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  The Lidrosh Torah Audio Blog 

Author: Rabbi Elazar Meisels Created: 1/17/2007 5:01 PM
A place for quick thoughts on the Parshah, Hashkafah, Holidays and more from Rabbi Meisels.

Hold-Up’s Are Good

Rabbi Elazar Meisels 8/30/2007 10:43 AM

“’Accursed is whoever will not uphold the words of this Torah to perform them;’ and the entire people shall say, ‘Amen.’” 27:26

  • Whoever Does Not Uphold - Here, he encompasses all of the Torah in its entirety, which they accepted by an imprecation and an oath. – Rashi
  • Who Does Not Uphold – Every Jew must accept the Torah’s validity in full, and must not claim that even one of the commandments is no longer relevant. This curse however, is not pronounced upon one who merely commits a sin, rather, on one who denies that a part of the Torah is G-d given or applicable. This curse also applies to one who can have a positive influence on others but remains unconcerned with their spiritual welfare and fails to as ...
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No Expiration Date

Rabbi Elazar Meisels 8/30/2007 10:42 AM

“This very day, Hashem, your G-d, commands you to perform these statutes and the laws; and you shall observe and perform them wholeheartedly and with all your being.” 26:16

  • This Very Day - Each day let these words appear novel to you, as if, on that very day, you had been commanded to perform them. - Rashi

These words were spoken forty years after the Jews stood at the foot of Mt. Sinai, received the Torah, and spent the next forty years studying them. How could Moshe suggest that the people view them as something novel? Moshe’s point was not merely to suggest that we pretend that we’ve never heard these words before, but rather, to emphasize the timelessness of the words of Torah. The people were about to leave the desert and enter Eretz Yisroel where conditions would be altogether different. Yet, the words and ideas of the Torah were equally relevant in th ...

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Judging Our Leaders

Rabbi Elazar Meisels 8/30/2007 10:42 AM

“You shall come before the kohein who will serve during those days and you will say to him, “I declare today to Hashem, your G-d, that I have come to the land that Hashem swore to our forefathers to give us.” 26:3

  • Before The Kohein Who Will Serve During Those Days – These words teach us that this obligation extends only to a time when there is a functioning Kohein Gadol [High Priest.] – Ibn Ezra - Abraham ben Meir ibn Ezra (1093-1167)
  • The Kohein Who Will Serve During Those Days – And you may not wait until a relative is installed as Kohen Gadol so that your gifts can go to him instead. – Chizkuni - Rabbi Chizkiyah ben Manoach Chizkuni circa 1250
  • Before The Kohein Who Will Serve During Those Days – You have no one except the kohein who serves during your time, as he is – Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki)  

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Minority Status Is Nothing To Fear

Rabbi Elazar Meisels 8/5/2007 8:23 PM

“Perhaps you may say to yourself, ‘These nations are far more numerous than I, how can I inherit them?’ Do not fear them. Remember well what Hashem, your G-d, did to Pharaoh and to all the Egyptians.” 7:17, 18

  • Perhaps You May Say To Yourself – When you reflect on how numerous they are in comparison to the Jewish people, let it not inspire fear. Rather, recognize that indeed, the only way we could possibly be victorious, is via Divine assistance. Furthermore, this special assistance is something that we can feel comfortable relying upon, as we’ve seen how reliable and effective it is, during the events in Egypt where Hashem destroyed the mighty Pharaoh and his army. – Sforno  - Rabbi Ovadiah Sforno,  1475-155  

Sforno admonishes us to feel not ...

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For How Long Our Land?

Rabbi Elazar Meisels 8/5/2007 7:25 PM

“Do not think in your heart, when Hashem, your G-d, crushes them before you, saying: ‘Because of my righteousness Hashem brought me to inherit this land, and because of the wickedness of these nations Hashem is expelling them before you. Not because of your righteousness and the uprightness of your heart are you coming to inherit their land. Rather, because of the wickedness of these nations is Hashem, your G-d, expelling them before you, and in order to fulfill the promise that Hashem swore to your forefathers: Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov.” 9:4, 5



  • Do Not Think In Your Heart – When you see how unusually successful you are in the wars against them and recognize Hashem’s involvement in the matter, do not delude yourself into thinking that it’s all in your own merit… – Sforno

Even before we ever enter ...

