Thursday, July 31, 2014

Dvar Torah - Parashat Dvarim

This week we are privileged to begin the fifth and final book of Torah, Devorim, also known as Mishne Torah. During the last thirty six days of Moshe's life he devoted his time and energy, to prepare the Jewish nation for the future, until this very day. The book of Devorim includes a repetition of many mitzvohs and also many new mitzvohs which are revealed in Mishne Torah for the first time. Moshe also rebuked Klal Yisroel for all their shortcomings throughout their journey toward Eretz Yisroel.

There are many lessons we can learn from the manner in which Moshe delivered the words of rebuke to the Jewish nation.

The first verse in Devorim lists many places, Midbor, Arovo, Lovon, Chatzeiros, Di Zohov and more. All of these places are not named here with their true names, but rather these names hint at different incidents which occurred during the forty years under Moshe's leadership, such as the golden calf, the spies.... Moshe was now parting with the Jews and wanted to set them on the right path for the future. Yet, we see how sensitive he was not to slander them publicly. The names he used were just hints to the issues at hand.

On the same note, we find later in the portion (Devorim 1/13), Moshe says: provide for yourselves distinguished men, wise, understanding, and well known and I shall appoint them as your heads (leaders). At the same time that he is rebuking them he is acknowledging that there smart and wise and understanding people...

The Shelo Hakodosh explains the verse in Proverbs which states: do not rebuke the lightheaded for maybe he will hate you, rebuke the wise and he will like you. This verse has a much deeper meaning. When one needs to rebuke someone, they shall not humiliate the individual, rather say this behavior is inappropriate for someone as wise as yourself. The verse is telling us do not rebuke a lightheaded person, when you rebuke do not tell the person that he/she is light headed for he/she will hate you. Rather, rebuke the wise, meaning tell him/her how wise he/she is and you'll be loved.

At the same time that Moshe had to rebuke Klal Yisroel he was cautious both not to embarrass anyone and to bring out their good qualities as well.

The Chassidic masters write that the Shabbosos of bein Hamtzorim (period of 17 Tamuz - 9 Av) are the most powerful of the year. The parable given is, when one lights a candle in a bright lit up room, it hardly can be felt, however, if one lights a candle in a very dark room, it has a tremendous effect. So too are the Shabbosos of these three weeks, when we are in dark days, days of mourning, the Shabbos is do much more uplifting and brings us so much closer to Hashem.

May we merit to see these days be reversed to days of celebration and joy, with the ultimate redemption speedily in our time.

Hoping for the consolation of Jerusalem,

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