Weekly Reading Insights: 



From The Masters Of Kabbalah and Chumash (5 Books of Moses)

13th century - "RambaN" - Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman

14th century - "Bachya" - Rabbi Bachya ben Asher

16th century - "Alsheich" - Rabbi Moshe Alshech of Tsfat

17th century - "Shelah" - Rabbi Yeshaiya Horowitz

18th century - "Ohr HaChayim" - Rabbi Chaim Ben Attar


"And The Eternal Your G-d will circumcise you heart." [30:6]

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 Bereishit.
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 desire.


Rabbeinu Bachya

"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 himself.


Ohr HaChayim

"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 other souls?
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.



Ramban - credits
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. Chavel

Bachya - credits
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.

Alsheich - credits
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

Shelah - credits
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 Ashkenazi Siddur.

Ohr HaChayim - credits
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.

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