Thursday, August 18, 2016

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Vaeschanan

Since there are no Rabbi Frand shiurim for the next month, I have been substituting a vort from other Rabbanim each week, rather than leaving the blog without a vort for shabbos. This week, I am attempting to repeat a vort heard from R' Eli Mansour as recorded on Same rules as usual apply - I have attempted to reproduce the vorts to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to the maggid shiur.

This week's parsha contain the Torah's second explicit discussion of matan Torah. There is a famous medrash which states that at matan Torah, Hashem held the mountain over the Jews' head and told them - if you accept the Torah then great, if not you will be buried here.

The medrash is difficult to understand and has been the subject of many explanations. In this shiur, R' Mansour offered a novel interpretation in the name of the Chida. 

The Chida began his explanation by noting that the giving of the Torah was the wedding of the Jewish people and Hashem. But this creates a greater question - if this is a wedding then why was there an element of compulsion by having the mountain over their heads?

R' Mansour prefaced the answer by making reference to the concept of the Onnes - one who rapes a single girl. The rule applicable to this situation is that if the girl wishes to marry her attacker - he must marry her and is forbidden from divorcing her for all of his days.

The Chida applies this rule to matan Torah by way of the following scenario - before the Jews married Hashem, they had a concern - what if the Jews committed sins and Hashem wanted to kivyachol divorce them? Hashem solves this problem by making the chuppah "under duress" and that as a result, Hashem must follow the rule of the Torah and cannot send the Jews away.

R' Mansour then digressed to discuss how this week is called Shabbas Nachamu - that the Jews should be consoled. But why should the Jews be consoled - what changed from last week? Last week during Shabbas Chazon we were in galus and there was no Beis Hamikdash. This week too, there is no Beis Hamikdash and we are still in galus!

R' Mansour answered this quandry by discussing what the Beis Hamikdash stood for prior to its destruction. When it was around, the Jews would get kapparah based upon the avodah of the Kohanim. But this also allowed them to be lax, because they knew that the avodah would get them forgiveness.

R' Mansour then gave the following analogy - there was a great artist who painted a painting on site at a mountain. The artist finished the painting and took a few steps back to get perspective. He then took another few steps back. And then another few. Now, the artist was stepping backwards near the edge of a cliff. The bystanders yelled - "look out the edge is near", but the artist was solely focused on the painting and continued to walk closer to the edge. Out of desperation, one of the bystanders ran to the painting and cut it with a knife. The artist exclaimed "what did you do that for?" The man answered - you were so focused on the painting you would have fallen off the cliff.

So too the Jews kept looking at the Beis Hamikdash and thinking - this will cover all our acts. So Hashem  needed to destroy it in order for us to regain perspective. Even though He had to destroy His house and the Shechinah had to go into galus.

At this time the Jews were nervous - will Hashem divorce them and send them away forever? The answer is in the haftorah - Nachamu Nachamu Ami - you are still My nation says Hashem - I am not going anywhere.

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