Parashat VaEtchanan


Devarim 3:23 I implored Hashem at that time, saying,

Rashi on 3:23 I IMPLORED. Hebrew: vaetchanan. [The word] chinun [and its derivatives] in all cases is an expression signifying [requesting] a free gift. Even though the righteous may base a request on the merit of their good deeds, they request only a free gift of the Omnipresent. Because G-d had said to him [Moshe], "and I will favor (vechanoti) when I wish to favor (achon)" (Shemot 33:19), he [Moshe], he spoke to Him [G-d], using the expression vaetchanan. Another explanation: This (chinun) is one of ten terms which denote prayer.

AT THAT TIME. After I had conquered the land of Sichon and 'Og, I thought that perhaps the vow [which G-d had made, that I should not enter the land] was nullified, [since the land I entered was part of the land of Kenaan].

SAYING. This is one of three occasions in which Moshe said before the Omnipresent, "I will not let You go until You let me know whether or not You will grant my request."

3:24 My Lord, Hashem, You had begun to show Your servant Your greatness and Your strong hand, for what power is there in the heavens or on the earth that can perform according to Your deeds and according to Your mighty acts?

Rashi on 3:24 MY LORD, HASHEM/ELOKIM. You Who are merciful (Hashem) in judgment (Elokim).

YOU HAD BEGUN TO SHOW YOUR SERVANT. An opening for standing and offering prayer even though the decree has been fixed. He [Moshe] said to Him: "I learned [this] from You. You said to me, 'And now leave Me alone’" (Shemot 32:10). Was I holding You? However, You said this to open the door [as it were and to teach me] that it depended upon me [i.e., my choice whether] to pray for them [or to leave You alone]. So do I think to act now.

YOUR GREATNESS. This is the attribute of Your goodness. Similarly, it states: "And now, pray, let the strength of my Lord be great" (BaMidbar 14:17-18).

YOUR...HAND. This is Your right hand which is extended to [accept the repentance of] all who come into the world.

STRONG [HAND]. [The hand is called strong] because by Your mercy, You forcibly subdue the attribute of strict judgment.

FOR WHAT POWER IS THERE [THAT CAN PERFORM ACCORDING TO YOUR DEEDS]. You cannot be compared to a king of flesh and blood who has advisors and associates who restrain him when he wishes to act with kindness and to forego his regulations. You, however, have no one to prevent you from forgiving me and annulling Your decree. The simple meaning of the verse is: You have begun to show Your servant the battle of Sichon and 'Og, as it is written: "Behold, I have begun to deliver [Sichon and his land] before you" (2:31). Show me [also] the war of the thirty-one kings [of Kenaan]. [See Yehoshua 12:7-24.]

3:25 Please let me cross and see the good land that is on the other side of the Yarden, this good mountain and the Levanon.

Rashi on 3:25 PLEASE LET ME CROSS. Hebrew:ebera-na. [The word] na is nothing but an expression of request.

THIS GOOD MOUNTAIN. This is Yerushalayim.

AND THE LEVANON. This is the Temple

3:26 But Hashem became angry with me because of you, and He did not listen to me; Hashem said to me, "It is much for you! Do not continue to speak to Me further about this matter.

Rashi on 3:26 BUT HASHEM BECAME ANGRY. Hebrew: vayitaber Hashem. [The hithpa’el conjugation denotes that] He became filled with wrath.

BECAUSE OF YOU. You caused it for me. Similarly, it states: "They provoked [G-d] by the waters of Merivah, and Moshe suffered because of them" (Tehillim 106:32).

IT IS MUCH FOR YOU. Hebrew: rav-lach [interpreted as: "you have a master rav." I.e., pray no more], so that people should not say, "How hard is the Master, and how obstinate and pressing is the disciple!" Another explanation of rav lach [explained as "you have much"]: More than this is reserved for you: Much is the goodness that is kept for you.

3:27 Ascend to the top of the cliff and raise your eyes westward, northward, southward, and eastward, and see with your eyes, for you shall not cross this Yarden.

Rashi on 3:27 AND SEE WITH YOUR EYES. You requested of Me "Let me... see the good land" (v25). I am showing you all of it, as it says: "And Hashem showed him all the Land" (Devarim 34:1).

3:28 And command Yehoshua, and strengthen him and give him resolve, for he shall cross before this people and he shall cause them to inherit the land that you will see.

