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 (5741) Rashi (Deut. 1:6): "You have dwelt long enough at this mountain (And the differences from Sifrei on the verse)


1. After the introduction in the beginning of our Parsha regarding the condition, time and place where the Yidden and Moshe were located at the time of saying Mishneh Torah (Deuteronomy), the Torah begins conveying what Moshe said to the Yidden (Dev.1:6):

"The L-rd our G-d spoke to us in Chorev saying, ‘You have dwelt long enough at this mountain’”. (רב לכם שבת)

Rashi addresses the words:

“You have dwelt long enough”

and explains:

“(This is to be interpreted) according to its simple meaning. But there also is an Aggadic explanation: I have given you much greatness and reward for your having dwelt at this mountain: you made the Mishkan, the Menorah, and the (other) furnishings; you received the Torah; you appointed a Sanhedrin for yourselves, and officers over thousands and officers over hundreds.”

One must understand:

  1. Rashi, in his commentary on Torah, comes to explain the simple meaning of the verse. Therefore, why does he not suffice with the “simple” explanation,

(that “it is long enough for you” (רב לכם) means “it is sufficient for you”( די לכם))

yet must also bring an “Aggadic explanation”?

(The commentators learn that according to the first explanation, it is difficult, since according to this it should have expressly stated “it is sufficient for you”. (not “long enough”).

However, this is seemingly not a difficulty. For we also find in a previous comment of Rashi, that he translates “enough/רב” as “sufficient/די”, and he does not cite a second explanation).

  1.  In the second explanation, that “enough/רב” is an expression of “abundance/ריבוי” - (“I have given you”) much greatness, which the Yidden received on “this mountain” – it is not understood:
  1. Why does Rashi enumerate the details of “greatness”, which are stated in the “Aggadic explanation”?

According to Rashi’s style (the simple meaning of the verse) he should have cited the “greatness”

(which was given “on this mountain”)

from that which is expressly stated in the simple meaning of the verse, as Scripture itself states,

“Did anything ever happen comparable to this great event, or did anyone ever hear of such a thing? . . Did any people (ever) hear G-d's voice speaking from within the fire etc.”?

Rashi only mentions receiving the Torah – “you received the Torah”. However he doe not state, “Did any people (ever) hear G-d's voice etc.” at Matan Torah, which the verse itself calls a “great event – “G-d's voice speaking from within the fire”.

  1.  In the aspects that Rashi enumerates, this greatness that was innovated within them “at this mountain” is not (that) recognizable.

The aspect that: “You received the Torah (and Mitzvot)” is not (altogether) a new thing. For even Adam HaRishon and Avraham etc. received (directives of) Torah. Moreover, all Bnei Noach were commanded with the Seven Mitzvot, and there was also the yeshiva of Shem and Ever. Regarding Yidden themselves - Torah and Mitzvot began with the Avot. Even the aspect of the Sanhedrin (judges) occurred before this, and even with non-Jews (as is plainly understood). Certainly, and how much more so, was this regarding Yidden.

2. There are other precise aspects in the second explanation:

  1. The order in which Rashi enumerates the aspects (1. Mishkan, 2. Torah and 3. Sanhedrin) do not correspond with the order of the times when they happened:
  1. Beforehand there was the receiving of the Torah,
  2. Afterward the appointing of the Sanhedrin,
  3. And only at the very end, the erecting of the Mishkan.
  1. Rashi, states “Mishkan, Menorah and vessels”, and enumerates the Menorah before the other vessels of the Mishkan. He does not state, “Mishkan and its vessels” (plainly) which would also include the Menorah.
  2. Rashi translates Sanhedrin as “officers over thousands and officers over hundreds”. Yet Rashi omits, “officers of fifties and officers of tens”.

These questions are even stronger when one looks at the Sifrei, which is (seemingly) the source of Rashi’s comment.

  • The Sifrei states (in the correct order) the making of the Mishkan after the receiving of the Torah and the appointing of the Sanhedrin.
  • It states, “the Mishkan and its vessels” (and does not distinguish the Menorah).
  • And it also includes “officers of fifties and officers of tens”.

Yet Rashi changes (and in three details, in the second part itself, of his comment) from the source of his comment!

