Parshas Tetzaveh – Savran

Parshas Tetzaveh – Savran

As an introduction to this Divrei Torah on Parshas Tetzaveh – Savran, please see my introduction to all of these Torahs Here.

Divrei Torah Adapted From The Words of Today’s Savraner Rebbe

At the beginning of this week’s Parsha the Ba’al Haturim writes the following: Moshe is not mentioned in this Parsha whereas in all other Parshiyos in the Chumash from the time he was born he is, except for Mishna Torah. The reason for this is because he said, (as we will see in next week’s Parsha, Ki Sisa), “Erase me from Your book that You have written” (Shemos 32:32). Since the curse of a sage is fulfilled even if a condition was attached to it, this is the way Moshe Rabbeinu’s ultimatum to Hashem was fulfilled.

Moshe Rabbeinu

Many of the Torah commentators are amazed by this statement of the Ba’al Haturim as to how exactly Moshe Rabbeinu could possibly be punished for risking his life in order to save the whole of Klal Yisrael.

One could say that on the contrary, not only was Moshe’s removal from this week’s Parsha not a punishment but it was a tremendous reward and merit that he was reckoned by the Torah to be a partner in that the Torah only had to refer to him as “VeAtah” (you) and did not have to mention his name. Obviously, this “you” refers to Moshe, who was willing to give up his life for the sake of his brothers. This act of selflessness made a huge impression; so much so, that throughout the whole Parsha he is spoken to and is the key figure at every juncture and yet, even so, his name is not mentioned at all so as to create this feeling of his being at one with the Torah itself.


Along similar lines, I heard from my grandfather Hagaon Hachocham Rabbi Shmuel Aharon Webber zt”l who said this in the name of Harav Hatzaddik Rabbi Dovid Biderman zt”l from Lelov who in turn said this in the name of the Tzaddikim, that Rashi Hakadosh has the merit that no other commentator on the Torah has. That is, in Yiddish, when people are learning, they refer to Rashi as “Di Rashi” which is in the feminine, whereas all other commentators are referred to with the word Der, the masculine – which in theory, one would suppose would be the more appropriate terminology. However, the reason for this seeming anomaly is that Rashi merited to become one with the Torah Hakedosha, and since the Torah is a feminine word, so too, Rashi, who is considered part of it, is referred to in a similar fashion.

Additionally it is notable that examples of Rashi’s close connection to the Torah Hakedosha do not stop there. We hear constantly, references to Chumash-Rashi and Gemara-Rashi (meaning Chumash with Rashi and Gemara with Rashi), something we do not find regarding any of the other commentators, whose works on the Holy Seforim are referred to as for Chumash with… or Gemara with…

The forbearer of this tradition of being considered one with the Torah Hakedosha was, as mentioned before, Moshe Rabbeinu whose selflessness at the point at which Hashem wanted to annihilate all of Klal Yisrael caused him to be considered worthy to not be mentioned by name in this week’s Parsha.

Perhaps, one of the reasons for the Torah only referring indirectly to Moshe in this week’s Parsha using terms such as “you” is that, since the letters of the Torah and the Neshamos of Klal Yisrael are reckoned as one, through Moshe Rabbeinu’s self-sacrifice on behalf of Klal Yisrael he became, in a way, the physical embodiment of the Torah.

As alluded to previously, in next week’s Parsha, Ki Sisa, Klal Yisrael are involved in the sin of the Egel, as a result of which Hashem threatens to wipe out the whole nation. Moshe Rabbeinu remonstrates with Hashem and says “VeAtah Eim Tisa Chatasam VeEim Ayin Mechaini Na etc.” (Shemos 32:32). This posuk is translated by Rashi as “If You will bear their sin (then good), if not then erase me from Your book that You have written.” But a closer look at the actual words reveals a deeper meaning to Moshe Rabeinu’s ultimatum to Hashem. Translated literally, without any editions it could be read “if You bear their sin or even if You do not, my name is already erased from Your book etc.  It could therefore be said that Moshe Rabbeinu’s curse made an impression specifically in this week’s Parsha Tetzaveh and no other as it is the one that immediately precedes Ki Sisa.

Along these lines, in a deeper vein, as mentioned before the curse of a Sage even on condition is fulfilled. Moshe Rabbeinu knew this and saw Hashem’s wish to destroy Klal Yisrael as such and presumed that if the curse of a Sage on a condition is fulfilled, then all the more so one from Hashem. Thus, Moshe Rabbeinu wanted to remove the original thought of Hashem to do bad to Israel, straight away, in order that there would be no lasting mark left. And, in fact, we see that even though Klal Yisrael were not punished on the spot, Hashem said to Moshe a few moments later “on a day that I make an accounting, I will bring their sin to account against them” (Shemos 32:34) – and unfortunately we know that from that time onwards the Jewish people have gone through many difficult times r”l. Therefore, Moshe Rabbeinu wanted to overturn this thought completely in order that it be for the good of Klal Yisrael. This is once again alluded to in the aforementioned posuk when read according to the literal translation of the words, “whether or not You bear their sin, erase me from Your book etc.” – that is, Moshe Rabbeinu was saying to Hashem that whether or not He agreed to bear Klal Yisrael’s sin, he would not be placated unless there would be no lasting stain of Klal Yisrael’s sin whatsoever, as if the thought to wipe them out had never crossed Hashem’s mind as it were.

About The Author

Boruch Rappaport