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Don't Forget Your Head!

The parshah begins, ואתה תצוה – “And you shall command.”

On the first word, ואתה (And you), the Baal HaTurim – who I like to think of as a the great codebreaker among the many commentators on Tanach – points out that if you review all the Torah portions from Moshe Rabbeinu’s birth until the ones he spoke himself in Devarim, this parshah is the only one directed to Moshe that doesn’t contain his name He tells us that this stands as a testament to Moshe’s love for the Jewish people when he told Hashem that he would rather be “erased from Your book” than give up on them. Hashem listened to him, duh, we’re still here, but left this parshah without Moshe’s name as a reminder of how he pled on our behalf.

On the second word, תצוה (shall command), the Ohr HaChaim links the two meanings of the word’s shoresh (root). צו is the root for command, but it is also the root for connect or bond. Indeed, that’s where we get the double meaning and double purpose behind a mitzvah – it’s a commandment from Hashem through which we are able to connect to Him, but that’s a different tangent. This means that you can read the first possuk in our Parshah as “And you shall connect with the children of Israel…” Do you know that line from Eighth Day? “I’ve got a little bit of Moses in me…” Well, here’s one of the sources for it. Each of us is connected to Moshe Rabbeinu because we’ve each got a spark of his soul at our core.

Since it’s practically Purim, I hope you’ll forgive me for mixing these two commentaries and adding a dash of Chassidus. Maybe it’ll even be coherent when I’m done:

All Jews are compared to one body, an only child of G-d. We’re all different, making up all the various organs and limbs of the body, each doing their job as directed by the head/mind. The head is the leader, the “Moshe” of each generation, starting with the very first Moshe Rabbeinu, our רעיה מהימנה, which simultaneously translates as “faithful shepherd,” and “shepherd of faith.” Moshe was our faithful shepherd, willing to forego the greatest gifts of all time on our behalf, and he is the one who brings us closer to G-d. As a part of one body we might start to disassociate ourselves from the whole, and think of ourselves as just random disparate parts. But our mind doesn’t let us forget who we are and more importantly, Whose child we are. When we stay connected to the head, to Moshe, not only do we act as one cohesive being, a unified people with a shared goal and purpose, but our unbreakable bond with Hashem becomes something solid, unforgettable, and truly alive within every aspect of our lives.

For all those fasting, I hope it’s an easy one. Happy Purim! May we be able to celebrate this one in Yerushalayim!

בזכות רפואה שלימה לצבי יעקב הכהן -ן ליבא שפרה

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