3. One must also understand the reason for the changes in the first part of Rashi’s comment versus his source in the Sifrei:

  1.  The Sifrei just states, “It is a reward to you (שכר הוא לכם)”. Yet Rashi adds another aspect, “greatness (and reward)”.
  2. The Sifrei just states the wording:

“It is a reward to you, your dwelling at this mountain”

Namely, that the dwelling itself is the reward.

Yet Rashi states,

“I have given you much greatness and reward for your having dwelt at this mountain”

Namely, that the reward is a result of “your having dwelt at this mountain”?

  1. The wording of the Sifrei is, “I appointed for you” – that G-d appointed the Sanhedrin. Yet Rashi states, “you appointed for yourselves”, that the Yidden appointed them.

4. The explanation of all this is:

“Long enough” (רב לכם), plainly means that it is not just, “sufficient for you/ די לכם” (it is enough (גענוג) for you) but more than this:

Much for you” (רב לכם) means that it is “more than enough for you” (צופיל פאר אייך), more than is sufficient (מער ווי גענוג).

This is as Rashi explains the verse:

“You have (taken) too much for yourselves” (רב לכם). (regarding Korach and his assembly’s claim against Moshe and Aharon):

“You have taken much more (distinction for yourselves) than is appropriate.”

This is difficult for Rashi in our verse:

“You have dwelt long enough at this mountain” –much more than is appropriate.”

For the length of time of,

“Your dwelling at this mountain”,

where Yidden received more and more in Torah and Mitzvot etc. were (like) necessities (הכרחים) that brought a great benefit. It also reminded them, the entire time, of the standing at Mount Sinai etc. So much so, that the “mountain” was called “G-d’s mountain”. Therefore, at the very least the wording “sufficient for you/ די לכם” is fitting. Yet, how could it be, “more than is appropriate”?

Rashi therefore forewarns, that nevertheless, the first (and the primary) explanation of “enough for you” is “according to its simple meaning”. For according to the context of the continuation of the aspect – here - in the verse, it was “enough - much more than is appropriate etc.”, as will be explained.

5. This can be explained by prefacing a general precise note, that the entire aspect (of the first three verses) that Moshe said to the Yidden - that it was a special speech of G-d, as it states,

"The L-rd our G-d spoke to us . . ‘Turn and journey . See, I have given . . and to their descendants after them”,

is not mentioned, at all, in Chumash Bamidbar - the main place where Scripture speaks about the journey from the Sinai desert.

The verse there just says:

“It was in the second year, in the second month on the twentieth of the month that the Cloud rose up from above the Mishkan of the Testimony. Bnei Yisroel traveled along on their journeys, from the Sinai desert etc.”

The reason for this is understood:

Here, Moshe Rabbeinu wanted to describe for the Yidden the transpiring of events, starting with their condition at the time of Matan Torah, until the condition that they were in – now – “on that side of the Jordan”. Conveying that, in essence, the Yidden should have come into Eretz Yisroel immediately after their being at Mount Sinai. However, due to the Sin of the Spies they were held in the desert, this entire time.

Therefore, one must tell, that already then, when the Yidden were still “in Chorev” (at Mount Sinai) that G-d told them that they should immediately go to Eretz Yisroel.

According to this, it is understood why the verse states, “You have dwelt long enough at this mountain”

In order to emphasize how strong, G-d’s desire was, to hasten (צוצואיילן) the Yidden that they should immediately enter Eretz Yisroel,

(As in Rashi ’s words, “And to such an extent did the Shechinah exert itself to hasten your arrival to the land”),

So much so, that, notwithstanding the great virtues that were attained by their dwelling at Mount Sinai, each delay (פארזאמען) there (and therefore – not going to Eretz Yisroel) was “more than enough”.

6. This explanation is however not straightforward:

For from the wording, “You have dwelt long enough” (more than enough) it implies that the dwelling at Mount Sinai was not according to G-d’s will. How can this be said, when their delay at the mountain, like all of the journeys - was according to G-d’s command? For as long as the “cloud had not risen”, G-d did not instruct them to leave from there. Their “dwelling at the mountain“ was “according to G-d’s Word” (fulfilling the Supernal Will). Therefore, how could one say that it was “more than enough”?