Rashi on 3:28 AND COMMAND YEHOSHUA regarding the bother, the burdens and the quarrels [inherent in leadership].

AND STRENGTHEN HIM AND GIVE HIM RESOLVE with your words, so that he will not be discouraged, saying, "Just as my teacher was punished, so will I be punished because of them." I assure him [says G-d] that he will cross over [before this people] and he will make [them] inherit [the land].

FOR HE SHALL CROSS. If he crosses before them, they will inherit the land, and if not, they will not inherit [it]. So, indeed, we find that when Yehoshua sent some of the people against 'Ai and he remained behind, "the men of 'Ai smote of them" (Yehoshua 7:5). And when he fell on his face, G-d said to him, kum-lach: written without a "vav", so that it may be read kam, i.e., it is you standing in your place and sending My children out to war [that brought about this defeat]. Why do you fall on your face? Did I not tell this to your master, Moshe, "If he [Yehoshua] crosses, they will cross, but if not, they will not cross"?

3:29 And we stayed in the valley, opposite Beyt-peor.

Rashi on 3:29 AND WE STAYED IN THE VALLEY, OPPOSITE BEYT-PEOR — and you attached yourselves to idol worship. Nevertheless, "And now, O Yisrael, hearken to the statutes" (4:1), and you will be forgiven for everything. But I was not privileged to be forgiven.

4:2 You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor shall you subtract from it, to observe the commandments of Hashem, your G-d, that I command you.

Rashi on 4:2 YOU SHALL NOT ADD for instance, by inserting five sections into the tefillin [instead of four], by using five species for the [commandment of] lulav [on Sukkot] instead of four], or by attaching five fringes [instead of four]. And so too, velo tigreu nor diminish [from it i.e., three instead of four].

4:6 You shall safeguard and perform [them], for it is your wisdom and understanding in the eyes of the peoples, who shall hear all these statutes and who shall say, "Surely a wise and understanding people is this great nation!"

Rashi on 4:6 YOU SHALL SAFEGUARD [THEM]. This refers to study.

AND PERFORM [THEM]. [To be interpreted] according to its apparent meaning.

FOR IT IS YOUR WISDOM AND UNDERSTANDING IN THE EYES OF THE PEOPLES. Through this you will be considered wise and understanding in the eyes of the peoples.

4:8 And which is a great nation that has righteous statutes and ordinances, such as this entire Torah that I place before you this day?

Rashi on 4:8 RIGHTEOUS STATUTES AND ORDINANCES - tzadikim means worthy and acceptable ones.

4:9 Only beware for yourself and greatly beware for your soul, lest you forget the things that your eyes have beheld and lest you remove [them] from your heart all the days of your life; and make them known to your children and your children's children -

Rashi on 4:9 ONLY BEWARE...LEST YOU FORGET THE THINGS. Only then, when you do not forget them, and will [therefore] do them in their proper manner, will you be considered wise and understanding, but if you distort them because of forgetfulness, you will be considered fools.

4:10 the day that you stood before Hashem, your G-d, at Chorev, when Hashem said to me, "Gather the people to Me and I shall let them hear My words, so that they shall learn to fear Me all the days that they live on the earth, and they shall teach their children."

Rashi on 4:10 THE DAY THAT YOU STOOD. This refers back to the preceding verse: "which your eyes saw" [on] the day that you stood at Chorev, where you saw the thunder and the torches.

SO THAT THEY SHALL LEARN. The Targum [Onkelos] renders: they may learn for themselves.

AND THEY SHALL TEACH. The Targum [Onkelos] renders, that they may teach others.

4:14 Hashem commanded me at that time to teach you statues and ordinances, that you shall perform them in the land to which you cross, to take possession of it.


4:16 lest you act corruptly and make yourselves a carved image, a likenss of any shape; a form of a male or a female;

Rashi on 4:16 FORM. Hebrew: samel - this means form.

4:19 and lest you raise your eyes to the heavens and you see the sun, and the moon, and the stars - the entire legion of the heavens - and you be drawn astray and bow to them and worship them, which Hashem, your G-d, has appointed to all the peoples under the entire heavens!

Rashi on 4:19 AND LEST YOU RAISE YOUR EYES to gaze at this thing and to set your heart to stray after them.

