פ’ כי תבא תשע’ז
Volume 20, Issue 7
INSIGHTS from the SEDRA
Insights from the Sedra is a project of the Scholar’s Kollel of Great Neck. It aims to provide several questions and answers about the Sedra, culled from various commentaries, including the following: Baal Haturim, Darash Moshe, Vedebarta Bam by Rabbi Moshe Bogomilsky, Torah Treasures by Dov Furer, Wellsprings of Torah by Alexander Friedman, and Kol Dodi by Rabbi Dovid Feinstein, Great Torah Lights by Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Goodman, Something To Say by Dov Wasserman, The Vilna Gaon, and Growth Through Torah by Zelig Pliskin.
וכתבת על האבנים את כל דברי התורה הזאת
“You shall inscribe on the stones all the words of this Torah.” (27:8)
QUESTION: Why on stone and not on any other material?
ANSWER: The great sage, Rabbi Akiva, was an illiterate shepherd up to the age of forty. He once came across a stone and was fascinated by water that had dripped on it for a long time, eventually boring a hole in it. From this he concluded that if water can penetrate a hard stone, surely Torah could penetrate his heart of flesh and blood (Avot DeRabbi Natan 6). By instructing Moshe to write the Torah on hard stone, G-d implied that even if a person possesses the poorest faculties (a head as hard as a rock), if he learns Torah diligently it will definitely have an indelible effect on him and refine him physically and spiritually. (Chidushei HaRim)
“Well clarified…” (27:8)
The Torah must be transmitted by its teachers in a well clarified way, but how does one measure whether or not this goal is being reached?
The study of Torah is not merely the scholarly pursuit of Jewish law. By studying the intricacies of the Torah, one should gain a richer understanding of the Creator’s greatness and a stronger realization of what it means to be a member of His people. Accordingly, Torah should bring a person closer to Hashem. If it does not, then the Torah cannot be said to be well clarified in his mind.
Thus, the measuring rod of true success in Torah study is what effect it has on his student. Has he grown in his relationship with Hashem? Has his fear of Heaven improved? If yes, then the Torah has penetrated his soul. If not, more work must be done. The numerical value of היטב, well (clarified), is 26, which is equal to that of Hashem’s Name י-ה-ו-ה. The Torah is well clarified if it brings one closer to Hashem. (Kol Dodi)
והיה אם לא תשמע בקול ה’ אלקיך
“But it will be that if you do not hearken to the voice of G-d, your G-d…” (28:15)
QUESTION: The tochacha contains frightening admonitions and curses that can affect the Jewish people, G-d forbid, for not observing Torah and mitzvoth. What secret power is there in the tochacha to subdue and offset this terrible phenomenon?
ANSWER: The “curses” consists of 676 words. To offset this, the Tetragrammaton (Hashem’s four lettered nameי – ה – ו – ה , with the numerical value of 26) which denotes rachamim, mercy, is mentioned 26 times. 26×26=676. With His mercifulness, G-d converts for His beloved children, bitter curses into sweet blessings. (Vedebarta Bam)
שורך טבוח לעיניך ולא תאכל ממנו
“Your ox shall be slaughtered in your presence and you shall not partake of it.” (28:31)
Chida comments that if we reverse the order of the verse to read it backwards, we will find a hidden blessing, for the Torah always adds a positive message. ממנו תאכל ולא לעיניך טבוח שורך – you shall partake of it and your ox shall not be slaughtered in your presence. (Parsha Anthology)
למען תשכילו את כל אשר תעשון
“You must remain faithful in order that you succeed in all you do.” (29:8)
The Hebrew word for “succeed” (taskilu) also means “comprehend.” Thus, this verse implies that by fulfilling G-d’s commandments, we will “comprehend all that we should do.”
There are many aspects of life in which we struggle to determine how to act in the most spiritually positive manner. By living in accordance with the Torah’s instructions, we become sensitive to G-d’s will in the context of those areas of life not directly governed by specific commandments. (Torah Gems)
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