PARSHA ON PARADE IS DEDICATED TO
OF MY DEAR FATHER AND REBBI:
HARAV HAGAON RAV YESHAYA SHIMANOWITZ Z'TZL ,
YESHIVAS RABAINU YAAKOV YOSEF
(RABBI JACOB JOSEPH YESHIVA - RJJ)
IN NYC FOR OVER 23 YEARS.
NIFTAR ON 20 ADAR 5758 - MARCH 18, 1998.
MAY HE BE A MAYLITZ YOSHER FOR ALL OF KLAL YISROEL.
MY DEAR MOTHER
REBITZEN BRACHA ETEL SHIMANOWITZ A'H
WHO DEVOTED HER ENTIRE LIFE TO MY FATHER AND HIS TORAH,
NIFTERA ON 21 TEVET 5770 - WED EVE. JANUARY 6, 2010.
MAY SHE BE A MAYLITZA YOSHER FOR ALL OF KLAL YISROEL
Menachim Z. Shimanowitz
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NUMBER OF MITZVOT: 2
0 MITZVOT ASEH (POSITIVE COMMANDMENT)
2 MITZVOT LO TAASEH (NEGATIVE COMMANDMENT - PROHIBITION)
NUMBER OF PESUKIM (SENTENCES): 105
NUMBER OF WORDS: 1548
NUMBER OF LETTERS: 5972
HAFTORA: (Additional portion, from Prophets, which is read after the Parsha)
Yeshayahu / Isaiah 1:1 - 27 (to the special melody of Eichah)
This Shabbat before תשעה באב Tisha B'Av - the Ninth of Av, (Tuesday, Aug. 1), is called שבת חזון, Shabbat Chazon - the 'Shabbat of Vision,' because of the Haftora which is read from the first chapter of the Book of Yeshayahu / Isaiah, which begins "Chazon Yeshayahu - (the vision of Yeshayahu...)". In it, he prophesies about the destruction of Yerushalayim and the Beit Hamikdash.
The three Haftorot of the three weeks preceding the Ninth of Av, are called the — שלש דפורענותא - the "Three (Haftorot) of Punishment."
MONDAY AUG. 7, IS TU B'AV, READ ALL ABOUT IT HERE
This week we study Chapter 3 of Pirkei Avot - "Ethics of the Fathers"
| פרשת דברים
In our last episode we completed Sefer (Book of) Bamidbar.
The Bnei Yisroel have now taken possession of land east
of the Jordan River, following an incredible battle in which Bnei
Yisroel wiped out the nation of Midyan.
The nation should be overjoyed with the spoils of war but there
is a heavy condition to deal with: Hashem has announced
that Moshe will die after the battle with Midyan. Now that the
war is over, the mission is winding down and Moshe must make every
| As our Parsha
opens, it is the first day of Shevat, 2488 - thirty six
days before Hashem will take Moshe's soul. Hashem
commands Moshe to gather the Bnei Yisroel and review all
the Mitzvot that they had received over the years. There
are also lots of Mitzvot that have not yet been taught
to Bnei Yisroel. Moshe knows the speech has to be a real
winner. He's got to make this one stick, otherwise they'll take
the Mitzvot too lightly. If Bnei Yisroel does
not take what he says seriously, then forty years of Mitzvot
and miracles are as good as forgotten.
So Moshe begins a speech (in seventy languages), lasting FIVE
WEEKS, which is the entire Book of Devarim, in front
of all 600,000 Bnei Yisroel. Sefer Devarim,
the fifth Book of the Torah, is therefore called Mishneh
Torah, (restatement of the Torah) for it reviews
and explains many of the Mitzvot stated before (as well as
adding many more).
Moshe's tale begins at the foot of Har (Mt.) Sinai.
It is here, in the plains of Moav, that Hashem has instructed
the Bnei Yisroel in the ways of His commandments. From
the splitting of the sea to the Mann that falls each
morning, this trek to Canaan has been filled with miracles.
But do the Bnei Yisroel appreciate these wonders? Nooo...
They've complained about a lack of meat (even though there's plenty
of cattle!) and bread. They've worshipped the idol Peor in Shittim,
they've panicked at the edge of the Yam Suf, listened to the lashon
hora of the spies, and complained that they're tired of eating
Mann. Then there's the Korach rebellion and the biggie
- the Eigel Hazahav (golden calf).
Moshe goes on to remind Bnei Yisroel that this stubborn
nation has turned a simple eleven day journey (which miraculously
only took three days!) into a forty year journey.
WE'LL BE BACK
At this point Moshe takes a rebuking break.
For forty years our hero couldn't get a word in edgewise without
those rebels mocking him. Now the entire nation listens silently
as Moshe lays it on thick! Hashem interrupts Moshe and
tells him to throw in a Bracha (blessing).
"May Hashem multiply you thousands of times more, and bless
you as He promised your forefathers."
| If there's one thing
Moshe usually gets - it's NO RESPECT. Here's a perfect example:
Moshe is exhausted, being the only judge for 3 million people.
So he places an ad in the "Klal Yisroel Weekly" for judges to
make his job a little easier (only tzadikim need apply!)
What should be the reaction of Bnei Yisroel? "Oh please,
Moshe, you got the commandments straight from Hashem...
you the man!"
Instead the Jews reply, "No problem, give us the judges. You
go on vacation!"
Speaking of judges, here are some
rules for judges to live by:
- A judge will probably hear the same kind of case many times
in his career. The first couple of times he's bound to review
the Halacha (law). But after the third or fourth time,
the judge may assume he knows the law cold. This is a mistake!
