The Shabbos Table – V’Zos HaBrachah: R’ Y. Sacks Shlita: Koach HaTefilah vs. Gevuras Hashem
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
-MY BROTHER: MENACHEM MENDEL SHLOMO BEN CHAYA ROCHEL
-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.)
“Koach HaTefilah vs. Gevuras Hashem”
Koach HaTefilah (March 31, 2020 – During COVID-19)
Moshe Died “On that Very Day”
In the final Parsha of the Torah, Parshas V’Zos HaBrachah, we learn of the Misas (death of) Moshe Rabbeinu. In connection to the passing of Moshe Rabbeinu, Parshas Ha’azinu relates that Moshe Rabbeinu ascended Har Nevo where indeed he would die by the word of Hashem. There, Rashi picks up on the Torah’s framing of Hashem’s instruction to Moshe, “Vayidabeir Hashem El Moshe B’Etzem HaYom HaZeh Leimor”-“And Hashem spoke to Moshe on that very day (בְּעֶ֛צֶם הַיּ֥וֹם הַזֶּ֖ה) saying” (Devarim 32:48).
Three Times – “B’Etzem HaYom HaZeh”
Rashi cites from the Midrash (Sifrei 32:47) three instances where the Torah uses this phrase, “B’Etzem HaYom HaZeh”-“On that very day” / “in the midst of the day” (בְּעֶ֛צֶם הַיּ֥וֹם הַזֶּ֖ה). (*There are in fact more than three occurrences of this phrase in the Torah, however this Midrash focuses on the following three narratives).
The Torah uses this very phrase at the time that Noach entered the Teivah (Bereishis 7:13).
2. Yetzias Mitzrayim
The Torah uses it again when the B’nei Yisrael secured their Cheirus (“freedom”) (Shemos 12:51).
Bonus: Milas Avraham Avinu
Although Rashi does not cite this example, when Avraham performed Bris Milah, he did so “B’Etzem HaYom HaZeh” (Bereishis 17:26).
3. Misas Moshe Rabbeinu
And finally, once again, we have the phrase in reference to the passing of Moshe Rabbeinu. What is the significance of this phrase, “B’Etzem HaYom HaZeh”?
Indicator of Gevuras Hashem
In each instance, Rashi explains that the phrase “B’Etzem HaYom HaZeh” is indicative of the Gevuras Hashem, that to demonstrate His power and might, Hashem acted in the very midst of the day itself, for all to see. When it comes, for example, to Noach. The entire generation laughed at Noach and even went a step further and attempted to smash the Teivah. However, Hashem saw to it that Noach entered the Teivah.
And the same was true for Yetzias Mitzrayim. An Eved had never been able to escape Mitzrayim until it was revealed to the Mitzrim that the B’nei Yisrael would be leaving en masse. One might have thought that they would have to sneak out in the darkness of night, and yet they marched out in broad daylight while the Mitzrim were rendered impotent, demonstrating once again, the Gevuras Hashem.
The same, the Midrash explains, is true when it comes to the Milah of Avraham Avinu. Avraham was preparing to enter a Bris with HaKadosh Baruch Hu. Those around him attempted to prevent him from performing Bris Milah. Therefore, the Milah ultimately occurred through a sense of Gevurah, “B’Etzem HaYom HaZeh.”
The question is what Gevurah did Hashem manifest during the Misas Moshe Rabbeinu? The Midrash relates that this occurred before the eyes of the B’nei Yisrael who obviously were not prepared to watch Moshe die. Therefore, Hashem decreed that Moshe’s passing take place “B’Etzem HaYom HaZeh,” that no one would prevent his death.
Not Like the Others – How Could Klal Yisrael Prevent Misas Moshe Rabbeinu?
However, R’ Chaim Shmulewitz and the Brisker Rav ask how it is that we could compare Misas Moshe Rabbeinu to the other instances. We could understand that Hashem had to demonstrate His Gevurah, for example, against the Dor HaMabul and against the Mitzrim. But, why did Hashem need to display Gevurah during the Misas Moshe Rabbeinu? Misah is clearly B’Yad Hashem. How was it that the B’nei Yisrael could prevent the death of Moshe Rabbeinu?
The Brisker Rav and Sefer Nachalas Yaakov suggest that perhaps the B’nei Yisrael would have prevented Moshe from ascending Har Nevo, as Hashem instructed Moshe “U’Mus BaHar”-“and die on the mountain” (Devarim 32:50). If Moshe’s death was conditional upon his ascent to Har Nevo, perhaps then, although they could not have controlled Chaim (life) and Muves (death), perhaps Moshe’s ascent, they could have prevented.
The Most Potent Koach
R’ Chaim Shmulewitz and Be’er HaSadeh, however, suggest that, in fact, Klal Yisrael could have prevented the death of Moshe Rabbeinu. They had at their disposal a powerful weapon so potent, that just as a person could smash a Teivah with a sledgehammer, and a nation could physically withhold a slave from escaping, the B’nei Yisrael had a Koach HaTefilah which could have prevented the outcome of Moshe’s death. That is why Hashem needed to manifest extra Gevurah on that very day.
We have to revere not just the obligation, the privilege of Tefilah, to Daven with a sense of earnestness and Kavanas HaLeiv.
*May we all be Zocheh to capitalize on Koach HaTefilah, to break through the Gevuras Hashem and unlock Rachamei Shamayim in the ultimate form with the coming of the Geulah in the times of Moshiach, Bimheirah Biyomeinu! Have a wonderful Shabbos / Simchas Torah!