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Calling Evil By Another Name

Rabbi Elazar Meisels 8/5/2007 7:24 PM

“Do not bring abomination into your house [lest] you become cheirem [banned] like it; thoroughly revile and abominate it, for it is cheirem [off-limits].” 7:26



  • Do Not Bring Abomination Into Your House – In it’s most literal sense, this verse contains a prohibition against allowing idols to be present in ones home [even if he will not worship them.] Our sages explain that this also includes even renting one’s home to one who will practice idolatry within it. – Talmud
  • Do Not Bring Abomination Into Your House – The word “Cheirem” contains letters that spell Rama”ch and have a numerical equivalent of 248, which corresponds to the number of limbs in a person’s body. This teaches us that for the sin of allowing idolatry into ones home, he will be punished through his entire body. If one repents however, then he can count on Divine mercy to era ...
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No Strength In Numbers

Rabbi Elazar Meisels 7/20/2007 11:54 AM

“They took in their hands some fruit of the land and brought it down to us. They brought back word to us and said, ‘Good is the land that Hashem, our G-d, is giving us.’ ” 1:25

  • Good Is The Land That Hashem…Is Giving Us – Who were the ones who said this? Yehoshua and Calev – Rashi
  • Good Is The Land – If Yehoshua and Calev alone spoke well of the land, why should the people have listened when all the others spoke negatively of the land, and they too, were reputed to by righteous and trustworthy people? The answer is that originally they all spoke well of the land. The other spies however, argued that while the land was indeed wonderful, the natives were too strong to vanquish. Yehoshua and Calev contended that this was not so, and almost succeeded in convincing the people. It was at that point that the ten spies began to sp ...
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From Rags to Riches and Back Again

Rabbi Elazar Meisels 7/20/2007 11:53 AM

These are the words that Moshe spoke to all of Israel, on the other side of the Jordan, concerning the Wilderness, concerning the Aravah…and Di Zahav. ” 1:1

  • And Di Zahav - He admonished them about the golden calf they made because of the abundance of gold they had accumulated, as it is said, "I gave them silver and gold in abundance, they made it into a Baal [Hoshea 2:10]." - Rashi

A large portion of Parshas Ki Sissah was devoted to discussing the complex attitudes and motives behind the sin of the golden calf. In this verse, Moshe Rabbeinu introduces us to yet another contributing factor for their failure. This excuse, while not as complex as the others, also played a significant role in inspiring their failure. In short, Moshe explained that they were overwhelmed by their newfound wealth. Within ...

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The Other Side of the Story

Rabbi Elazar Meisels 7/20/2007 11:52 AM

These are the words that Moshe spoke to all of Israel, on the other side of the Jordan, concerning the Wilderness, concerning the Aravah, opposite the Sea of Reeds, between Paran and Tofel, and Lavan, Chatzeiros, and Di Zahav. ” 1:1

  • These are the words - Because these are words of rebuke, and because Moshe intended to recount here all the places where they angered the Almighty, he therefore said these words in an obscure manner and only intimated that they sinned in these places. This was done in order to uphold the honor of the Jewish people. - Rashi

In addition to serving as a model for how to offer effective rebuke, there may be another reason behind the indirect presentation. Perhaps Moshe was pointing out that some of these sins were not nearly as deliberate and overt as one may be led to believe from th ...

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No Strength In Numbers

Rabbi Elazar Meisels 7/17/2007 7:42 PM

“They took in their hands some fruit of the land and brought it down to us. They brought back word to us and said, ‘Good is the land that Hashem, our G-d, is giving us.’ ” 1:25

  • Good Is The Land That Hashem…Is Giving Us – Who were the ones who said this? Yehoshua and Calev – Rashi
  • Good Is The Land – If Yehoshua and Calev alone spoke well of the land, why should the people have listened when all the others spoke negatively of the land, and they too, were reputed to by righteous and trustworthy people? The answer is that originally they all spoke well of the land. The other spies however, argued that while the land was indeed wonderful, the natives were too strong to vanquish. Yehoshua and Calev contended that this was not so, and almost succeeded in convincing the people. It was at that point that the ten spies began to sp ...
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