Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Vo’eschanan

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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 tells us that this voice had no limitations. The spiritual and the material are opposites; physical objects are not inherently capable of “absorbing” G-dliness. Likewise, G-dliness cannot “penetrate” the physical. However, this was a “great voice,” a Divine voice, transcending both the material and the spiritual. Before this mighty voice, the physical and the G-dly are equal, and only the physical world could absorb such G-dly energy.

The same is true of a person’s service to 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 using 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 Torah’s “great voice,” which transcends this physical world.

Torah, which one learns from its intellectual perspective alone, cannot penetrate the human body. However, when one learns “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 worldly activities, it is apparent that he is a Jew who learns 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! May we merit the time of the complete and final redemption now!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 4, Page 1095

DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE

IN LOVING MEMORY OF
DR. MINDEL RIVKA (MURIEL) BAS REB MENACHEM MENDEL SHLOMO ע”ה STITT
PASSED AWAY ON SHABBAT PARSHAS LECH LECHA, 10 MAR-CHESHVAN, 5782
MAY HER SOUL BE BOUND IN THE ETERNAL BOND OF LIFE

IN HONOR OF
The Soldiers of Tzivos Hashem Chaim and Aiden Oded שיחיו Morris
DEDICATED BY THEIR PARENTS
Rabbi & Mrs. Menachem M. and Chaya Mushka שיחיו Morris


[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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