For an explanation of the methodology of this series, see the introduction.

"G‑d said to Moses, 'Do not fear him, for I have delivered him, his people, and his land into your hand. You shall do to him as you did to Sichon the king of the Amorites who dwells in Cheshbon.'" (Num. 21:34)

Peshat (basic meaning):

Rashi: "Do not fear him"
Moses was afraid to fight [against him] lest the merit of Abraham advocate for him, as it says, "The refugee came" (Gen. 14:13) - this was Og who had escaped from the Repha'im, who were smitten by Chedorla'omer and his allies at Ashteroth Karna'im, as it says, "only Og, the king of Bashan, was left of the remnant of the Repha'im". (Deut. 3:11)

Moses needed reassurance before the battle with Og...

Siftei Chachamim: "lest the merit of Abraham stand on [Og's] behalf"
This explains why Moses needed reassurance before the battle with Og but not before doing battle with Sichon.

"and the refugee came"
Although Og informed Abraham that Chedorla'omer took his nephew Lot captive for selfish reasons, nonetheless the fact that good resulted from his act in that it led to Lot's rescue is considered a merit on his behalf.

Remez (hinted meaning):

There is no Baal HaTurim on this verse.

Derash (interpretive meaning):

Targum Yonatan: And when Moses saw Og, he said, Is not this Og the Wicked, who taunted Abraham and Sarah, and said, "They are like fair trees by fountain of water, but give no fruit"? Therefore the Holy One, blessed be He, hath kept him alive for many years, till the time that he should see their children and children's children, and fall by their hands. Therefore the Lord said to Moses, "Fear him not, etc."

Berachot 54b: Og said, how big is the Israelite camp? 3 Parsot. I will go and uproot a mountain 3 parsot long and throw it on them and kill them. He went and did so and carried it over his head. G‑d sent ants which bored a hole in it, causing it to sink around his neck. He tried to pull it off, but his teeth stuck out on each side, and he couldn't. Moses was 10 cubits tall; he took an axe that big and leapt 10 cubits high and struck Og in the ankle, killing him.

...all righteous people...fear that they might have sinned in error...

Ramban: According to the literal explanation, Moses had not intended now to give Israel the land of Sichon and Og as an inheritance. But Sichon had gone out against Israel in the wilderness and fought them against their will, in spite of their [Israel's] desire for peace....the Midrash asks: "Why was Moses afraid of Og? He [Moses] said [to himself]: Perhaps Israel did a trespass in the war against Sichon by taking the spoil for themselves or maybe they have become defiled by sins." That is the deeper, interpretive explanation. And indeed all righteous people have this fear that they might have sinned in error, and this fear also occurred with Joshua about whom it says G‑d told him, "Fear not, and don't be dismayed."

Sod (esoteric, mystical meaning):

Zohar Chukat 184:
"And G‑d said to Moses, 'Fear him not'." Rabbi Yehuda opened [his discourse] with the verse: "she is not afraid of the
snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet". (Prov. 31:21) Come and see: the assembled Congregation of Israel nourishes from both sides, sometimes from Compassion and sometimes from Judgment . When it wishes to nourish from Compassion, there is a place will dwell. When it wishes to nourish from Judgment , there is room so that it will dwell and prevail on him. This is always the case. Nothing prevails from above until the room exists for it to dwell upon. Therefore, the Congregation of Israel "is not afraid of the snow for her household." What is the reason? It is because "all her household are clothed in scarlet ." That one does not dwell only in that one, white in red, and red in white . And that was already established.

"And G‑d said to Moses, 'Fear him ('oto') not'." ’Oto’ is spelled out fully, with two Vav's, once here and once in the verse: "until your brother seek after it ('oto')". (Deut. 22:2) What is the reason? It is because it is an actual letter (in Hebrew, 'ot') and they. "...until your brother seeks after it..." that he is required to define and spell out the mark ('ot') of that lost item.

