1) Moshe’s Argument
Moshe tells over that I davened to Hashem and I wanted to go into Eretz Yisrael, and Hashem said to me, “Rav lach”. It’s enough. “Al tosef dabeir eilai od ba’davar hazeh”. Perek 3, pasuk 26. So, there’s a medrash that says a very interesting thing that Moshe, was obviously a Torah scholar of note. So, Moshe had a very, very big tainah to Hashem. He said: Rebono Shel Olam, you wrote in Your Torah: Im amar yomar ha’eved, in parshas Mishpatim, that if the slave says that I don’t want to go free, then he will stay, and so I am going to evoke that claim of the slave, and you’re telling me to go free and that I can’t go into Eretz Yisrael, and I’m saying that I want to stay with you and I want to come into Eretz Yisrael. I want to stay with Klal Yisrael. And, Hashem’s response then was “rav lach”. It’s enough, and, somehow, that won. So, what does that mean? So what’s the conversation?
The details of Moshe’s words to Hashem
But, the medrash fills in the details: Ima mar yomar ha’eved. If the slaves says: Ahavti es adoni. So, I love my master. So, here Moshe said: I love you the Rebono Shel Olam, I love my wife, because remember the master might have given him the slave his own wife. So, in Moshe’s case, “zu haTorah”. That’s the Torah; my eishes chayil. That’s me’oreses kehilas Yaakov. That’s banai. I love my children. That’s Klal Yisrael. Lo eitzei chofshi. I don’t want to be free. I don’t want to die. Meisim chofshi. I don’t want to be free. So, that’s a great taina, and Moshe seems to have won because he’s evoking the Torah law. So, Moshe got a response from Hashem: No. Rav lach. So, what’s the answer?
Just as a slave must say his words twice, if Moshe would have repeated his request it would have been fulfilled
So, there’s a fascinating thing, says the Gra. The gemara in Kiddushin says that when a slave says this, if he says it once it’s not valid. He doesn’t get his ear pierced and he doesn’t stay. He has to say it twice because the pasuk says: Ima mar yomar ha’eved. If the slave will say. And, in Hebrew “amar yomar” just means, it’s an expression of saying which is interesting. You have to look at other times which this appears if there’s some double connotation. But, the gemara says that “amar yomar” means that he has to say it twice. The gemara explicitly in Kiddushin 22a, “Ad she’yomar v’yishneh shtei p’amim”. He has to say it twice. And, so that’s what Hashem said back. Hashem’s response was, “Rav lach. Al tosef dabeir eilai.” Don’t say it again. So, that’s it. Meaning, you’re right. If you say it again, I’m going to have to fulfill it, but it’s not what’s best for you; it’s not what’s best for the world. Therefore, don’t do it. And, Moshe Rabbeinu, ultimately, trusted Hashem, and didn’t say it again. That’s the pshat over here as well.
Repeating a request can turn it into reality
If you think about it, it’s a phenomenal thing because what’s being said here is that if you really want something in life, you should say it again and again. It doesn’t mean to be a nag, but the things that are important in your life, when you say them, and you repeat them, and you say: I want it; I want it; I want it, you make it a reality.
2) Moshe’s Trust
But, there’s also an amazing lesson here that Moshe Rabbeinu trusted the Rebono Shel Olam so much that even though Moshe had a trick, so to speak. He literally evoked a Torah principle that literally would have kept him alive, and would have given him his entire life dream, which was that I should come into Eretz Yisrael, but that was bateil u’mevutal, it was insignificant compared to listening to ratzon Hashem. Moshe stood in front of Hashem and said: Hashem, I have a taina why you have to let me in because I love my master, I love the Torah, I love Klal Yisrael, I love you. And, Hashem said: You’re right, but that’s not what’s best for you. Don’t say it again because it’s true that you’ll be evoking the Torah power, but it’s not what’s best for you. And, ultimately, Moshe Rabbeinu, the eved Hashem, bowed his head and said: Rebono Shel Olam you’re right, and I accept that even though I don’t understand it at all. And, that’s the greatness of Moshe Rabbeinu.
