Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Vo’eschanan II

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In this week’s Torah portion, Vo’eschanan, the Torah describes (for the second time[1]) the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. It tells us all of the Ten Commandments which Hashem gave us. The Torah then tells us that[2] “Hashem spoke these words to your entire assembly at the mountain out of the midst of the fire, the cloud, and the opaque darkness. (He said) these words with a great voice, which did not cease.” Rashi cites the words from the verse “which did not cease” and gives two explanations. The first is that “Targum Onkelus[3] explains the words to mean ‘and it did not cease,’ for His voice is strong and exists continuously.”

In other words, Rashi is telling us that this voice had no limitations whatsoever. The spiritual and the material are opposites. Physical objects are not inherently capable of “absorbing” spirituality, G-dliness. Likewise, G-dliness cannot “penetrate” the physical. However, this was a “great voice,” a Divine voice. It transcends both the material and the spiritual. Before this mighty voice, the physical and the G-dly are equal. Only the physical world itself can absorb such G-dly energy.

The same is true of a person’s service of Hashem. There are two aspects of the Torah. One is its intellectual aspect. Understanding the Torah, to the extent that a person can grasp it, requires the use of one’s mental faculties. However, there is a second aspect of the Torah; it is Hashem’s will and wisdom. He is a perfect unity. Hence, His will and understanding are one with Him[4]. This is the “great voice” of the Torah. It transcends this physical world.

Torah, which one learns for its intellectual perspective alone, cannot penetrate the physical, human body. However, when one studies “the great voice” of the Torah, it is absorbed by his entire being. It can even penetrate his heels, the lowest part of his body.

The Torah, which he learns, affects him even after he finishes learning. When one is busy conducting his worldly activities, it is apparent that he is a Jew who studies Torah.

By hearing the “great voice which does not cease” when learning Torah and fulfilling Mitzvos, we can transform this world into a dwelling place for the Holy One, blessed be He, and bring about the coming of Moshiach.

I wish one and all a good Shabbos and a healthy summer. May we merit the time of the complete and final redemption now!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 4, Page 1095

מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש

The Soldiers of Tzivos Hashem Chaim and Aiden Oded שיחיו Morris
Rabbi & Mrs. Menachem M. and Chaya Mushka שיחיו Morris

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

[1]. The first time was in Parshas Yisro, beginning with Shemos 20:1.

[2]. Our Parshah, Devorim 5:19.

[3]. There are a number of Aramaic translations of the Torah. That of Onkelus is the closest to the simple explanation of each verse. It is often quoted by Rashi.

[4]. See Tanya, Chapters 4 – 5.

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