Divrei HaRav

Voeschonon / ואתחנן

Voeschonon / ואתחנן
And you will seek Hashem your G-d and you will find Him because you search for Him with all your heart 4-29. The first word seek is in plural but the word find is in singular. Why. The Vilna Gaon answers that the Gemora in Rosh Hashana describes when two people enter to daven and only one is answered, the Gemora attributes this to a lack of kavana. This is the possuk here. Two will seek but only one will find, for he will seek with all his heart.

The Gemora in Chagiga extols the greatness of one who reviews his learning. It says that there is no comparison of one who learns 101 times to one who learns 100 times. It is said from the Vilna Gaon that the numerical value of "Shachach" שכח, which means to forget, is 328 and Zachor זכר, which means to remember is 227. So one who reviews 101 removes that much from the forgetting and remains with remembering.

On Shavuos which was the time that we received the Torah, we read, appropriately the "Aseres HaDibros". Also on Shabbos Nachamu, the Shabbos of comfort, when we await the total redemption, we read the Aseres HaDibros. The Kedushas Levi comments, that with the coming of Moshiach there will be a clear understanding of the Torah, as if there is a new Torah being given to the Jewish people. Therefore it is a day that we await a new acceptance of the Torah, a new day like Shavuos.

And you should love Hashem with your heart. The Chofetz Chaim would explain this. One's love for Hashem should fill the heart to capacity that there is no room for another love.

The Chofetz Chaim described Hashems love for his nation. Hashem provides for all mankind. He gives, He protects, He cares for each and everyone. Our task is to earn this reward by perfecting our service to Him and to our fellow man. We could compare. This, said the Chofetz Chaim, to the rich man that owned a factory. He appointed a very capable manager over the factory. Now, the manager had a relative that he wished to hire, but there were no positions available. So, instead, he told Him to come and pick up a check, a salary each week without work. One day the owner decided to check out the progress of the factory. He interviewed each worker, what is your job, what are your hours. The embarrassed relative, when asked what is your job, responded, I receive a salary. This embarrassment is what we try to avoid with our service to Hashem.

“The words should be on your heart, you should teach it to your sons, you should speak about these words”. The possuk begins with your personal growth in Torah, switches to teaching the children and then returns to personal learning. The answer is that you’re own personal learning and conduct many times is the best way to “teach your sons”. Another beautiful explanation is to understand the obligation of the father to teach a child. Is this a mitzvah of the father to enhance the mitzvos of the son, similar to “bris” and “pidyon haben”, or is this rather part and parcel of the individual’s own obligation to learn? This means personal learning should involve teaching one’s children. This is the “pshat“ in the “possuk”. Inserted in the middle of the obligation for personal growth is an obligation to teach the children, for this too is part of your Torah learning (Har Tzvi)

“Honor your father and mother as Hashem commanded you”. In the first set of “luchos” it does not have this addition “as Hashem commanded you”. The Kedushas Levi explains. The phrase is informing us, say Chazal, that one only must heed the directive of a parent if it does not contradict Torah law, for you and your parents are obligated to honor the Torah. If so, then at the giving of the first set of “luchos” the Torah and its mitzvos had not yet been offered so the Torah could not use the phrase “as Hashem commanded you.”.

Hashem said to Moshe “don’t speak to me again in the matter”. The Vilna Gaon gives a little different explanation. The Zohar says that Moshe was taught a proven way to accomplish in “tfila”. A “tfila” enhanced by the word “na”, please, repeated twice would certainly not be turned away. This we find by Moshe davening on behalf of Miriam. “Na” refa “Na”. Here also Moshe uttered the word “na”, please allow me to enter Israel. However, before he could repeat it, Hashem told him “don’t speak again this word.”

“Utzidaka thiye lanu ki sishmor” And it will be to us for a charity if we keep the mitzvos of Torah. Many people are under the impression that the giving of charity offsets a multitude of sins. This possuk lies to rest that contention. “Charity will be to us, but only if we continue to keep and adhere to all the mitzvos.

Don’t add on to the Torah. This possuk is followed by “your eyes have seen what happened at Peor”. What is the connection? R’ Moshe ‘z’l explains. The Rambam traces the origin of avoda zara, idol worship, as the peoples desire to honor the sun and moon as emissaries of Hashem. This was an act of “adding on” which caused what “your eyes have seen” as a result.



Previous Parshos

Tazria Metzora Achrei Mos Kedoshim Emor Behar Bechukosai Bamidbar Shavuos Naso Behalosicha Shilach Korach Chukas-Balak Pinchos Matos-Masei Devorim Voeschonon Ekev Reah Shoftim Ki Seitzei Ki Savo Nitzovim - Vayelech Rosh HaShana Haazinu-Yom Kippur Sukkos V'zos HaBrocha Breishis