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Vol 14.09 - Shoftim 1                    Spanish French Audio  Video

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Chumash
Summary:

(5734) Rashi (Deut 18:13): "Be wholehearted with the L-rd, your G-d".

Debate between Rambam and Ramban if this is counted as one of the Mitzvot.
 

Translation:

1. On the verse:

 “Tamim tehiyeh im Hashem Elokekha” ("Be wholehearted with the L-rd, your G-d. (Deut 18:13)",

Rashi cites the entire verse and explains: "Conduct yourself with Him with simplicity and depend on Him, and do not search the future; rather, accept whatever happens to you with simplicity (and then, you will be with Him and to His portion. — Sifrei" (as explained in par. 2)

One must understand:

1.       The word "Tamim" (wholehearted) is written many times in the Torah:

·         Noah - "He was perfect ("Tamim") in his generations

·         Abraham - "Walk before Me and be perfect ("Tamim")

·         In the laws of the sacrifices - many times that the offering must be “Tamim" (perfect).

Therefore, what is the question here with the word Tamim that Rashi needs to explain?

2.       One must understand the parts of this commentary:

·         "Conduct yourself with Him with simplicity and depend on Him, and

·         do not inquire of the future; rather,

·         accept whatever happens to you with simplicity"

- How does Rashi know that, the simple meaning of verse includes all these particulars?

3.       One must understand the precise wording in Rashi. The verse states the word "ask" (shoel), inquire (doreish) - yet Rashi writes "techaker" (search)?

2. Afterward Rashi concludes:

"and then, you will be with Him and to His portion" –

namely that the reward for "Conduct yourself with Him with simplicity etc." is that "you will be with Him and to His portion".

One must understand:

1.       Where is there mentioned, according to the simple understanding of the verse, any reward for this Mitzvah?

2.       How does Rashi know, according to the simple understanding of the verse, that this is the reward?

The commentators explain that the intent of Rashi is that the verse “Tamim tehiyeh”:

 "Be wholehearted with the L-rd, your G-d"

 can be split into two:

·         "Be wholehearted" is a command to the person - "Conduct yourself with Him with simplicity . .accept whatever happens to you with simplicity".

·         "with the L-rd, your G-d" is the reward on the fulfillment of the command - "you will be with Him and to His portion".

And the necessity for this is:

It should have said “Tamim tehiyeh” just as was said to Abraham: " Tamim/be perfect" and no more.

What, therefore, does "with the L-rd, your G-d" come to imply?

Rashi, therefore, explains that (the words): "with the L-rd, your G-d" is a separate aspect - (namely) the reward for the fulfillment of the Mitzvah. And this is like the continuation of (G-d's message to) Abraham "And I will place My covenant between Me and between you etc." – (this reward will be) through the fulfillment of " Tamim/Be perfect".

But it is not possible to explain this in Rashi because:

1.       According to this,

·         The beginning of Rashi’s words ""Conduct yourself with . . simplicity"

·         And the conclusion "you will be with Him and to His portion"

should have been written in two separate headings ("Dibur HaMaschil"):

a)      First he should have cited "Be wholehearted" and explain: "Conduct yourself . . with simplicity

b)      And then he should have cited "with the L-rd, your G-d" and explained: "and then, you will be with Him and to His portion"

2.       The simple meaning of Rashi’s words: ""Conduct yourself with Him with simplicity" implies that the phrase “with the L-rd, your G-d", refers to the above, and that it is a part of the command: "Be wholehearted".

(Which is the simple inference of the verse (that it is one topic and) not a separate aspect – (namely reward for the fulfillment of the command)

3.       According to Pshat, the phrase: “with the L-rd, your G-d" is not extra, because it comes in consequence to the preceding verse (ibid 10): “There shall not be found among you etc.. a diviner of auspicious times, one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or a charmer, or a necromancer” - one who seeks the future etc. – but you should "Be wholehearted with the L-rd, your G-d”.

4.       What is the essential aspect that Rashi adds with the words: “(with Him) and to His portion"? Moreover, the verse just states: “with the L-rd, your G-d"?