WHICH HASHEM...APPOINTED to illuminate for them [all peoples]. Another explanation: Which G-d assigned to them as deities; He did not prevent them from erring after them; rather, He caused them to slip, [i.e., to err], with their futile speculations, in order to drive them out of the world. Similarly, it says: "He [G-d] smoothed the way for him in his eyes to find his iniquity to hate [him]" (Tehillim 36:3).

4:20 But Hashem has taken you and withdrawn you from the iron crucible, from Egypt, to be a nation of heritage for Him, as this very day.

Rashi on 4:20 FROM THE IRON CRUCIBLE. Hebrew: mikur. kur is a vessel in which gold is refined.

4:21 Hashem became angry with me because of your matters, and He swore that I would not cross the Yarden and that I would not come to the good land that Hashem, your G-d, gives you as a heritage.

Rashi on 4:21 BECAME ANGRY. Hebrew: hitanaf, [The hithpa’el conjugation denotes that] He became filled with wrath.

BECAUSE OF YOUR MATTERS, because of you, on your account.

4:22 For I will die in this land; I am not crossing the Yarden - but you are crossing and you shall take possession of this good land.

Rashi on 4:22 FOR I WILL DIE...I AM NOT CROSSING. Since he was to die, how could he cross? But rather he meant: even my bones will not cross.

4:23 Beware for yourselves lest you forget the covenant of Hashem, your G-d, that He has sealed with you, and you make yourselves a graven image of a likeness of any thing, which Hashem, your G-d, has commanded you.

Rashi on 4:23 WHICH HASHEM...COMMANDED YOU. Which He commanded you not to make.

4:24 For Hashem, your G-d - He is a consuming fire, a zealous G-d.

Rashi on 4:24 A ZEALOUS G-D. Zealous to wreak vengeance, in Old French, anprenemant, zealous anger. He burns in His anger to exact retribution from idol worshippers.

4:25 When you beget children and grandchildren and you will have been long in the land, you will grow corrupt and make a carved image of the likeness of any thing, and you will do evil in the eyes of Hashem, your G-d, to anger Him.

Rashi on 4:25 AND YOU WILL HAVE BEEN LONG. He hinted to them that they would be exiled from it at the end of 852 years, the gematria, numerical value, of the word venoshantem, but He exiled them earlier, at the end of 850 years. He did this two years earlier than the numerical value of venoshantem in order that the prophecy about them should not be fulfilled "that you shall utterly perish."(v26) This is the meaning of what is said: "And Hashem ‘hastened’ with the evil and brought it upon us, for Hashem our G-d is charitable (tzaddik)" (Daniel 9:14). He was charitable with us for He hastened to bring it [the exile] two years before its time.

4:26 I call the heavens and the earth this day to bear witness against you that you will surely perish quickly from the land to which you are crossing the Yarden to take possession of; you shall not have lengthy days upon it, for you will be destroyed.

Rashi on 4:26 I CALL...AGAINST YOU [THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH]. I hereby summon them to be witnesses that I have warned you.

4:28 There you will serve gods, the handiwork of man, of wood and stone, which do not see, and do not hear, and do not eat, and do not smell.

Rashi on 4:28 THERE YOU WILL SERVE GODS. As the Targum [Onkelos] explains: Since you serve those who worship them [idols], it is as though you [yourselves] serve them [i.e., the idols].

4:31 For Hashem, your G-d, is a merciful G-d, He will not loosen [His hold on] you, and He will not destroy you, and He will not forget the covenant of your forefathers that He swore to them.

Rashi on 4:31 HE WILL NOT LOOSEN [HIS HOLD ON] YOU. He will not let go of you with His hands. The expression loyarpecha means that He will not cause something, i.e., He will not cause you looseness. He will not separate you from [being] near Him. Similarly, "I held him fast, and I would not let him loose (arpenu)" (Shir HaShirim 3: 4), which is not vocalized arpenu [which would mean to heal].

4:32 For inquire now regarding the early days that preceded you, from the day when Hashem created man on the earth, and of [those which are] from one end of the heavens to the other end of heaven: Has there [ever] been anything like this great thing or has anything like it been heard?

Rashi on 4:32 REGARDING THE EARLY DAYS. Hebrew: leyamim rishonim [the "lamed" of leyamim here means] regarding the early days.

