Thursday, July 19, 2018

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Devarim

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.

In Devarim 1:10 Moshe tells the Jews - Hashem your G-d has multiplied you and today you are like the stars in heaven in abundance (using the word in Hebrew, LaRov). R' Mansour asked, the Jews are less than one half of one percent of the world's population, so what does Moshe mean about being numerous like the stars in heaven? Rabbi Mansour answered --look at a star from afar, it looks very small. However the star in its true size is larger than the planet earth. So too the Jews, they may look small from a distance, but see what they have accomplished and how well represented and renown they are in the prestigious fields, and you will see up close they are much larger than they appear.

Rabbi Mansour then quoted a vort from the Ben Ish Chai on the use of the word LaRov. The word itself is spelled chaser - without a cholam between the reish and vet. As such, the word can read LaRav. The significance of this relates to a machlokes between Rav and Shmuel, but requires an introduction.

When a person is sleeping, his soul goes up to shamayim and admits the sins the body did during the day. There is a punishment and a penalty which comes from doing sins. The punishment comes from doing the sin against Hashem. The penalty is for damaging the soul, a piece of Hashem which does not belong to the person and to which he commits me'ilah by sinning.

When the soul goes up to testify, it is not the only entity that wishes to speak about the sin, as the act of sinning has created an angel which too desires to attest to the act. However, the soul and the angel have different rules of procedure. The angel wants to appear at the heavenly bet din to testify, but cannot do so at night because the bet din does not sit in judgment at night. However, the soul can testify at night and manages to get its testimony in first.

The soul's ability to testify first is highly significant. The gemara brings a machlokes about a person who admits an act which is punishable by a fine before the witnesses come. Rav teaches that a person who admits an act which is punishable by a fine and then witnesses come, the person is exempt from paying the fine. Shmuel disputes this as he says that the person's testimony before the witnesses appear does not exempt him from payment of the fine.

Boruch Hashem, the halacha is like Rav and our soul's testimony exempts us from the penalty which accompanies the punishment. The Ben Ish Chai explains that Bilaam when he blessed the Jews in Bamidbar 24:23 states Oy Mi Yichyeh Mi Sumo Kel. However it can be read as MiShmuel, by which Bilaam states - who could live if Shmuel is right and the soul's advanced confession is incapable of deflecting the penalty.

The Ben Ish Chai also supports this with a sentence from Tehillim in which it states "v'salachta l'avonee ki rav who" which can be explained as Hashem will forgive our sins because the halacha is like Rav.

This is what the meaning of the pasuk that Hashem makes up great that our neshama can testify at night and that way tomorrow during the day we will succeed, because the halacha is like Rav.

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