3) The great power of tefillah, and the recognition that Hashem know best
That’s also the greatness of tefillah that we stand in front of the Rebono Shel Olam and we beg and we beg and we beg, but sometimes the Rebono Shel Olam says, “No,” and it’s not to say, we don’t always know how much to daven or not, but when it’s very clear that the Rebono Shel Olam said no. When Klal Yisrael was searching for Rabalman?? zt"l, and we were saying: Please Rebono Shel Olam, please Rebono Shel Olam let him be alive. We don’t stop. We keep davening. But, when he’s found, the Rebono Shel Olam says: No. I said: No, he’s not going to live, and we say: Okay Rebono Shel Olam, we don’t understand, but we accept You’re gezeira, and that’s what Moshe Rabbeinu teaches us that when the REbono Shel Olam does say no, you say: Okay, Rebono Shel Olam. You know what’s best. So, that’s one lesson in life about persuing things passionately, but, also, about knowing that when the Rebono Shel Olam says: No, we could accept it with love.
4) Moshe learned from the malach hamaves the secret word of teffillah when repeated twice
Another thing, on the end part of the pasuk, “Al tosef dabeir eilai od badavar hazeh.” So, the Zohar says very interesting thing the Gra brings down over here that Moshe had a kabballah about how to make a powerful teffillah, and the kabbalah that he got, remember the gemara in Shabbos daf 89a says that even the malach hamaves gave him a secret when he took the Torah, the malach hamaves admitted defeat and gave him a secret. Now, Rashi in Chumash brings down, other midrashim seem to say that the secret was ketores, but this Gra, based on the Zohar seems to say that there was another secret, and what is that? That’s when you daven and you say the word, “na”, please, and you say it twice, lashon bakasha, you’re teffillah will often be answered. And, so that’s why Moshe Rabbeinu knew by Miriam where he davened, he said, “Keil na,” please Hashem, “refah na lah,” please heal her. (Bamidbar 12) And, so therefore, over here also. And, so that’s what Moshe said over here that Moshe started davening to Hashem, and he wanted to get into Eretz Yisrael, and he said it once. He said, “V’ereh na,” please Hashem show me the land. And, had he said it again, Hashem says: You might be able to push your way through, but that’s not what’s best for you. Again, the same idea that Hashem said, “No.” Interesting that there’s a double part here that there’s a two times nah, and there’s a two times “amar yomar ha’eved” which is very significant, but so that’s why Moshe said to Hashem: Please, let me in, and Hashem said: Al tosef dabeir eilai od badavar hazeh.” Don’t use that word again of “na” because if you say the word “na” again, you said it twice, and you’re going to push me in. So, again, and that’s not what’s best for you.
5) When we daven “please, please, please” it shows a recognition that Hashem is the only one with the ability to help us
Again, we see that when you davened to supplicate before Hashem, “na, na, na”. Please, please, please Hashem that’s the way we daven: please, please, please like someone who actually cares because the only time that you actually get down and you beg is when you know that this is the person that makes the differentce. That last bakkasha. And, so, when we stand in front of the Rebono Shel Olam saying: please Hashem, please Hashem, and how many things do we need from Hashem that we could say those words for, but when we say that, and we daven and we connect to Hashem, that hisbatlus is the ultimate teffillah, and the ultimate power that we have.
6) The esnachta is hinting to the fact that Hashem told Moshe Rabbeinu to rest, to stop asking
Gra points out in another place that the trop on the word “na” in that pasuk, where, “v’ereh na” is an esnachta which means to rest because Hashem told him: Stop. Don’t say it again. You need to take a break. I don’t want that word coming out of your mouth again.
Tefillah is something that Hashem put into nature that when one evokes tefillah properly they can be po’el yeshuos
Now, you might ask: What is all this? You could overpower G-d? You could outsmart Him with tefillah, but the answer is, Rav Rudderman says this very famous Baltimore dvar Torah, but I want to share it with the world. It’s in Sichos Levi by Rav Ruderman zt”l, the Rosh Yeshiva of Ner Yisrael, the founder. ON page 152. Phenomenal thing based on this Gra, and he quotes that this is what the Gra is saying that tefillah is something that the Rebono Shel Olam put into nature that it became nature that when you evoke tefillah properly, you could be po’el yeshuos. You could actually bring things about. So, when you learn, the koach hatefillah, it becomes something that’s natural.
