From The Masters Of Kabbalah and Chumash (5 Books of
13th century - "RambaN" - Rabbi Moshe ben
14th century - "Bachya" - Rabbi Bachya ben
16th century - "Alsheich" - Rabbi Moshe
Alshech of Tsfat
17th century - "Shelah" - Rabbi Yeshaiya
18th century - "Ohr HaChayim" - Rabbi Chaim
"And The Eternal Your G-d will circumcise you heart."
It is this which the Rabbis have said, If someone comes to purify himself,
they assist him"(from on High). The verse assures you that you will
return to Him with all your heart and He will help you.
This following subject is very apparent from Scripture: Since the time
of Creation, man has had the power to do as he pleased, to be righteous
or wicked. This grant of free will applies likewise to the entire Torah-period,
so that people can gain merit upon choosing the good and punishment for
preferring evil. But in the days of the Mashiach, the choice of genuine
good will be natural; the heart will not desire the improper and one will
have no craving whatever for it. This is the" circumcision"
mentioned here, for lust and desire are the" foreskin" of the
heart, and circumcision of the heart means that it will not covet or desire
evil. Man will return at that time to what he was before the sin of Adam,
when by his nature he did what should properly be done, and there were
no conflicting desires in his will, as I have explained in parshat
Now, it is known that the imagination of man's heart is evil from his
youth and it is necessary to instruct them, but at that time it will not
be necessary to instruct them [to avoid evil] for their evil instinct
will then be completely abolished. And so it is declared by Ezekiel, "A
new heart I wilI also give you, and a new spirit wilI put within you;
and I will cause you to walk in My statutes." The new heart alludes
to man's nature, and the new spirit to the desire and will. It is this
which our Rabbis have said: "And the years draw nigh, when you will
say: 'I have no pleasure in them'-these are the days of the Mashiach,
as they will offer opportunity neither for merit nor for guilt,"
for in the days of the Mashiach there will be no evil desire in man but
he will naturally perform the proper deeds and therefore there will be
neither merit nor guilt in them, for merit and guilt are dependent upon
"The hidden (sins) are for G-d, whereas the revealed (sins) are
for us and our children forever to deal with." (29:28)
I have heard it said in the name of Maimonides about this verse that
the words "The hidden (sins) are for G-d," refer to the
fact that mystical dimensions of the Torah, such as the true reason behind
the various commandments, are the exclusive domain of the L-rd; if man
succeeds in revealing even a small portion of such reasons, this does
not excuse him from fulfilling the respective commandment in accordance
with what the Torah has revealed as written, even if we are certain that
seeing we know the true reason for them this would make performance redundant
in our eyes. This is the meaning of, "What has been revealed we are
duty bound to fulfill forever more."
"You are all standing today before G-d your L-rd: your heads,
your tribal chiefs...." [29:9]
Since our sages seem to understand that not only the as yet unborn souls
stood at this assembly, but also those who had died ever since the beginning
of human history, Moses would be addressing also the ancestors of mankind,
when he speaks to the heads of the people, as well as the fathers of the
respective tribes of the Jewish nation. The importance of the event would
be underlined by the presence in spirit of all the founders of the nation.
The words heads as well as the word tribes would be justified then. Since
this event took place in the presence of G-d, only He knows who is superior
and who is inferior, someone's official status notwithstanding. Therefore,
Moses refers to all of you, i.e. all of you equally are in the presence
of G-d simultaneously.
"Now write down for yourselves this 'song' and teach it to the
Children of Israel." [ 31:19])
According to Nachmanides, the commandment to do teshuva is also
alluded to in the preceding portion of Netzavim, usually read together
with Vayelech: "For this commandment which I command you this day
is not too hard for you..." (Deut. 30:11)[
The three commandments in Netzavim-Vayelech are related.
The commandment of Hakhel, demanding that all of Israel-women
and children included-assemble in the courtyard of the Holy Temple to
listen to a reading of the Torah, is rooted in the fact that all of Israel
is perceived of as a single body. Subsequently, the Torah once more instructs
every individual Israelite separately to write a copy of the Torah for
"G-d will single him out for misfortune, etc."(29:20)
This seems a paradox. After the soul of the person had already been blotted
out [see previous verse and commentaries], how can G-d separate it from
We may have to understand this in connection with Isaiah 60 that all the
Jewish souls originate in the same sacred part of heaven, immediately
below the throne of G-d, as we have been told in Vayikra Rabba 4,6 on
Genesis 46:26 where all the 70 souls of the family of Jacob are described
as "the whole soul" (singular), as opposed to the souls of Esau
which are described in the plural (Genesis 36).
When the Torah writes that "G-d will blot out his name for under
the heaven, this means that G-d will not take action against this man
and consign him to the forces of the klipa which is here called
"evil," until He has separated his soul. This "separation"
implies certain restrictions G-d imposes on the forces of the klipa
concerning the soul of this person. G-d makes it a point to always set
some limits on the forces of destruction, even though He Himself allocated
to these forces the parameters within which they may operate.
Adapted from the 13th century classic by the illustrious scholar, philosopher
and defender of the faith, Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman-known as 'RAMBAN' or
'Nachmanides', a master kabbalist in his own right and a major link in
the transmission of Jewish mysticism-based on the excellent annotated
English translation, Nachmanides on the Torah, by Rabbi Dr. Charles B.
Selected with permission from the seven-volume English edition of The
Torah Commentary of Rabbeinu Bachya, as translated and annotated by Eliyahu
Munk. Rabbi Bachya ben Asher [1255-1340] of Saragosa, Spain, was the outstanding
pupil of Rabbi Shlomo ben Aderet (the "Rashba"), a main disciple
of Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman (the "Ramban"). Several books have
been written about the Kabballah-based portions of R. Bachya's commentary.
Adapted from Torat Moshe - the 16th commentary of Rabbi Moshe Alshech,
the "Preacher of Zefat" on the Torah, as translated and condensed
in the English version of Eliyahu Munk
Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz was born in Prague around the year 1565. He served
as Rabbi of Cracow and other congregations before he was appointed as
the Rabbi of the community of Frankfurt on Main in the year 1610. In 1916,
Rabbi Horowitz moved to Prague where he became the Chief Rabbi of the
city. He moved to Eretz Yisrael about 1621. He was rabbi in Jerusalem
and in Tiberias, where he died in or about 1630. In addition to his magnus
opus, Shenei Luchot HaBrit, he also compiled an edition of the prayer-book
with a comprehensive commentary. Many of his innovations, including his
formulation of the Kol Nidrei prayer, have become part and parcel of the
Selected with permission from the five-volume English edition of Ohr HaChaim:
the Torah Commentary of Rabbi Chaim Ben Attar, as translated and annotated
by Eliyahu Munk.
The holy Rabbi Chayim ben Moses Attar was born in Sale, Western Morocco,
on the Atlantic in 1696. His immortal commentary on the Five Books Of
Moses, Or Hachayim, was printed in Venice in 1741, while the author was
on his way to the Holy Land. He acquired a reputation as a miracle worker,
hence his title "the holy," although some apply this title only
to his Torah commentary.