Thursday, September 20, 2012

Vayeilech & Shabbat Shuva

The Torah Portion of Vayeilech 


"And Moshe went..." (Devorim 31:1)

The Tirgum Yonatan says that Moshe went to the place of study -- to Yeshiva.  The Baal HaTurim says that he went to the Patriarchs to tell them that Hashem fulfilled his oath that Israel will enter the Land.

"And Moshe called Yehoshua and said to him before the eyes of all Yisrael, 'Be strong and be courageous'..." (Devorim 31:7)

The last words of the Torah are "before the eyes of all Yisrael" (Devorim 34:12).  After finishing the Torah we need to strengthen ourselves and to begin anew.

"Gather together the people -- the men, and the women, and the small children...."  Devorim (31:12)

The Sages say, why do the small children come?  It is in order to give reward to those who bring them.  It has been asked, if the parents all come to the Temple certainly they will take the small children with them anyway, because how could they leave them?  But the explanation of the text is that the Holy One Blessed Be He wanted that they would have a Mitzvah  (and therefore a reward) to bring them, and therefore He commanded to do so.  

"And I will surely conceal My face..." Devorim (31:18)

It is told about a particular Tzaddik (Righteous Man) that he saw his grandson crying, and asked him "Why are you crying?"  The grandson told him that he was playing with his friends and hiding just like the other children that play hide-and-seek, but no one came to look for him, and that's a sign that he isn't worth anything to his friends.  The Tzaddik also started to cry, and he said, "Also Hashem hides His face and cries", as it is written "In hidden places my soul cries" (Yirmiyahu 13:17), and why?  Because "No is inquiring and no one is requesting" (Yechezkel 34:6).


"Return, Israel, to Hashem Elokecha, because you have stumbled in your iniquity."  (Hoshea 14:2)

Why does the Prophet need to say "because you have stumbled in your iniquity"?  Isn't it clear when he said "Return, Israel", that you have stumbled in your iniquity?  However, what the Prophet meant when he said this to Israel, is that if you had been precautious not to stumble in any sins, then it would be clear that you would not be stumbling in any transgressions -- even accidentally or under duress.  And this is why the Prophet seems to repeat himself and says "because you have stumbled in your iniquity".  The reason that you need to repent is because you have already stumbled in your inquity, and that is what has brought you to sin again in transgressions that you did not even know were transgressions.  And therefore we also confess "On the sin which we sinned before you by mistake, on the sin which we sinned before you under duress", because also these types of transgressions are thought of as sins.  (from the Gr"a)

"Return, Israel, to Hashem Elokecha, because you have stumbled in your iniquity." (Hoshea 14:2)

From this verse, Rabbi Levi said, great is repentance which reaches the Throne of Glory (Yoma 86a).  It has been asked, why did Rabbi Levi need to bring a proof from the Prophet?  Isn't there a verse which specifies this in the Torah, "You will return to Hashem Elokecha..." (Devorim 4:30)?  The explanation is that our Rabbis said (in Yoma 86a) regarding the one who repents from love, his willful sins are turned into merits, but the one who repents from fear, his willful sins are made into sins that he did by mistake.  And in truth, if we were to study only the verse "You will return to Hashem Elokecha..." (Devorim 4:30), we would think that only in the case of sins which were done by mistake does repentance reach the Throne of Glory, but in the case of sins which were done willfully that repentance does not reach the Throne of Glory.  But now, when we are studying the verse from the Prophet, "Return, Israel, to Hashem Elokecha, because you have stumbled in your iniquity" (Hoshea 14:2), the significance of this is that even for sins that were done willfully, if a man returns in repentance, we see that his repentance reaches until the Throne of Glory.

The Torah Portion of Vayeilech has 30 verses.  2 positive commandments.Haftora: "Shuva Yisrael"  (Hoshea 14). 

L'ilui Neshamat HaGaon HaTzaddik R' Gershon Avigdor Ben Chaim ztz"l

The initial letters (Roshei Teivot) of the year 5773 in Hebrew are Tav Shin Ayin Gimel, and these stand for: "T'hay Sh'nat Ait Geula", May it be a year which is the time of redemption.

May you all have a  light-filled and happy Shabbat.  Shabbat Shalom.G'mar Chatima Tova -- May You Be Sealed for a Good Year.

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