Therefore, Rashi brings a second explanation (from an Aggadic explanation) that “You have dwelt long enough” means (not plainly, more than enough, but rather),

“I have given you much greatness and reward”.

Thus, the word “rav/רב“ does not mean “enough”, but rather, is from the word abundance (ריבוי) (in other words, much greatness and reward).

In order to explain that (also) according to this explanation, the intent of saying to the Yidden,

“You have dwelt long enough at this mountain”

is to hasten the “Turn and journey” (“to hasten their entering into the Land”) –

which is why G-d’s speech is told specifically in our Parsha, as aforementioned -

Rashi does not cite the wording of the Sifrei.

Rather, Rashi cites the Aggadic explanation, where the wording is,

“you made the Mishkan, the Menorah, and the vessels; you received the Torah; you appointed a Sanhedrin for yourselves etc.”

For specifically these things (and in this order) depict the preparedness of the Yidden to enter Eretz Yisroel, as will be explained.

7. Before the Yidden came into their own land, into a “settled land” - where life’s order in a settled land (like all the nations) can, G-d forbid, lead to Yidden forgetting their difference from all other peoples - they first had to fortify (פארפעסטיקן) within themselves,

“You will be to Me a kingdom of Kohanim, and a holy nation”.

This must be imbued within them in such a manner that even when they would later be in a settled land, that they would be a “holy nation” – “special treasure among all the peoples”.

Therefore, there was the dwelling at Mount Sinai. This accomplished that Yidden would become a “holy nation”, completely.

For in this, there are three aspects:

  • The main point of a “holy nation” is as Scripture states “You shall be holy, for I, the L-rd, your G-d, am holy”. One must be a “holy nation” since, “I am holy“ - G-d – “dwells among you”. “You made the Mishkan”. There is a permanent place where G-d’s holiness rests.

“G-d's voice speaking from within the fire” - G-d’s revelation at Matan Torah - is not sufficient. For this was temporary (לפי שעה), and not an aspect of “I will dwell among you”, permanently.

Since, here, the emphasis is on such a manner of the resting of the Shechinah, which affects the Yidden (also) when they are in a settled land – therefore, Rashi distinguishes the Menorah separately from all the other vessels of the Mishkan. For the Menorah (as Rashi already explained) is “testimony for all the world's inhabitants that the Divine Presence dwells in the midst of Yisroel.”

  • Afterward comes, “you received the Torah”, that the distinguishing (אויסגעטיילטקייט) of being a “holy nation” through the resting of the Shechinah (in the Mishkan) has an influence and makes the conduct of Yidden, in all places and in their daily lives, different (holy and separate), through that which they received the Torah and teaching, from G-d.
  • In order that the Yidden should know and understand precisely (גענוי) what the teachings of the Torah are – there must be the third aspect – the appointment of the Sanhedrin. For they teach the Yidden the laws and aspects of the Torah, and show them how they should actually carry out the teachings of the Torah.

With this, it is also understood why Rashi just cites, “officers over thousands and officers over hundreds” and not (like in the Sifrei – from Scripture) also “officers of fifties and officers of tens”:

The reason that they also appointed “officers of fifties” and “officers of tens”, was just for the time that that the Yidden were travelling in the desert. During the journeys in the desert, and burdens of travel etc., it required “officers” even over small groups. However, when the Yidden entered Eretz Yisroel, in a settled land and permanent place, it did not require “officers of fifties”, and certainly not “officers of tens”.

Since Rashi just enumerates those aspects which are necessary for the preparation of living in Eretz Yisroel as a “holy nation”, he just mentions “officers over thousands and officers over hundreds”.

8. According to all the aforementioned, one can also understand the reason for the other changes of wording, in Rashi’s comment, versus the wording of the Sifrei (mentioned above in Par. 3):

According to Rashi, the intent of the verse, “You have dwelt long enough at this mountain” etc. is to allude, not just to plain aspects of reward that the Yidden received “at this mountain”. Rather, that the dwelling at the mountain accomplished that the Yidden should be ready to enter the Land. Therefore, Rashi does not suffice with the word “reward” but also states, “(I have given you much) greatness”. For the main aspect here is the “greatness” that the Yidden received through their dwelling at the mountain.

