Pearls of Rashi – Devorim II

At the beginning of this week’s Torah portion, Devorim, we find that[1] “On that side of the Yardein (Jordan River), in the land of Moav, Moshe began explaining this Torah, saying.” Just what did Moshe explain? Rashi cites the words “explaining this Torah,” and tells us the following. “He explained it to them in seventy languages.”

We need to understand why there was a need for this. All of the Jews spoke Hebrew! Furthermore, they were on their way to conquer Israel, and remain its sole inhabitants. What purpose would be served by translating the Torah? Additionally, we can understand that every moment of Moshe Rabbeinu’s time was precious. Why was he specifically chosen to render the Torah into all languages?

Until the building of the Tower of Bovel (Babel), everyone spoke Hebrew[2]. It is the Holy Tongue with which Hashem created the world. The sin of the generation that built the tower changed that. It brought division into the world. As the Torah says, “… one will not understand the language of his fellow.” As a result of their rebellion against the Almighty, they brought division into the world. This is the exact opposite of the unity which goes together with holiness. There is one indivisible G-d. The Jews are the one nation, meaning the nation of unity. They draw Him down into the earth, meaning into all earthly matters, through the one Torah.

This is the true meaning of Moshe translating the Torah into 70 languages. He drew down the unity of the “Holy Tongue,” Hebrew, into all of the spoken languages. He was able to infuse the unity of the one G-d into the world, through the one true Torah.

That also explains why the translation of the Torah had to be done specifically by Moshe Rabbeinu. Only the very highest source has the ability to draw down Torah to the very lowest level.

The same applies to the Moshe of each and every generation, meaning the leader of each generation. Only he has the ability to infuse holiness into this physical world. Therefore, each of us must connect ourselves to our Moshe. Then we will be able to fulfill our mission of transforming this low world into a dwelling place for Hashem above.

Wishing one and all a good Shabbos! May we merit the time of the complete and true redemption now!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 3, Pages 862-863

Mr. Sholom Moshe Hacohen
ben Reb Shlomo Meir Hacohen ע”ה Cohen
Passed away Shabbos Parshas Beshalach, 13 Shevat, 5779
May His Soul be bound in the Eternal Bond of Life
* * *
לעילוי נשמת
ר’ שלום משה הכהן בן ר’ שלמה מאיר הכהן ע”ה כהן
נפטר ש”ק פ’ בשלח, י”ג שבט, ה’תשע”ט
ת. נ. צ. ב. ה.
יו”ל ע”י בני משפחתו שיחיו

[1]. Our Parshah, Devorim 1:5.

[2]. Talmud Yerushalmi Megillah, Chapter 1, Section 9. This is also brought in Rashi’s commentary to Parshas Noach, Bereishis 11:1.

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