Parsha Points

Parsha Points for Discussion: Parshas Vayeilech

(31, 2) Lo uchal od latzeis v’lavo- Rav Pam explains, Moshe was referring to Chidushei Torah- creating new Torah thoughts. Even though Moshe Rabeinu could have said over some of his old classes, that wouldn’t have made him happy! 
-One might think that Moshe's inability to go out and come in was a sign of waning strength, but the Torah states upon his death that "his eye did not dim and his moisture did not leave him." (ibid 34:7) Thus, Rashi explains, Moshe's statement was "I am not allowed, for the authority was taken from me and given to Yehoshua." 
But why must Rashi note that the permission was transferred to Yehoshua? Modeling the Torah's precision to measure every letter, to state only that which is absolutely necessary, Rashi does not simply include interesting morsels of extra information. Was it not the case that Moshe could not enter the Promised Land because permission was denied him, irrelevant of to whom it was granted or even if it was granted to anyone else? 
No. Rabbi Moshe Feinstein explains that these "extra" words in Rashi actually inform us of an important lesson in Hashgacha. Hashem could not take away permission from Moshe unless there was a Yehoshua to whom the responsibility could be passed, because G-d does not leave the Jewish people without leaders. Indeed, throughout Jewish history, Reb Moshe says, there have always been Torah scholars to serve as leaders and role models for the Jewish Nation. Each successive generation of leaders, one step further removed from the glory of the Har Sinai, may be of slightly lesser excellence than their predecessors, but we are assured that G-d will never leave us leaderless to navigate the great wilderness called life.

Parsha Points for discussion Ki Savo

(26, 16) “This day Hashem your God, commands you to perform these decrees and the laws, and you shall observe and perform them with all your heart and all your soul”. The Ben Ish Chai asks, “this day” does not seem like the proper words to use in this verse. There are some Commandments that can only be observed during some time periods – such as matzoh, lulav, etc. Furthermore, this verse was set over in the desert, while our parsha which discusses the mitzvah’s of bikurim and ma’aser which only apply in the land of Israel. So how can it be said “this day you are commanded”, when the commandments did not even apply it?

(26, 16) La’asos es hachukim ha’aileh v’es hamishpatim- The Satmar Rebbe Zatzal has a beautiful diyuk. The pasuk should say “la’asos es hachukim v’es hamishpatim ha’aileh”- why instead does it put the word “Ha’aileh” only after the chukim? And he explains as follows: it is well-known that Choshen Mishpat is the last of the four volumes of the Shulchan Aruch- Code of Jewish law. This is because when it comes to monetary laws a judge should strive to bring the two sides to a settlement without a having to pick one side. It is appropriate to compromise. So if Choshen Mishpat would have been first, people might come to say that this is appropriate as well for all areas of the Shulchan Aruch- a person should always be compromising! So to bypass this potential mistake, Choshen Mishpat is not written until the end so that we should know that this is the only time in Halacha where this concept is introduced. The Satmar Rebbe explains that the same is true with our pasuk: The word “these” means we are referring to something specific- nothing else is included. “Ha’aileh” is put between the chukim and mishpatim (monetary laws) to teach us that only the chukim are “Ha’aileh”- non-negotiable, but by the mishpatim there can also be compromise.

(28,29) When discussing the curses that can befall the Jewish People, the Torah says, “You will grope around at noontime as a blind man gropes in the darkness”. But what difference does it make if a blind man is in darkness? Couldn’t the Torah have simple written “You will grope around at noontime like a blind person”?

Parsha Points for discussion כי תצא

(21, 11) ולקחת לך לאשה- Rashi tells us that the reason why the Torah permits a Jewish soldier to live with this non-Jewish woman, is because otherwise this soldier would have lived with her in a forbidden manner.But how is this possible? The Gemara Sotah 54a explains to us that the only soldiers that went out to battle were those that were complete Tzaddikim with absolutely no sin on their record. They never spoke Lashon Hara or even made a blessing without all the right intentions. It seems odd that for such people God needs to permit this kind of relationship.

(22, 7) שלח תשלח את האם- It is permitted to trap a bird which we wish to slaughter and eat. It is also permitted to take eggs from a nest and eat them. So why in this case must the mother be sent away?

(23, 5) על דבר אשר לא קדמו אתכם בלחם ובמים....ואשר שכר אתכם את בלאם....- An Ammonite or Moavite shall not enter the congregation of Hashem. 
The first reason given is because they did not offer us bread and water on the road when we were leaving Egypt. The second reason given is because they hired Bilaam to curse us and wipe us out. How are we to understand the order in which these reasons are given? The second reason given seems to be a lot more important than the first?!