Monthly Archives: 7 Av 5776

Parshas Devorim

And I (Moshe) said to you at that time, saying, ‘I cannot carry you alone. Hashem, your Lord, has multiplied you, and behold, you are today as the stars of the heavens in abundance. May Hashem the Lord of your forefathers add to you a thousandfold as many as you are, and may He bless you, as He spoke concerning you. How can I bear your trouble, your burden, and your strife all by myself? (Devorim 1/9-12)

On the possuk (Devorim 1/11) “Hashem your Lord has multiplied you…” the Medrash comments, “This possuk can be explained in light of the possuk (Tehillim 5/8) ‘… I will bow down towards Your Holy Sanctuary in awe of You’.”

Zera Shimshon asks the obvious question; how are these two pessukim even remotely related that one explains the other?

Zera Shimshon explains by first asking and then answering a different question on this possuk.

The Mekubalim teach an important concept; where there is abundance there is kedusha. And conversely where there is scarcity “other forces” (the kilippos) are in control.

According to this, asks Zera Shimshon, it is difficult to understand the above pesukkim. In the first possuk, Moshe reprimands Bnei Yisroel. “And I (Moshe) said to you at that time, saying, ‘I cannot carry you alone.” In the fourth possuk he continues to reprimand them. “How can I bear your trouble, your burden, and your strife all by myself?”

Why then did Moshe mention that Bnei Yisroel has multiplied itself a thousandfold between these two pesukim of reprimand ? If abundance is a sign of kedusha and they were being reprimanded for acting in a way that is the opposite of kedusha how can we understand Moshe writing these pessukim here?

Zera Shimshon explains in light of the Medrash (Braishis Rabah 22/5) on the possuk “(Avrohom said to Eliezer before they ascended Har HaMoriah) And we will bow and we will return.”

The Medrash comments, “R. Yitzchak said, ‘Everything is in the merit of bowing (before Hashem). Avraham only returned from Har HaMoriahYisroel were redeemed (from Mitzrayim)… the Torah was given to us… the exiles will be gathered… the Bais HaMikdash will be built… their will be the resurrecting of the dead only in the merit of bowing.”

Zera Shimshon explains that the power of bowing before Hashem is that it brings kedusha into the whole universe, from the highest levels to the lowest ones and nullifies all other forces. This kedusha brings plenty and abundance into the world.

Therefore after Avraham offered Yitzchak on the akiada and bowed down to Hashem (like he told Eliezer that he would do before he ascended the mountain), Hashem blessed him that he will be the father of a great and huge nation.

Similarly Chazal teach us that Sinai is called Midbar Paran (which has the same root as p’ru u’vu– be fruitful and multiply) because after the giving of the Torah at Sinai all women became pregnant and give birth to baby boys. This was also in merit of the bowing down to Hashem that happened at Sinai.

According to this we can now understand how Moshe mentioned the hugeness of Bnei Yisroel in the middle of reprimanding us. When we bowed down to Hashem at Sinai the kedusha that came into the world at that time stayed forever even after we sinned and acted in inappropriate ways. This kedusha was the cause of enormousness of Bnei Yisroel.

Zera Shimshon concludes that according to this it is simple to understand the Medrash. The Medrash was bothered by the above question, how could Moshe mention that Bnei Yisroel will multiply a thousandfold in the middle of reprimanding us? The Medrash answers, “… I will bow down towards Your Holy Sanctuary in awe of You”; meaning it was in the merit of bowing down to Hashem (at Har Sinai)!
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Parshas Mattos

It is written in this week’s Haftorah, “What wrongdoings did your forefathers see in Me that they distanced themselves from Me..”
Zera Shimshon asks why did Hashem mention that the reason that the Jewish Nation “distanced themselves” from Hashem (i.e. stopped keeping His mitzvos) was because they thought that Hashem did some wrongdoing? Why didn’t He just rebuke them  that they distanced themselves from Him?
He explains in light of a very interesting ruling of the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Daya 236/6).  The Shulchan Aruch rules that two people who make an agreement between each other, and one of them breaks the agreement then the other one is automatically exempt from his commitment.
For instance, a man and a lady swore that they would marry each other by a certain date. When that date arrived one of the parties willfully ignored the agreement and simply didn’t show up. Since one of the parties didn’t “keep their part of the bargain” then the other party is exempt from the agreement and is allowed to get married to someone else. However, the one who didn’t keep the agreement is still bound by the oath and cannot marry someone else.
This is only until the other person didn’t get married to someone else. After the second party married someone else, since now they didn’t “keep their part of the bargain”,  then the one who broke the agreement is also annulled from the oath.
There is a covenant between the Jewish Nation and Hashem. The Jewish Nation swore to keep all of Hashem’s mitzvos and not to worship avodah zarah. Correspondingly, Hashem swore to the Jewish Nation that He would never abandon them and that He won’t exchange them for another nation.
According to this Zera Shimshon explains the above possuk from the Haftorah.
When Hashem saw the Jewish Nation leave the Torah way and worship Avodah Zara He asked them “What wrongdoings did you see in Me”. Meaning, if I would have abandoned you and not kept My part of the covenant, then I would understand why you worshipped avodah zarah (in accordance to the above ruling of the Shulchan Aruch). If this was the case Hashem would not have rebuked them.
However Hashem said that He blessed our forefathers. And even after we didn’t fulfill our part of the covenant and we worshipped avodah zarah and you didn’t keep Hashem’s commandments in Mitzrayim, He continued to keep His promise and He gave us great riches when He took us out of Mitzrayim.
Only after Hashem mentioned that He never broke the covenant with us was He able to rebuke the Jewish Nation for their breach of the covenant and distancing themselves from Him!