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It was in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first of the month, when Moshe spoke to the children of Israel according to everything that Hashem commanded him to them, after he had smitten Sikhon-King of the Amorite.....Moshe began explaining this Torah, saying[Devarim 1:3-5]

This week we start with a new book, the book of Devarim where Moshe Rabbeinu began his final teaching in the fortieth year from the Exodus, on the first of Shevat, which is the eleventh month counting from Nissan until his departure in 7th Adar which is a period of just over five weeks around 36 days which corresonds to Eleh [אלה=1+30+5]

Lets ask the questions why the Torah needs to mention the exact time of his Last rebuke?And moreso for Moshe Rabbeinu, why the need to wait until now to rebuke them?To tell us that there is a season for everything and a time for every activity under heaven.[kohelet 3:1] Rashi Hakadosh tolds us that It comes to teach us that The best time for a person to give rebuke is when he is near death.From whom did Moshe Rabbeinu learned this?From Yaakov Avinu as we see in Bereshit 49:1-33 that Yaakov Avinu Rebuked his children before his departure.

The Maor Vashemesh also ask the questions why it should be before one's death?We all know that There is a commandment in the Torah to reprove or admonish even until 100 times.Moshe Rabbeinu in admonishing the people openly lost many things.For Example in The verse Hear you all offenders?In which he lost his right to bring Am Israel into the land.And In our Parasha Moshe Rabbeinu began to admonish us by hints and not only is he not punished like the first one, he gets a great reward for it.You shall not hate your brother in your heart, you shall surely rebuke your fellow, but you shall not bear a sin on his account.[Vayikra 19:17]The holy Zohar tells that The reprover must not say in detail every sin but should rather hints it. When a Reprover openly details every sin the offender does the offender becomes ashamed and is hard for him to return to God. And The reprove bears many sins on his account. A tzaddik does not reprove until before his death is because The tzaddik in his life fears that the rebuke he wants to give is not from his heart. As we all know That Things that are from the heart enters the heart. And if he were to rebuke and was not a rebuke from his heart he will need to rebuke again and again. Who knows it might not be a rebuke from the heart even in the second time so A tzaddik waits until before his death. A tzaddik reproves his fellow jews by telling him stories or by his sikhat khulin. Stories of a tzaddik or his Sikhat khulin has the power to make a person do Teshuva because A tzaddik in his lifetime always look to his deeds and scales his deeds every moments repairing everything that needs repairman.

Then what is the reason why It should be before one's departure? Our sages told us that Because of four reasons we don't rebuke a person who already left the sins before departure except shortly before death. And they are as follows:-

1. So that one should not rebuke and again have to rebuke him,

2. So as to not cause his friends to feels ashamed when he saw him,

3. So as to not Cause hatred of him in his heart, and..

4. So as to leave him in peace(no controversy between them)Because if the person who rebukes someone is before his death, the hearer believes that he did it Leshem Shamayim.[Sifrei]

Rabbi Simon says If Moshe Rabbeinu rebuke them in the beggining, they (Israel) will say, "What did Ben Amram have on us?[What did he give us that he rebuke us]Rather Moshe Rabbeinu give tithes from the spoils of Sikhon and Og and afterwards give them the spoil.[Midrash Tankhuma]

The Midrash Tanaim too ask a similar questions of why Moshe Rabbeinu rebuke Israel after the war with Sikhon and Og? To tell us that If one does not have stability of the mind, words of someone who rebukes him will not enter his mind.Before the war with Sikhon and Og, Am Israel is filled with fear and does not have stable mind so Moshe Rabbeinu waits until after he defeats Sikhon and Og and Rebuke them.

The Book Binyan Ariel citing Rashi Hakadosh writes that If Moshe were to rebuke Am Israel before the war with Sikhon and Og. They(Israel)will think that Moshe rebuke them in order to show them that they are not fit to enter the Holy land and Moshe Rabbeinu does not have the strength to do war with the enemies and bring all of them to the land. So in order to make them understand, Moshe Rabbeinu defeats the kings and conquered the path to Eretz Israel.In this Am Israel was proven that Moshe has the strength to bring them to the Holy land and Moshe Rebukes them only because he wants them to do teshuvah.

