Little Baby Og

07/12/13 10:16:16


R Pesach Siegel

Parshas Devarim

 The sefer of Devarim is called Mishnah Torah, a repetition of the Torah. It is a summation of what was stated previously in the other books of the Torah.

 In Parshas Devarim, the account of the war between K’lal Yisroel and Og, king of Bashan, is revisited. The Torah finds it necessary to relay the size, material, and location of Og’s infant crib.[1] It was fashioned from iron, was nine amos in length and four amos in width, and was located among the people of Amon.

 Targum Unkelos comments that the amos mentioned are not the standard ones. They are the amos of a king.

 Moshe Rabeinu was afraid. He was afraid of Og. Og had a special merit. It was Og who informed Avrohom Avenu of the capture of his nephew Lot at the hands of the four kings.[2] He had an ulterior motive in doing so. He coveted Avrohom Avenu’s wife, Sarah. He hoped that Avrohom would perish in battle, allowing him to marry Sarah.

 Our sages record five occasions in the desert when the sun ceased its passage across the sky. The final occasion was during the battle between Moshe Rabeinu and Og.[3]

 The Medrash Tehillim says that Og and Sichon were more formidable than Pharaoh and his army. It would have been fitting for Klal Yisroel to praise Hashem with shira as they did when delivered from the hands of Mitzrayim.

 Why didn't they?

 The medrash answers, because Dovid Hamelech said shira in their place, as it says in Tehillim, "Ul'Og melech haBashan ki li'olam chasdo".[4]


 What is the purpose of the repetition contained in Sefer Devarim?

 Of what importance is it to know the particulars of Og’s crib?

 Why would Moshe Rabeinu fear Og’s intended act of murder and thievery?

 The Bnei Yisroel were the ones saved from the hands of Og. Why is it that Dovid HaMelech is the one to sings the praises of Hashem?


 Og is referred to as hapalit, the escapee.[5] He escaped from the flood.[6] He escaped from the war of the four kings against the five kings,[7] and he emerged unscathed from the war waged by the Amoni nation against his people.[8] 

 What was the secret of his longevity? The Torah tells us that he was a giant. The Maharal says that Og’s immense physical dimensions are the only ones ever described in the Torah.[9]

 Who was Og? Rabeinu Bachaye relates that he was the sole descendant of Kayin.[10] All of Kayin's descendants perished in the mabul. There was but one survivor.

 Adam Harishon was great in body and in soul. His task was to unite the two, so that they would act in harmony with one another. The true role of the body is to serve the soul.

 Adam left two "legacies", the legacies of Kayin and Hevel. Kayin embodied  Adam HaRishon in all physical matters. He was a gadol, in stature as well as in longevity. He was a survivor.

 This is the secret of his physical survival throughout the ages. Someone who is truly a gadol doesn't die.

 Hevel was a gadol of the spirit. Hevel was killed by Kayin, and Shes was born to take Hevel's place.

 Og's motive for involving Avrohom Avenu in the war was not because he was attracted to Sarah’s physical beauty.

 He sought to replace Avrohom Aveinu.

 It was a stage in the ongoing rivalry between Kayin and Hevel.

 Avrohom Avenu was the king of the known world.[11] Og sought to replace Avrohom's gadlus of the spirit with his own gadlus of the physical realm. If Og were to be king, the world would have an entirely different direction and purpose. It would be a world where the entire malchus is directed towards the physical, and the soul would serve the body.

 The crib of Og lays in Amon.

 Lot’s younger daughter, the mother of Amon, exhibited a measure of modesty. She did not publicize that her child, Amon, was conceived through an incestuous relationship. Due to this merit, Klal Yisroel is warned not to cause distress to the nation of Amon.[12]

 Modesty begets majesty.[13] Majesty by the gentiles is to be found in Amon.[14]

 Mashiach ben David is a descendant of Amon through Naama, the wife of Shlomo Hamelech.[15]


 The particulars of Og’s crib are revealed to show us the source of his power. The crib of Og represents his source. The word for baby, tinok, shares the same root as yenikah, to suckle and nourish.

 It was a sizable crib, indicating gadlus of the physical. It was forged of iron, referring to his potential strength. It was located in Amon, the source of majesty. That is why kingly amos are used to measure his crib. He is a potential king.

 The Maharal explains that it was not the merit of Og that Moshe Rabeinu feared. It was Og’s connection to Avrohom Avenu that he was afraid of. He feared the gadlus of Og. Og shared something in common with Avrohom. He possessed the physical gadlus of Adam HaRishon. Moshe feared that the source of Og’s great physical prowess was through a spiritual connection that he forged with Avrohom by saving his nephew.

 In actuality, there was nothing to fear. Og's greatness was limited to the physical. It was not rooted in the gadlus of Avrohom. It was a shallow greatness.

 Adam HaRishon's physical stature was great, but his physicality was rooted in kedusha. His body was kadosh. Avrohom Avenu’s body possessed the same kedusha.[16]

 Klal Yisroel stands poised to enter Eretz Yisroel. Not a single member who participated in the sins of the golden calf and the meraglim was alive. The generation of the desert was like a new born baby. The world is standing on the threshold of renewal. It is a time of great opportunity, but also one of danger. Og Melech Habashan chooses that opportune moment to attempt to stake his claim on the world.

 It was the final confrontation between Kayin and Hevel. The fate of the world is hanging in the balance. All is suspended, and the sun ceases its journey across the sky.

 Miraculously, Moshe Rabeinu topples Og. The vengeance of Hevel is complete.

 Thus is born the malchus of Klal Yisroel. The majesty of Amon passed from Og to Klal Yisroel. The malchus of Dovid HaMelech is the outcome of this battle. Dovid is the worthy one to sing its praises.

 Sefer Devarim is more than just repetition. It is the sefer of those who have finally arrived at their goal. The first four seforim contain the process of the rejuvenation of Adam HaRishon. Once this has been accomplished by the descendants of Hevel/Shes, the Torah must be relearned.

 In Sefer Devarim lies the understanding of the Torah meant for the days when Adam HaRishon would reenter Gan Eden in the form of his children entering Eretz Yisroel.

 It is the Torah of the days of Mashiach ben Dovid.


[1] Parshas Devarim, perek 3, posuk 11

[2] Rashi, Parshas Chukas, perek 21, posuk 34

[3] Parshas Yisro, perek 19, posuk 17

[4] Mizmor 136

[5] Parshas Lech Lecha, perek 14, posuk 13

[6] Targum Yonason

[7] Rashi

[8] Rashbam

[9] Gur Aryeh, Parshas Chukas, perek 21, posuk 35

[10] Parshas Devarim, perek 3, posuk 11

[11] Parshas Lech Lecha, perek 14, posuk 17

[12] Meseches Nazir, daf 23b

[13] Meseches Megillah, daf 13b

[14] See Gur Aryeh, Parshas Devarim, perek 2, posuk 9

[15] Meseches Baba Kama, daf 38b

[16] The name Avrohom means “master of the 248 limbs in the body”

Thu, September 21 2017 1 Tishrei 5778