The Shabbos Table – Ha’azinu: R’ Y. Sacks Shlita: “Not Empty”

This D’var Torah should be a Zechus L’Ilui Nishmas my mother Chaya Rochel Bas Dovid Tzvi (Hareini Kaparas Mishkavah), 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


-Mordechai Shlomo Ben Sarah Tili

-Noam Shmuel Ben Simcha

_R’ Simcha Yitzchak Ben Mirela Yudka

-Chaya Rochel Ettel Bas Shulamis

-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 other tragedies.

-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.






Be”H, I will be translating / transcribing / paraphrasing Divrei Torah of my Rebbi, HaGaon R’ Yonason Avner Sacks Shlita. (Any inaccuracies, whether added, misrepresented, or due to omission and/or points lost in translation or context should be attributed to me alone. * = My addition.)






“Not Empty”



Based on:

Parshas Vayeilech (2023, 5783)



“This Song”


In Parshas Vayeilech, Hashem commanded Moshe Rabbeinu (Devarim 31:19), “V’Atoh Kisvu Lachem Es HaShirah HaZos”-“And now, write for yourselves this song,” which, according to the Pashut P’shat and most M’forshim, is a reference to the song of our Parsha, Shiras Ha’azinu. And yet, many M’forshim derive from this Pasuk the Mitzvah for one to write an entire Sefer Torah.

How does one make the leap to understand this Mitzvah as a reference to the composition of an entire Torah? More precisely, explains the Rambam (Hilchos Sefer Torah U’Mezuzos 7:1), the Mitzvah is to compose Shiras Ha’azinu, however, since one may not write down portions of Torah separately, one must write an entire Sefer Torah.



Sefer Torah, B’Derech Agav (by way of…)


The implication of the Rambam is that, really, the Mitzvah is only to write Shiras Ha’azinu, but that everything else needed to be included in order to write this portion. In other words, the imperative to write a Sefer Torah is only “by way of…” Sha’agas Aryeih (Teshuvos 34, 35, 36) suggests such a Chiddush, that indeed, if B’di-Eved (after the fact), one were to write only Shiras Ha’azinu, or to write a Sefer Torah which contained some Pesul (disqualifying feature) in the balance, but that Parshas Ha’azinu was in tact, that one would nonetheless fulfill the Mitzvah of composing “this song.”

Was that the intention of the Rambam, or is the Mitzvah perhaps referring more specifically and intrinsically to the entirety of the Torah?



The Totality of Toras Hashem


Sefer HaEshkol writes that, in fact, the Torah specifies the purpose of composing Ha’azinu, that the song must serve as en Eidus, a testament to the entire Torah. The Mabit (Beis Elokim, Sha’ar HaTeshuvah, 17) and the Netziv (Hakdamah to Ha’Eimek Davar, 3) as well explain that “HaShirah HaZos” (“this Song”) refers specifically to the entire Torah, based on the Gemara in Nedarim (38A) that seems to explicitly state that the Pasuk refers to the entire Torah because the end of this Pasuk states that the Torah will be a witness that Hashem gave B’nei Yisrael the Mitzvos and entered a covenant with us where we were warned that we would be held accountable if we would neglect to fulfill the Torah.

The question is why the entirety of Torah should he referred to as “HaShirah HaZos” (“this Song”). (*We will offer one of Rebbi’s explanation here.)



Poetry, Not Prose


The Netziv explains further that the fact that the Torah is referred to, in its entirety, as a Shirah tells us that the Torah must be read as poetry and not prose (ordinary speech). Poetry by definition has deeper, expansive meaning. It must be read with depth. In other words, one cannot be satisfied with the basic understanding of the p’sukim or the “Pashut P’shat”; one must delve into the depths of the Torah and examine every nuance in each letter, so as to be able to reveal the Drash (exegetical read) of each Pasuk.

This is why Chazal always attempt to link Mitzvos D’Rabbanan to Pesukim by way of Asmachtos (allusion) and why it is often the case that Mitzvos D’Rabbanan with Asmachtos are more Chamur (stringent) than others. Indeed, Rashi Sotah (49A) says that the greatest Kavod to the Torah is that we have the ability and are M’dakdeik (precise) in every nuance of the Torah, to Darshan even the Tagin and Kotzin, crowns and fine points on each letter, as did Rabbi Akiva.



If it is “Empty”…


*Perhaps, the above could be understood in light of a poignant comment in the Midrash at the end of Parshas Ha’azinu (*often cited by Rebbi). There Moshe cautions the B’nei Yisrael to take the words of this song to heart, “Ki Lo Davar Reik Hu Mikem”-“because it is not an empty matter from you” (Devarim 32:47).

The Midrash comments on that last word, “Mikem”-“from you.” Explains the Midrash (Lekach Tov): Indeed, the Torah is not a “Davar Reik,” an empty matter; but if it appears that it is empty, that is only “Mikem”-“from you,” in other words, it is only a result of the fact that you are lacking, that you are unaware of how to properly expound and Darshan the Toras Hashem.



*May we all be Zocheh to reach the depths of Toras Hashem, be precise in our learning and performance of the nuances of Toras Hashem, and we should feel the precision in nuance Hashem’s Hashgachah over us in full form with the Geulah and the coming of Moshiach, Bimheirah BiYomeinu! Have a wonderful Shabbos Shuvah!