And there is still a question why wait until Shevat and not when he defeats them in the month of Elul? Moshe Rabbeinu does not want to embarass his beloved people so he waited until before his death. And Moshe Rabbeinu have hope all this time and pray that The decree for him not to enter Eretz Israel be cancelled. But In the Month of Shevat God told him not to pray more and Moshe without doubt knows that his end is near so From Shevat Moshe began his reprove.

If we look into what Rashi Hakadosh, The Midrash Tankhuma and The Midrash Tanaim says we will see that there is a diffrence.but they are all God's words.Admonishment/Rebuke is not needed to be before one's death.And Rashi accepts the midrash views too.As we can ask Rashi hakadosh why did Yaakov need to fear that A righteos son like Reuven out of shame might leave him and joins his brother Esav if he admonish him.And Is Yaakov Avinu so unlearned that he doesn't know how to admonish his sons?Rashi hakadosh comes to teach us that in Education/Khinukh One should not take chances. Rather one should take precautions as much as he could and fear for even the smallest mistakes.

The Ben Ish Khai writes that there are two ways to rebuke, but one of them is heard while the other is not:-

1.REBUKE THAT IS NOT HEARD:-Where the Person who rebuke stands before the Aron Hakodesh with his face facing the people and his back facing the Aron Hakodesh and gives rebuke in order to fulfil the mitzvah of You shall surely admonish your fellow brother so that you shall not bear sin on his account.i.e.HOKHIAKH TOKHIAKH. and,

2. REBUKE THAT IS HEARD:-Where the Person who rebuke stands before the Aron Hakodesh, his face towards the Aron hakodesh with his back facing the people saying I thank you Hashem for giving us the Holy Torah, commanded us to safeguard the Shabbath and Yom Tov, not to speak lies, to do kind deeds, not to eat unkosher foods and so on...And One who goes against your words will inherit gehinnom.

In this condition one fulfil the verse And the people shall listen and fear and they shall no longer act wantonly.[Devarim 17:13]

Our Sages in masechet Yevamot 65b told us that Just as it is a mitzvah to say something to someone who will heed it likewise it is a mitzvah to refrain from saying something to someone who will disregard it.And The Mitzvah of Admonishment is best fulfil when one admonish someone who will hear him.The most basic rule of admonishment is that the person who is admonishing should really care for the offender. Being sincerely concerned about the other persons welfare is a condition which must be met if the reproof is to be successfull.I see in the writings of Rav Yirmiyahu Kaganoff who says that The Rambam writes that the admonisher must tell the offender that he is helping him earn a greater share in olam haba and he does not want him to lose his Olam Haba. The one who rebukes must do so privately, with a pleasant manner and soft voice.

In the book Sefer khassidim I learnt that Rabbi Yehuda hakhassid says that one should admonish until one gets beaten and hated.But we should know how to admonish before we admonish someone.The Sages say that one should look in himself what he is going to admonish others.And If he in fact too is lacking in that aspect he should first correct himself.

IN THE FORTIETH YEAR:-This teaches us that It is a near time of redemption for Israel. And it is a time of joy

IN THE ELEVENTH MONTH:-The month when trees who are compared to man are renewed. And also the Month in which Moshe's Rabbeinu departure is near and not a time for so much joy

ON THE FIRST OF THE MONTH: Why first of the month? As the Binyan Ariel says The day when Moshe received the answers for him not to pray more for himself to enter the land.

In one ways it is a time for joys and in other ways it is a time for sadness but for Someone like Moshe Rabbeinu A time so limited and so precious for teaching the ways of God, reproving his fellow brothers.etc. As we learnt in Masechet Brakhot that For a Tzaddik Everything that God does, He does for the Good.

Reprove or Admonishment in the correct way is needed for a good Khinukh. A Khinnukh or education without Tokhakha.i.e. Admonishment in the correct way is the start of many youngsters leaving the Torah and the Living God.

Let us merit to see a Tzaddik who can reprove us in the correct ways and May we succeed to in reproving our children in the correct ways too. Shabbath Shalom!

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