3. The explanation is:

The simple explanation of “Tamim” everywhere is “complete” (shalem).

The “Tamim” of Noah and also the “Tamim” of Abraham mean – complete in fulfilling the will of HaShem.

(So explain most of the commentators even in our verse – that "Be wholehearted with the L-rd, your G-d” means to be “complete” (shalem) with G-d).

However, according to Pshat – which is the view of Rashi – one cannot explain it so here.

Because the subject of the Parsha is not (just) to fulfill the few and explicit prohibitions of:

 “Do not do like the abominations of those nations. . . anyone who passes his son etc. or a sorcerer, or a necromancer” as it says: “whoever does these things and because of these abominations” -

– (but rather the phrase that) a person must be complete with G-d, means that he must fulfill all the 613 Mitzvot.

And there is no room to say: “don’t do ten sins etc.” but rather a person must guard oneself from transgressing any of the 365 negative commandments and also be vigilant in fulfilling the 248 positive commandments!

Therefore the Ramban explains that the intent of the verse is:

“You should be wholehearted with Hashem in all these etc.”, complete in faith (emunah) in G-d in these aspects. One should not listen to sorcerers or charmers etc., “for not all their words are true and they do not tell all that is necessary” For “everything is in the hand of G-d (HaKol Bidei Shamayim) etc. who is Master (Hayachol) of all, who changes the circuit of the stars and constellations at His will etc.)”

However, according to the simple understanding of the verse, it is difficult to explain it so.

For since the verse simply says:

 “Be wholehearted with the L-rd, your G-d”,

and especially after the twofold emphasis on the preceding verse (admonishing against) “doing these things” –

the (simple) explanation is to be complete in everything - “there should not be any blemish in it”.

4. And to answer this, Rashi explains that the explanation of “Tamim” here, is not like everywhere else, but - "Conduct yourself with Him with simplicity”.

This is like the verse: “And Jacob was an innocent man (ish Tam - Gen 25:27) which is the opposite of the aspect of completeness, as Rashi explains: “Tam: He was not an expert etc. not astute etc. (at deceiving)”.

And according to this, the flow of the verses is understood:

The verse begins and admonishes: “you shall not learn to do like the abominations of those nations. . . anyone who passes his son etc. or a sorcerer, or a necromancer”

– (and the reason is because) “for whoever does these things is an abomination to the L-rd” (not because their words are not true).

And afterwards (ibid 14), it accordingly says:

 “For these nations, which you are to possess, hearken to diviners and soothsayers, but as for you, the L-rd, your G-d, has not given you things like these. A prophet from among you etc.”

(This is not because the words of the diviners and soothsayers are not true but rather it is as Rashi explains:

“But…] the L-rd your G-d has not given you: to hearken to diviners of auspicious times and soothsayers, for He caused His Divine Presence to rest upon the prophets and upon the Urim and Tummim”) -

In other words it is not because of the reason that Ramban writes, as above: “for not all their words are true”)

And therefore he verse must warn: "Be wholehearted with the L-rd, your G-d.”.

In other words, even though, through them, you will know the future, nevertheless, “you shall not learn to do like them etc.” Rather you should: “Be wholehearted with the L-rd, your G-d.” - "Conduct yourself with Him with simplicity (and consequently) depend on Him” And do not inquire the diviners and soothsayers etc..

5. Yet there is room to ask:

By “depending on Him” one will not attain nor understand the goal that comes from “doing these abominations etc. and inquiring the necromancers etc. – (namely) knowledge of the future and consequently – how to act etc.

Therefore Rashi continues:

“do not inquire of the future”.

The actions of "Conducting yourself with Him with simplicity” is that one should place one’s hope in G-d and not search (yachakir) what will happen in the future”.

But it is still not understood:

Since one should not inquire of the future, one will be constantly worried – what will the day bring?

(which is actually seen) - (Moreover this (worry) is also – the opposite of conducting oneself simplicity)

Therefore Rashi continues:

accept whatever happens to you with simplicity”.

