The Weekly Shtikle Blog

An online forum for sharing thoughts and ideas relating to the Parshas HaShavua

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Friday, September 17

The Weekly Shtikle - Ha'azinu

The Weekly Shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmas my father, Reuven Pinchas ben Chaim Yaakov, a"h.

 

The Weekly Shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmas my Oma, Chaya Sara bas Zecharia Chaim, a"h.

 

The poetry that makes up most of this week's parsha begins with a call to the heavens and the earth to bear witness to the words of Moshe to follow. Immediately thereafter, Moshe proclaims, (32:2) "ya'arof kamatar likchi, tizal katal imrasi, kis'irim alei deshe, vechirvivim alei eisev." In short, this pasuk compares his words to the rain, the dew, and the wind. I wish to focus only on the last half of the pasuk. Rashi explains se'irim to be winds and revivim as rain drops. He further explains that deshe refers to a general covering of grass while the word eisev refers to individual blades.

It would seem to follow from Rashi that the pairing of se'irim with deshe and revivim with eisev is quite logical. Wind is a phenomenon consisting of a single unit and cannot be broken down into smaller parts as there are no "pieces" or "drops" of wind. Thus, it is applied to deshe which refers to the general covering of grass, viewed as a single unit as well. The revivim, which are individual raindrops, are applied to the eisev, the individual blades of grass.

I believe there is a symbolism behind these two metaphors. Rashi explains that just as the winds strengthen the grass, so too, the words of the Torah strengthen those who learn them and help them grow. This pasuk is conveying to us the nurturing powers of Torah. Therefore, we may explain that the pasuk is teaching us the far-reaching benefits of Torah for K'lal Yisrael on a collective level, as symbolized by se'irim and deshe, as well as the sustenance it provides for each and every one of us on an individual level, as symbolized by the revivim and eisev.

Eliezer Bulka

WeeklyShtikle@weeklyshtikle.com

 

Weekly Shtikle Blog Roundup:

Dikdukian: HAL

Daily Leaf:

.י"ד Word Play

:ט"ז Forgot Again


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

 

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Friday, September 3

The Weekly Shtikle - Nitzavim / Rosh HaShanah

The Weekly Shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmas my father, Reuven Pinchas ben Chaim Yaakov, a"h.

 

The Weekly Shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmas my Oma, Chaya Sara bas Zecharia Chaim, a"h.

 

One of the themes of this week's parsha is that of teshuvah, repentance, a perfect preparation for the days ahead. After the pesukim dealing with the harsh punishments of the man, woman, family or tribe who "goes his own way," we are told of all the good that is bestowed upon us when we return to HaShem.

 

Perek 30 begins, "And it shall be when these things come upon you, the blessings and the curses which I have put before you...And you shall return to HaShem, your God." It is common, especially at this time, to look back and reflect on recent tragedies - those that affect us personally or as a nation more directly, such as the passing of a loved one or the trials and tribulations endured by our brethren in Eretz Yisrael, and those that might seem to affect us less directly, such as various world events - and try to understand it as HaShem's call for us to do teshuvah. I confidently speak on my own behalf and on behalf of everyone else when I say that we have certainly had a fair share of these difficult times over the course of the past year. It is certainly not uncommon for such events to be invoked in a Rosh HaShanah or Shabbas Shuva drasha.

 

I am not coming to discount this practice. However, there is a small yet important nuance in the above passage that might easily be overlooked in this process. It is not merely the curses - the tragedies and misfortunes - that are meant to be catalysts to our repentance. The berachah, the blessings and the good fortune are meant to serve the same purpose. It is simply insufficient to look back at the tough times that befell us, either personally or nationally, and declare "God was telling us something." We must also reflect upon the wonderful blessings we have enjoyed, for He was telling us something then too. Appreciating the love and the Divine Providence with which our lives are governed, can and should lead us to teshuvah just the same. Many might find this idea significantly more difficult this year than in others. Nevertheless, it behooves us to rise to this challenge.

 

Have a good Shabbos and a kesivah vachasimah tovah.

Eliezer Bulka
WeeklyShtikle@weeklyshtikle.com

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:

Dikdukian: Name of the parsha

Daily Leaf:ביצה - What is your name?

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

 

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