Here too, it is Og who joined Abraham and he is from the people of his household. When Abraham was circumcised, it was written: "and all the men of his house". (Gen. 17:26) That is Og, who was also circumcised with him and received that Holy Sign ('ot'). As soon as Og saw Israel approaching him, he thought to himself, 'I have certainly performed that precept that stands up for them. ' And he placed this before him.

At that moment, Moses was afraid. How could he uproot the impression that Abraham made? He thought: 'Assuredly, my right hand is dead, since the right is necessary for this.' It may be said that Elazar is here, who is the right of the moon, but not mine. That sign is to the right since Abraham is the right.
Your left will uproot him from the world...
Immediately, the Holy One, blessed be He, said, "Fear him not." Do not fear his sign, and even for the right there is no need. "For I have delivered him into your hand". Your left will uproot him from the world, since he, defiled the sign of his Covenant, and whoever makes a flaw in the sign of the Covenant is fit to be uprooted from this world. Of course, your left, that is, "your hand," will uproot him from the world. That is why he was uprooted from the world. Even though he was mighty from the sons of the mighty, and he wanted to destroy Israel, he fell into the hands of Moses and was annihilated.

That is why Israel have annihilated all of them, his children, his people and everything belonging to them, as is written: "so they smote him, and his sons, and all his people". (Num. 21:35) It is also written: "and we smote him, and his sons (banav)". (Deut. 2:33) It is written, "banav," without a Yud, yet it is pronounced Banav (plural). This has already been explained by the Colleagues.

Happy are the children of Israel that Moses the prophet was among them, since the Holy One, blessed be He, performed all these signs for his sake, as we have explained. The Holy One, blessed be He, did not make His Covenant with the rest of the nations to be connected to them, only with Israel, who are the children of Abraham. About the children of Israel, it is written: "between...your seed after you in their generations for an everlasting Covenant" (Gen. 17:7) and: "'as for Me, this is My Covenant with them,' said G‑d; 'My spirit that is upon you...shall not depart out of your mouth...'" (Is. 59:21)
Blessed be G‑d for evermore. Amen and Amen.

BeRahamim LeHayyim:
It's high noon, and time for the proverbial Mexican stand-off. In this corner, Moses our Teacher. In the other corner, Og/Elazar, a giant who survived the original flood by hanging onto the Ark. They are coming close. Uh, oh, Og apparently exposes himself—he is circumcised! Which means that he has the sign of the Covenant on him! "And he placed this before him," Is he a Jew? Is he protected from all harm?

But have no fear! He has blemished his covenant sign. Therefore, he has no protection, and he is vulnerable.

What happened next? Moshe who was 10 amot (cubits= from elbow to end of middle finger) tall, grabbed an axe that was 10 amot long and jumped 10 amot up into the air. At that height he reached Og's ankle (!), above the ground. Moshe drove the axe into Og's foot. Og fell back and died. [Berachot 61)
Og...had blemished his Covenant by unkosher sexual practices.
So, according to Rashba, the question about this battle is who has the greater merit: Moses or Og. Moses' "axe" is another name for his zechut/merit. With his merit, he overcame Og. He "drove the axe into Og's ankle" means that even though Og had once run to tell Abraham that Lot had been captured, Moses overcame this merit because Og was a Rasha/evil giant, who had blemished his Covenant by unkosher sexual practices.

You know, we are all survivors. We are all wounded healers. We may have blemished our Covenant and we could have taken paths to all places of deepest darkness, but here we are reading this commentary, studying Torah, the highest of all ventures.

Perhaps we can recall a certain turning point in our life where we made the right decision. We did not do a one-night stand. We did not open that Porn window on our internet search.

Perhaps that is the place that deserves a silent prayer, a blessing for the miracle for you, a child of Israel, who miraculously got past corrupting temptation for the greater good.

This is in your merit, fellow survivor, fellow wounded healer.
This is your "axe" to help you defend against further assaults.

Don't forget it. It can be very useful.

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