Since this “greatness" is (not the dwelling at the mountain itself, but rather) that which came as a result of their dwelling at the mountain, therefore, Rashi states,

(not “It is a reward to you, your dwelling at this mountain”, but rather,)

            “reward for your having dwelt at this mountain”

One could say that these two wordings of Rashi: “greatness” and “reward” – are connected with the two aspects in entering into the Land which is stated here in the continuation of the verses:

  1. The essential entering into Eretz Yisroel - On this it required that the Yidden should have “greatness”. They must be a “kingdom of Kohanim, and a holy nation”, as aforementioned.
  2. The manner of the entering, as it states, “Go in and possess (the land) . . they would not need weapons of war”. This is a reward that the Yidden received for what they did during the time of their dwelling at the mountain.

9. This is similarly, with regard to the appointing of the Sanhedrin, of which there was both things: commandment and appointment:

  1. Through “G-d commanding you (to do so)”
  2. Through “Moshe choosing” and “Prepare for yourselves”.

In the Sifrei, where the aspect of reward is conveyed that it is given from G-d – it emphasizes, “I appointed for you”.

However, in Rashi where it conveys the greatness of the Yidden, the wording is, “you appointed a Sanhedrin for yourselves”.

10. From the homiletic style of Torah in Rashi's commentary (“Yayina shel Torah”):

Rashi, just cites from the verse the words “You have dwelt long enough” (without the words “at this mountain”) and explains that it is “according to its simple meaning”.

(and only in the Aggadic explanation, does he cite the words “at this mountain”).

One could say that, that with this, Rashi is alluding to a general lesson in Avodat HaShem:

A Yid must know that a condition of “dwelling” (שבת) – remaining stationary (בלייבן) in one place - staying in the same level in one’s Avodah to G-d, and not going further and higher – is “enough for you”, “literally”, “more than enough”.

However good and lofty one’s level in Avodah is, nevertheless, an extended period (המשך זמן) of “remaining stationary” (בלייבן זיצן) at the same level is – spending too much time at this.

A Yid must be a “mover” (מהלך), constantly striving and going always higher – rising in holiness.

11. Another lesson which one can take from this comment of Rashi is:

As mentioned, many times, all explanations on the same verse have a relation to each other. This is especially so in our case regarding the two explanations that Rashi cites here in his comment.

This is the lesson:

The two aspects, in relation to the entering into the Land –

  1. The simple explanation, that Yidden must go, however more quickly, to conquer Eretz Yisroel, literally, and
  2. The explanation that this means the spiritual preparation to entering the land, as it states,

“you made the Mishkan . . you received the Torah; you appointed a Sanhedrin for yourselves”,

are interdependent:

Precisely because we are a “holy nation”, we have much greatness and reward – we receive Eretz Yisroel.

This is opposite from other peoples. Their becoming a nation is connected with receiving a land they live in.

Regarding Yidden, the aspect of “You have dwelt long enough” – according to its simple meaning – the “to hasten your arrival to the land” - is not just a hastening in time. Rather (and mainly) it is a hastening in the manner of “your entering” (through – the second explanation – an abundance of greatness). This causes that,

“No one will contest the matter”.

It will be without war and without weapons.

In other words:

The relationship of Eretz Yisroel to the Yidden is completely different from the other nations to their land. Regarding the nations of the world, their land does not have an essential bond with them. Because of this reason, they must wage war to keep it for themselves.

Whereas, regarding Yidden, their connection with Eretz Yisroel is in a manner,

(and when Yidden are in state of openly being a “holy nation”, it is openly recognizable)

that this land belongs, in essence, to Bnei Yisroel. This is like the wording of the Tanchuma:

“He chose the Land of Israel (for Himself). And He chose (the people of) Israel as His portion . . The Holy One, blessed be He, said, "Let Israel, who has come to be My portion, inherit the land that has come to be My portion”.

Since this is through a covenant which can never be abrogated – therefore, it is “No one will contest the matter, and you will not need to go to war”.

So shall it be for us, soon mamosh. We will merit to receive Eretz Yisroel, completely, in a manner of,

“No one will contest the matter, and you will not need to go to war”.

Speedily, and in our days, mamosh.

M’Sichas Shabbat Parshat Devarim and Shabbat Parshat Eikev 5740

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