Sign up to TorahFax


Thursday, Menachem Av 6, 5781 / July 15, 2021


The following are some interesting points found in this week’s Parsha, Devarim.


The Parsha begins with EilehHadvarim – “These are the words which Moshe spoke to the children of Israel.” The entire book of Devarim was said by Moshe over a period of 36 days.


The Torah tells us that Moshe began the book of Devarim on Rosh Chodesh Shevat and on the seventh of Adar, 36 days later, Moshe passed away. Thus, the entire fifth book of the Torah was over a span of 36 days.


We see this hinted in the first word of the Parsha. The numerical value of the first word of the Parsha, the word, “Eileh” is 36 (1+30+5=36)!


During these 36 days, Moshe recalls many of the events which they experienced together. He recalls the Giving of the Torah, the sending of the spies to scout the land of Canaan and how the Jewish people refused to go into the Promised Land, which resulted in their staying in the desert forty years.


Moshe tells the people the importance of appointing judges. “I commanded your judges saying, ‘Hear the cases between your brethren, and judge righteously between a man and his brother and between the stranger that is with him. You shall not show favoritism in judgment; the small and the great you shall hear alike. Do not be afraid of any man, for the judgment is G-d’s.’”


You shall not show favoritism in judgment, the small and the great you shall hear alike.” Our sages say that to a judge a case of one peruta (a small coin) and a case of a mana (a greater amount) should be equal. They should both be as important to the judge.


By the same token a judge is prohibited to show favoritism to one who is rich or to one who is poor. Both have to be dealt equally. A judge is also not permitted to hear one side without hearing the other side. Both litigants have to have equal status in the eyes of the judge until the judgment is passed.


Rabbi Yonatan Eibeshitz (1690-1764), one of the great Torah scholars in his generation, was known to be a child prodigy. Even as a child he spent all his time studying Torah. When asked, how do you overcome your Yetzer Hara (evil inclination) who tries to persuade you not to be so studious?


He replied: “The Torah tells us that a judge is forbidden to hear one side of a case without having the other present at the same time. The judge has to be fair and able to hear both sides.”


“We know that the Yetzer Tov, the good and G-dly inclination, only enters a person at age 13 – at his Bar Mitzvah. Thus, whenever my evil inclination tries to persuade me to do the wrong thing, I tell him, I cannot listen to you alone. I must also hear what my Yetzer Tov, my G-dly inclination, has to say in the matter. But being that my Yetzer Tov is not within me yet, you will have to wait until my Bar Mitzvah, when my good inclination will be here, before I can listen to you and your persuations…”