7) Tefillah is so fundamental that it does not need to mentioned in the 49 kinyanim of Torah
In fact, there’s a fascinating thing that Rav Mattisyahu Salamon discusses in his Matnas Chelko, on Avos, he brings down that on the Mem-Ches kinyanim, he goes through all of them. So, one of them is not tefillah. There’s not a single one, although there are mefarshim that try to argue and fit in tefillah, but the simple reading of talmud, shmiyas ha’ozen, arichas sefasayim, arichas sefasayim is speaking, it’s not davening. Why is tefillah not there? And, he answers because it’s fundamental because the gemara in Niddah, 70 says, “Ha b’lo ha lo sagi.” You can’t accomplish any Torah without tefillah, so everyone of those ingredients is with it. So, for example, if you put together a car, and you say this is such a nice car, but you’re missing the engine, then it’s a worthless car. It might be a beautiful car. It might have all the different components. It might have all forty-eight ingredients of what it needs to make a car, but if you’re missing the engine of the car, you have nothing. And, so all those items, they all depend on the engine. The engine is “ha b’lo ha lo sagi.” And, now it’s the same thing with parnassa as well. Remember that believing in the Rebono Shel Olam b’tefillah, that the Rebono Shel Olam will take care of you, that is the engine that makes it roar and that makes it work, and that’ what Rav Rudderman is saying that tefillah is hutbah in the briah that the Rebono Shel Olam created a power of tefillah that you could tap into and that could drive everything.
8) Regarding the tefillah of Klal Yisrael to return to Hashem: Why does it switch from plural to singular?
A little bit further about teffillah, you have perek 4, pasuk 29. “Ubikashtem misham.” I’m going to bring out the he’arrah while I’m reading and translating. And you, plural, will daven to Hashem, your G-d, plural, “u’matzasah”. And, you, again plural, could find him. “Ki sidreshenu.” Because you requested. “b’chol livavchah”, with all your individual heart, “b’chol nafshecha”, and all your individual soul. So, what’s the pshat that it starts out with lashon rabbim and it goes to lashon yachid. Now, remember that this is talking about that tzaros, and bad things will happen, and you will turn out to Hashem for teffillah.
For one to be answered they need to put their soul into it
So, in Aderes Eliyahu it brings down from the Gra that the pshat is like this. The gemara in Rosh Hashana 18 says that two people go to daven one is answered and the other is not. So, what’s pshat? One of them had kavana and the other one didn’t. So, that’s pshat. All you people, you’re all going into daven, but you want to know who gets answered? B’chol livavcha. If you individually have kavana, that’s how you’re answered. “u’b’chol nafshecha”, and when you, individually, put your soul into it. That’s how you’re anwered. But, there’s something deeper here which I believe the Gra is hinting to, but he doesn’t say it explicitly. And, that is that there’s also a koach hateffillah that you started off with the tzibur, that when you go, through the tzibur, that your teffillah is niskabeil more, and then on a yachid level, when you put that kavana in, there’s even more power to get your teffillah answered.
9) Shma includes in it all the Aseres Hadibros
“Shma Yisrael Hashem Elokeinu Hashem echad.” What does that mean? So, in parshas Krias Shma we know that Chazal tell us, the Yerushalmi says that it has the Aseres Hadibros, and then you have Baruch Sheim is a pasuk that we say over there,
Baruch Sheim is kneged “lo sisa Sheima shav”
It’s interesting that Baruch Sheim is actually included in the remez in the Yerushalmi because it corresponds, Baruch Sheim, corresponds to “lo sisa Sheima shav”. That you shouldn’t use Hashem’s name in vane, and that’s why “baruch Sheim kvod malchuso l’olam va’ed” it’s giving recognision for G-d, and says the Gra: That’s why Chazal were mesakein that if you said Sheim Shamayim by accident, you said Hashem’s name by accident, then you should immediately say: Baruch Sheim Kevod Malchuso l’olav va’ed because that’s exactly the one that’s kneged “lo sisa”.
“v’ahavta” is kneged Shabbos
And, “v’ahavta” what is “v’ahavta”? You should love Hashem. That’s kneged Shabbos. “zachor es yom haShabbos l’kadsho”. Why is Shabbos this idea “v’ahavta es Hashem Elokecha”? So, we know that it’s a time of ahava Shabbos. In the Yom Tov davening, unless it falls out on Shabbos, we don’t say the words “b’ahava u’b’ratzon” in the Shemoneh Esrei in certain spots because the ahava comes through shells???? Because the Gra writes from the Zohar that the yimos hachol, the weekdays are like yirah compared to Shabbos which is ahava, that’s when you could taste Hashem.
“v’shinantem l’vanecha” is kneged “lo sirtzach”
And, “v’shinantam l’vanecha”, you should teach your children, that’s “lo sirtzach” you shouldn’t murder. Says the Gra: How does that correspond? Because if you don’t teach your sons Torah it’s as if you murdered him. Phenomenal thing.
“al mezuzos beisecha u’visharecha” is kneged “lo sachmod”
And, finally, “al mezuzos beisecha u’visharecha” is kneged “lo sachmod l’chol asher l’rei’echa” because that’s the p’shat that mezuzah teaches you sipuk, like we talked about in Rus from the Gra that that’s what a mezuzah is. That’s what it teaches you to be satisfied with what you have.
