Monday, March 03, 2014

Rosh Devarcha Emes = ADaR

Kiddushin 31a:

 דרש עולא רבה אפיתחא דבי נשיאה מאי דכתיב יודוך ה'כל מלכי ארץ כי שמעו אמרי פיך מאמר פיך לא נאמר אלא אמרי פיך בשעה שאמר הקב"ה אנכי ולא יהיה לך אמרו אומות העולם לכבוד עצמו הוא דורש כיון שאמר כבד את אביך ואת אמך חזרו והודו למאמרות הראשונות רבא אמר מהכא ראש דברך אמת ראש דברך ולא סוף דברך אלא מסוף דברך ניכר שראש דברך אמת

The gemara says that Ulla darshened that the nations of the world thought that G-d was giving commandments for his own aggrandizement until they heard the commandment of “Honor your Mother and Father.”  Rava continued and darshened the pasuk of “Rosh devarcha emes” (Tehillim 119:160) – from “sof devarcha,” the truth of the end words, we know that the first words are true as well.

The simple pshat in the gemara is that Rava was just building on Ulla, using a pasuk in Tehillim as a springboard for the same idea.  However, this opens the door to a few questions:

1)      Maharasha asks: The pasuk only refers to “Rosh devarcha.”  Where did Rava get the idea that we learn anything from “sof devaracha?”

2)      Maharasha’s second question: Why is the commandment of kibud va called “sof devarcha?”  It is not the last commandment of the aseres hadibbros?

3)      Lastly, Rashi writes that “l’achar zman” the nochrim admitted that “rosh devarcha” is also true.  This implies some passage of time, yet it should have only taken seconds to get from the first dibros to “kabeid…?”

The Imrei Baruch of Vizhnitz explains that Rava is teaching us a new idea.

Rosh Devarcha Emes is roshei teivos ADaR.

 רֹאשׁ-דְּבָרְךָ אֱמֶת; וּלְעוֹלָם, כָּל-מִשְׁפַּט צִדְקֶךָ.

The nochrim for hundreds of years complained (see A”Z 2b) that “kafah aleihem har k’gigis,” that Hashem forced us into taking the Torah, but it was not something we earned or deserved.  “L’achar zman,” later in time, as Rashi explains, i.e. when we got to the Adar of Mordechai and Esther, the kabbalas haTorah of that Purim, which done with love, validated in retrospect the original kabbalas haTorah.  “Rosh devarcha emes”  = Adar spelled backwards, because thanks to Purim we could look back in history, back in time, and prove that we alone deserve a special relationship with Hashem and deserved the Torah.

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