פ’ יתר ו תש”פ
Volume 32, Issue 5
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 Rabbi Dovid Goldwasser, The Vilna Gaon, Growth Through Torah by Zelig Pliskin and The Call of the Torah.
אם את הדבר הזה תעשה…כל העם הזה על מקמו יבא בשלו ם
“If this thing you shall do…this people shall come to its place in peace…” (18:23)
Chazal term a compromise, peace, because in such an arrangement, neither of the disputing parties emerge as a loser. According to halacha, a compromise can be made only in cases where the Beit Din has no clear directives as to how the halacha is to be applied. Once it is known, then compromises are not permitted.
Yitro said to Moshe: “If you decide all legal questions single-handedly, you will not be able to arrange a compromise, since to you the halacha is always clear. But if you delegate some authority to lesser judges, it will be possible for them to arrange compromises and then all this people shall go to their places in peace. They will be satisfied with the compromises determined in their disputes. (Rabbi Chaim Berlin)
כה תאמר לבית יעקב ותגיד לבני ישרא ל
“Thus shall you say to the house of Jacob, and tell to the children of Israel…” (19:3)
Yaakov’s name had been changed to Yisrael long before he emigrated to Egypt. However, the name Yisrael applied only to Yaakov and not to his descendants. Until the time the Torah was given, the common name given to Bnei Yisrael was “Hebrews” – עברי ם , as it is written that Moshe said to Pharaoh: The G-d of the Hebrews sent me to you (7:16). Now, however, when the Torah was given, the entire nation gained the name Bnei Yisrael. We see throughout this entire parsha that the nation is referred to as Bnei Yisrael. When they stood before Har Sinai to receive the Torah, they gained this name.
“L’beit Yaakov” – these are the women; you shall speak to them in soft words (Mechilta). If you wish to influence the men, you must speak to the women first. Moshe Rabeinu had to speak with them softly so that they will permit their husbands to receive the Torah. The Beis HaLevi expounds on this issue: The halacha is that if one transacts with the man and then returns and transacts with the woman, his transaction is void, since she will say: I did it to appease my husband (Ketubot 95). The woman always complies with her husband’s request to please him and not from her own volition. Therefore, Hashem told Moshe to speak to the women first. (Megaleh Amukot)
ויענו כל העם יחדו ויאמרו כל אשר דבר ה’ נעש ה
“And all the people answered together, and they said: All that Hashem has spoken we will do…” (19:8)
They did not say אעשה – I will do, they said נעש ה – We will do. Each one was ready to vouch for his fellow man that he too will do. Each one said: I will guarantee that we will all do!
The question arises why does the Torah indicate that all the people answered together…We will do? The Vilna Gaon explains an individual cannot possibly keep all 613 mitzvot in the Torah, no matter who he is, even if he is the most pious among men. Only Bnei Yisrael as a whole can keep the entire Torah. Thus, the Torah specifies that before receiving the Torah, Bnei Yisrael were of one mind and together they declared We Will Do! (Torah Gems)
זכור את יום השבת לקדש ו
“Remember the Shabbat day to keep it holy…” (20:8)
Rashi comments that “remember” and “keep” were said in one utterance.
A poor man may find it an easy thing to “keep” Shabbat because he has no business affairs which demand his attention, and which would suffer if he did not attend to them on Shabbat. But he may be negligent in “remembering” Shabbat because he lacks the funds with which to honor Shabbat by drinking wine and partaking of good food. A wealthy man, on the other hand, may find it simple to “remember” Shabbat, because he has enough money to buy the food and drink necessary to honor it; but he may not want to “keep” Shabbat, the day of rest, fearing that he might suffer financial loss by closing his business on Shabbat.
Therefore, Chazal point out that two commands “remember” and “keep” were said in one voice and that there is no distinction between them. The wealthy man is obligated not only to “remember” and “keep” Shabbat but he is also expected to help the poor man to “keep” Shabbat by assisting with his finances. So that he can also “remember” Shabbat appropriately. (Dubna Maggid)
למען יארכון ימיך על האדמה אשר ה’ אלקיך נתן ל ך
“So that your days will be lengthened upon the land that G-d, your G-d gives you…” (20:12)
QUESTION: The word “lema’an” – “in order that” – seems superfluous. It could have said, “Veya’arichun yamecha”?
ANSWER: The Jewish people is eagerly awaiting Mashiach’s coming, which is referred to as the “keitz” – קץ – which is the numerical equivalent of 190. This is also the gematria of the word “lema’an” – למען , teaching us that through honoring our parents we will hasten the coming of Mashiach and live an extended life.
The last letters of the words כבד את אבי ך add up numerically to 424, which is the same value as משיח בן דוד , who will speedily be revealed through this great mitzvah of honoring parents. (Beit Yaakov)
פ’ יתר ו תש”פ