AND OF [THOSE WHICH ARE] FROM ONE END OF THE HEAVENS. And also ask of all the creatures from one end [of the heavens] to the other end. This is its simple meaning, but its midrashic explanation is: [This] teaches [us] about Adam’s height, that it was from the earth to the heavens, and that this is the very same measurement as from one end of the heavens to the other end.

HAS THERE [EVER] BEEN ANYTHING LIKE THIS GREAT THING. And what is this great thing? HAS ANYTHING LIKE IT BEEN HEARD? of the following verse.

4:34 Or has any god ever performed miracles to come to take for himself a nation amidst a nation, with challenges, with signs, and with wonders, and with war, and with a strong hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with greatly awesome deeds, such as everything that Hashem, your G-d, did for you in Egypt before your eyes?

Rashi on 4:34 OR HAS ANY GOD EVER PERFORMED MIRACLES. Has any god performed miracles (nisim)?

TO COME TO TAKE FOR HIMSELF A NATION... All the letters "hey" are in the interrogative form. Therefore, they are vocalized with a chataf patach hanihya has there been? hanishma has it been heard? hashama did there hear? hanisadid... perform miracles?

WITH CHALLENGES. Through tests, He let them know His might, for example: "[and Moshe said to Pharaoh] 'Boast of your superiority over me [to fix a time]' (Shemot 8:5), whether I am able to do so. This is a test.

WITH SIGNS so that they should believe that he [Moshe] was the messenger of the Omnipresent, as, e.g., "What is that in your hand?" (Shemot 4:2)

AND WITH WONDERS [meaning] that G-d brought upon them [the Egyptians] wondrous plagues.

AND WITH WAR. At the Reed Sea, as it is said: "because Hashem is fighting for them" (Shemot 14:25).

4:35 You have been shown to know that Hashem, He is the G-d! There is none beside Him!

Rashi on 4:35 YOU HAVE BEEN SHOWN. When the Holy One, blessed is He, gave the Torah, He opened for Yisrael the seven heavens, and just as He tore open the upper regions, so did He tear open the lower regions, and they saw that He is One. Accordingly, it is stated, "You have been shown, in order to know [that Hashem He is G-d—there is none else besides Him]."

4:37 and because He loved your forefathers, and He chose his offspring after him, and He took you out before Him with His great strength from Egypt;

Rashi on 4:37 AND BECAUSE HE LOVED. And all this was because He loved [your forefathers].

AND HE TOOK YOU OUT BEFORE HIM like a man who leads his son before him, as it is stated (Shemot 14:19), "Then the angel of Hashem who had been going, who had been going [in front of the camp of Yisrael] moved and went behind them." Another explanation: And He brought you out before him—before his forefathers, as it is said: "Before their forefathers, He wrought wonders" (Tehillim 78:12). And do not be astonished by the fact that [Scripture] refers to them in the singular [using befanav instead of bifneyhem, for it has already written about them in the singular, "And he chose and chose their seed (bezaro) after them (acharav)," [literally, his. seed after him].

4:38 to drive away from before you nations that are greater and mightier than you, to bring you, to give you their land as an inheritance, as this very day.

Rashi on 4:38 FROM BEFORE YOU NATIONS THAT ARE GREATER AND MIGHTIER THAN YOU, literally, than you from before you. The verse can be explained by transposing it: to drive out from before you mipaneycha, nations greater and stronger than you mimcha.

AS THIS VERY DAY. As you see today.

4:41 Then Moshe set aside three cities on the side of the Yarden, on the east,

Rashi on 4:41 THEN MOSHE SET ASIDE. Hebrew: az yavdil [The future form yavdil instead of the past form hivdil is to be explained]: Moshe set his heart to hasten to [implement] the matter to separate them. And even though they were not to serve as cities of refuge until those of the land of Kenaan would be separated, Moshe said, "Any commandment that is possible to fulfill, I will fulfill."

ON THE SIDE OF THE YARDEN, ON THE EAST. On that side which is on the east of the Yarden.

ON THE EAST. Hebrew: mizrecha shamesh. Because the word mizrecha is in the construct state, the "resh" is punctuated with a "chataf" (vocal "sh’va"), the meaning being, "the rising of the sun," i.e., the place of the sunrise.

4:44 This is the teaching that Moshe placed before the Children of Yisrael.

