Points to Ponder

Ki Savo 5777

And it will be when we enter the land (26:1) – Chazal Tell us that the word “V’Haya” is a language of joy. What is the joy here? The Ohr HaChaim explains that the joy is the settlement of the land of Israel. This is the meaning of the Possuk “Az Yimaleh Sichok Peenu”. His comments are odd because those words are written about the future – not the Yishuv HaAretz? Rav Volch Shlita answers that the Simcha is apparent when one experiences a sense of Sheleimus. That sense happens when we are in our land, free to observe our Mitzvos and experience the shechina. That existed when the people cam einto the land and will be so when we go back in the future.

And you will respond and state (26:5) – Rashi notes that this means that the Parsha needs to be stated out loud. The Beis HaLevi explained that one cannot argue Shomeiya K’Oneh by Birkas Kohanim since  the Mitzva is a voice based one that requires Kol Rom. The Netziv countered that Bikkurim too, is a Mitzva performed by reading yet the commentaries on the Mishna allow Shomeiya K’Oneh. How are we to understand the difference? Rav Schachter Shlita quoted Rav Soloveitchik ztl. who explained that by Birkas Kohanim and Kriyas HaTorah we are not asking for Kol Rom – we are trying to make a connection between the speaker and the crowd learning from him. The declarer of Bikkurim is stating a series of facts. This can be declared by others on his behalf. However, if he needs/wants to connect to the people, that he must do by woking on his own.

And we cried out to Hashem our God (26:7) – The Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh notes that there is a hint here that one needs to daven to Hashem daily to be saved from the Yetzer HaRa. When we call out to Him there is a promise that He will answer. Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel ztl. noted that Tefillah is not just about requesting. It is an opportunity for awareness. The Chinuch notes that Bikkurim in general was a means of making the thoughts of his mind come alive through his mouth. If he is stirred then his prayers are accepted. Hence, we call to Hashem – in order to be personally stirred and to ask for His mercy in defeating the Yetzer HaRa and for us to answer the call to assist at the same time.

On this day Hashem  your God commands these Chukim (26:16) – The Zohar comments that the word HaYom refers to Rosh Hashana. Why would that day in particular be associated with HaYom? Rav Yosef Ben HaRoosh of Tunis ztl. explained that the day that the entire year  is dependent upon, is Rosh Hashana. This is the intention of the Possuk here – today Hashem Elokeicha commands you – and watches both as Hashem and Elokeicha – Rachamim and Din – so do the Mitzvos and earn a good reward.

And you shall establish large stones for yourself (27:2) – There were three times that the Jews were told to set up stones – in the land of Moav, in the Yarden and some that were taken from the Yarden and placed at Har Eival. Rav Nissan Alpert ztl. explained that the stones symbolized roadblocks and require major work to get rid of. Moshe had them establish the roadblocks in order for them to see how many different roadblocks they needed to overcome in order to survive in the desert and how they survived – and thrived.

Cursed be he who does not uphold the Torah (27:26) – The Yirushalmi (Sotah 7:4) notes that one who did everything and did not support Talmidei Chachamim is included in the Arur. Rav Chaim Brim ztl. quotes Rav Yechezkel Abramsky ztl. who noted that once he came to London he was involved with major opportunities to lead a Jewish community but was uncomfortable not having a Talmid Chacham to support. Once he found someone “worthy” he jumped at the opportunity and would not let it go.

And the nations of the world shall see that the name of Hashem is upon you and they will fear you (28:10) – The Talmud (Megillah 16b) quotes Rav Eliezer HaGadol who notes that this refers to the Tefillin on the head. Rav Moshe Tzvi Neriah ztl. explains that while the Tefillin on the arm is a bind to the heart – a Deveikus between us and Hashem, the Shel Rosh is a sign of Yirah. For we are the only nation capable of relating to Hashem and knowing Him through the emotion of Simcha. The nations of the world can only understand the Yirah aspect of this association.


Haftorah: The sun will no longer be your light during the day and for brightness the moon will no longer give you light (Yeshayahu 60:19) – Rav Schwab ztl. explained that the message here could be figurative too. In the days of Moshiach, the Jewish nation will become more “enlightened” to Hashem’s presence in this world. This will mean no more doubts about Hashem – no need to look to the sun in order to remember His impact – that knowledge will be the nation’s glory and pride in the eyes of the rest of the world.