This dvar Torah was adapted from the hashkafa portion of Rabbi Yissocher Frand’s Commuter Chavrusah Tapes on the weekly portion: Tape # 363, The Mazik on Purim. Good Shabbos!
Moshe Not Mentioned In Tezaveh: The Tribute of Anonymity
There is a very famous statement of the Baal HaTurim in this week’s parsha. The Baal HaTurim notes that this is the only parsha in the Torah after the birth of Moshe that does not mention his name. The Baal HaTurim attributes this to Moshe’s offer “Erase me from your book that you have written” when he was pleading on behalf of the Jewish people after the sin of the Golden Calf.
When a wise man utters a curse — even a conditional curse — the curse is destined to be fulfilled. This is the fulfillment of Moshe’s self-curse. Ironically, every year, the reading of this parsha falls out during the week of the Yahrtzeit [anniversary of the death] of Moshe Rabbeinu.
This is a strange Baal HaTurim. Moshe’s pleading on behalf of the Jewish people was a very noble deed. As a result of his efforts, the Jewish people were saved. The Succas Dovid cites a Zohar that if Noach would have waged such a forceful argument to G-d on behalf of his generation, the Flood would have never occurred. It does not seem fair that Moshe should be punished for such heroic efforts.
The Succas Dovid consequently explains that the omission of Moshe’s name in Parshas Tezaveh is not a punishment. It is the price, however, that he was willing to pay. He knew that offering “erase me from the Book You have written” was going to cost him. But he said, “I do not care. I am more worried about the Jewish people than about my honor.”
The omission of Moshe’s name from Parshas Tezaveh is not a punishment. It is the tribute to the self-sacrifice of Moshe Rabbeinu, who was willing to have his name erased from the Torah, in order to save the Jewish people.
There are two places where the Torah mentions accolades about Moshe. One place is in Parshas BeHaaloscha after Miriam and Aaron apparently spoke against Moshe and G-d chastised them. The other place is in Parshas V’zos HaBracha, where the Torah relates Moshe’s final obituary. Seemingly, these are the only two places where the Torah provides testimony to Moshe’s greatness.
The Baal HaTurim is teaching us that there is a third parsha that speaks volumes about the character and qualities of Moshe Rabbeinu. Parshas Tezaveh shows us how much Moshe Rabbeinu loved the Jewish people. He loved them so much that he was willing to forgo having his name in this parsha of the Torah in order to save them. Parshas Tezaveh provides ‘silent testimony’ to the greatness of Moshe. It illustrates the ultimate self-sacrifice that the leader had for his people. That is why it is not ironic, but rather most appropriate that this tribute should be paid to Moshe, specifically on the week of his Yahrtzeit.
This week’s write-up is adapted from the hashkafa portion of Rabbi Yissochar Frand’s Commuter Chavrusah Series on the weekly Torah portion. A listing of the halachic portions for Parshas Tezaveh is provided below:
- Tape # 045 – The Gartel: To Wear or Not to Wear
- Tape # 088 – Parshas Zachor and Other Purim Issues
- Tape # 136 – Purim Costumes: Anything Goes?
- Tape # 183 – Candle Lighting on Friday Night
- Tape # 229 – Purim Issues II
- Tape # 273 – Taanis Esther and the Personal Purim
- Tape # 319 – Conditional Licht Benching
- Tape # 363 – The “Mazik” on Purim
- Tape # 407 – Hesach Ha’daas and Tefillin
- Tape # 451 – How Many Shabbos Candles
- Tape # 495 – Reneging on a Tzedakah Pledge
- Tape # 539 – Matanos Le’evyonim
- Tape # 583 – The Bracha of Blossoming Trees
- Tape # 627 – Having Your Own Megillah
- Tape # 670 – A Woman’s First Candle Lighting
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