This D’var Torah should be a Zechus L’Ilui Nishmas my sister, Kayla Rus Bas Bunim Tuvia A”H, my maternal grandfather Dovid Tzvi Ben Yosef Yochanan A”H, my maternal grandfather Dovid Tzvi Ben Yosef Yochanan A”H, my paternal grandfather Moshe Ben Yosef A”H, my paternal grandmother Channah Freidel Bas Avraham A”H, my uncle Reuven Nachum Ben Moshe & my great aunt Rivkah Sorah Bas Zev Yehuda HaKohein,
It should also be in Zechus L’Refuah Shileimah for:
-My father Bunim Tuvia Ben Channa Freidel
-My grandmother Shulamis Bas Etta
-MY BROTHER: MENACHEM MENDEL SHLOMO BEN CHAYA ROCHEL
-HaRav Shlomo Ben Shayna Zelda
-Mordechai Shlomo Ben Sarah Tili
-Noam Shmuel Ben Simcha
_R’ Simcha Yitzchak Ben Mirela Yudka
-Chaya Rochel Ettel Bas Shulamis
-And all of the Cholei Yisrael, especially those suffering from COVID-19 and the Meiron tragedy.
-It should also be a Z’chus for an Aliyah of the holy Neshamos of HaRav HaGa’on V’Sar HaTorah Shmaryahu Yosef Chaim Ben HaRav Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky A”H, Dovid Avraham Ben Chiya Kehas—R’ Dovid Winiarz ZT”L, Miriam Liba Bas Aharon—Rebbetzin Weiss A”H, as well as the Neshamos of those whose lives were taken by terrorists (Hashem Yikom Damam), COVID-19, and the Meiron tragedy.
-It should also be a Z’chus for success for Tzaha”l as well as the rest of Am Yisrael, in Eretz Yisrael and in the Galus.
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Parsha Paradise/פרשה פרדס – V’Zos HaBrachah: “תּוֹרָה צִוָּה־לָנוּ מֹשֶׁה מוֹרָשָׁה קְהִלַּת יַעֲקֹֽב” – Why Does Moshe Talk about Himself in Third Person? / Why Must Every Child Know this Pasuk? 📜
In one of the single most famous Pesukim in the entire Torah, Moshe Rabbeinu declares “Torah Tzivah Lanu Moshe Morashah Kehilas Yaakov”-“Moshe commanded to us the Torah, a heritage of the congregation of Yaakov” [Devarim 33:4].
A very innocent and obvious question that perhaps we have never asked is why Moshe refers to himself in the third person.
Perhaps we have never considered the question due to the fact that we have taken the words of this Pasuk for granted since we have known it by heart with a melody since we were children, as in fact, Chazal teach that once a child begins speaking, his father should teach him this very Pasuk [Succah 42B]. That being the case, it is perhaps also fair that we ask: Why must we teach our kids this Pasuk?
And since we have taken these words for granted, perhaps we have also never wondered why Moshe refers to us here as “Kehilas Yaakov,” the congregation of Yaakov and not as “Am Yisrael,” the nation of Israel.
Who is really the speaker of the words, “Torah Tzivah Lanu Moshe”? It sounds like it should be the B’nei Yisrael who declares these words, but until this point, the speaker had been Moshe Rabbeinu, which again, is strange, because he refers to himself in the third person when he says that Moshe “commanded us the Torah.”
Or HaChaim explains that this Pasuk is juxtaposed to the previous one which indicates that the Moshe was communicating a declaration that the B’nei Yisrael would eventually make; “אַ֚ף חֹבֵ֣ב עַמִּ֔ים כָּל־קְדשָׁ֖יו בְּיָדֶ֑ךָ וְהֵם֙ תֻּכּ֣וּ לְרַגְלֶ֔ךָ יִשָּׂ֖א מִדַּבְּרֹתֶֽיךָ”-“Indeed, Lover of (alt., You love) nations; all his holy ones are in Your hand, for they let themselves be centered at Your feet, declaiming Your utterances.” In other words, Moshe announced that the B’nei Yisrael would declare that he, Moshe, commanded them the Torah which is a heritage for the congregation of Yaakov. Why would they declare this?
Ramban explains that the B’nei Yisrael would declare this sentiment and thereby remember the Torah forever, to inherit it and never allow it to be forgotten from their mouths. Ramban adds [based on Midrash Tehilim 1] that Moshe specified “Kehilas Yaakov” and not “Beis Yaakov” or “Zera Yaakov” to suggest that anyone who joins and congregates with Yaakov tand cleaves with Hashem too will be able to inherit the Torah.
