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Friday, August 16

The Weekly Shtikle - Va'eschanan

Today, the 15th of Av, marks the 10th yahrtzeit of my Opa, Mr. George Jakobovits. This week's shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmaso, Tovia Yehudah ben Yoel, a'h.

 

At the beginning of this week's parsha, after Moshe makes his plea to enter Eretz Yisrael, he is told (3:27) to go to the top of the mountain, to lift his eyes west, north, south and east and see with his eyes for he will not cross the Jordan River. Why is he told to see with his eyes? What other part of the body would he otherwise have seen with?

 

 When Moshe delivers his plea, he begins by emphasizing that HaShem had begun to show him His Greatness and Powerful Hand. Surely, Moshe was not referring to having been shown these visually. We know that he was denied that privilege. Here, the term re'iah does not refer to physical seeing as it often does, but rather to an experience. Moshe had witnessed and experienced HaShem's greatness. He then asks to be allowed to cross over and "see" the good land, the good mountain and the Levanon. Surely, Moshe wanted more than to see the land. Here again, Moshe Rabbeinu is asking not to see the land but to live it and experience its greatness, to behold the Land of Israel. HaShem denies Moshe and grants him only to climb the mountain and see the land. That is why he is told to see with his eyes, indicating that he will not be granted the re'iah for which he yearned but rather, only a physical re'iah with his eyes.

 

There is another aspect of this passage that has always intrigued me. Moshe was standing to the east of Eretz Yisrael at this time. If he was being told to observe the land with his eyes, why would he need to look east? He should only have had to look north, south and west. I have yet to find a simple, practical (peshat) explanation for this.

 

Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka
WeeklyShtikle@weeklyshtikle.com

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:

Dikdukian: You were shown

Dikdukian: Raise the Valleys

Al Pi Cheshbon: Moshe's Pleas

Al Pi Cheshbon: Gemtrias off by 1


Please visit the new portal for all Shtikle-related sites, 
www.weeklyshtikle.com

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Friday, August 9

The Weekly Shtikle - Devarim / Tish'ah B'Av

Sefer Devarim is, for the most part, a summary of the events of the previous 40 years. Most of the major events are recapped throughout the sefer. This week's parsha focusses largely on the episode of the spies. After hearing the spies' grim report of Eretz Yisrael, B'nei Yisrael cried on that night (Bemidbar 14:1.) The midrash (Bemidbar 16:20) and the gemara (Sotah 35a) teach us that that night was the night of Tish'ah B'Av. HaShem said "You have wept gratuitously, I therefore shall designate this day for crying throughout the generations."

Although on a larger scale, this dooming of Tish'ah B'Av as a day for weeping may refer to all the terrible misfortunes that have befallen the Jewish people on this day, it is certainly a more specific reference to the destruction of the two Temples which happened on this day.

The connection here between the wrongdoing and the consequent punishment is greater than it may appear on the surface. It is more than just "You cried for no reason, I'll make you cry for a reason." It's not merely about the fact that they cried but the reason why they cried. The nationwide cry was a sign of acceptance of the spies' report and thus, a rejection of Eretz Yisrael an immediate and imminent reality. The destruction of the Beis HaMikdash and the ensuing exile was Eretz Yisrael's rejection of us. With the episode of the spies, B'nei Yisrael showed a total lack of appreciation for the gift that HaShem wished to bestow upon us. Tish'ah B'Av was therefore designated as a day that would constantly serve as a reminder to us of what terrible consequences befall us when Eretz Yisrael is not given the respect it deserves. In these days, it should not be difficult to appreciate the importance of Eretz Yisrael and how hard we must fight to keep it. Certainly, recent world events have once again left the fate of the nation and the land hanging in the balance. May the joint efforts of all of Klal Yisroel help bring mashiach speedily and transform this month from eivel to yom tov and may we all return to artzeinu haKedoshah for the rebuilding of the Beis HaMikdash.

Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka
WeeklyShtikle@weeklyshtikle.com

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:

Dikdukian: Don't you worry!

Dikdukian: Past and Future

AstroTorah: Like the Stars of the Heavens

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The Weekly Shtikle and related content are now featured on BaltimoreJewishLife.com

Friday, August 2

The Weekly Shtikle - Matos / Mas'ei

This week was the first yahrtzeit of my cousin, Mrs. Michelle Jakobovits. The shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmasah, Rochel Mirel bas Shmuel HaLevi.

 

Towards the end of the parsha, we are taught of the mitzvah of exiling one who killed by mistake, shogeig. If he leaves his designated city of exile, the close relative of the victim is allowed to kill him. There is a discussion in the mishnah (Makkos 11b) as to whether or not the killing of the killer is a mitzvah or not. R' Chaim Kanievsky makes an interesting observation on the exact wording of this parsha. Almost everywhere else that the Torah commands us to kill someone, the verb of the root misah is used, usually in the form "v'heimis." This is because it is considered killing but not murdering. Here, however, the verb veratzach is used, the same root as the commandment, "lo sirtzach," do not murder. He explains that even according to the opinion that it is a mitzvah to kill the killer, it is not an obligation but only a mitzvah if he does it. It is his choice. Therefore, it is referred to by the Torah, whether it is a mitzvah or not, as murdering.

 

It is interesting to note, that the part of the parsha dealing with the willful murderer (meizid) states that the relative of the victim shall kill the murderer and there the word "yamis" is used. According to the explanation of R' Chaim, it would suggest that in this instance, it is in fact an obligation for the relative to kill the murderer. 


Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka
WeeklyShtikle@weeklyshtikle.com

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:

Dikdukian: The Cold has Passed

Dikdukian: Watch out for those Mapiks!

Dikdukian: The Interrogative

Al Pi Cheshbon: Splitting up the Animals


Please visit the new portal for all Shtikle-related sites, 
www.weeklyshtikle.com

The Weekly Shtikle and related content are now featured on BaltimoreJewishLife.com