Conducting oneself with G-d, with simplicity, includes even this - to accept all that happens to you from G-d – whether it is good or whether etc. – (with calmness and) with simplicity, and consequently one will not worry at all.

6. One could seemingly say that in conjunction with this, Rashi writes:

 “and then, you will be with Him and to His portion”,

not as the simple meaning of the verse , but rather to explain to the student how it is possible to be wholehearted (b’tmimus).

This knowledge (of tmimus) negates any form of worry and therefore it is true wholeheartedness – for then he will “be with Him and to His portion”, and he will also have physical good.

But it is not possible to say that this is the intent of Rashi.

Because according to this:

1.       How does Rashi know that one will be with Him and to His portion?

2.       Rashi should have said that “G-d will be with him and his portion” and not “then he will be etc.”

The explanation is:

This verse comes in continuance to the subject of the entire Parsha, as above.

From this it is understood, that just as:

·         “because of these abominations, the L-rd, your G-d is driving them out from (the land) before you”

·         So too - and how much more so, in a good measure, must the reward be for : “Being wholehearted with the L-rd, your G-d” – (which is namely) inheriting the land.

And therefore he continues:

then, you will be with Him and to His portion”, the “portion” of G-d.

And since the “portion of G-d is with him”, therefore, “I will make you to ride on the high places of the earth” – Eretz Yisroel, the Land of G-d, as it says previously: “The land which the Eyes of G-d are constantly upon it etc.”, analogous to a king that had sons and fields – to the son that he loved he gave the best field.

And like the beginning of the Parsha: “the land which the L-rd, your G-d is giving to you”. And also before (this verse) and in support of this verse, “He will drive (“morish”) them (from Eretz Yisroel) before you” –

And as it has already been said: “the people that You have acquired (Who You have endeared more than the other nations), “You shall bring them and plant them on the mount of Your heritage (“nachalatecha”)”

7. But according to what has been said, it is difficult.

After the verse: "Be wholehearted with the L-rd, your G-d”, the Parsha continues (ibid 14):

“For these nations . . hearken to diviners of auspicious times and soothsayers, but as for you, the L-rd, your G-d, has not given you things like these. A prophet from among you, from your brothers etc. you shall hearken to him” –

According to Ramban etc. who explains the intent of the verse “You should be wholehearted” means that:

“One should be “complete/Shaleim” in faith in G-d and that one should not listen to “sorcerers or necromancers”

it is understandable and the continuation of the Parsha is logical.

For the verse explains the reason not to inquire of the sorcerers etc. because “G-d, has not given you things like these. He will set a prophet from among you etc.”, meaning that Bnei Yisroel will inquire the future from the prophet. For only through him will words of truth be heard.

However, according to Rashi, this is a contradiction to what he explained previously on the verse: “You should be wholehearted” that its explanation, as aforementioned, is that:

Even though they speak the truth, nevertheless, “you shall not learn to do like them etc. But rather "Be wholehearted with the L-rd, your G-d” . . do not inquire of the future

And immediately afterwards it states:

For these nations etc. heed sorcerers etc. , but as to you etc. A prophet from your midst etc., heed him”. –

Thus it is permitted to inquire of the future (through a prophet)?

8. The explanation is:

According to Rashi, when the verse states:

For these nations etc. heed sorcerers etc. , but as to you etc. A prophet from your midst etc.

It is not a continuation (and reason) for the previous Parsha (verses). But rather – it is the start of a new topic – namely that G-d will set up a prophet.

And although the verse states: “For these nations etc.”, it does not mean that it is a reason ( the word “Ki/for” meaning “although/d’ha”) for the previous verses.

But rather,  the explanation is “When/ka’asher”. We similarly find this at the start of many Parshiot in the Torah.

Yet all this is according to Rashi, which is according to Pshat. Therefore he cannot explain " Be wholehearted” as it is in every place, meaning “complete/shaleim” as aforementioned (Par. 3). But rather he explains it as “temimut/perfect trust”. Accordingly the verse “For these nations etc.” is a new Parsha.

