- How to chastise so that people will actually take it to heart
- Some Jewish astrology regarding the signs of Cancer and Leo
- Powerful advice for every generation
These are the words that Moshe spoke to all Yisrael (Devarim 1:1)
This taught them the proper way of chastisement because every chastiser wants his words heard and obeyed.
To prevent the people from kicking at his reproof, he should correct them with hints and subtlety, and not explicitly.
Beware the Astrological Influences of Tammuz and Av
Between Paran and between Tofal (1:1)
The Kli Yakar explains why Jews tend to sin in the month of Tammuz (like with the Sin of the Golden Calf), and give Hashem the back of their neck, so to speak, rather than their face:
- Fear Hashem
- Think about His Name
- Keep the mitzvot
(For personal experience with and more insights into handling this, please see this post.)
You have circled this mountain for too long; turn yourselves northward (2:2)
The Kli Yakar says this verse contains a secret for every generation.
The word tzafona can mean “northward,” but it can also mean “toward concealment.”
He quotes the Midrash Rabbah on Devarim: “If Esav’s hour arrives, conceal yourselves.”
...if a Jew in Galut finds that he begins experiencing a small success there, then he should hide and conceal everything from before Esav because there is no nation more envious of Israel than Esav because in their [Esav's] opinion, everything has been stolen from them, from the blessing of Yaakov Avinu, who took the blessings of Esav deceitfully...both Bnei Yishmael and Bnei Esav believe that Yitzchak stole Yishmael’s success and that Yaakov made a conscious effort to steal Esav’s success.
Therefore, Hashem commanded davka about Esav to “turn yourselves toward concealment” so that he won’t be envious of you.
And that is the opposite of what Yisrael does nowadays in the lands of our enemies. Whoever has his portion displays himself in regal attire and decorative residences and are considered to have several thousands and incite the nations against them and transgress what is said “turn yourselves toward concealment.” And this practice occurs among many members of our nation and it encapsulates all the plights in which we find ourselves.
Rabbi Shlomo Ephraim of Luntschitz (1550-1619) lived in Bohemia (which is today Poland and Czechoslovakia). He served as rabbi and dayan and wrote several books, the most well-known being his commentary on the Chumash known as the Kli Yakar.
This is my own translation and any errors are also mine.