in the pasuk in Devarim (3:2) where Moshe says that Hashem told him "Al Tirah Oisoi"; Do not fear him, "Ki BiYadcha Nasati Oisoi"; because in your hands I will deliver him. Why does it say twice "oisoi"? The Alshich says in the first "oisoi" if you put the "vuv" in the middle instead of the end it reads "ois" another word for Bris Milah. Hashem is saying do not fear his z'chus of Bris Milah. Why? Because you have a greater z'chus. Moshe was born with a Bris Milah and he was the mohel for all the "Yotzai Mitzrayim". Therefore Hashem says to Moshe I will deliver Og into your hands and only you have the power to slay Og, not the Bnei Yisroel. Moshe ultimately killed Og himself.


Vilna Gaon - Moshe Rabbeinu Opens With A Stab At Lashon Hara

Sefer Devarim is Moshe's closing message to Bnei Yisroel where he gives the mussar for the aveiros they have done, reviews with them all the mitzvos, and warns them about the future. The Gemara says (Bava Basra 165a) that most people steal, a few enter illicit relationships and everybody speaks Avak Lashon Hara.

The Vilna Gaon finds a Remez to this gemara in the opening words of the parsha. "Eileh Hadevarim Asher Diber Moshe El Kol Yisroel". Eileh (Aleph, Lamed, Hey) is for Avak Lashon Hara. That is why it says El Kol Yisroel, because we are all oveir on this.


Kli Yakar - Eisav Is Watching, Head North

"You have enough, circle the mountain, and turn to the north (tzafonah)." (Devarim 2:3)The Kli Yakar lived during a time when the Jews enjoyed prosperity, and he did not approve of the way they dealt with it. He urged them to be more discreet, to keep a low profile and not draw attention to themselves with ostentatious lifestyles. He supported his Mussar with an interpretation (Al Pi Drush) of Moshe's words to the Jewish people. "You have enough, circle the mountain, and turn to the north (tzafonah)." The word tzafonah can also be translated as "the hidden." In other words, you have enough material things. Now hide them. If you've got it, you don't have to flaunt it.

Eisav has a long memory, writes the Kli Yakar. Whenever he sees Yaakov prosper, he believes that it is only because of the brachos that he believes Yaakov stole, the brachos that should have gone to Eisav. Yaakov himself was already worried about this. When famine struck all of the Middle East, everyone was forced to run to Mitzrayim, the only place where large stockpiles of food existed. It was the only way to avoid starvation.Yaakov's kitchen, however, was well stocked with food, and his family could have gone a long time without a trip to Mitzrayim. Nonetheless, Yaakov sent them to buy food. "Lamah tisra'u?" he said. "Why should you show off?" According to Rashi, Yaakov was concerned about the children of Eisav and Yishmael. Why should they see that you have plenty of food while they are starving? That would be a foolish thing to do.

It may be time to head NORTH!


Og - A Man Of Mammoth Proportions

"Og's bed was made of iron ... 9 Amos long and 4 Amos wide in the Amos of a man" This pasuk doesn't seem to jive with the Gemorah (Brochos 54b) that Og's ankle measured 30 Amos from the ground. Here the pasuk says that he was only 9 Amos tall?

Rashi seems to be bothered by this question and therefore explains that the words, "BiAmas Ish -In the Amos of a man" refer to "Amas Og". An Amah is the measurement of a person's elbow until the tip of his middle finger. Typically it's approximately 1.5 - 2 feet. The pasuk is telling us that Og's bed was 9 Amos long in "Og's Amos" - Amos measured from his elbow until the tip of his middle finger .This does not contradict the Gemorah in Brochos, because Og's Amoh was much larger that 2 feet!

Rashbam learns that the pasuk does not say that Og's "Mittah" - "bed" was 9 Amos long, but rather his "Eres" referring to his cradle. When he was an infant he measured 9 Amos by 4. When he grew up, the height of his ankles were 30 Amos high.


Rebbi Akiva Eiger - Bnei Yisroel's Mathematical Growth

"Hashem Elokai Avoisachem Yosef Alaychem Kachem Elef Pi'amim ViVarech Eschem Ka'asher Diber Lachem" "Hashem the G-d of your fathers should multiply like you 1000 times, and he should bless you as he has spoken" (1:11)

Rashi asks, once it says that he should bless you 1000 times, what is the pasuk adding by saying, "and he should bless you as he has spoken". Rashi answers, Klal Yisroel said to Moshe, "Why are you putting a cap on our Bracha? You are only blessing us to be 1000 times greater than we are today, while Hashem has already blessed us with a much greater Bracha. Hashem said, "You will be so fruitful that nobody will be able to count your children". That is much more than 1000 times! Therefore Rashi explains, the pasuk "Hashem the G-d of your fathers should multiply you 1000 times" is the Bracha that I (Moshe) am giving to Klal Yisroel. "And he should bless you as he has spoken" is the Bracha that Hashem gave - that you will be so fruitful that nobody will be able to count your children.

