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ויתעבר ד' בי למענכם

But Hashem became angry with me, because of you. (3:26)

Moshe Rabbeinu’s address to Klal Yisrael is enigmatic. Our quintessential leader was not one to share with the people what appear to be his personal issues concerning not being allowed to enter Eretz Yisrael. He erred, and Hashem did not forgive him. Indeed, why did Hashem not forgive Moshe? Incredibly, according to the Midrash, he offered five hundred and fifteen supplications to Hashem! Moshe knew how to pray. Yet, his prayers were not accepted. Moshe said to Hashem: “I spent so much time and trouble to inspire Klal Yisrael to be faithful, to believe and to observe. It was not…

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אנכי ד' אלקיך אשר הוצאתיך מארץ מצרים

I am Hashem, your G-d, Who took you out of Egypt. (5:6)

In his Bais Elokim (Shaar Hayesodos 12), the Mabit observes that the first five Dibros/Commandments, which were on the right side of the Luchos, address mitzvos which are bein adam laMakom, between man and Hashem. The five commandments on the left side address mitzvos bein adam la’chaveiro, between man and fellow man. Interestingly, the commandments which relate to mitzvos between man and G-d are textually much longer than those which are bein adam la’chaveiro. Three of these are comprised of two words. He explains that, while each letter of the commandments has great cosmic significance [there are 620 letters in…

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כבד את אביך ואת אמך

Honor your father and your mother. (5:16)

The Luchos, Ten Commandments, are divided into two parts: bein adam la’Makom, between man and G-d; bein adam la’chaveiro, between man and fellowman. The fifth commandment, the mitzvah to honor one’s parents, almost appears misplaced, since it is included among the dibros bein adam la’Makom, when, in fact, one may argue that respect for parents, according them pleasure and satisfaction, belongs among the dibros bein adam la’chaveiro. Upon perusing the commentary of the Rishonim, we note that this is actually the case. The Sefer HaChinuch writes that among the shoroshei hamitzvah, root/origin of the mitzvah, is to teach a person…

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ואהבת את ד' אלקיך בכל לבבך ובכל נפשך ובכל מאודך

You shall love Hashem, Your G-d, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your possessions. (6:5)

B’chol nafshecha, “with all your soul”: Afilu Hu noteil es nafshecha, “Even if He takes your soul.” According to the Mizrachi, this means that a person should be willing to give up his life for the sanctification of Hashem’s Name – when the situation warrants it. Eimek HaNetziv explains this as an enjoinment for one to feel a sense of love from Hashem even if his life is being taken for His sake. Horav Don Segal, zl, notes that Rashi uses the word noteil (es nafshecha), takes (your soul), rather than titein (you), give. He explains that while giving up…

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ואתם הדבקים בד' אלקיכם חיים כלכם היום... ושמרתם ועשיתם כי היא חכמתכם ובינתכם... ככל התורה הזאת

But you who cling to Hashem, your G-d – you are alive today… you shall safeguard and perform them, for it is your wisdom and discernment… as this is the Torah. (4:4,6,8)

We have been bequeathed an incredible gift: the Torah. It is the source of our wisdom, understanding, character refinement, religious observance; indeed, it is chaim kulchem hayom, our life – today – and every day. Without Torah in its entirety we are lost. We may not accept the Torah piecemeal in accordance with our comfort zone. That is not Torah. It is everything – or else it is simply intellectual knowledge. It is a life source only when it is imbibed, seen, studied, understood and observed. What about someone who has had little opportunity to learn or has started late?…

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כי קל רחום ד' אלקיך לא ירפך ולא ישחתך

For Hashem, your G-d, is a merciful G-d, He will not abandon you nor destroy you. (4:31)

Lo yarpecha, “He will not loosen His hold on you.” Rashi adds, “From holding onto you with His Hands… He will not separate you from being next to Him.” Hashem will never let go of us. Great! So, why are so many people lost in a spiritual maze, floundering, alone, without direction, with little to no faith? Is He still holding on? Horav Shlomo Wolbe, zl, derives a frightening lesson from Rashi. Hashem holds on to us with both Hands. He never lets go/abandons a Jew. How is it possible for a Jew to disengage from Hashem? Only one way:…

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אנכי ד' אלקיך אשר הוצאתיך מארץ מצרים

I am Hashem, your G-d, Who has taken you out of the land of Egypt. (5:6)

The Aseres HaDibros, Ten Commandments, the foundation of the entire Torah, begins with these words.. The Shlah HaKadosh writes that the Aseres HaDibros is comprised of 620 words, of which 613 correspond to the taryag, 613, mitzvos. And the last seven correspond to the seven mitzvos d’Rabbanan, Rabbinic mitzvos (berachos; Shabbos candles; eiruv; netilas yadayim; Chanukah; Purim; Hallel). Horav Elimelech Biderman, Shlita, suggests that the final words, v’chol asher l’reicha, “And everything that belongs to your fellow” (regarding the prohibition of, Lo sachmod, “Do not covet”), is a summary of the entire Torah. V’chol asher l’reiecha means that one is…

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כבד את אביך ואת ואמך כאשר צוך ד' אלקיך

Honor your father and mother, as Hashem, your God, commanded you. (5:16)

One would think that honoring parents is a logical mitzvah which requires no specific command from Hashem. It should be the result of overwhelming gratitude to parents for all that they do to nurture and support their children. In his Haaemek Davar commentary to the Torah, the Netziv, zl, notes that there are circumstances (including difficult children) in which hakoras hatov, gratitude, is sadly not a primary focus in life, when a child feels that respecting parents is a stretch beyond which they can tolerate. Let us face it: not all parents are perfect; neither are all children; not all…

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לא תנסו את ד' אלקיכם

You shall not test Hashem. (6:17)

One does not test Hashem to see whether He will fulfill His promises, because we are clueless as to the workings of the Divine. So many factors are included in the Heavenly calculations of which we are unaware. It is ludicrous to second-guess the Almighty, since we know so little of the true past and even less of the future – all of which are factored into everyone’s reward and punishment. There is one mitzvah, however, explains Horav Shimshon Pincus, zl, that we are allowed — nay, encouraged — to test Hashem: tzedakah, Maaser/tithe/charity. The Navi Malachi (3:10) quotes Hashem…

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אז יבדיל משה שלש ערים בעבר הירדן

Then Moshe set aside three cities on the bank of the Jordan. (4:41)

The parshah of the arei miklat, cities of refuge, which Moshe Rabbeinu designated, seems to be misplaced. Up until now, Moshe has been rebuking Klal Yisrael, reminding them of their special relationship with Hashem, and informing them of the consequences of straying from this relationship. Later, in Perek 5, he exhorts them to listen to the Torah and to observe its precepts. He then underscores this admonition with a presentation of the Revelation at Har Sinai and repeating the Aseres HaDibros, Ten Commandments. Nestled in between the earlier rebuke, and later presentation and encouragement to follow the mitzvos, is the…

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