10) Why do we say that the time of Kriyas Shma of Arvis is from when the kohanim eat “bitrumasam”
This next one is just so fascinating because you see how the Gra is medakdeik in every word of Chazal. So, “Shma Yisrael Hashem Elokeinu, Hashem echad”, we have in our parsha of Vaeschanan, and if you open up a meseches Berachos to the first mishna starts off, “Mei’eimasai korin Shma b’Arvis”. When do you say Shma at night? There’s a chiyuv to say Shma twice a day. Once at night. B’shavbicha u’vkumecha, and once in the morning when you get up. So, the mishna says, “misha’ah shehakohanim nichnasin l’echol bitrumasam.” When the kohanim eat their teruma. But, it’s a very strange expression. Instead of saying, “l’echol bitrumah”, it says, “bitrumasam”, which is their terumah. It’s a very strange thing. The Nodeh BiYehuda, many other people, ask questions on this. The Gra explains like this.
The word Terumah stands for “Trei mimei’ah”
But, first let me give a little bit of a background so that it makes more sense what he’s saying. The Ramban brings down on peirush hamishnayos in perek 4 in Terumos, mishna 3 in the name of Chazal. We don’t know wehere this Chazal is, but he says that the word Terumah stands for “Trei mimei’ah”. You have to give two out of a hundred. SO, that’s the amount that you should give. Now, we know that there’s different shiurim, etc. But, the standard terumah amount is one fiftieth. So, two out of a hundred, or one-fiftieth, simplified.
The kavanah of mesirus nefesh is the fiftieth letter
So, this is what the Gra says. The Gra says that if you look from the pasuk of Shma Yisrael, together with the pasuk of “Baruch Sheim”, there are exactly forty-nine letters that make up “SHma Yisrael Hashem Elokeinu Hashem echad baruch Sheim kvod malchuso l’olam va’ed”. So, what’s the fiftieth part, what’s the terumah? The fiftieth part? That’s the machshava hakedosha of mesirus nefesh that you say it b’chavana, and you say: Rebono Shel Olam, I’m willing to die for You. B’chol livavcha, b’chol nafshicha, b’chos mi’odecha. Even if you take away anything from me. My money, my soul, everything. I’m still willing to live and die for you Rebono Shel Olam. That’s the terumah that you give to Hashem. And, so that’s the pshat over here that our terumah, our one-fiftieth that we give is when we say Shma. When we say: Hashem echad. That’s the ultimate terumah that we unify with the Rebono Shel Olam, and we’re willing to be moseir nefesh for Hashem. Now, with this, it explains something very deep, and I don’t know if the Gra is saying this, but to me it makes sense.
Two of a hundred and not one of fifty hints to the two Kriyas Shma
So, why are we saying “trei mimei’ah”? Why do you say two out of a hundred? It’s a weird remez. I understand that terumah is “trei mimei’ah”, but if Chazal are telling us that that’s a remez, there’s something deeper. Meaning, it should have said, “one-fiftieth”. Say the common denominator, not the higher denominator. Two out of hundred. Say: One out of fifty. That’s what we do. That’s what terumah is. But, no, the pshat is that it’s being me’rameiz to the two times that you say Shma. In the Shachris and the Arvis. So, the two times you say Shma, you have to give the Rebono Shel Olam “trei mimeih”. You have to make sure that that fiftieth is what makes all of it worth it. That two out of a hundred is what makes the entire thing valuable. That’s the trei mimei’ah, and that’s why it’s inexplicably connected to Krias Shma. And, says the Gra, that’s why, at the end of a person’s life, after a hundred and twenty, which again is “trei u’mei’ah”, after a hundred and twenty, “yatza nishmaso b’echad”. He wants his neshama to go out with echad because that signifies the fact that I live my life with terumah. I live my life “terumasan” stands for “terumas nun” – that I gave the Rebono Shel Olam my nun, my fiftieth. All my kavanah l’Sheim Shamayim. That’s the pshat. And, by the way, the Gra says this explicitly that that’s trei mimei’ah, that’s why Shma is said twice in Likutei HaGra it brings this down. What beauty! What absolute beauty!