The question arises, once Hashem's Bracha is greater than Moshe's why did Moshe have to add, "Hashem should multiply you 1000 times"? Sifsai Chachomim answers, that Hashem's Bracha is conditional - only if the Jews keep the Mitzvos will they multiply to that extent. But Moshe's Bracha was an unconditional Bracha. No matter what level Klal Yisroel is on, they will received the Bracha of, "Hashem should multiply you 1000 times"

Rabbi Akiva Eiger answers the pasuk differently. He is bothered why it was necessary for the pasuk to say the word, "Kachem" -"like you", it would have been sufficient to state, "Hashem Elokai Avoisachem Yosef Alaychem Elef Piamim"- "Hashem the G-d of your fathers should multiply you 1000 times", without the word "Kachem"? He answers that the Bracha which Moshe gave, was that the population of Klal Yisroel should be doubled 1000 times. Hashem should multiply Klal Yisroel "Kachem" - "like you" - double their population. If they are 600,000, double their number and make them 1,200,000. And then double them once more (1,200,000 + 1,200,000 = 2,400,000). Do this 1000 times! That should be the population of the Jews. Therefore, says Rabbi Akiva Eiger, the Bracha that Hashem gave is not any different than Moshe's; since even Moshe's Bracha is a blessing to the extent that one cannot count.


Calling All Wise Men

VaEkach Es Roshei Shivtachem Anashim Chachomim Viduim" "I took the heads of your Shevatim men who were wise and well known" Rashi points out that in pasuk 13, the pasuk states that Moshe was looking for "Anashim, Chachomim Univoinim Viduim". Men who were wise, understanding and well known". Why were "Nevoinim - understanding" left out? Rashi answers, Moshe was not able to find "Nevoinim" as judges among Klal Yisroel.

We see an allusion to this earlier in the parsha. Rashi tells us that "Nevoinim" are people who are "Mayvin Davar MiToch Davar"- they can logically derive one thing from another. In the beginning of the Parsha the pasuk lists many of the places where Klal Yisroel sinned. - By the Yam Suf- where they complained that the Mitzriyim have them cornered, By Peor - where they were Mizaneh with the daughters of Moav, by Paran - where they sent the Meraglim and by "Chatzaros". Rashi, in his 2nd pshat, says that in Chatzaros Miriam spoke Loshan Hara about Moshe. It is stated among the places where all of Klal Yisroel sinned, because all the Jews should have learned a lesson from the story of Miriam not to speak Loshan Hara concerning Eretz Yisroel by the episode of the Meraglim.

We see from this Rashi that the Bnei Yisroel did not have the ability of "Mayvin Davar MiToch Davar" - to logically derive one thing from another. Even though they saw Miriam punished for speaking Loshan Hara, they didn't see the connection not to speak Loshan Hara about Eretz Yisroel.


Haftorah Devarim - Become Squeaky Clean and Save The Bais Hamikdash

This week's Haftorah is Chazon Yeshayahu. Yeshayahu, says the Devarim Rabba 2:3, was the second greatest Navi after Moshe Rabbeinu. Yeshayahu delivered early warnings to the Bnei Yisroel of the impending disaster if they do not straighten out their ways. Yeshayahu lived long before the Churban and was killed by his grandson the wicked King of Yehuda over 100 years before the Churban.

In Pasuk 16 he tells Bnei Yisroel Rachatzu, Hizaku, Hasiru Ro'a Maaleichem"; clean yourselves become meritorious, do away with your evil ways. The Divrei Yechezkel Admor of Shineve points out the order is not correct. You must do away with your evil ways before becoming meritorious.

He answers in the name of his Rebbe that it says in Zemiros of Shabbos "Al Kein Achabes Bo Libi Kiboris". I will cleanse my heart like soap. It should say "with soap" not "like soap". The answer is that we are saying we will cleanse ourselves so thoroughly that we will become so pure and be able to influence others as well. Therefore we in turn will become the soap to cleanse others.

So to says Yeshayahu we must clean ourselves so thoroughly that we will be in the position to bring merit to other people and therefore help remove the bad from the entire Klal Yisroel thereby saving the Bais Hamikdash and not only ourselves.


Haftorah Devarim - Shabbos Chazon Yeshayahu: Half Good Half Bad

While Yeshayahu forewarned of the Churban Habayis he also foretold beautiful nevuos about the ultimate redemption. The word Chazon is and acronym for "Chatzi Za'am and V'Chatzi Nechama"; half anger and half consolation.

Rav Yehonoson Eibishitz in the the Ahavas Yehonoson explains that Yeshayahu's nevua spanned four Kings of Yehuda. Uziyahu, who wanted to become Kohen Gadol, and Achaz father of Chizkiyahu were reshaim. Yosam the son of Uziyahu and Chizkiyahu were tzadikim. So great was Yosam that Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai said (Succah 45b) that if Yosam would be together with him and Elazar his son they would excuse the world from Din from the beginning of time until the end of time. Chizkyahu was a great Tzaddik who was supposed to be Moshiach but lost the opportunity when he didn't sing shira to Hashem after the miraculous destruction of Sancherev's army.

Each navi's power to prophesize good or bad depends solely on the state of the nation. Yeshayahu's nevua was good in the times of the two great Kings Chizkiyahu and Yosam and bad during the times of Uziyahu and Yosam. Chatzi Zaam Vchatzi Nechama.

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