Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Devorim

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This week’s Torah portion, Devorim, is always read on the Shabbos before the fast of Tisha B’Av. The holy Sheloh teaches that there is a connection between the weekly Torah portion and the time of the year in which we read it[1]. Based on this, there must be a connection between Parshas Devorim and Tisha B’Av. We need to understand the relationship between the Parshah of Devorim and our (all too) long exile.

Rashi tells us at the very beginning of our Torah portion that even at the same time that Hashem is rebuking the Jews, He is also concerned with their honor. Rashi cites the words from the first verse of our Parshah, “These are the words.”[2] He comments that “these are words of criticism, and here Moshe lists all of the places where the Jews angered Hashem. Therefore, the Torah does not explicitly mention their transgressions. Rather, it alludes to their sins by mentioning the names of the places where they angered G-d. The Torah does this out of respect for the Jews.”

Why is there this concern for the Jews’ honor at the time that He rebukes them? Because the goal of rebuking them is to elevate them, i.e., to add to their honor. This teaches us that even at the time of exile, the Jews’ glory is apparent. The reason for the exile and destruction, which we commemorate on Tisha B’Av, is the redemption that we will ultimately celebrate. The exile itself is an expression of Geulah.

We find the same idea in the book of Eichoh, Lamentations[3]. It begins with the words “O how has the city that was once so populous (Jerusalem) remained alone!” There is something very positive about “remaining alone.” We see this in the prophecy that the Jews are[4] “a nation that will dwell alone and will not be reckoned among the nations.” The fact that Jerusalem “remained alone,” and the Jews “dwell alone” means that the Jews will not mix with idolaters. It is indicative of the time of redemption.

Even at times when things may not seem all that positive, we can be confident that all is well. Nothing negative comes from above. The exile itself is a preparation for and a step toward redemption.

I wish 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 14, Page 7

מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש

לזכות
חיילי “צבאות השם” חיים ועדן עודד שיחיו מאר
נדפס ע”י הורם
הרה”ת ר’ מנחם מענדל וזוגתו מרת חי’ מושקא שיחיו מאריס


[1]. Sheloh at the beginning of Parshas Vayeishev. See also Zohar volume 2 page 206, b.

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

[3]. As implied by its name, this book of the Bible laments the destruction of the Holy Temple and the ensuing exile. It is read as part of the service on Tisha B’Av.

[4]. Parshas Balak, Bamidbar 23:9.

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