Rashi on 4:44 THIS IS THE TEACHING. This one which he is about to set down after this chapter.

4:45 These are the testimonies, the statutes, and the ordinances that Moshe spoke to the Children of Yisrael, when they went forth from Egypt.

Rashi on 4:45 THESE ARE THE TESTIMONIES...MOSHE SPOKE. They are the very same ones that he spoke when they went out of Egypt, and he taught it to them again in the plains of Moav.

4:47 They took possession of his land and the land of 'Og, king of Bashan, two kings of the Emori, which are on the side of the Yarden, on the east.

Rashi on 4:47 WHICH ARE ON THE SIDE OF THE YARDEN, ON THE EAST, because the other side was in the west. [That means on the side opposite the western side.]

5:3 Not with our forefathers did Hashem seal this covenant, but with us - we who are here today, all of us alive.

Rashi on 5:3 NOT WITH OUR FOREFATHERS. Alone did Hashem make [this covenant], but with us.

5:4 Face to face Hashem spoke to you on the mountain, from the midst of the fire.

Rashi on 5:4 FACE TO FACE. Rabbi Berechiah said, "So said Moshe: 'Do not say that I am misleading you about something that does not exist, as an agent does, acting between the seller and the buyer, [because] behold, the seller Himself is speaking with you.’"

5:5 I was standing between Hashem and you at that time, to relate the word of Hashem to you - for you were afraid of the fire and you did not ascend the mountain - saying:

Rashi on 5:5 SAYING. This refers back to (v4), "Hashem spoke with you at the mountain out of the midst of the fire... saying, ‘I am Hashem...,’ and I stood between Hashem and you".

5:7 There shall not be unto you the gods of others before Me.

Rashi on 5:7 BEFORE ME, wherever I am, and that is the entire world. Another explanation: As long as I exist [i.e., forever].

5:12 Guard the Sabbath day to sanctify it, as Hashem, your G-d, commanded you.

Rashi on 5:12 GUARD THE SABBATH DAY. But in the first set [of Ten Commandments] (in Shemot 20) it says: "Remember [the Sabbath day]!" The explanation is: Both of them ("Remember" and "Guard") were spoken simultaneously as one word and were heard simultaneously.

AS HASHEM, YOUR G-D, COMMANDED YOU. Before the giving of the Torah, at Marah.

5:15 And you shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and Hashem, your G-d, has taken you out from there with a strong hand and an outstretched arm; therefore Hashem, your G-d, has commanded you to make the Sabbath day.

Rashi on 5:15 AND YOU SHALL REMEMBER THAT YOU WERE A SLAVE... God redeemed you on the condition that you will be His slave and keep His commandments.

5:16 Honor your father and your mother, as Hashem, your G-d, commanded you, so that your days will be lengthened and so that it will be good for you, upon the land that Hashem, your G-d, gives you.

Rashi on 5:16 AS HASHEM, YOUR G-D, COMMANDED YOU. Also regarding the honoring of father and mother they were commanded at Marah, as it is said: (Shemot 15:25), "There He gave them a statute and an ordinance."

5:17 You shall not kill; and you shall not commit adultery; and you shall not steal; and you shall not bear false witness against your fellow.

Rashi on 5:17 AND YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY applies only [to relations] with a married woman.

5:18 And you shall not covet your fellow's wife, you shall not desire your fellow's house, his field and his slave and his maidservant, his ox and his donkey, and anything that belongs to your fellow.

Rashi on 5:18 AND YOU SHALL NOT COVET, As the Targum [Onkelos] renders: "you shall not desire." This too is an expression of coveting (chemda), just as "pleasant (nechmad) to see" (Bereyshit 2:9), which the Targum [Onkelos] interprets as "desirable (dimirageg) to see."

5:19 These words Hashem spoke to your entire congregation on the mountain, from the midst of the fire, the cloud, and the thick cloud - a great voice, which did not stop - and He inscribed them on two stone Tablets and gave them to me.

Rashi on 5:19 WHICH DID NOT STOP, interpreted by the Targum [Onkelos]: "and it did not cease." [Because it is human nature that one is unable to utter all his words in one breath, but he must pause, whereas the characteristic of the Holy One, blessed is He, is not so. G-d did not pause, and since He did not pause, He did not have to resume,] for His voice is strong and exists continuously. Another explanation of velo yasaf: He never again revealed Himself so publicly [as He did on Mount Sinai. Accordingly, we render: and He did not continue].

