Parshas Vaeschanan

Why Va’eschanan Follows Tisha B’Av     

Just as explanations are given as to why it is that parshas Devarim always immediately precedes Tisha B’Av, so too must there be a reason why it is that Va’eschanan always follows Tisha B’Av. Rav Simcha Bunim Mi’Peshischa said that it is because Va’eschanan contains the Aseres Ha’Dibros which, as Rashi cites from Rav Saadya Gaon, contain the entire Torah. Because Klal Yisrael is not able to learn Torah on Tisha B’Av (except for a very limited amount), they become suffused with an intense desire to learn the entire Torah once the taanis has passed. So, in order to satisfy this desire, parshas Va’eschanan is read which contains – through the Aseres Ha’Dibros – the entirety of Torah. (Related by Reb Shalom Tuviah Gordon) ~

כי מי גוי גדול אשר לו אלקים קרובים אליו   ד:ז

The Yerushalmi (Berachos 9:1) says that apostates (who wanted to promote their agenda of polytheism) challenged Rabi Simlai with numerous pesukim that refer to Hashem in the plural. One of the pesukim that they proffered is the pasuk in this week’s parsha that says, “For what great nation is there that the Almighty are close to him,” and the word kerovim (are close) appears in the plural tense. Rabi Simlai answered them by pointing to the end of the pasuk that says, “Like Hashem our Lord, in every time we call out to Him,” and the word eilav (to Him) appears in the singular, clearly indicating that Hashem is one.  Rabi Simlai’s talmidim, though, pressed him for an explanation as to why, when all is said and done, the word kerovim in fact appears in the plural tense. Rabi Simlai explained to them that it indicates that Hashem is close to us in many types of closeness. The Pnei Moshe explains that this means to say that, although Hashem appears to be so distant and aloof, He is in actuality close to us. This explanation of the Pnei Moshe fits in very well with the continuation of the Gemara there that elaborates on how Hashem is always close to us to save us from our tribulations. However, as far as the essential definition of the expression is concerned, it seems that a precise explanation would be that every single mitzvah is a vehicle of achieving closeness with Hashem. So, each mitzvah is essentially another type of closeness to Him. And that is what it means that Hashem is close to us with all different types of closeness. (Related by Reb Shalom Tuviah Gordon) ~


“The pasuk says that, l’asid lavo, the knowledge of Hashem will encompass the entire world the way the water covers the entire ocean. The more you work and strive to know Torah b’zman ha’zeh, the deeper your ‘water’ l’asid lavo will be.”



“For a period of many months, I would learn during the mid-day break in Rav Twersky’s shiur room. I saw how he would sometimes put his head down for a few minutes during the break. He would always do the exact same thing: make both his hands into fists, put one on top of the other, and then put his head down on the upper fist. What was amazing, though, is this: the second he woke up, he would continue learning as if he had not taken a break at all. There was no deep breath. No stretch or looking around the room to collect himself. He just maintained the position of his head facing downward, but instead of his hands being in front of his face and his eyes being closed, a sefer was now under his gaze. It was an awesome thing to witness. And it was unchanging in its consistency.!” (Excerpt from A Malach in Our Midst)