VOLUME 102 NUMBER 1
Av 8, 5782
August 5, 2022
PARSHAS DEVARIM/EREV TISHA B’AV
Candlelighting Time 7:50 PM
Rashi clearly states at the beginning of this sefer, Devarim, that Moshe is reprimanding the nation for their many iniquities. Even though he only alludes to their transgressions, nonetheless the theme of this parsha focuses on their shortcomings. Still, Moshe mentions that in his capacity as the primary judge of the people, he is placed in a precarious dilemma. If he mistaken obligates someone then the onus of responsibility lies with him. The Jewish nation is compared to the stars of the heavens, seemingly defining their nobility, and therefore he must adjudicate with utmost caution when dealing with them. However, in the next verse he adds that Hashem will bless them a thousand-fold. The Midrash questions what was the necessity to include this now? The answer is that Moshe apparently limited the extent of their blessing to only the stars of the heavens, a finite set. They were upset with his constraint. Therefore, he declared that although my blessing is somewhat curtailed, Hashem’s blessing will certainly occur and that is enormous.
It is noteworthy and somewhat puzzling why smack in the middle of this parsha dealing with the faults of the people Moshe remarks about their prominence and how Hashem will bless them incredibly so. Although the commentators explain this introduction relating to the tremendous burden placed upon the judges of Israel, they must recognize the eminence of the nation and then apply themselves according to their task, ruling over their cases. However the mention of their blessings at this juncture in the parsha seems to be a non sequitur.
K’sav Sofer cites the Midrash that we are compared to the stars of the heavens. Why is that of importance now? He proceeds to explain that we are double-named, Yaakov and Yisroel, and Yisroel is our primary title while Yaakov is only secondary. When we are granted distinction, we have the challenge as to whether or not we will utilize that greatness in a positive fashion or will we allow that prominence to become a wedge between us and Hashem when we look upon ourselves with self-importance and vanity. Obviously, those characteristics sever our bond with Hashem as we become increasingly indulging in our needs dissolving our connection with Hashem, an exploitation of the Evil Inclination. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to, on the contrary, never lose sight of our true mission in life despite the distractions which serve to create a barrier between Hashem and us.
Now it is quite evident why this matter is discussed here. At this point, where Moshe berates the people for their lack of adherence to Hashem’s will, he clarifies that a major blunder that we made causing us to stumble and rebel was that sense of arrogance which distanced us from Hashem and created that mind-set which set us upon a course for failure and disaster..
However, Moshe reinforces his message to us that when we indeed realize our relationship with Hashem should be of foremost significance. That is what Moshe stated that although his blessing is limited, when we connect to Hashem as is appropriate, then His blessing is infinite and that opportunity is available to us when we employ our resources to serve Hashem as we are wired and therefore destined to.
BYTE FOR SHABBOS
Hashem mandates that when the nations of the world are exerting their domination upon us, we must ‘hide’ ourselves. We should not attempt to wrest their power away from them, instead we must hide in the halls of Torah and immerse ourselves in Hashem’s word. That has always been our life-saving tool and today it still is valid. As the world of coherence and stability continues to unravel and we face many challenges in these days prior to the rebuilding of the third Beis Hamikdash, as we bemoan the loss of the previous two and shed bitter tears for all of the travesties that we have endured, let us accept upon ourselves the yoke of Torah and in that merit we will behold salvation for our nation.