5:24 You should approach and hear whatever Hashem, our G-d, will say, and you should speak to us whatever Hashem, our G-d, will speak to you - then we shall hear and we shall do.

Rashi on 5:24 AND YOU SHOULD SPEAK TO US. Hebrew:veat, a feminine form] - You weakened my strength as that of a female, for I was distressed regarding you, and you weakened me, since I saw that you were not anxious to approach G-d out of love. Would it not have been preferable for you to learn [directly] from the mouth of the Almighty G-d, rather than to learn from me?

6:4 Hear, O Yisrael: Hashem our G-d, Hashem is One.

Rashi on 6:4 HASHEM OUR G-D, HASHEM IS ONE. Hashem, who is now our G-d and not the G-d of the other nations - He will be [declared] in the future "the one G-d," as it is said: "For then I will convert the peoples to a pure language that all of them call in the name of Hashem" (Tzefanya 3:9), and it is [also] said: "On that day will Hashem be one and His name one" (Zecharya 14:9).

6:5 You shall love Hashem, your G-d, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your possessions.

Rashi on 6:5 YOU SHALL LOVE HASHEM. Perform His commandments out of love. The one who acts out of love cannot be compared to the one who acts out of fear. If one serves his master out of fear, when the master sets a great burden upon him, this servant will leave him and go away [whereas if out of love he will serve him even under great burden].

WITH ALL YOUR HEART. Hebrew:bechol-levavcha. [The double "vet" in levavcha suggests:] Love Him with your two inclinations [the good and the evil]. Another explanation; "with all your heart," is that your heart should not be divided [i.e., at variance] with the Omnipresent.

WITH ALL YOUR SOUL. Even if He takes your soul.

AND WITH ALL YOUR POSSESSIONS. There are people whose possessions are more precious to them than their own bodies. Therefore, it says, "and with all your possessions". Another explanation of uvechol-meodecha is: You shall love G-d with whatever measure (mida) He metes out to you, whether it be the measure of good or the measure of retribution. Thus also did David say: "I will lift up the cup of salvations [and I will call upon the name of Hashem]" (Tehillim 116:12-13); "I found trouble and grief [and I called out in the name of Hashem]" (Tehillim 116:3-4).

6:6 And these words that I command you today shall be upon your heart.

Rashi on 6:6 AND THESE WORDS...SHALL BE. What is this "love" [referred to in the previous verse]? It is that these words [the mitzvot] shall be upon your heart, and through this, you will come to recognize the Holy One, blessed be He, and will [consequently] cling to His ways.

THAT I COMMAND YOU TODAY they should not appear to you as an antiquated edict which no one cares about, but as a new one, which everyone hastens to read. The word deyutagma means: a royal edict which comes in writing.

6:7 You shall teach them to your sons and you shall speak of them while you sit in your home and while you walk on the way, when you lie down and when you rise.

Rashi on 6:7 YOU SHALL TEACH THEM. This is an expression of sharpness, meaning that these words should be sharply impressed in your mouth, so that if a person asks you something, you will not have to hesitate about it, but you will tell him immediately.

TO YOUR SONS. These are your disciples. We find everywhere that disciples are termed "sons," as it is said: "You are children to Hashem your G-d" (Devarim 14:1), and it says: "The disciples [literally sons] of the prophets who were in Beyt-el" (2Melachim 2:3). So too, we find that Yechizkiyahu taught Torah to all Yisrael and called them children, as it is said: "My sons, now do not forget" (2Divre HaYamim 29:11). And just as disciples are called "children," as it is said "You are children to Hashem your G-d" so too, the teacher is called "father," as it is said [that Elisha referred to his teacher Eliyahu by the words] "My father, my father, the chariot of Yisrael..." (2Melachim 2:12).

SPEAK OF THEM. That your principal topic of conversation should be only about them; make them the main topic, not the secondary one.

WHEN YOU LIE DOWN. Now this [latter verse] might lead one to think [that the obligation to recite the "Shema'" is] even if one lies down in the middle of the day. Therefore it states, "and when you rise"; now this [latter verse] might lead one to think [that the obligation to recite the "Shema'" is] even if you arise in the middle of the night! It says therefore, "While you sit in your home and while you walk on the way." The Torah is thus speaking of the usual manner of conduct: The [usual] time of lying down and the [usual] time of rising.

