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כי חלק ד' עמו יעקב חבל נחלתו

For Hashem’s portion is His People; Yaakov is the measure of his inheritance. (32:9)

In his commentary to Bereishis (28:12), Ramban explains the message of Yaakov Avinu’s vision of a ladder whose legs were in this world and whose top cap reached into the Heavens. He explains that every aspect of the universe has angels (going up and down) who are Divine agents, dispatched by Hashem to supervise and be involved in the workings of the world and its inhabitants. Hashem stands above the ladder and Himself manipulates everything that involves His children – the Jewish People. This process is called Hashgachah Pratis, Divine Providence.                 The story is told that one day the…

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קל אמונה ואין עול

A G-d of faith without iniquity. (32:4)

Horav Eliyahu Lopian, zl, explains the concept of ein avel, there is no iniquity. Hashem’s judgment is perfect. This means that absolutely everyone who is affected in some way in the ripple effect of the sinner’s punishment, himself deserves some form of punishment. Human judgment does not take the ramifications upon others into its verdict. If someone committed a crime – he must pay – regardless of who may suffer as a result of this verdict. A man is incarcerated for a crime that he unquestionably committed; a person is taken ill, and, as a result of his illness is…

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יערף כמטר לקחי תזל כטל אמרתי... כשעירים עלי דשא וכרביבים עלי עשב

May my teaching drop like the rain… like storm winds upon vegetation, and like raindrops upon blades of grass. (32:2)

The choice of vegetation and grass as metaphors for accepting the Heavenly message begs elucidation. A shirah, song (the song of Haazinu which commences with above pesukim), conveys a message employing the medium of prose/poetry. As such, it uses verses/terms that bespeak significance, that captivate the mind and penetrate the heart and soul. Who does not like a nice lawn? Nonetheless, grass does not play an important role in our lives. Clearly, when seeking to convey an eloquent message, the imagery of grass as the vehicle to communicate the depth of the message leaves somewhat to be desired. The metaphor…

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כי דור תהפוכות המה בנים לא אמון בם

For they are a generation of reversals, children whose upbringing is not in them. (32:20)

Horav Tzvi Hirsch Ferber, zl, adds a practical, sadly common, insight concerning the dor tahapuchos, generation of reversals, when everything is topsy turvy. Veritably, the way of the world should be that a father teaches/sees to his son’s Torah-learning development and focuses on his spiritual growth. Conversely, the son is responsible for the support of his father. As a parent ages, daily work becomes a greater challenge. It is up to the son to arrange for his father’s sustenance and wellbeing. Today, however, it is the other way around. Fathers no longer involve themselves or care about the son’s Jewish…

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זכור ימות עולם בינו שנות דור ודור

Remember the days of yore, understand the years of generation after generation. (32:7)

Moshe Rabbeinu pleads with the Jewish nation to wake up from its self-imposed slumber and ponder the lessons to be gleaned from the past. A refusal to delve into the occurrences of the past and what preceded various adversities, a lack of perspective, has become the basis of much human error. We are blessed with gedolei Torah, Torah sages, whose perspective on the past is honed by a wisdom borne of penetrating analysis of Torah and the wisdom and Divine Assistance that results from such immersion in it. Furthermore, as has been noted by many, we have no Hebrew word…

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הצור תמים פעלו

The deeds of the Rock are perfect. (32:4)

We are unable to fathom Hashem’s ways. It is impossible to come to grips with sadness and tragedy unless one has perfect faith that incorporates all of Hashem’s actions under the rubric of one harmonious whole. All actions are good – even if the “good” eludes us. All come from Hashem Who is the essence of good. He is perfect. We, however, as mortals, are imperfect; thus we are unable to grasp Hashem’s perfection. We can only believe with consummate faith in everything that he does. Chazal (Koheles Rabbah 20:15) teach that the word tzur, rock, a term which connotes…

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כי שם ד' אקרא הבו גדל לאלקינו

When I call out the Name of Hashem, ascribe greatness to our G-d. (32:3)

The mention of Hashem’s Name should evoke feelings of awe, as well as pride. The mere fact that we merit the He count us as His children, representing Him in the world as His nation, should generate joy and excitement. His Name should resonate throughout our very being, to the point that we want to shout out His Name and declare our allegiance to Him. We must give honor to His Name and all that it represents. The Torah, which is Hashem’s blueprint for our lives, must be an integral part of our life’s endeavor. When we study Torah, the…

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האזינו השמים ואדברה ותשמע הארץ אמרי פי

Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak; and may the earth hear the words of my mouth. (32:1)

Chazal (Pirkei Avos 4:B) teach that one should be meticulous in his Torah study because shigigas Talmud oleh zadon, a careless misinterpretation is considered tantamount to willful transgression. However, one who is sincere in his study but errs, is making a sincere mistake. In his commentary to Berachos 29b, the Yismach Moshe offers a homiletic rendering of Chazal which goes to the core of the consequences that result from failed leadership. A talmid chacham, Torah scholar, must be meticulous in his behavior, his every action must be the product of forethought and introspection. Indeed, he must guard himself much more…

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בהנחל עליון גוים בהפרידו בני אדם יצב גבלת עמים למספר בני ישראל

When the Most High gave the nations their portions, when He separated the children of man, He set the borders of nations according to the number of Bnei Yisrael. (32:8)

Following the Flood that devastated the world, the few survivors rebuilt, and all the people who lived together sinned once again by creating the Tower of Bavel. Hashem dispersed and divided them into seventy nations, with seventy distinct languages corresponding to the number of souls that had descended together with Yaakov Avinu to Egypt. The Torah is conveying the message that when the nations sinned again, they forfeited their chance to be the human bearers of Hashem’s mission for humanity. Instead, Hashem selected Klal Yisrael to replace the larger, more populous nations with the much smaller, but more distinct and…

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זכור ימות עולם בינו שנות דר ודר

Remember the days of old/world history, study the generational epochs. (32:7)

A number of years back, during the recession that had a major impact on the financial markets and resulted in devastating blows on the finances of many bnei Torah, the question was posed to Horav Eliyahu Svei, zl: Why? These were bnei Torah who had done well financially and, being exemplary bnei Torah, they used the profits of their investments well. They supported yeshivos and promoted all forms of Torah chinuch. Their money was used to fund chesed organizations that helped individuals in need. Thus, it came as a surprise when their fortunes suffered a reversal. Why did Hashem take…

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