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Parshas V'etchanan

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Parshas V'etchanan
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Moshe Rabbeinu Asks For A Freebie

From all the treasure houses of goodness and kindness that Hashem has in Shamayim the biggest one of them all say Chazal, is the treasure house of grace. The goodness that Hashem bestows upon us from there is free without any justification. Sometimes we are deserving of bracha and sometime we get it for no reason whatsoever.

When Moshe Rabbeinu asks Hashem to show him His ways he responds "V'Chanoisi Es Asher Achoin"; I will grace without any justification those who I choose and you cannot figure out my ways.

The Daas Zekeinim tells us in the first pasuk of Parshas VaEschanan that there are 7 ways to daven (tefila, techina, tze'aka, za'aka, nefila, pe'gi'a, and rina). Moshe Rabbeinu remembering Hashem's comment to him regarding gracing people asks Hashem to answer him with Techina (VaEschanan). Although he may not be worthy he asks Hashem to nevertheless reach into his large storehouse of grace and bestow it upon him and let him go to Eretz Yisroel.

If each of us examine our ways and tally up the score, we would realize what great chutzpah it takes to ask Hashem for anything more. Yet we learn from Moshe that if you want something and can't afford it there a way to ask; Techina!


Vilna Gaon - Saying the Magic Word Twice Always Helps

"Ehbra Na ViEreh Es HaAretz HaTovah... VaYomer Hashem Aylay Rav Lach Al Tosef Daber Aylay Oid Badovar HaZeh" "Please let me cross and see the good land...Hashem said to me, it is much for you, do not continue to speak to me further about this matter." (3: 25-26)

The Zohar says, that Moshe had a Kabala that if would mention the word "Na" - "Please" twice in his Tfilah, then his prayers would always be answered. And so it was by the Tfilah to heal Miriam from her Tzaraas, Moshe said, "Kayl Na Refa Na Lah" - "Please Hashem Please heal her", and Hashem listened to his prayers. When Moshe asked Hashem, in this Parsha, if he could enter Eretz Yisroel, he also wanted to say Na twice. He started by saying, "Ehbra Na " and he wanted to continue and say, "ViEreh Na". Hashem did not allow him to say Na the second time, and said, "Al Tosef Daber Aylay Oid Badovar HaZeh - "Do not say this thing again" - referring to "Na". This was because it was already decreed upon by Hashem, that this time Moshe's Tfilah should not be answered. (Vilna Gaon)


Vilan Gaon - There Is Asking and There Is Asking

"Uvekashtem Misham Es Hashem Elokehchah Umatzasa" "From there you will seek Hashem your G-d, and you will find him". The Vilna Gaon asks, why does the pasuk start in the plural - "Uvekashtem - you (plural) will seek", and end in the singular - "Umatzasah - you (singular) will find? He answers, based on the Gemorah in Rosh Hashanah that says, there can be 2 people who daven to Hashem. One's Tfilos will be answered while the other's will not. The difference being, that one had proper Kavanah while the second just went through the motions. This is what the pasuk is saying. "Uvekashtem" there will be many who pray to Hashem, but "Umatzasa" - only individuals will pray properly and be answered.


Reb Aharon of Belz - A Malach On Both Sides

In Shema Yisroel its says "Hashem Elokeinu Hashem Echad". The Rokeach explains that the reason why it says Hashem both before and after Elokeinu is because Elokeinu is the name of Hashem that represents "Din"; harsh judgment. Hashem is the name of Rachamim. When Hashem administers Din to Bnei Yisroel, says the Rokeach, he makes sure that it is surrounded on both sides by a healthy dose of mercy.

The saintly Belz Rebbe whose harrowing tale of survival through the Holocaust is well documented said that anyone who survived the nazi slaughter had two malachim protecting him on either side. According to the Rokeach those who didn't survive also had Malachei Rachamim on both sides.

In all the generations when Jews stand on the Mizbei'ach about to be sacrificed Al Kiddush Hashem we cry out Shema Yisroel. During the ultimate moment of Din we acknowledge that Hashem and his mercy stand on both sides of us and that although we don't understand why this is happening it is all for the good.


Flames of Fire - From Har Sinai To Auschwitz

Someone once came to the Satmar Rav, Rav Yoel Teitelbaum for a bracha and he said, why are you asking me. Find a Frum Jew who has numbers on his arm from the concentration camps. He can give you a bracha.

The pasuk says in Va'Eschanan (5:19) that Hashem spoke to us "Metoch Ha'Eish" through the fire. We also find that Hashem first spoke to Moshe Rabbeinu through the fire of the burning bush. Why through the fire?

Rav Shimshom Pincus recounts how he once saw pictures of the Holocaust and wondered how anyone can remain frum after the experience. After further thinking about it he realized the pictures were a complete lie. The most important part of the picture was missing; Hashem. In all experiences if our eyes are opened wide we can see the hand of Hashem, but it never shows up in the pictures. The hand of Hashem is the most visible through the fire. But only if you are looking as Moshe Rabbeinu and the Satmar Rav would attest.

During the times of the Bais HaMikdash we saw Hashem openly through the fires of the Mizbei'ach and flames of the Menorah. In the Galus we see Hashem's clearly through the flames of the Inquisition and Auschwitz.


Haftorah Va"Eschanan: Nachamu Nachamu - Two Nechamos From Hashem

Why does Yeshaya say twice Nachamu Nachamu? The Mabit in his peirush on Perek Shira answers that typically nechama does not restore the situation to its previous state. The damage is still there but the consolation helps ease the pain. When someone dies we are Menachem the ones left behind but the deceased does not come back to life.

Hashem tells Am Yisroel that he will bestow upon us two nechamos. The first one when we are in galus he will go into galus with us as a consolation. This is a typical nechama. The second nechama is beyond a regular nechama. It is promise from Hashem that eventually he will bring us back to Eretz Yisroel and rebuild the Bais HaMikdash. That is why it says in future tense "Yoimar Elokeichem" because the second nechama will take place only in the future.


Haftorah Va'Eschanan: The "Shema" Connection
This week's Haftorah is the first of seven consecutive haftorahs that we read from Yeshaya that deal with the Nechama from the Churban and the ultimate Geula. While this week's haftorah is appropriate for the Shabbos after Tisha B'Av there is also a very strong connection to the Parsha.

The Kadmoinim bring down that the letters of the word Shema are Roshei Teivos for "Si'u Maron Eineichem"; lift your eyes to Heaven, as Yeshaya tells us in the Haftorah. "U'Ri'u Mi Bara Eileh"; and see who created all this.

This is the lesson of Shema. We live in this world and look around and some things make sense to us and some don't. We see Churban after Churban. If you look to Shamayim and understand that "Hashem Elokeinu Hashem Echad" there is a creator who made everything and is the cause of all events that happen and He is the only power from the beginning of time to the end of time then your questions will be no more.

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