6:8 Bind them as a sign upon your arm and let them be totafot between your eyes.

Rashi on 6:8 BIND THEM AS A SIGN UPON YOUR ARM. These are the tefillin of the arm.

AND LET THEM BE TOTAFOT BETWEEN YOUR EYES. These are the tefillin of the head, and because of the number of the Scriptural sections contained in them [namely four], they are totafot, for tat in Coptic means "two," pat in Afriki (Phrygian) [also] means "two."

6:9 And write them on the doorposts of your house and upon your gates.

Rashi on 6:9 THE DOORPOSTS OF YOUR HOUSE. The word is mezuzot, [without the letter "vav"] to indicate that there is need for only one mezuzah per door.

AND UPON YOUR GATES. This ["gates"] is to include the gates of courtyards, the gates of provinces, and the gates of cities [in that they also require a mezuzah].

6:11 houses filled with every good thing that you did not fill, hewn-out cisterns that you did not hew, orchards and olive trees that you did not plant - and you shall eat and be satisfied.

Rashi on 6:11 HEWN. Since it [the Land of Yisrael] was a stony and rocky place, the term "hewn" is appropriate [regarding the cisterns there].

6:12 beware for yourself lest you forget Hashem Who took you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of slaves.

Rashi on 6:12 FROM THE HOUSE OF SLAVES. As the Targum [Onkelos] renders: out of the house of slavery, i.e., out of the place where you were slaves [and "not the house that belonged to slaves."]

6:13 Hashem, your G-d, shall you fear, Him shall you serve, and in His Name shall you swear.

Rashi on 6:13 AND IN HIS NAME SHALL YOU SWEAR. If you possess all the attributes mentioned here, that you fear His name and serve Him, then you may swear by His Name, for if you fear His Name, you will be cautious with your oath, but if [you do] not, you must not swear [by His Name].

6:14 You shall not follow after gods of others of the gods of the peoples who are around you -

Rashi on 6:14 OF THE GODS OF THE PEOPLES WHO ARE AROUND YOU. The same applies to the gods of those peoples who are distant [from you], but, because you see those who are around you erring after them, it was necessary to warn you especially about them [i.e., the gods of the people close to you].

6:16 You shall not test Hashem, your G-d, as you tested Him at Massah.

Rashi on 6:16 AT MASSAH. When they went out of Egypt, when they tested Him concerning water, as it is said [that they asked], "Is Hashem among us or not?" (Shemot 17:7) [Hence "Massah" means test.]

6:18 You shall do what is fair and good in the eyes of Hashem, so that it will be good for you, and you shall come and take possession of the good land that Hashem swore to your forefathers,

Rashi on 6:18 WHAT IS FAIR AND GOOD. This refers to compromising, acting beyond the strict demands of the law.

6:19 to thrust away all your enemies from before you, as Hashem spoke.

Rashi on 6:19 TO THRUST AWAY ALL YOUR ENEMIES... AS HASHEM SPOKE. And where did He speak? When He said, "and I will confuse all the people..." (Shemot 23:27)

6:20 When your son will ask you tomorrow, saying, "What are the testimonies and the statutes and the ordinances that Hashem, our G-d, commanded you?"

Rashi on 6:20 WHEN YOUR SON ASK YOU TOMORROW. Hebrew: machar. [The word] machar [which usually means "tomorrow"] may [also] mean "at a later time."

7:1 When Hashem, your G-d, will bring you to the land to which you come to take possession of it, and He will cast many nations away from before you - the Chitti, the Girgashi, the Emori, the Kenaani, the Perizzi, the Chivvi, and the Yevusi - seven nations greater and mightier than you,

Rashi on 7:1 HE WILL CAST [MANY NATIONS] AWAY. This is an expression meaning casting away, and causing to fly. Similarly is (Devarim 19:5), "and the iron [axe blade] will cause to fly [from the tree]."

7:2 and Hashem, your G-d, will deliver them before you, and you will smite them, you shall utterly destroy them; you shall not seal a covenant with them and you shall not consider them favorably.

Rashi on 7:2 YOU SHALL NOT CONSIDER THEM FAVORABLY. This means, you must not show them any grace (chen). It is forbidden for a person to say, "How handsome is this heathen!" Another explanation: Do not grant them a settlement (chaniya) in the land.

