A weekly digest of the Parshat Hashavua – Download PDF version here
August 8, 2020 -18 Av 5780
- Stone Chumash, p. 980 – 111 Psukim
- Haftorah: Isaiah Ch.49 p. 1197 “Vatomer Zion”
- Candle lighting: 7:43
- Latest Shma: 9:43
- Earliest Mincha: 1:43
- Havdalah: 8:41
- Communal Havdalah 9:00
This parsha is the effort of Moshe Rabbeinu to exhort the people into observance of the Torah. Moshe tells the people not to fear the inhabitants of the Land of Israel, and reminds them of the grand miracles which G-d performed for them in Egypt. They are guaranteed success! The Land of Israel is described in glowing details as “a land flowing with milk and honey.” However, laziness toward the Torah and mitzvot will result in disaster. The story of the golden calf is summarized. The second paragraph of the Shema (“ViHaya Im Shamoa”) is introduced.
The Mitzvah of Shema
The Mitzvah of the reciting of Shema consists of the reciting of three separate paragraphs from the Torah. The first and most famous is of course Shema which is found in Deuteronomy 6:4. The second paragraph from our parsha ibid. 11/13, and the final parasha (paragraph) is taken from the book of Numbers 15:37.
It is obligatory to recite all the above parshiot twice a day; the time frame in which it should be said is as follows:
- Once from dawn (when people start waking up) until ¼ of the day ( 3 solar hours after sunrise, the latest time that people would normally wake up.
- The second time is after nightfall from the time that 3 medium stars are visible at night ( when some people start going to sleep) and can be recited the entire night. This is based on the requirement mentioned in the Shma itself- “And these words… shall be upon your heart… when you wake up, and when you go to sleep.”
The Rabbis of the great assembly (2nd Temple period) enhanced this Torah mandated mitzvah by adding seven blessings to be read before and after the recital of the Shema- 3 blessings in the morning, and four at night thus fulfilling the words of King David – “Seven times a day I have praised you” (Psalms 119:164)
Grace after Meals
This week’s parsha contains the mitzvah of praising G-d after eating a meal. From the verse “Thou shall eat and be sated and bless the L-rd your G-d,” it is derived that the minimum requirement of bread which requires “bentshing” is the volume of an egg. However any amount of bread requires the preliminary blessing “Hamotzi Lechem min HaAretz”.
The requirement for the recital of the preliminary blessing is derived from logic (A fortiori). If one is obligated to bless G-d when you are full (sated), how much more so should one recite a blessing when you are hungry!
In This Week’s Haftorah
Zion metaphorically complains before G-d. She does not want to be comforted by prophets who are, after all, mere mortals, but rather from G-d Himself! G-d assures Zion that one day the land will once again flourish, and be filled with joy!
Rabbi Avraham Kelman