Points to Ponder

VaEschanan 5775


For what large nation has God so close to them like we have Hashem who responds when we call out to him (4:7) – Last week was Shabbos Chazon and we called out “Eicha”. Now we immediately switch gears and go to “Nachamu” but what exactly changed? Rav Eliyahu Schlessinger  Shlita suggests that it is the reading of the Possuk “Bchol Koreinu Eilav” that has changed. No matter the time we are in, we still have Tefillah to have Hashem answer us. The Maharal’s brother would often point out that we take three steps back at the end of our Shmoneh Esrai and say Yehi Ratzon SheYibaneh Beis Hamikdash because the Beis Hamikdash was destroyed by Nevuchadnetzer who was rewarded with three generations for the respect he took in taking 3 steps. Through our taking our steps it is our Tefillah that we will be answered as well and take back our stance and get our Beis Hamikdash back.

When you will give birth to children and grandchildren (Devarim 4:25) –   Rav Nosson Tzvi Wachtfogel ztl. points out that V’Noshantem a sense of mindless routine. He adds that we read this section on Tisha B’Av in order to explain why we are in Galus. While there were major avairos that were performed, it was the cancellation of Shmitta and Yovel that did us in on the land. For, had we kept Shmittah and Yovel, despite the other avairos, we would have been able to hit the reset button at those times and start anew.  By staying in routine, we lost out.

At that point Moshe separated 3 cities (4:41) – The concept of Ir Miklat as identified in the Torah does not seem to be one of punishment in comparison to solitary confinement. Rather, notes Rav Moshe Tzvi Neriah ztl., it is one of soulful contemplation and restoration for the person to consider the course of his actions that led to the wrongful, careless death of another human. The Ari HaKadosh would note that not only does a person who killed unintentionally need time to contemplate the course of his life,  but even the rest of us need time to reflect and contemplate – hence the month of Elul (Inah L’Yado V’Samtee Lecha are Roshei Teivos Elul).

These words Hashem spoke … with a great voice that did not end (5:19) – The midrash interprets the words V’lo Yasaf to mean that the voice split into 7 that later split into 70 languages according to Rabbi Yochanan. Reish Lakish interpreted this to mean that it was given to each novi who rose. Rav Simcha Zissel Broide ztl. interpreted this to mean that it was to be understood by each one according to his level (See Emes l’Yaakov at beginning of Matos and Malbim’s introduction to Sefer Yirmiyahu). Moshe understood everything so to him it was a interpreted as 7 intertwining languages. Bnei Yisrael heard but one voice while the nations of the world didn’t even have the ability to hear the single voice of Hashem – they just heard a voice from “Somewhere.”

And you should teach them to your children and speak of them (6:7) – Rav Schachter Shlita made it very clear that parents are the ultimate Mechanchim of their children. They have a responsibility to transmit a Mesorah of truth without Sheker and a mesorah of respect for Torah. They should not highlight that theirs is the only Mesorah but they should not change from the mesorah that they have. They have a responsibility to demonstrate by action because children learn from what they see too.

Bind them as a sign on your arm and let them be an ornament between your eyes (6:8) – Rav Pam ztl. would often quote the Kedushas Levi who noted that like the Mitzva of Tefillin wherein one may not be Meisiach Daas (distracted) from his Tefillin, Hashem who also “wears Tefillin (See Berachos 6a)” is also not to be Mesiach Daas from us as well. Rav Pam would add that the Parsha is always read on the Shabbos immediately after Tisha B’Av as a reminder that despite the harsh Galus, Hashem will not forsake us and has not.

You should do what is right and good (6:18) – Rav Wolbe ztl. asks why we find that Chazal often put Mitzvos into a single category. Why do such a thing? Doesn’t it trivialize Mitzvos? Rav Wolbe answered that it shows us that one can perform all the mitzvos and still lose sight of the ultimate purpose of the mitzvos. The Chazon Ish writes that the everyone is endowed with a mussar intuition to know what the right thing to do and the right way to act is. It is the counterpoint to one following his personal desires. This, says Rav Wolbe, is the mitzvah of Yashrus. Ramban says this is the meaning of V’Asisa Hayashar V’Hatov. It is an encompassing mitzvah to conduct ourselves with Yashrus.

Haftorah: Nachamu Nachamu (Yeshiyahu 40:1) – Why the double language? The Divrei Shmuel explains that there will be a time when all of the suffering of Galus will suddenly have a meaning. At that point, there will be a Nechama. At the same time, there will be an end to the suffering which will bring a second Nechama. The double Nachamu speaks not only to the end of the suffering but also to the meaning within it (A similar idea is expressed by HaGaon HaRav Goldvicht ztl in Asufas MaaRaches vol. III).