11) A person should speak only in Torah
There’s a famous vort from the Gra brought down in Sefer Shaar Bas Rabbim which is that “v’dibarta bam”, the gemara in Yoma says, “Amar rava hasach sichas chullin oveir b’aseih sh’ne’emar ‘v’dibarta bam’. Bam v’lo bidevarim acheirim.” You should speak in Torah only. So, the Gra says that bam stands for beis is Bereishis, and Mem is Mei’eimasai – that if you are trying to figure out what to say, you have a right to speak about bam. Bereishis, Torah Sh’bichsav, and Mem, Mei’eimasai, Torah Sh’baal Peh. That’s all you should be talking about. And, that’s why it says in Tehillim “rechev ELokim rivosai’im. Alfei shnin Hashem bam Sinai v’kodesh.” That’s wehre Hashem cam, but, again, that’s what Hashem tried to give us, Torah, and that’s hwo we should use our lives speaking in Torah. There are so many beautiful words of the dvar Torah of the Vilna Gaon every week, but I’m going to leave you off with one.
12) If yissurrim come and you can’t figure out why – be toleh in bitul Torah
“V’dibarta bam”. You should speak in Torah again, so Rava says, or some people say Rav Chisda says that if a person sees yesurim are coming to him, the gemara in Berachos 5a, says, he’s getting punished, he should look into his actions. If he looks at his actions, and he couldn’t find what was causing it, then “yitleh b’bitul Torah.” He should assume that it’s bitul Torah. That’s a simple reading of the gemara. There’s a famous Rav Chaim Vuluzin, and this is in Saaras Eliyahu brought down b’sheim the Gra, that there’s a very fascinating thing. So, what’s the pshat if he searched and he couldn’t find anything, then why should he say it’s bitul Torah. If he was being mevateil Torah he would have known that. So, if he doesn’t know if he is mevateil Torah and he doesn’t know it, what’s the pshat. So, you couldn’t find any reason, then it’s bitul Torah. So, Rav Chaim Vuluzin in Nefesh Hachaim says his own pshat, and the Gra’s pshat ties in, but it’s a slightly different one. Although, divrei harav, divrei hatalmid are really very, very similar. It goes like this.
If one couldn’t find the middah kneged middah – Torah is kneged the entire person
Rav Chaim Vuluzin says that we know that the Rebono Shel Olam punishes us middah kneged middah, so if a person stubs his toe, and then says: Ah, Rebono Shel Olam, I know that You’re trying to teach me a lesson, maybe I didn’t run fast enough, or maybe I used my feet for the wrong thing. A person has a throat ache he says: Rebono Shel Olam, I think that I didn’t use my mouth properly. So, any yissurrin that come he’s able to understand that it’s middah kneged middah. However, says Rav Chaim Vuluzin: Let’s say a person sees that he has a certain type of yissurrin, he has a stomache ache, and he says: I ate kosher, I use my stomache right. It doesn’t make sense to me. What’s pshat? So, “yitleh b’bitul Torah”, you should assume that it’s because of bitul Torha because Torah is supposed to permeate your whole body. Therefore, middah kneged middah, if you don’t learn Torah, then every part of your body could be punished, and so, therefore, if you can’t find something that’s middah kneged middah. You say: Rebono Shel Olam, I don’t know what this is for. I didn’t misuse my hands or my stomache or my head or whatever it is. So, then that could be Torah because that means that that Torah is kneged you entire body, and so, mimeilah, if you’re not learning, your bitul Torah could cause this. That is middah kneged middah because Torah permeates your whole body. That’s Rav Chaim Vulzin.
If you couldn’t figure out what you did wrong, it’s because you didn’t learn enough
The Gra says a different pshat. The Gra says the pshat is like this. If you looked into your actions and you couldn’t find what was wrong, “yitleh b’bitul Torah”, then you should know the reason that you couldn’t find it is because you’re an am ha’aretz. You didn’t learn enough. If you could have learned more, then you would have learned. You would have seen maasei Hashem. What Hashem is trying to teach you. So, in life you need to try to see what Hashem is giving you that message. And, if you’re not able the message, you need to learn more, then there’s obviously something very, very lacking in your life.
When a person has tzaros, he should turn to Hashem and say that he’s going to improve
Now, we have to take this with a grain of salt because it doesn’t mean that everything that happens to us we need to just look at ourselves and say: Oh, what’s wrong with me. Okay, Rebono Shel Olam. I don’t even know. That’s not what it means. But, the mussar lesson that when a person has tzaros, he should turn to the Rebono Shel Olam: Please, I’m going to learn more. I’m going to be more committed to You. I’m going to follow Your Torah and Your mitzvos, and You guide me and teach me what’s going on. How do I live my life properly. We should all be zocheh.
Rabbi Yosef Tropper is a rabbi and psychotherapist. Subscribe at ParshaThemes.com