סדר ראה

ראה אנכי נתן לפניכם היום ברכה וקללה Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse  Deuteronomy 11:26 The verse begins with an imperative verb in the singular — “ראה” instead of “ראו” — but then changes to a plural pronoun — “לפניכם” instead of “לפניך”. The verse may be understood in…

סגר עקב

והיה עקב תשמעון את המשפטים האלה ושׁמרתם ועשיתם אתם ושמר ה’ א-להיך את הברית ואת החסד אשר נשבע לאבתיךָ וכו Therefore it shall come to pass that if you give heed to these rules, and keep and perform them, your Eternal God will keep the covenant and the kindness that he promised on oath to…

סדר ואתחנן

ואתחנן אל ה’ בעת ההוא And I besought the Lord at that time  Deuteronomy 3:23 Rashi comments: All forms of the word “חינון” (beseeching) signify a gratuitous gift. In the Midrash (Deuternonomy Rabbah 2:1): R. Johanan said, there are ten terms for prayer. . . . Of these terms, Moses made use only of תחנונים…

סדר דברים

אלה הדברים אשר דבר משה   These are the words which Moses spoke Deuteronomy 1:1 The Midrash (Devarim Rabbah 1:1) teaches: Before Moses was privileged to receive the Torah, the Scripture writes about him (Exodus 4:10): “לא איש דברים אנכי” (I am not a man of words), a reference to his speech impediment. But upon…

סדר מסעי

והיה אשר תותירו מהם לשכים בעיניכם ולצנינם בצדיכם וצררו אתכם That those whom you allow to remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall harass you in the land where you live  Numbers 33:55 In the Midrash (Numbers Rabbah 23:9) it is written: This refers to what…

סדר מטות

וידבר מֹשה אל ראשי המטות וכו’ איש כי ידר נדר וכו’ לא יחל דברו And Moses spoke to the heads of the tribes. . . . If a man vows a vow to the Lord . . . he shall not break his word  Numbers 30:2-3 The Ramban explains that this chapter was specifically transmitted…

סדר פנחס

פינחס בן אלעזר בן אהרן הכהן Pinhas the son of Elazar the son of Aaron the Priest Numbers 25:11 Rashi comments: because the tribes spoke disparagingly of Pinhas, saying: “Have you seen this grandson of Puti, the father of whose mother used to fatten calves for idolatrous sacrifices? And he has dared to slay a…

סדר בלק

וירא בלק בן צפור את כל אשר עשה ישראל לאמרי ויגר מואב מפני העם מאד כי רב הוא ויקץ מואב מפני בני ישראל And Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. And Moab was very afraid of the people, because they were many; and Moab was overcome with…

סדר חקת

זאת חקת התורה This is the statute of the law Numbers 19:2 Rashi comments: Because Satan and the nations of the world taunt Israel, saying, “What is this command and what reason is there for it?” the Scripture therefore refers to it as “חקה” (statute), as if to say: “it is an enactment from Me,…

סדר קרח

ויקח קרח Now Korah betook himself Numbers 16:1 In the Midrash it is written: What did Korah see that caused him to challenge Moses? He saw the chapter of the red heifer. This Midrash requires interpretation. Our master explains that Korah argued that, insasmuch as the whole congregation is holy and is close to the…