Chazal derive a famous Remez in the name of R’ Simlai from the statement that “Torah Tzivah Lanu Moshe,” noting that Torah equals 611 in Gematria, to suggest that Moshe taught 611/613 Mitvos, as the “other two” were taught directly from Hashem Himself, namely, the first two of the Aseres HaDibros [Makkos 23B].
Ba’al HaTurim points out that the word “Morashah”-“heritage” only appears twice in Tanach, once here and once concerning Eretz Yisrael, “V’Nasati Osah Lachem Morashah”-“And I will give it to you as a heritage,” to suggest that the heritage of Eretz Yisrael is contingent upon the heritage of Torah, that only if we are steadfast in our Torah observance will be able to have the Holy Land as our heritage. In this vein, Ba’al HaTurim reminds us of another Drashah from Chazal that the Torah (and Israel) are referred to as a “Morashah,” a heritage, and not a “Yerushah,” inheritance, to suggest that we must actively acquire the Torah ourselves. This, explains, Ba’al HaTurim is why Moshe refers to us as the Kehilah of “Yaakov,” as Yaakov was the one who was described as “Yosheiv Ohalim,” sitting in the tents of Torah, thus we find similarly, “Mah Tovu Ohalecha Yaakov.” (Perhaps “Yisrael” isn’t wholly associated with Torah study as the name Yisrael actually implies a fusion between the physical world and spiritual world; “Yaakov” represents undiluted Torah study).
We can now begin to understand why Chazal instructed us to teach this Pasuk to our children. Ben Yehoyada [Succah 42B] suggests a plethora of explanations for this instruction, but among them, suggests another answer to why Moshe refers to us as a “Kehilah” and not just a nation (Am) or a household (Beis). A “Kehilah” or a “K’hal,” literally, a congregation or gathering implies not just the adults, but even the children. (Think of the Mitzvah of “Hak’heil” which requires us to bring even the children to hear the words of Torah.)
Chazal have several other Drashos based on the re-reading of the word “Morashah” as “Me’orasah,” literally, a betrothed girl (i.e. a Na’arah HaMe’orasah). For example, Chazal learn that one who sees himself in a dream engaged in intimacy with a Na’arah HaMe’orasah should anticipate engagement in Torah which is likened to one’s betrothed wife [Brachos 57A]. Chazal also teach that one who loudly engages in Torah learning in a condescending one in front of a Jewish ignoramus causing him sadness is likened to a person who cohabits with the person’s betrothed wife in front of him [Pesachim 49B]; instead, he would be better to educate and not withhold Torah from his fellow Jew, as one who does so is considered as though he is stealing the “Morashah,” the heritage, of his fellow [Sanhedrin 91B]. Finally, a idolater who engages in Talmud Torah is likened to one who cohabits with a Jew’s betrothed wife [Sanhedrin 59A].
Why is it that the Torah is compared to a “Na’arah HaMe’orasah,” a girl who is merely betrothed in the first stage of marriage, and not a Nesuah, a full-fledged wife? (Granted, the Drashah is based on the wordplay and phonetic similarities to “Morashah,” but is that all it is?)
Reishis Chochmah [Sha’ar Kedushah 7:47] describes an unfortunate scenario of an individual who does not give of his time to the Torah; one who truly loves and desires the Torah will lose sleep over it. But, when one neglects the Torah, explains the Reishis Chochmah explains, the Torah itself cries out against him, the husband who neglected her; similarly, Hashem, the “Father-in-law,” cries out against him, the son-in-law who neglected His daughter, the Holy Torah. In this vein, Reishis Chochmah cites the Zohar who compares the Torah to a Bas Melech, a princess, and reminds us that the Torah is compared to the Na’arah HaMe’orasah, the wife to whom we owe a debt of “Onah,” literally, time for intimacy.
Perhaps it is specifically for this reason that Torah is compared to a “betrothed” girl and not a full-fledged wife; similar to the comparison between the Torah and heritage as opposed to an inheritance, the Torah is not just something that falls into our lap. Just as we have to extent ourselves to fully acquire the Torah, we are not fully married to the Torah until we engage in Nesu’in, the second stage of marriage, to give our Onah, our time of intimacy with the Torah, to learn it and engage in it with love.
We should be Zocheh to be a part of the holy Kehilas Yaakov, engaging in Talmud Torah, teaching it to ourselves and our children forever, being intimate with Hashem and His Torah, worthy of Geulah and the coming of Moshiach, Bimheirah Biyomeinu! Have a Gut Kvitel/Piska Tovah, a Gut Yom Tov, a Sh’mini Chag HaAtzeres Samei’ach, and a Simchas Torah Samei’ach!
-Yehoshua Shmuel Eisenberg