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Vedibarta Bam
And You Shall Speak of Them

A Compilation of Selected Torah Insights,
Thought-Provoking Ideas, Homilies And
Explanations of Torah Passages

by Rabbi Moshe Bogomilsky
Click here to Subscribe
Published and copyright \u00a9 by Sichos In English
(718) 778-5436 \u2022info@SichosInEnglish.org\u2022 FAX (718) 735-4139
"These are the w ords that Moshe spoke to all I srael." (1:1)
QUESTION: What is the Torah emphasizing by beginning
the Book of Devarim with the word "Eileh" - "these are"?
ANSW ER: Moshe started delivering his legacy to Klal Yisrael on Rosh

Chodesh Shevat, and passed away thirty-six days later on the seventh day of Adar. The word "eileh" has the numerical value of thirty-six, and the Torah is alluding that for thirty-six days he spoke words of

admonishment to Klal Yisrael.
QUESTION: Why did Moshe admonish them specifically for
thirty-six days?
ANSW ER: In the Midrash Rabbah (Lamentations 1: 1) Rabbi Levi says,

"The Jewish people did not go into exile until they had repudiated the
thirty-six ordinances in the Torah, for which the penalty is kareit -
excision." (The word "eichah" "how" - which is the opening word of the
book of Lamentations, has the numerical value of thirty-six.)

According to the Zohar, the three hundred and sixty-five negative

commandments in the Torah correspond to the three hundred and sixty- five days of the solar calendar and by transgressing them, one adversely affects the day corresponding to that negative commandment. (See

Rambam, Introduction to Mishneh Torah.)

Moshe knew through Divine inspiration that the Jews would ultimately be
exiled for violating thirty-six negative commandments, which would
affect thirty-six days of the year. Therefore he admonished them for

thirty-six days as a corrective.
It is interesting to note that Parshat Devarim is always read on the
Shabbat preceding Tisha B'Av, the day when the book of Eichah -
Lamentations - is read.
"And Chazeirot and Di-zahab." (1:1)
QUESTION: Rashi explains that "Chazeirot" refers to
Korach's rebellion, which took place near Chazeirot. "Di-
zahab," which literally means "abundance of gold," is a
reference to the golden calf, which the Jews made from
the gold with which Hashem blessed them when they left

Egypt.Since the sin of the golden calf took place before
Korach's rebellion, the order in the pasuk should have
been reversed?

ANSW ER: When Hashem became angry at the Jews for making the
golden calf, Moshe pleaded on their behalf, "Why are You upset with
Your beloved children when they actually did not violate any of Your

precepts? In the commandments You gave on Sinai, You spoke in
singular. Thus, in the prohibition against idol making and worshipping,
You said "lo yiheyeh lecha" - "There shall not be to you [ singular] ." If
you intended this to apply to the entire populous, You should have said
"lo yiheyeh lachem" - "There shall not be to you [ plural] " (see Shemot

20:2, Rashi).

When Korach and his contingent fought with Moshe and Aharon, they
argued, "The entire assembly is holy and Hashem is among them. Why
do you exalt yourself over the congregation of Hashem?" They meant,
"You are no holier than anyone else since at Sinai Hashem spoke to
everyone and not only to you" (see Bamidbar 17: 3, Rashi).

Consequently, as long as the Korach rebellion had not yet occurred, Moshe's argument in defense of the Jews stood firm, and he had no grounds to rebuke them. However, when Korach proclaimed that

"Everyone is holy because everyone heard Hashem's voice at Sinai," he
refuted Moshe's defense. Hence, the Jewish people's sin then came to
the forefront, and it became necessary for Moshe to rebuke them for
making the golden calf.

" Betw een Paran and Tophel, and Laban, and Chazeirot, and Di-
Zahav." (1:1)
QUESTION: The expression "bein...bein" - "between" - is

superfluous. It should have just said "v'paran v'tofel" -
"and Paran and Tofel" - as in the phrase "v'lavan
vachatzeirot" - "and Lavan and Chatzeirot"?

ANSW ER: Superficially, it is puzzling that Moshe admonished the Jews

for speaking against the manna, the incident of the spies, and making
the golden calf-without mentioning Mei Merivah-the Waters of Strife-and
the smiting of the rock, which was actually caused by their complaint,
"Why have you brought the congregation of Hashem to this
wilderness...and why did you have us ascend from Egypt to this evil

place...and there is no water to drink" (Bamidbar 20: 4-5).

"Paran" is a reference to the spies, who were sent after they journeyed from Chazeirot and encamped in Paran (Bamidbar 12: 16). "Tophel" is a reference to the words "shetaflu" - which they spoke contemptuously regarding the manna: "our soul is disgusted with this insubstantial food (ibid. 21:5).

The Jews' complaint about the lack of water and the smiting of the rock
took place before their talking against the manna (ibid. 20: 2-14).

Consequently, it happened after the sending of the spies (Paran) and before the complaint about the manna (Tophel). Hence, with the extra word "bein" - "between" - Moshe was actually alluding to this iniquity which was committed between (the iniquities of) Paran and Tophel.

The reason Moshe did not rebuke them openly about the "mei Merivah" - "Waters of Strife" - and the smiting of the rock was that he thought they were likely to ascribe the sin to him. In reality, however, the Torah

refers to the incident as the "Waters of Strife, where the Children of
Israel contended against Hashem" (ibid. 20: 13), and the common
denominator among the three consecutive sins was that they were all
preceded by a complaint about being taken out of Egypt.
"Moshe spoke unto the Children of I srael." (1:3)
QUESTION: Rashi explains that Moshe rebuked them only

when he was close to death in order to avoid rebuking
them again and again. How does this reconcile with the
statement of the Gemara (Bava Metzia 31a) that the

Torah command, "Hochei'ach [tochiach...]" - "You shall
reprove [ your fellow] " (Vayikra 19:17) - means even one
hundred times?
ANSW ER: There are two kinds of rebuke:
1.Direct confrontation: specifying the wrongdoing and admonishing
the perpetrator for committing the act.
2.A more subtle method: not mentioning the iniquity directly, but
reproving the person and encouraging him to improve his
conduct. The advantage of the latter is that the erring individual
is spared embarrassment.

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