Vort from the Rav

Vort from the Rav: Ha’azinu

(Excerpt from Chumash Mesoras Harav) Devarim 32:17 צוּר יְלָדְךָ תֶּשִׁי – You forgot the [Mighty] Rock Who bore you. We are all included in God’s existence, and His conscious­ness encompasses all our separate existences. Maimonides devotes a chapter in his Guide for the Perplexed (1:16) to an examination of the term “rock”:  It is a term denoting a hard stone, ...

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Vort from the Rav: Vayelech

(Excerpt from Chumash Mesoras Harav) Devarim 31:19 וְעַתָּה כִּתְבוּ לָכֶם אֶת הַשִּׁירָה הַזֹּאת  – And now, write for yourselves this song. Based on these words, Maimonides (Hilchos Sefer Torah 7:1) rules that one must commit to writing not only the song of Ha’azinu, but all five Books of Moses: Write the Torah that contains this song. In fact, the whole ...

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Vort from the Rav: Nitzavim

(Excerpt from Chumash Mesoras Harav) Devarim 29:13 כִּי אֶת אֲשֶׁר יֶשְׁנוֹ פֹּה עִמָּנוּ עֹמֵד הַיּוֹם…וְאֵת אֲשֶׁר אֵינֶנּוּ פֹּה עִמָּנוּ הַיּוֹם  – but with those standing here with us today…and [also] with those who are not here with us, this day. Grandfathers and grandchildren, though members of different generations, are part of one fraternity—the mesorah community. Jews of the past, pres­ent, ...

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Vort from the Rav: Ki Savo

(Excerpt from Chumash Mesoras Harav) Devarim 26:13 וְאָמַרְתָּ לִפְנֵי הֹ’ אֱלֹהֶיךָ  – Then you shall say before the Lord, your God. This formula is known as vidui ma’asros, the confession of the tithes. Prima facie, the title “confession” is not fitting for this parashah. We know what confession stands for: we confess that we have sinned, transgressed, erred. Yom Kippur ...

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Vort from the Rav: Ki Seitzei

Devarim 21:23 לֹא תָלִין נִבְלָתוֹ עַל הָעֵץ כִּי קָבוֹר תִּקְבְּרֶנּוּ בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא – But you shall not leave his body on the tree overnight. Rather, you shall bury him on that [same] day. Tzedakah pertains only to a living organism; tzedakah simply cannot be done for the deceased. Accordingly, if one encounters an unclaimed corpse, his obligation to bury it ...

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Vorts from the Rav: Re’eh

(Excerpt from Chumash Mesoras Harav) Devarim 12:12 וּשְׂמַחְתֶּם לִפְנֵי הֹ’ אֱלֹהֵיכֶם And you shall rejoice before the Lord, your God. This phrase suggests that when one is in the presence of God, there is joy. God’s presence must be a constant experience in our lives. Though we can neither see nor hear Him, each Jew must still experience the presence ...

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Vort from the Rav: Ekev

(Excerpt from Chumash Mesoras Harav) Devarim 8:11 הִשָּׁמֶר לְךָ פֶּן תִּשְׁכַּח אֶת הֹ’ אֱלֹהֶיךָ – Beware that you do not forget the Lord, your God. The context of the mitzvah of Birkas Hamazon indicates the nature of the mitzvah—the Torah doesn’t require man to thank God; rather, the Torah warns man lest he forget God. The purpose of Birkas Hamazon is ...

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Vort from the Rav: Vaeschanan

(Excerpt from Chumash Mesoras Harav. The entire commentary on Va’eschanan is available here.) Devarim 4:9-10 וְהוֹדַעְתָם לְבָנֶיךָ וְלִבְנֵי בָנֶיךָ…יוֹם אֲשֶר עָמַדְתָ לִפְנֵי הֹ’ אֱלֹהֶיךָ בְחֹרֵב – and you shall make them known to your children and to your children’s children…the day you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb. Torah study involves awe and fear, as described in the ...

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Vort from the Rav: Devarim

(Excerpt from Chumash Mesoras Harav) Devarim 1:17 כַּקָּטֹן כַּגָּדֹל תִּשְׁמָעוּן – you shall hear the small just as the great. Based on this verse, Resh Lakish rules (Sanhedrin 8a), This indicates that you must be as concerned with a lawsuit concerning one perutah as with a suit concerning a hundred maneh. The Talmud’s question there is interesting: For what prac­tical ...

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Vort from the Rav: Nitzavim-Vayeilekh

Devarim 30:12 לֹא בַשָּׁמַיִם הִוא It is not in heaven Halachic Man does not stand and waits for the revelation of the truth and inspiration by the spirit. He does not search out transcendental, ecstatic paroxysms, frenzied experiences that whisper intimations of another world into his ears. He does not require any miracles or wonders in order to understand the ...

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