Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Devarim

Moshe admonishes Klal Yisroel regarding the troubles and burdens and quarrels they caused and states that he could not bear them alone. (1:12) Rashi (this past week, on 29 Tammuz, we celebrated Rashi's 901st yahrtzeit) explains, based on the Sifri, that in this case the burdens - masa'achem - refers to Apikorsim (heretics) who would derisively discuss Moshe's comings and goings from his house. If he left home early they would say Moshe is having family problems; if he left home late they would say that Moshe is plotting against them.

The questions are obvious: (i) In what way is this derisive behavior heretical? (ii) How does the word masa'achem/burdens come to mean or at least hint to this kind of behavior?

The Meforshei Rashi address these questions. (i) the Gemoro says that one who belittles a Torah scholar is an Apikorus (Sanhedrin 99b). (ii) Masa'achem cannot be taken literally (burdens) because the pasuk here has already discussed torchachem/troubles, so 'burdens' would not be adding much. The word masa'achem is to be understood instead as masa'achem/your words, based on the use of 'masa' in a pasuk in Mishlei (30:1). So the sense of the pasuk's use of masa'achem is "Your belittling words against a great man were heretical."

I was not able to find an answer for what would logically follow as question (iii): What is the hint in the word masa'achem or elsewhere in the pasuk which indicates that the derisive speech behavior took this particular form of commenting on Moshe's comings and goings?

[Interestingly, the word Apikorus derives from one or more of these three sources. (i) The ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus, who ideas would qualify as, well, Apikorsus; (ii) from the Aramaic word hefker, meaning abandoned; an Apikorus has abandoned the essence of his religion; and (iii) from a combination of the Aramaic words afik (gone out) and rasen (horse's halter); an Apikorus is like a horse which has wiggled out of its halter and is aimless.]


Gal Einai, Copyright 2006 by Gedalia Litke and Torah.org


 






ARTICLES ON DEVARIM AND THE THREE WEEKS:

View Complete List

You Gotta Believe
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5765

Shabat Outweighs the Ninth Day of Av
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5772

YomTov, vol. XIII # 3
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5767

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

The Purpose of the Fifth Book
Shlomo Katz - 5767

Hidden Yet Loving
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

Placing The Partitions
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5770

ArtScroll

Rebuilding the Temple
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5768

Kamtza and Bar-Kamtza
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5758

Wise Rebuke
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5758

> Not To Worry, G-d's In Charge
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5765

Learning to Love What Is!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5767

To My Very Last Breath
Rabbi Label Lam - 5772

Looking for a Chavrusah?

The Three Weeks: What Are We Trying to Achieve?
Rabbi Naphtali Hoff - 5768

Speaking Louder
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5756

The Bobover Rebbe Zt"l
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5760

In the Eye of the Beholder
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5766



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information