Shabbos Parshas Devorim

Shabbos Chazoin

Shabbos Tisha B’Ov Nidcheh (V’Kivan D’Idcheh, Idcheh)

Tiere Reb Pinchas, Askonim, Family & Friends Sheyichyu

שלום וברכה 😊


Boruch Hashem I was able to take part in the amazing, miraculous Celebration of Thanksgiving for Hashem’s Salvation, the Seudas Hoidoyoh made for the young Laizer Galperin in Lakewood last night! :) I was able to actually see him, shake his hands and give him a great big hug! This was another moment that added to my gratitude and praise to Hashem Yisboraich for all the great Nissim and wonders that lead to my being freed from the place called prison. It was only around one short year ago that Laizer had his Bar Mitzvah and I could only “join” from afar with the cruelly limited phone call and I was so happy to be there in person.

When Laizer was a young boy, he was in a fire and was terribly burned. The doctors fought to save his life, even though they thought there was no hope for him to live and if he did live, they questioned what “quality” of life he would have. His amazing parents pushed away all doubts and showed tremendous Emunah and Bitochoin in Hashem Yisboraich!

They knew that Hashem Yisboraich would heal their son and enable him to walk again, even though both of his legs were lost from the fire! They encouraged Laizer with strong Emunah and Bitochoin to overcome all the pain and suffering he (and they) endured for years, and Boruch Hashem today we can all see that “Alef, Bais, Gimmel!” Their Emunah and Bitachoin brought their Geuloh! They merited to see Lazer healed with great Nissim and be able to stand and walk on his own, with the use of prosthetics!

With immense gratitude to Hashem Yisboraich I saw Laizer standing as the Chazan for Maariv, bowing his head as he said “Borchu Es Hashem HaMvoirach” - Bless Hashem, who is blessed - and all the Mispalelim joined him in exclaiming “Boruch Hashem HaMevoiroch L’Oilom Vo’ed!” - Bless Hashem who is blessed for ever and ever!

Laizer and his parents are teaching the world that a Yid is not bound or limited by the laws of nature. A Yid has the power of Emunah and Bitachoin in Hashem Yisboraich to lift himself above all natural limitations, if only he doesn't make the mistake to pull himself down into the limitations of nature! This is the lesson from the second Possuk in our Parsha!

Three-Day Express - It Tells You Something

Moishe Rabbainu begins Chumash Devorim by listing the places the Yidden passed through on their journey through the Desert of the Nations. This was a respectful way of rebuking the Yidden for their past behavior, by referencing the places where they had sinned without directly spelling out the misdeeds themselves. Moishe Rabbainu concludes the list by saying “Achad Osor Yoim MeiChoirev Derech Har Sei’ir” - It takes eleven days [to travel to Kodeish Barnei’a] from Choirev by way of Har Sei’ir.

Kodeish Barnei’a was where the Yidden were camped when the Meraglim, the Spies, were sent, and Rashi explains that Moishe mentioned the eleven days travel time as part of his rebuke.

The Yidden had miraculously traversed that distance in only three days. Pointing out that it should have taken eleven days drove home to the Yidden the great damage which the sin of the Meraglim had caused. Where at first Hashem Yisboraich had miraculously expedited their journey, eager to bring the Yidden into Eretz Yisroel even faster than naturally possible, now, after they sinned, they instead traveled through the Desert of the Nations for forty years!

However, we need to understand: The core of Moishe Rabbainu’s rebuke was that (in light of the supernatural speed with which they were progressing) it was an inexplicable failure of Emunah to want to send spies! Spies are only useful in battle against a formidable enemy. They help find weakness in the enemy and identify the most sensible line of attack.

In this case, however, their miraculous march made it very obvious that there was no need for any of that, because Hashem would surely continue this miraculous approach until they were firmly established in their Land. But instead of showing Emunoh in Hashem’s ability to bring them into Eretz Yisroel they decided to take a natural approach and send spies, which caused them to remain in the desert for forty years!

This is a very strong rebuke, but it is entirely missing from the Possuk itself. Even when choosing to be subtle and use the place-names or other details to hint at the rebuke, the hint needs to relate directly to the criticism. If their mistake was in overlooking the miraculous speed of three days, why does Moishe Rabbainu only mention the expected natural duration which it didn’t take, eleven days - which we then need to contrast with the actual trip time (which isn’t even mentioned here) to understand the rebuke?

Two Paths - But Only One Way Forward

The explanation is given: the standard eleven days, the speed it didn’t take, is the heart of the lesson. For everyone else this trip takes eleven days. What should that have taught us? We are not like everyone else. For us it could take shorter, it could even take longer, but as we journey through our lives, making our way through the “Desert of the Nations” in order to reach and enter the “Holy Land,” we must know that normal and natural is not an option!

Faced with a journey that natural considerations estimate at eleven days, the Yid will actually end up reaching the goal in one of two ways: either with unnatural speed, three days, or with unnatural delay, forty years! The option of living within the limitations of nature does not exist for the Yid.

Why? Because our task is impossible. As the Meraglim, the Spies, pointed out from their natural perspective, the land could not be conquered. Conforming to nature means adopting methods that are not up to the task - like Chazal tell us about our struggle with the Yetzer HoRo, our evil inclination: “ilmolei Oizroi, Loi Uchal Loi” - if not for Hashem’s assistance, we would not be capable of opposing it. Of course, we can succeed in our task of confronting and transforming the world, but only by relying on Hashem’s assistance, not by our own natural efforts.