However, even without this (b’lav hachi) this explanation is necessary according to the simple understanding of the verse:

If you say that the parsha “For these nations etc.” is a continuation of the previous parsha – why must it repeat again, in the same section that the “nations heed diviners and sorcerers etc.”?

However, since at least it is apparent that, through a prophet, it is permitted to inquire of the future?

(and even in our verses it appears that the main prohibition is because it comes through a sorcerer etc.)

Which is a contradiction to the previous parsha – therefore Rashi explains through the precise words (difference) specifically: “do not inquire of the future” – an extra endeavoring which shows that one is extremely worried, as opposed to a general question (shaila) or even a query (derisha).

However, according to Ramban, whose commentary is not specifically the simple understanding of the verse, he explains “Tamim” as meaning “complete/shaleim”

                (and therefore he adds”in all these etc.”, (as aforementioned in Par.3).

Therefore he explains that “For these nations etc.“ is a reason for the previous verses. For:

“He will set up in your midst a prophet and He will put His words into his mouth, and you will listen from him what G-d will do and you will not need to search the future through a sorcerer or diviner etc. for not all of their words are true and they do not inform in all that it required. However with prophecy you will know the Will of G-d and nothing will be omitted”

9. Some of the aspects in Halacha from this Rashi are:

In the command “Be wholehearted etc.” there is a debate between Rambam and Ramban whether it is counted in the enumeration of the 613 Mitzvot.

·         Rambam does not cite it in his Sefer HaMitzvot

·         Ramban in his critique on Rambam) does count it (“We are commanded to that our hearts be Tamim with Him etc.”). And he concludes:

“And perhaps the Rav (Rambam) considers it to be an all-inclusive command that encompasses all Mitzvot and conducting oneself in the path of the Torah etc., therefore he did not list it in his count”.

One could seemingly say that perhaps their debate is based on their interpretation of the verse “Be wholehearted”

Rambam writes concerning all of these prohibitions:

“All the above matters are falsehood and lies etc. It is not fitting for the Jews who are wise sages to be drawn into such emptiness etc.

The masters of wisdom and those of perfect knowledge know with clear proof that all these crafts etc. are emptiness and vanity which attracted the feebleminded and caused them to abandon all the paths of truth. For these reasons, when the Torah warned against all these empty matters, it advised: "Be of perfect faith with G-d, your L-rd."

In other words, Rambam explains that “Tamim tehiyeh” is an aspect of wholeheartedness and completeness of knowledge/da’at.

Therefore it is understood that it is an all-inclusive command, for its subject is to be wholehearted (and complete) in knowledge with G-d - which is inclusive of all of G-d’s commands. Therefore, although this command wasstated specifically in this Parsha “when the Torah warned against all these empty matters”, nevertheless its subject applies to the fulfillment of all the Mitzvot, and it is an all-inclusive command.

Ramban, however, who explains that:

“We unite our hearts solely to Him and that we believe that he alone does all etc., and from Him alone we inquire the future etc., for he changes the paths of the stars and the constellations (mazalot) according to His Will”

holds that it is not an all-inclusive command.

For even though the general subject of faith is in all the Mitzvot, nevertheless, the command here of “Tamim” only applies to specific particulars in one’s faith in G-d (not to all Torah and Mitzvot) in which he is able to change the fate of the stars etc. Therefore one must not inquire from them future matters.

Yet Rashi, who explains the simple meaning of verse, explains that “Tamim” (is not an expression of “completeness” but rather) comes from the word “Temimut” – it is simple that this is a specific Mitzvah (“Conduct yourself with Him with simplicity”) – and it is counted in the enumeration of the Positive Mitzvot.

This is in addition to the Negative Mitzvot that precede this (for example:

“There shall not be found among you etc. a sorcerer etc.” (all forms of searching the future).

And then you will be with Him and His portion.

And perhaps one could say that through the fulfillment of:

“There shall not be found among you etc. it is an abomination to the L-rd,”

and that in everything that comes, one accepts wholeheartedly, (the result) will also be (the reward of being): “to His portion/chelko”.

m’Sichas Shabbat Parshat Shoftim 5725 

Links:

Gutnick Chumash pp. 64
 
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