פ’ ואתחנן תשע”ח
Volume 25, Issue 2
INSIGHTS from the SEDRA
Insights from the Sedra is a project of the Scholars’ 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.
אנכי ה’ אלקיך אשר הוצאתיך מארץ מצרים
“I am Hashem your G-d, who has taken from the land of Egypt…” (5:6)
The Aseret HaDibrot are divided equally: Five commands pertaining to Hashem and man and five commands pertaining to man and his fellow man. The two pillars of Yiddishkeit originate with the two pesukim: You shall love Hashem your G-d (6:5) and You shall love your neighbor as yourself (Vayikra 19:18). You can’t accomplish one without the other. (Parparot L’Torah)
Our Sages point out that the Aseret HaDibrot are said from the beginning to end in singular vernacular. The Torah enlightens us that each and every one of Bnei Yisrael must say: “The Aseret HaDibrot were given for me and me alone and I am obligated to fulfill all that is written in them.” Bnei Yisrael must think that even if heavn forbid the entire world has turned away from the Torah, “I must not follow them because the Torah was given to me personally”: I am Hashem your G-d… You shall have no other gods…” And so forth with every other commandment. (Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchok Horowitz, “Chozeh” of Lublin)
שמע ישראל ה’ אלקינו ה’ אחד
“Hear O’ Israel, Hashem is our G-d, Hashem is one…” (6:4)
It is worth noting that this verse repeats the Name of Hashem. It does not say, Hashem, our G-d, is the One and Only, but rather, “Hashem, our G-d, Hashem is the One and Only.” This is so because without this repetition of the Name of Hashem, the other nations might be tempted to argue, “True, Hashem G-d of Israel, is One, but so is our god, he is also one.” Hence, the verse repeats Hashem to say that Hashem is One, not only as Our G-d, but also as Hashem, universal and eternal – Hashem is One. (Rabbi Munk)
“On your heart…” (6:7)
A man’s heart is not always ready to absorb profound concepts such as knowing Hashem and loving Him. Therefore, the Torah advises us that in spite of our preoccupation with mundane matters, these words shall always remain al levavecha, “on your heart.” Then, as soon as the heart will become receptive to the absorption of these concepts, they will be able to enter it. (Kotzker Rebbe)
ושננתם לבנך ודברת בם בשבתך בביתך ובלכתך בדרך ובשכבך ובקומך
“You shall teach them to your children and you shall speak of them when you sit in your house and when you go on the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.” (6:7)
QUESTION: It should have first said “vedibarta bam” – “you shall speak of them” and then “veshinantam lebanecha” – “you shall teach them to your children”?
ANSWER: It is the fervent wish of every parent to see his children immersed in Torah study. The Torah is offering sound advice to see this wish come to fruition, and therefore tells us, “veshinantam lebanecha” – if you want to teach Torah to your children and inspire them to study it diligently, the way to do this is through, “vedibarta bam” – for them to see you speaking of them, “when you sit in your house and when you go on the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.” Parents must always remember that they are a mirror for their children and that their children try to emulate them. (R’ Yosef Greenwald)
QUESTION: What does it mean, “videbarta bam”, “speak of them”?
ANSWER: The Written Torah starts with the word “Breishit” (בראשית) – “in the beginning.” The Oral Torah starts with the word “Mei’ematai” (מאימתי) – “from what time.” Thus the first letters of the Written Torah and Oral Torah spell the word “bam” (בם) – “in them.” Hashem’s instruction is that at all times one should be engaged in “bam” – the Written and Oral Torah. (Maggid Ta’alumah)
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