The failing for which Moishe was rebuking the Yidden lay in their thinking that a Yid must (or even can) conform to nature. A Yid is above nature and his path through life is supernatural. All they needed to do to see that was to look in the rear-view mirror, to look at their past and recognize the miracles that brought them where they were. They needed to rely with strong Emunoh and Bitochoin on Hashem Yisboraich to continue their journey with supernatural ease and speed and bring them straight into Eretz Yisroel.

Instead, they overlooked the miraculous three-day trip and the lesson it taught (this mistake represented by Moishe as the eleven-day natural travel time) and sent spies. When the spies returned, they fulfilled their natural role to assess the natural prospects of a natural war - and accurately described the nations as naturally too strong to conquer. Their lack of reliance on Hashem, their lack of faith and trust in Hashem, resulted in the loss of the supernatural speed with which they were to inherit the land, replaced with an unnatural delay of 40 years.

If You Don’t Have It, You Have to Get It

Just as Emunoh and Bitochoin in Hashem brings the very salvation and blessing we trust Hashem to give us (in a miraculous way, if necessary), the lack of Emunoh and Bitochoin and the embrace of the natural, prevents the Yid from being a vessel for the miracles he needs (R”L) and the Yid needs to correct this before he can continue further.

This is why the Yidden needed to go through the Desert of the Nations for so many additional years and go through all the additional Nisyoinois, the challenges and adversity. By experiencing and overcoming the darkness of the Nisyoinois the Yidden became closer to Hashem Yisboraich, their now stronger Emunoh and Bitochoin making them worthy of the Nissim they needed in order to conquer the mighty nations and enter the Holy Land. :)

Punishments After A Full Pardon?

As a response to the Yidden’s reaction to the Meraglim, Hashem told Moishe Rabbainu that He would kill them all and Moshe and his descendents would inherit the Land in their place.  Moishe Rabbainu came to their defense, arguing to Hashem that the Egyptians will hear of this and they will say the nation was destroyed because, despite His promise, Hashem could not bring them into Eretz Yisroel. Instead, Moishe Rabbainu asked Hashem to forgive the Yidden.

Hashem Yisboraich said “Solachti KiDvorecho!” - I have forgiven them, as you said.

This leaves us very grateful, but a little bit puzzled: Since Hashem forgave the Yidden, why did they have to wander and die in the desert?! After the Aigel, the golden calf, once Hashem forgave them, the punishment was fully rescinded!

The explanation is given as follows:

When Hashem said that the “Generation of the Desert” will not come into Eretz Yisroel and would instead pass away in the desert, this was not a punishment, but merely the natural outcome of their actions!

What the spies had said about Eretz Yisroel and its inhabitants - their strength, fortifications etc. - was true. In natural terms it wasn’t feasible to conquer them. This meant that the only way the Yidden were able to enter Eretz Yisroel was by a miraculous victory - which required that the Yidden be worthy of that miracle by having strong Bitochoin in the ability of Hashem to bring them to victory!

When the Yidden adopted the belief that Hashem could not bring them to miraculous victory, this itself prevented the miracle they needed. Even though their mistake was not the belief that Hashem truly could not prevail, but rather the belief that Hashem wanted them to work through the laws of nature and would not intervene miraculously, this mistaken approach made them no longer a worthy “vessel”  for whom Hashem would work these miracles. (They did not realize that Hashem would have brought them to victory with miracles that avoided breaking the laws of nature.)

In short, this lack of Emunoh and Bitochoin not only (a) a sin of forsaking Emunoh and Bitochoin in Hashem, (b) it also made them unworthy of the miracles which would have brought them to the Land! They were judged for the sin aspect and it was decreed that they would all die immediately.

Moishe Rabbainu argued against this terrible decree, pointing out that the Egyptians would say that the reason they were all killed was because of an inability to bring them into the Land that was promised! Punishing the Yidden for their lack of belief in Hashem by killing them, Moishe argued, would result in a greater lack of belief in Hashem!

In response to this, Hashem said “I have forgiven them as you said,” and they were forgiven - their sin was cleansed and the punishment rescinded. They would not be killed on the spot. But (and this part is not a punishment and therefore forgiveness could not fix this) they would still be unable to enter the Land and would instead pass away in the desert.

The miraculous victory could only occur for people with Emunoh and Bitochoin in Hashem to execute those Nissim. This left only the possibility of natural conquest, which the spies had already accurately reported was out of the question.

This was not something for which forgiveness was needed or could even help - the situation could only be rectified by strengthening their Emunoh. As they traveled through the Desert of the Nations, they faced numerous challenges and obstacles. The purpose of each of these Nisyoinois was to bring out a stronger connection with Hashem, a stronger Emunoh in their mission to make this world a dwelling place for Hashem, and a stronger Bitochoin that Hashem will give them everything they need to accomplish their mission. This took forty years.

Only then, when they were finally strong and unwavering in their Emunoh and Bitochoin, were they worthy to experience all the miracles they needed, and they conquered the land.

Bottom Line

We have two paths, but only one way forward: We can only succeed by rising above the limitations of nature. We can take the first path of supernatural speed and ease by embracing and relying on Hashem and facing the world with fearless confidence, unwavering in our commitment to Toiroh and Mitzvois. Or, we can take the second, unnaturally slow path, and attempt to adapt to nature and take the natural road. Hashem will take us along that path as long as necessary for us to realize that the only way home is to take the first path after all.

This teaches us the lesson that the lack of Emunah and Bitachoin becomes a stumbling block which could interfere with receiving the Neis, the miracle, that we need to get out of a Tzoroh! Boruch Hashem with our dear Laizer and his parents we are again Zoiche to see how we are able to bring down our Gimmel for Geuloh, by having Alef = Emunoh and Bais = Bitochoin :)










Sholom Mordechai ben Avrohom Aharoin Halevi Sheyichye :)