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Rabbi Yaakov Weinberg zt”l: Notes on Devarim IV: Acharei Hakoso es Sichon

Rashi brings that Moshe was able to speak to them because he had established his credibilty. Now they couldn’t tell Moshe, ‘Who are you? You did something for us?’.


We see a tremendous yesod. Truth is not accepted on its own. You must justify your right to  bring it out and tell someone the truth. If you want to teach you first have to establish a relationship that makes it likely that the student will hear what you have to say. You can’t just have the attitude that I’ll teach the truth and whoever listens will listen.

No, you must prepare the ground and present it in a way in which there will be an acceptance of your


Hashem Elokeinu

There is an unfortunate mistaken translation, which is understandable, that has been accepted.

Generally we translate Hashem as Lord and Elokim as G-d as in Hear Israel, the Lord, our G-d, the Lord is One. The reason why we translate Hashem as Lord is because we do not pronounce the name of Hashem but we say the shem of Adnus.

An Adon means a lord/master. So if we translate Hashem as Lord then we are forced to translate Elokim as G-d. But in reality, Hashem should be translated as G-d because that is Hashem’s name-we just don’t pronounce it.

And Elokim is Lord, because otherwise how do you explain ‘elohei mitzrayim, or  elohei plishtim’? It can’t mean their gods because there are no other gods. So it means their lords which is true. They have chosen to make these idols their lords-beings that ‘rule’ over them.

So when we come to the word Elokim in the Torah it is referring to the practical way that Hashem is dealing with us. It is not the ultimate relationship as when it says Hashem-His Essence.

The Rosh Yeshiva ZTL gave a mashal.

Elokim is like the ‘nanny’ that takes care of the child-the practical caretaker, and Hashem is the parent.

(The Luchos are called Maaseh Elokim, not Hashem. Had they been from Hashem, with its ultimate relationship, then once Moshe would break them, the relationship with Hashem in its ultimate would be irretrievable.

Since it was ‘only’ through Elokim, the 2nd luchos could restore a relatonship.)

So when we see in Devorim, that Moshe mentions Hashem Elokeinu told us ‘Rav lachem sheves bahar hazeh’. He relates in both roles.

Why Leave Sinai?

Hashem tells us to leave Sinai-it is enough. The pshat is that life is not meant to be a continual preparing stage. There is the learning and there is the living. Kavayachol was saying that the time has come to apply what you have learned in the world. You must leave Sinai. This is what Hashem said to us in His essential and ultimate relationship as Hashem Elokim. We must live our learning. Torah can’t be wisdom only but it must be a living relationship.

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