Torah Tidbits

1 August 2014 / 5 Av 5774
Issue 1053
Shabbat Parshat Va’etchanan - Nachamu
July 18, 2013

ParshaPix Explanations

Parsha Pix

The plus and minus in a negation circle is for the prohibition of adding to the Torah or detracting from it
Again, the Torah tells us of the mitzva to designate cities of refuge - 3 on the east side of the Jordan (and 3 on the west side)
The LUCHOT in the TORAH on the mountain stands for the repetition of the Aseret HaDibrot (with differences) and reminds us that the whole Torah was given by G-d at Sinai, not just the Big Ten
Mezuza is one of the mitzvot from Va’etchanan, from the first parsha of the SH’MA. [The first two parshiyot of Sh’ma are in a Mezuza and the mitzva of Mezuza is in each of those parshiyot]
Shabbat candlesticks represent SHAMOR and ZACHOR. They are contained B’DIBUR ECHAD, in one speech-bubble
The hearing ear represents SH’MA, not just the famous one, but the many times the Torah commands us to listen (and understand - this is an important aspect of SH’MA)
The warning lights represent Moshe’s warnings to us to remain faithful to HaShem and not to be confused by what we witnessed but cannot totally comprehend
The big number one is for HaShem Echad, as well as the other pasuk that emphasizes G-d’s Unity, 4:35, ...there is none besides Him
The reminder-finger is for the command to never forget the Sinai experience and to pass on the memory to future generations
The Seder plate is for the Chacham’s question and the answer of We were slaves to Par’o in Egypt… both of which are found in Va’etchanan
The Simchat Torah scene is for the pasuk ATA HOR-EITA LADA’AT… which is associated with Simchat Torah (for Nusach Ashkenaz daveners; in Nusach S’fard, the pasuk is said on all Shabbatot and Chagim)
The speaker and an Xed out video monitor: On that great day of Revelation at Sinai, we HEARD what was said, but we did NOT SEE any image. This is mentioned more than once, and is a reason for Moshe’s deep concern and warnings to the people
The (clock) face in the face is for the term PANIM BIFANIM, the description of the direct, intimate communication of G-d to the people of Israel
The space telescope is for Yeshayahu’s words at the end of the Haftara: Lift your eyes heavenward and see Who created these… This serves as positive motivation for our study of nature…
The pen is for the 5 PENs in the sedra and another two U’FENs. Not so remarkable, but they are associated with the remember - don’t forget things that Moshe talks about. Hence, the PEN near the reminder string on the finger image in the ParshaPix
Grasshopper. K’CHAGAVIM, like grasshoppers, appears only twice in Tanach. Back in Parshat Shlach, the Meraglim told the people about the giants in the land, “we felt like grasshoppers (compared with them) and so were we in their eyes”. Commentaries point critically to this statement. The other place the word appears is Yeshayahu 40 - the haftara of Va’etchanan - Nachamu. In that context, the inhabitants of Earth are called grasshoppers in perspective of the “One Who sits above the circle of the earth”
Extended pinky is for V’ZOT HATORAH… said when the Torah is lifted at the conclusion of each Torah reading. The words are from Va’etchanan
The palm is for the way Ashkenazim cover their eyes for the first pasuk of Sh’ma
The three fingers form the letter SHIN and is the way S’faradim cover their eyes for Sh’ma. The three- fingered SHIN on their forehead and the pinky and thumb tips in the corner of each eye
SIDE POINT: The names of the five fingers “involved” in reciting the first pasuk of SH’MA are BOHEN, ETZBA, AMA, K’MITZA and ZERET. Numerically, they add up to 1118, the gimatriya of that very same SH’MA pasuk. BTW, T’hilim 20:10 is a gimatriya twin - HASHEM HOSHI’A HAMELECH YAANEINU V’YOM KOREINU
Towards the upper-right corner, with the hands, is a grain of OAT, representing the T’filin, which are/is an OT which we bind upon our arms. Or Shabbat, which we learn elsewhere is an OT between G-d and B’nei Yisrael
Three works of Edgar Allan Poe are represented in the ParshaPix: The Raven, The Black Cat, and The Pit and the Pendulum. All representing the word PO. PO - meaning here - is not a rare word in the Torah, but its two occurrences in Va’etchanan are significant. First, that the covenant between G-d and the Jewish People is not just with our ancestors, but with those who are HERE (PO) TODAY. That includes us. The other PO refers to the fact that Moshe remained with G-d PO (on Sinai) to be taught all of Torah
The compass directions are numbered in the order in which they occur in the pasuk. It’s a different order from other p’sukim elsewhere
The building in the lower-right is LEV YERUSHALAYIM - its name comes from the haftara

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