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Shabbat Parashat Haazinu 5781

Ein Ayah: Every Possible Negative Thought to Curse

(based on Ein Ayah, Shabbat 12:58)

Gemara: Rav Acha bar Yaakov said: The curse [of Shimi ben Geira to David] which was described as nimretzet (powerful) is notrikon (an acronym) for [the following accusations of David]: He is an adulterer, a Moavite, a murderer, an enemy, and an abomination.


Ein Ayah: Notrikon includes uncovering people’s secret thoughts; one word can express many of them. Shimi, in his hatred, wanted his curse to cover all of his disregard for David.

Shimi called David an adulterer (as indicated by the nun of nimretzet) because of his relations with Bat Sheva, even though David did not commit adultery, since Uriya gave Bat Sheva a get like all who fought in David’s wars. Although a ruling was already given that David’s lineage was not of a Moavite, because Ruth was female, Shimi labeled him according to the view that David held that disqualification (the letter mem). Although Uriya was guilty of rebelling against the king’s authority, and therefore David was not a murderer for arranging Uriya’s death, Shimi called him a murderer, as hinted by the reish.

The establishment of the House of David as kings was the greatest possible good for the nation. It was Shaul who was unable to raise the nation to the characteristics needed for Mashiach. Yet, Shimi declared that David was a tzorer, i.e., that he caused tragedy in Israel (based on the tzaddi). The whole goal of David’s dynasty was to raise up the honor and sanctity of Israel for the whole world to see. Nevertheless, Shimi denigrated him in his heart and said that he brought on only abomination (tav of nimretzet).

We are interested in the internal feelings of a person, even when they are not verbalized. Chazal saw all of the elements of the aspersions Shimi cast on David when cursing him.


(Somewhat) Innocent Brothers

(based on Ein Ayah, Shabbat 12:59)


Gemara: Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak said: Notrikon is learned from here (Bereishit 44:16): “What can we say, how can we justify ourselves (nitztadak)?” – we are honest, we are righteous, we are pure, we are pristine, we are holy.


Ein Ayah: Notrikon emphasizes all of the imaginable thoughts, in this case, by Yaakov’s sons, as they tried to understand how they got in such a difficult predicament [as occurred when the goblet of the disguised Yosef was found in Binyamin’s pack]. They considered all of the ways they could have been held guilty for their actions and came to the following conclusions, whether those known to the person (Yosef) arranging their harrowing experience or those that were not. The possible indictments overtook their hearts and heightened their emotional torment, as identified by the notrikon.

Regarding Yosef’s claim that they were spies, they said, “We are honest.” Regarding their tormenting thought that they were guilty for selling Yosef, they said: “We are righteous.” Despite all of the sin involved, they rationalized that they had held a court case on the matter and found him guilty and deserving of what he received. Thus, they could claim to have done the right thing.

Regarding Yosef’s claim against them (before he had been sold) that they were impure in that they had looked lewdly toward the women of the land, they thought and decided that they were free of wrongdoing on the matter (pure) and Yosef had made a mistake in that regard. Regarding Yosef’s old claim that Leah’s sons belittled the sons of the maid servants, they looked into their hearts and said that they were pristine. Since none of the possible indictments was true, they remained in a state of holiness. These indictments were all rejected by the word nitztadak.

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