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This week’s parashah tells us (28:9), “You shall walk in His ways,” teaching that a person, through his good deeds, actually can walk in Hashem’s footsteps. R’ Eliezer Zvi Safran z”l (1830-1898; Komarno Rebbe) observes, though, that most of us don’t believe this, i.e., we don’t believe in our own spiritual potential.
For example, how often do we pray, and, when we see that we aren’t answered, we assume that our prayers can’t really make a difference? The Ba’al Shem Tov z”l (died 1760) teaches that this is the result of excessive self-deprecation. One must believe that his prayers have untold consequences in the heavens, even if he does not see those effects. If one believed this, R’ Eliezer Zvi adds, how joyously would he pray?! How carefully
In this week’s parsha, the tochachos - the curses, the terrible calamities that will befall us throughout our history are enumerated. There is no parallel to this in the theological or historical writings of any other people, and this, in and of itself, is proof of the Torah’s Divine authorship and the guiding hand of G-d in our history.
There are actually two places in the Torah where these curses are mentioned - once in this parsha and once in the Book of Leviticus - each focusing on a
“When you will go out to war against your enemies, and Hashem, your G-d, will give him into your hands . . .” (21:10)
Why does the verse begin with a plural noun (“enemies”) and then use a singular pronoun (“him”)? R’ Aryeh Leib Zunz z”l (Polish rabbi and prolific author; died 1933) explains:
Many commentaries explain that our verse, besides its plain meaning, alludes to man’s battle with his yetzer hara. Our question may be answered in this light. Our Sages teach that when one performs a
"When you will go out to war against your enemies, and Hashem your G-d will deliver him into your hand and you will capture its people as captives..."
Rashi teaches us that this verse from our parsha is talking about an optional war - for in the wars of the Land of Israel, it cannot be said, "and you will capture its people as captives", because it has already been said, "you shall not allow any person to live". From this we learn that there are two types of wars, a "milchemet mitzvah" and a "milchemet
This parsha contains the most mitzvos of all the parshiot, and they encompass many areas that prepare us for Rosh HaShana and enable us to perceive that there is more to life than mere existence.
The parsha opens with the stirring words, “When you shall go forth to battle against your enemies, the L-rd your G-d will deliver them into your hands. (Deut. 21:10) These words are spoken, not only in regard to the battlefield, but more importantly, in connection with the personal struggle that each