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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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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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הקהל את העם האנשים והנשים והטף... למען ישמעו ולמען ילמדו... ובניהם אשר לא ידעו ישמעו ולמדו ליראה את ד'

Gather together the people, the men, the women and the small children… so that they will hear and so that they will learn… and their children who do not know – they shall hear and they shall learn to fear Hashem. (31:12,13)

Sforno comments concerning the young children’s hearing and learning, “The young children assembled at the time of Hakhel, who are too young to be capable of appreciating the words read by the king, will nonetheless sense that something of significance is transpiring. Eventually, they will inquire and learn as they mature, for their curiosity and desire to know will have been aroused.” This explanation illuminates the practical benefit of attending the Hakhel for young people. The experience will ultimately cause them to pursue the Torah’s teachings when they mature and become capable of absorbing its lessons. We have no idea…

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ועתה כתבו לכם את השירה הזאת

So now, write this song for yourselves. (31:19)

The Rambam in Hilchos Tefillin, Mezuzah V’Sefer Torah (7:1) writes, “It is a mitzvah from the Torah incumbent upon each and every Yid to write a Sefer Torah for himself, as it says in the pasuk, “V’atah kisvu lachem es ha’Shirah ha’zos.” (Since one cannot write parshiyos, chapters of the Torah, at various intervals and put them together, the exhortation to write Shiras Haazinu implies that it should be written as part of the entire Torah.) “Even if his forbears left him a Sefer Torah, he still has a mitzvah to write his own Sefer Torah. If he writes it…

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ועתה כתבו לכם את השירה הזאת ולמדה את בני ישראל

So now, write this song for yourselves, and teach it to Bnei Yisrael. (31:19)

The shirah, song, to which the Torah is referring is Shiras Haazinu, which is called a song because it is written in the form of poetic verse. The Rambam (Hilchos Sefer Torah 7:1) implies from here that it is a mitzvah for every Jew to write a Sefer Torah for himself. Although the Torah here says only to write a song, it is incumbent on us to write the entire Torah. It seems that the Torah is being written in order to write Shiras Haazinu. Why should the mitzvah of kesivas Sefer Torah, writing a Torah scroll, be presented in…

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ועתה כתבו לכם את השירה הזאת

So now, write this song for yourselves. (31:19)

The last mitzvah in the Torah is the command to write a Sefer Torah. This mitzvah is incumbent upon everyone. If one cannot personally write a Sefer Torah, he should commission its writing. The poskim teach that any sefer, especially one which is a collection of his own chiddushim, original thoughts, has greater significance. Furthermore, one who is unable to write should designate a room in his house to serve as a study which houses his seforim. Indeed, the most important room in his home should be where his seforim are kept. We are the People of the Book. We…

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והיה כי תמצאן אותו רעות רבות וצרות וענתה השירה הזאת לפניו לעד

It shall be that when many evils and distresses come upon it, then this song will speak up before it as a witness. (31: 21)

The word v’hayah, it shall be, is used to imply simchah, joy. We wonder what the portent of ra’os rabos v’tzaros, many evils and distresses, has to do with joy? On the surface, it comes across as a period which clearly does not denote simchah. Horav Yitzchak Yedidyah Frankel, zl (Rav of Tel Aviv), offers an inspiring explanation for the placement of the term v’hayah in connection with tzaros rabos. He quotes Chazal (Pesichta Eichah Rabbah) who relate a powerful dialogue that ensued between Avraham Avinu and “representatives” of the alef–beis, Hebrew alphabet. The Midrash relates Avraham Avinu’s defense of…

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