The Parashah Without Moshe’s Name by Yosef Silfin


The Ba’al HaTurim points out that from the time Moshe is born until the conclusion of the Torah his name is mentioned in every Parashah except for Parashat Tetzaveh. Why is that? The Ba’al HaTurim suggests that when Moshe was begging Hashem for forgiveness on behalf of Bnei Yisrael after the sin of Eigel HaZahav, the golden calf, he said to Hashem as follows: If You are going to destroy the Jewish people as You said, then “Mecheini Na MiSifrecha Asher Katavta,” “Wipe my name from the book that You have written” (Shemot 32:32). Even though Hashem did not destroy the Jewish people, Moshe’s statement was taken seriously; the Gemara (Makkot 11a) states that the curse of a wise man is fulfilled even when the curse is based on a condition that is ultimately not fulfilled. Therefore, explains the Ba’al HaTurim, instead of completely erasing Moshe’s name from the Torah, Hashem eliminated his name only from one Parashah; namely, the one that directly precedes the sin of the Eigel.

Rav Yaakov Reinitz, in his commentary on the Ba’al HaTurim, adds that there is a hint to the Ba’al HaTurim’s point from the word “Asher” in “Asher Katavta,” because the Gematria of “Asher” is equal to the word “Tetzaveh,” alluding to the fact that Hashem partially fulfilled Moshe’s statement by omitting Moshe’s name from Parashat Tetzaveh. This teaches us a very important lesson. We must take our words very seriously, even when we are in desperate situations or when we are angry and upset. After all, Moshe made the request to eliminate his name in a desperate effort to save the Jewish people. He was upset and angry. Hashem understood that, and, after He forgave Bnei Yisrael, He could have completely disregarded the words of Moshe. Instead, however, Hashem decided to show us that every negative word has consequences, even if we are using them to accomplish something as great as saving our people.

Let us take this important lesson to heart. We must always try to stay away from any negative speech, let alone Leshon HaRa or Nivul Peh, foul language. Moshe lost a Parashah, but we can lose much more. If we all take this crucial message from Parashat Tetzaveh to heart, we will not only avoid any negative consequences but we will improve the overall quality of speech and thereby enhance our Shemirat HaLashon.


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