A judge must review the Halacha before passing judgment
in each and every case.
- Let's say two cases come up at the same time. One involves
ten dollars and the other involves a million dollars. Don't
think the million dollar case comes first. The buck stops here
when it comes to favoritism of cases.
- Don't let Handsome Hank or Mugzy the Mask sway you with that
one-of-a-kind look. Everybody's equally guilty when they walk
in and tzadikim when they walk out.
- If a rich fellow and a poor fellow come before the court,
don't think it's a good opportunity to play Robin Hood. Stealing
from the rich to give to the poor is a no-no. Favoring the rich
man is also forbidden.
- Don't let threats sway your judgment. Neither house burning,
car bombing, nor calls in the middle of the night shall stop
a judge from fairly judging!
- No translators allowed in the courtroom! A judge has to know
many languages to be able to follow this rule, because it's
just the judge and the witness and nobody in between.
- If the case involves money, three judges hear the case together.
If it's a matter of life and death it takes 23 judges to make
- When a case of life and death comes up, the sentence is never
announced in one day. It must wait for the following day.
I SPY LOSHON HORA
| Moshe turns his
Mussar to the mission of the spies.
Two years after receiving the Torah the nation is ready
to enter Eretz Yisroel. Everything is on schedule. But
on the edge of the Jordan, the Jews panic! they don't want to
cross and conquer. They want to spy out the land.
Sounds like a great idea: check out the weak points, bring back
some samples...So Moshe chooses one tzadik from each
Shevet (tribe) to spy out the land of Canaan. But the moment
they enter the land they also panic out. "Can we beat these giants?
Can we count on Hashem or are we dead ducks?" So they
bend the truth and tell the Jews what they want to hear: "Danger!
danger! warning! warning!" Only two out of twelve spies manage
not to get caught up in the mayhem: Yehoshua and Kalev.
While the others offer lashon hora, these two stay
point positive.The Bnei Yisroel are taken by the stories
of giants and disease. They develop a complex and decide that
Hashem hates them, even after Hashem provided
so many miracles and made the Mann appear each morning!
The lashon Hora is riding high and spreading. Hashem's
patience is also spreading thin! Hashem decrees that
the men of this generation will die in the desert! Only Yehoshua
and Kalev will see their inheritance personally.
For forty years the Bnei Yisroel will wander through
the desert until the entire generation has died out. Even Moshe
is not allowed to enter Eretz Yisroel. When Yehoshua
gives out the shares of land, Kalev will receive the fields around
READY TO RUMBLE
| There are those,
however, that don't want to skip a generation. They want to do Teshuva
by fighting the Canaanim now. They climb up the mountains on the
border of Eretz Yisroel ready to fight.
There's no going back on Hashem's decree. Hashem
tells Moshe to warn them not to go to war. But they don't listen
- and they get clobbered by the Amorites and saved only by a miracle
THREE NON-STOP NATIONS
| The Torah
talks about seven nations of Canaan that the Jews must fight in
the conquest of Canaan. Now the Torah mentions three nations
that Bnei Yisroel is forbidden to conquer until Moshiach's
time: The first nation is Edom. The Edomites are the descendants
of Esav, - Yaakov's brother. The land of Seir is rewarded to Esav,
until Moshiach comes, for the honor he gave to his father,
Yitzchok. Hashem commands the nation not to attack nor
to provoke them. If the Jews need food or water they should pay
The second nation is Moav. They are descended from Lot, - Avrohom's
nephew. Hashem knows that
Ruth, the great-great grandmother of King David will be born
a Moabite and convert. Since the Moabite nation is responsible
for Bilam and the daughters of Moav entering the Jewish camp,
the Jews could, however, take spoils of war from them.
Amon is the third nation. Amon is also descended from Lot. Hashem
forsees that another convert, Na'amah, will descend from this
nation. Na'amah becomes a wife to King Solomon. Their son, Rechavam,
becomes a king of Israel.
| On the east side
of the Jordan River there are five nations: Edom (Seir), Moav, Amon,
Emor and Bashan. The first three are off limits. But Emor and Bashan
are free for the taking.
The first nation to go down is Emor. Their King, Sichon, is
a giant. First he hides his armies in the mountains for an all-out
ambush. But Hashem ambushes the Emorites and crushes
the soldiers between the mountains. This is a kindness the Bnei
Yisroel don't even know about.
Moshe sends messengers to Emor to request peaceful passage through
their land. They also want to purchase food from them. Sichon
responds with a military march on the camp of Israel. Bnei
Yisroel goes to war and as this war goes into the night,
Hashem makes the sun stand still so that Bnei Yisroel
can complete the job. Of course, with Hashem's help,
Bnei Yisroel conquers all of Emor, killing everyone.
giant, Og, is Sichon's half brother. He's also the king of Bashan,
an Emorite kingdom. Bnei Yisroel conquers forty cities
of Bashan, killing everyone. The Jewish soldiers come back to camp
with plenty of booty.
Moshe himself kills the giant Og.
Now Bnei Yisroel possesses a huge area of land. The
tribes of Reuven, Gad and half of Menashe are given this land
as their inheritance. They are allowed to build homes and stables,
but this is on the condition that the men help in the mission
to conquer Canaan.
| Moshe reminds Yehoshua,
the next leader of Bnei Yisroel, that just as Hashem
destroyed Sichon and Og so easily, He will destroy the seven nations
It's "deja vu" all over again as Moshe reminisces about the Aseret
Hadibrot (Ten Commandments) in the next exciting episode of:
the Midrash Maven on Devarim
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