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Shabbat Parashat Nitzavim Vayeilech| 5770

Ein Ayah: An Oath Tied to the Divine Name Cannot Be Nullified

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Berachot 5:64)

Gemara: [In defense of Bnei Yisrael, when Hashem discussed destroying them after the sin of Golden Calf] Moshe said: “Remember Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov, Your servants, to whom You swore in You” (Shemot 32:13). What does it mean, “in You”? Rav Elazar explained: Moshe said before Hashem: “Master of the Universe, if You had sworn in the heavens and the earth, I would have said that just as the heavens and the earth can cease, so too Your oath’s validity can cease. However, now that You swore in Your great name, just as Your great name is alive and lasts for all of eternity, so too Your oath stands for all eternity.”


Ein Ayah: If Bnei Yisrael’s continued existence depended on some rule of nature, there could, Heaven forbid, have been something that would make them cease to exist. This could occur when the rule would not have its conditions fulfilled or the nation would not be fulfilling its set role within that historical rule of nature. However, Hashem swore in His own name, and their existence does not depend on any natural set target but on the true completeness of His eternal great name, which will increasingly give light in humanity through Israel. Therefore, the oath cannot be nullified.


The Crucial Element of Hashem’s Upholding His Promise

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Berachot 5:66)


Gemara: [This is a continuation of the aforementioned gemara.] Moshe was saying to Hashem: “Those things that You told me to tell Bnei Yisrael in Your name, I went and told Bnei Yisrael in Your name. Now what will I tell them?” 


Ein Ayah: There is another reason for Bnei Yisrael’s eternal status and the inability for the covenant to be broken. For mankind to reach its potential, the veracity of a Divine promise transmitted by a prophet must be solid and unmovable. Without this, no nation will ever be confident about its choices that are connected to Hashem’s word. At least the special, leading nation needs that confidence so that it can stand up to all of the trials and tribulations of life. That is what Moshe meant. After I told Bnei Yisrael in Your name the promises You told me, if it will not be able to be kept, how will I be able to tell another nation in a way that they will be able to make a strong connection to You? That is why even if man’s decisions and actions are so bad that the Divine promise should be able to be rescinded, Hashem still wants to keep His word. As the pasuk says: “Does Hashem say and not do, speak and not fulfill?” (Bamidbar 23:19).


The Moral Importance That People Accept Divine Omnipotence

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Berachot 5:68)


Gemara: [Along the same story line as before:] Moshe said that if Bnei Yisrael are destroyed, people will say that despite Hashem’s previous miracles, He was able to stand up to one king (Pharaoh) but could not stand up to 31 [Canaanite] kings.


Ein Ayah: The false claim that there is a limit to Divine ability ruins much of the foundation of ethics, which is partially based on the understanding that there is no way to rebel against Hashem and that evil that opposes Hashem will not prevail. It is dangerous for people to make the mistake that by banding together, wicked people can “beat Him.” Therefore, despite Hashem’s showing the world His dominion by prevailing against Pharaoh, it was important that they not think that He could not do so against the 31 kings.


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This week’s Hemdat Yamim is dedicated in loving memory of
R' Meir ben
Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld


Hemdat Yamim is endowed by
Les & Ethel Sutker of Chicago, Illinois in loving memory of
Max and Mary Sutker and
Louis and Lillian Klein, z”l.

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