7:4 for he will turn your son away from following Me and they will worship the gods of others; then Hashem's wrath will burn against you, and He will destory you quickly.

Rashi on 7:4 FOR HE WILL TURN YOUR SON AWAY FROM FOLLOWING ME, i.e., the heathen’s son, if he marries your daughter, will turn away your [grand]son whom your daughter will bear to him, from following Me. This teaches us that your daughter’s son, born of a heathen man, is called "your son," but your son’s son, born of a heathen woman, is not called "your son," but "her son." For Scripture [first says, "Do not give your daughter to his son, and do not take his daughter for your son." Then it follows with "For he will turn away your son..." However], referring to "do not take his daughter," it does not say "For she will turn away your son..." [because he is considered her son, not yours.

7:5 Rather, so shall you do to them: Their altars shall you break apart; their pillars shall you smash; their sacred trees shall you cut down; and their carved images shall you burn in fire.

Rashi on 7:5 THEIR ALTARS. Hebrew: mizbechoteyhem [A mizbeach is a structure] built up [of several stones].

AND... THEIR PILLARS. Hebrew: umatzevotam [A matzeva is a structure made] of one stone.

THEIR SACRED TREES. Trees that are worshipped.

AND... THEIR CARVED IMAGES. [These are] images (i.e., idols).

7:7 Not because of your numerousness over all the peoples did Hashem desire you and choose you, for you are the least of all the peoples.

Rashi on 7:7 NOT BECAUSE OF YOUR NUMEROUSNESS. [This is to be understood] according to its simple meaning. But its midrashic explanation [understanding as "not because you are great"] is: Because you do not boast about yourselves when I shower good upon you. This is why I delighted in you [says G-d].

FOR YOU ARE THE LEAST OF ALL THE PEOPLES. You humble yourselves as, e.g., Avraham, who said, "For I am dust and ashes" (Bereyshit 18:27), and Moshe and Aharon, who said, "but of what [significance] are we?" (Shemot 16:7). Unlike Nevuchadnetzar, who said, "I will liken myself to the Most High," (Yeshayahu 14:14), and Sancheriv, who said, (Yeshayahu 36:20), "Who are they among all the gods of the lands [who saved their land from my hand]?" and Chiram, who said, "I am a god, I have sat in a seat of G-d" (Yechezkel 28:2).

FOR YOU ARE THE LEAST. Hebrew: ki-atem hameat Here ki is an expression of "because."

7:8 Rather, out of Hashem's love for you and out of His observing the oath that He swore to your forefathers did He take you out with a strong hand and redeem you from the house of slaves, from the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egupt.

Rashi on 7:8 RATHER, OUT OF HASHEM'S LOVE. Hebrew: ki meahavat Hashem. Here, [however,] ki is an expression of "but." [Thus, the verses read] Not because you were more numerous... did Hashem delight in you, but because of Hashem’s love for you.

OUT OF HIS OBSERVING THE OATH, "and because of His keeping the oath" [not "and from His keeping the oath"].

7:9 You must know that Hashem, your G-d - He is the G-d, the faithful G-d, Who safeguards the covenant and the kindness for those who love Him and for those who observe His commandments, for a thousand generations.

Rashi on 7:9 FOR A THOUSAND GNERATIONS. But earlier, (v5:10) it says: "To thousands [of generations]." [Why the difference?] Here, where it is adjacent to "those who keep His commandments," it says: "to a thousand generations" [because it is referring to those who obey G-d out of fear] but previously, where it is adjacent to those who love Him, it says: "for thousands [of generations]."

FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM. Those who perform [the commandments] out of love.

OBSERVE HIS COMMANDMENTS. Those who perform [the commandments] out of fear.

7:10 And He repays [each of] those who hate Him to his face, to make him perish; He will not delay for the one who hates Him, to his face He will repay him.

Rashi on 7:10 AND HE REPAYS [EACH OF] THOSE WHO HATE HIM TO HIS FACE. During his lifetime, He pays him his good reward, in order to cause him to be lost from the World to Come.

7:11 You shall observe the commandment, and the statutes and the ordinances that I command you today, to perform them.

Rashi on 7:11 TODAY, TO PERFORM THEM. But in the future, in the World to Come, you will receive their reward.


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